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Nicolas Vuignier

As the smartphone took over nearly all the duties of that 35mm camera many of us used to wear around our necks—as well as the basic video camera we were all so annoying with, clutched in and around our hands at every event and vacation—the selfie quickly became a self-indulgent addiction, from showing off our everyday countenances to some downright lurid images. And while these types of shots are becoming widely known as ‘so last year,’ it is a much different ballgame when you are actually in action, doing something worth watching. From the selfie stick to the GoPro, it takes a bit more effort to show yourself off while in the moment—especially if you are a pro-skier taking the slopes—and video—at high speed.

Nicolas Vuignier of Switzerland is a pro freestyle skier with a penchant for technology and making films. For a period of two years, he stubbornly worked on finding a way to film himself while out on the powder—and after quite some time it turned into an experiment yielding success–and a YouTube video with over two million views so far:

One would expect that he should now turn into the poster boy for extreme iPhone users as well. The film gets your adrenaline pumping just watching—and both the setting and the spectacular use of the smartphone proffer up stunning beauty, and inspiration. It may well be the catalyst for an upswing in skiing lessons this winter, as well as having the potential to steal considerable business from the GoPro—a device the skier attempted to use for this project, but found it lacking.

“The biggest challenge was to make the phone stable when skiing at reasonable speed,” he said. “The turbulent wind caused by the forward motion of the skier made the phone spin uncontrollably.”

In the video, we see him with one hand artfully wielding a ski pole, and the other slinging his contraption in the air. Vuignier simply couldn’t be any more dramatic, slicing through the snow in slow-mo. The footage is the result of numerous months spent designing a remarkable device that ultimately came to fruition via his 3D printed centriphone rig and a 64GB iPhone 6, and one of its innovative accessories–the Olloclip wide-angled lens.Untitled

For those interested in the serious technical details of how he pulled this off—aside from simply swinging the phone around on a string—Vuignier used Apple’s Camera app, operating at 240 frames per second. Then, to offer us all the incredible resolution enjoyed in the video, he slowed down the film by ten percent.

We don’t have any pictures of this rig Vuignier has developed so far, but that’s probably deliberate as he is hoping to make a template that will be available for all adventurers like himself in the near future.

Definitely employing the same strong spirit in innovating that it also takes to become a tough freestyle spirit braving the elements, Vuignier—like many others—undoubtedly discovered numerous benefits with 3D printing, beginning with the ability to finally design exactly what he wanted, and what worked.Untitled

The bio on his website, offering some insight into who this innovator—purportedly overwhelmed by the response to his video–is, exactly:

“Nicolas Vuignier isn’t your average freeskier. The 25 year old Swiss from Crans-Montana has quietly become one of the most respected and iconic rider of his generation. He approaches skiing as a mean of self-expression, where creativity, style, innovation and performance all have an equal value. His calm nature and his virtuosity on the snow brought him to the top rank of some of the most competitive events in the scene, such as the 2015 RedBull Linecatcher.”

“When he isn’t on his skis, this self-taught graphic designer and video editor relentlessly perfects his creative skills, finding inspiration beyond the world of skiing and aiming at bringing his work in the realm of art and digital culture.”

It’s easy to see then how something like 3D printing technology would be quite appealing to an individual such as Vuignier, offering independence in customizing a new design, often one with quite a specialized niche, and then also allowing for latitude and affordability in prototyping—not to mention the possibility of cutting out the time- and money-sucking middleman—all the while lending even further credence to the idea that we can do practically anything with a smartphone. Are you interested in trying something like this? Discuss in the 3D Printed Centriphone forum over at 3DPB.com.centriphone

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