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Skiers Become Black-and-White Abstract Art in ‘PBK1'

Free skier and experimental filmmaker Nicolas Vuignier creates a monochromatic explosion in his latest conceptual sports film.
March 28, 2016, 7:45pm
Photo: Yann Gross. Images courtesy the artists

Swiss free skier Nicolas Vuignier is one-part extreme athlete, and another part experimental filmmaker. One of his recent experiments involved the creation of a 360-degree camera rig called Centriphone, which he swings around his body for gorgeous bullet-time footage. Around the same time, Vuignier was also experimenting with applying black ochre powder to his skis, then flying off mountainous ledges and filming the results in black-and-white slow motion.

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The latest of Vuignier’s three “conceptual videos” released in 2016, PBK1 finds him, Florian Bruchez, and Sampo Vallotton turning the cloudy afternoon Swiss sky and alps into a “canvas for ephemeral art.” The environmentally-harmless black ochres explode monochromatically, sketching abstract patterns that mark their trajectories across the white sky and snowy mountains.

Filmed in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and premiered on NOWNESS, PBK1 finds Vuignier co-directing with Jules Guarneri, with additional photography by Seb Anex and Yann Gross. Vuignier was originally inspired by a skateboard video in which skaters put powder on their boards, and played with the results.

“It was right around that time a good friend of mine, the photographer Jeremy Bernard, was finishing a project where he used natural ochres, [and] he had some leftovers,” Vuignier tells The Creators Project. “After a first successful test, I thought the colors were a bit too much especially since this ‘holi’ thing has become some sort of marketing gimmick with color runs, etc. I wanted to do something a bit more simple—only black during an overcast day.”

“[The ochre] is pretty tricky [because] it limits a lot of the possible tricks,” he adds. “For example, you can’t do a flip or something like that because if you get some on your face you’re blinded. Other than that it’s a pretty amazing feeling because you feel the pigments flying around you, and after you land you can still see a trail of smoke behind you.”

Click here to see more of Nicolas Vuignier’s work.

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