Free-running camera operator blurs line between cameraman and stuntman


When it comes to doing anything to get the shot, no one is perhaps more committed than mysterious camera operator “Gimbalninja.” The enigmatic Austrian has been recognized for his daring feats of cinematic bravery before, which combine the athleticism of parkour with Hollywood-grade movie cameras, but his latest clip (above) is absolutely jaw-dropping.

Shot from the ninja’s point of view, the clip shows him deftly running over bamboo scaffolding and jumping off the roof of a building (presumably in a safety harness and being lowered by a rope) all while carrying a beefy cinema camera rig in his hands. The maneuver was part of a Nike commercial shoot, and once you pick your jaw up off the floor, go ahead and watch the full ad below. The results of Gimbalninja’s work speak for themselves.

The ad, which was shot throughout Beijing and Hong Kong, according to DigitalRev, promotes a variety of sports from hockey to hurdles. Its fast-paced action is captured in the incredibly smooth style that only became available relatively recently thanks to advanced motorized camera gimbals popularized first by Freefly System’s Movi. It is not clear which gimbal and camera Gimbalninja used on the shoot, but several companies have produced variants of the device, including DJI with its affordable Ronin series.

This also isn’t the first time Gimbalninja’s stunts have made the news. Back in December 2015, the Internet cried fowl when a video was posted showing Gimbalninja diving through a car, window to window, and landing on the ground on the opposite side, all while filming with what looks to be an ARRI cinema camera held in just one hand. That clip just seemed too good to be true, but this latest Nike ad may clear up any doubt as to its veracity.

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