“What was that video? What is happening? Who does these things?” That is the opening sequence to the brand new eye-opening video ‘The Air Up There‘ created by Toronto photographers and features BASE jumpers and extreme climbers jumping from the tallest structures. Those are questions you may also be asking after watching the video!
The Air Up There was a collaboration between two of Toronto’s most mysterious photographers and filmmakers Ryan Emon and Tom Ryaboi (AKA Rooftopper).
The pair have spent the last 10 years capturing and documenting the Toronto skyline, regularly meeting and shooting together for their own projects. It seemed natural, they say, to team up together for the ultimate breathtaking instalment.
The pair say that they wanted to explore the notions of living in a city, and the theory that city dwellers ultimately adapt to their environment reflecting the structures that surround them.
We really wanted to explore the human relationship with the city, both physically and metaphysically. It’s predicted that 70% percent of the world’s population will reside in cities by 2040. How did we make this transition so quickly after having spent tens of thousands of years living in rural and even nomadic communities?
– Ryan Emon and Tom Ryaboi
The result is quite simply, astounding. The film follows 2 local base jumpers and two urban free climbers, all of which are anonymous yet notorious for their stunts. The scenes of crazy jumps to what must surely mean certain death are interspersed with beautiful and dramatic timelapse footage of the city. The effect is dizzying, terrifying, and yet strangely compelling.
Base jumping is incredibly skilled and dangerous, with casualty and mortality percentages being the highest of any extreme sport. It involves free-falling from towers, bridges, cliffs – any high structure – and then opening a parachute. From the tallest structures, the jumper achieves terminal velocity, from the lowest the parachute must open almost immediately to avoid injury. Jumping from skyscrapers presents further issues from the strange wind patterns and updrafts that are created by the buildings themselves. The jumpers tend to pack light, and unlike regular parachuting from a plane, they do not have a reserve chute if something were to go wrong. There are no old base jumpers, as the saying goes.
Though I have toyed with the idea of a tandem parachute jump, this is a sport that I could never attempt myself. The filmmakers are keen to stress that the individuals in the film are highly trained and operating under supervision.
This video is absolutely astounding and is a must-watch for anyone fascinated with people who can do such stunts, just don’t try this at home!
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