Swiss skier Nicolas Vuignier likes to shoot arty videos of himself while skiing. His latest segment is a really gorgeous marriage of the iPhone 6’s slow-motion function and the physics of centripetal force. At first glance, it looks as if Vuignier would need a drone or some other camera accessory to capture the 360 degrees of motion seen in the video. But in fact he swung his smartphone fixed to a string around his body. The way he pulled off his Centriphone is simultaneously simple and involved.
Over the course of two years, Vuigner worked on six prototypes, before settling on a custom-made 3D-printed rig that holds the phone and string together. He also attached an Olloclip wide-angle lens to it, and shot it at 240 frames-per-second, then slowed it down to 10 percent. Vuignier’s swinging of the phone produced the centripetal force needed to make the phone shoot in 360 degrees. The force also created a surprising degree of image stabilization in the process.
“[The] iPhone shape is actually more aerodynamic than the GoPro,” Vuignier said. “The biggest challenge was to make the phone stable when skiing at reasonable speed. The turbulent wind caused by the forward motion of the skier made the phone spin uncontrollably.”
Vuignier said that he always tries to bring a creative touch to his skiing videos. He’s been playing with action cams, swivel mounts and that sort of stuff for a while now, but he always wanted to create something that was distinctly his own.
“As a pro skier I have to document the stuff I do on social media—actually it’s a big part of every athlete sponsorship deal,” Vuignier said. “I feel these past [few] years my peers just do the same stuff over and over again—shitty helmet cam video and tag your sponsors in the comments. I think that’s pretty lame, and in the end it will not get people stoked on skiing and interest them in the sport.”
“To me, skiing is like dancing—it is creativity, expression, and that should also be what comes out of the videos that portray this sport,” he added. “So in a way that’s sort of what motivated me to do it.”
Two years of tinkering and tweaking and Vuignier finally achieved the result he was looking for. All without harming any phones in the process.
Click here to see more of Nicolas Vuignier’s work.