Feb. 29, 2016 | By Kira

A few weeks ago, professional Swiss freeskier and filmmaker Nicolas Vuignier released Centriphone, a mesmerising video clip in which he seems to fly through ski slopes in a mind-blowing, slo-mo, 360-degree time warp. The filming technique was made possible thanks to an original 3D printed camera rig, which allowed him to confidently swing his iPhone 6 overhead while maintaining a constant and stabilized footage stream.

After receiving more than 3.5 million views and countless requests for DIY instructions, Vuignier has now released a highly entertaining ‘Making Of’ video (below), along with the open source, 3D printable files and a market-ready product, so that fellow skiers and experimental filmmakers of all levels can make their own versions of Centriphone at home.

Though at first glance, it looks like nothing more than “a piece of plastic, a string, and a standard iPhone,” developing the Centriphone rig was actually a two-year process, requiring extensive research, testing, and six different prototypes in order to achieve stable footage even while hurtling down slopes at extreme speeds.

As Vuignier shows in his Making Of video—which is itself a bit of creative storytelling genius—he first began by looking up inspiration (everything from figure skating ‘death spirals’ to Irish weight throwing), researching the science of centripetal force (“a force that makes a body follow a curved path”, by the way), and sketching out various designs. His very first prototypes were made from cardboard and wood, and each iteration required major overhauls: making the wing bigger, then more compact, then even more compact, with reduced air drag.

While he initially tested the Centriphone rig with a GoPro camera, he soon realized he needed a faster camera, and so re-designed his prototype to fit the iPhone 6 with a wide-angle lens attachment, shooting at 240 fps.

At this point, Vuignier was getting much closer, but the Centriphone rig still wasn’t ready yet. And so, he turned to 3D printing technology, using an Ultimaker 2+ to achieve aerodynamic precision and the most lightweight finished product possible.

Two years, six prototypes, one amazing video, and 3.5 million views later, Vuignier has followed through on his promise to bring his original ‘bullet time effect on a budget’ to the creative community. The free, open source 3D printable files for the Centriphone camera rig are now available to download, and users are encouraged to modify and further develop the concept, finding new and more creative ways to use it.

For those without a 3D printer, Vuignier has also developed a market-ready, Made in Switzerland product, available for both the GoPro and iPhone 6/6S. The finished product can be pre-ordered now for CHF39.00 (US$40), and is expected to ship in April 2016. Product features include “allowing you to easily spin your device around yourself,” “producing a mind-blowing bullet time effect,” and “making your iPhone look like a space shuttle.”

It was certainly a lot of work to develop, but the final 3D printed Centriphone camera rig is a completely original and creative tool, and we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what the open source and/or skiing/snowboarding/extreme sports community manages to come up with next. In the meantime, be sure to check out Vuignier's original Making Of video below:

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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