Finally - The PoV Video From The 127,000ft Space Freefall Is Released

A little over a year ago Felix Baumgartner made history with his record breaking “space jump”, the world’s highest skydive from 127,852ft above ground. The jump was incredible but what many of us couldn’t understand is why there seemed to be no POV footage from Felix's perspective. Yesterday, GoPro released an edit of what many of us have been waiting more than a year for. The video, shown here in it's entirety, is stunning.

As visual creatives, all of us enjoy seeing an innovative viewpoint, angle or approach to capturing something, or some experience, in a new and exciting way. Many of us marveled at the cinematography of the movie Gravity last year, a film that has already redefined our experience with being in space and what it might feel like. Well this is real life, and yet it looks like it could have been straight out of that film. This video eluded so many of us for so long, as we wondered why there had never seemed to be a first person, or body mounted point of view (POV) shot of the jump.

As a skydiver who has shot freefall video for nearly 10 years, I couldn't understand why there seemed to be a total lack of first person or POV cameras for Felix’s jump. Most skydivers these days wear small GoPro or GoPro type cameras on our helmets, some might have them mounted on the backs of their hands and many BASE jumpers will often wear a couple of cameras for a front and rear view, showing the object they’ve just jumped off of as they fall away from it, or skim over the side of a mountain for a different view point.

Turns out Go Pro had not one but SEVEN cameras on Felix. This 8 minute long edit, which went live yesterday, has already racked up 1.5million views in 24 hours and it’s not hard to see why. We get to travel with Felix as he launches himself from the balloon, breaks the sound barrier, and free falls from about 24 miles up for around 4 spine tingling minutes.

The video is magnificent. Even for those not accustomed to being in the void of freefall, the fact he is so high – almost ten times higher than what most of us get to experience on a normal freefall - means we get to experience the black void of being at the edge of the atmosphere. We also see the magnificent parabola and curvature of the planet. Although this effect is something we occasionally get to witness when we initially jump from the plane by looking back through our legs at the horizon of the Earth, it is nothing like the scale of what we see here. Yes, the field of view on the camera is wide, so the effect is exaggerated, but it feels like we are basically with Felix for the ride, at the very edge of space itself. 

And what a ride! Many of you might remember from the jump that there was initial concern at Mission Control, with Felix in a high velocity spin, seemingly out of control and out of radio contact for a while. Well, here we get to see exactly what he was experiencing – and it is terrifying. After the initial calm of the start of the freefall, we see the moment when – without friction from a lack of air resistance due to being so high up - he begins to spin uncontrollably, picking up speed and careering through over 840mph before finally encountering more density and air resistance and regaining control and entering a stable body position.

It’s a simply gob smacking video that is the epitome of what GoPro cameras stand for and what they market themselves as. Quite how they’ll top this remains to be seen, but I've no doubt they will. 

As I watched it, I remembered the words he uttered before he began the jump: "Sometimes you have to be really high to understand how small you really are". It's amazing how much this video really gives those words far deeper meaning. We know exactly what he is talking about, now that we can see what he saw himself. In a few seconds, it explains so readily why video and the growth of personal HD video in particular, has exploded, and why it will continue to do so. 

A shortened version of the video is to be aired for our US readers during the Super bowl tomorrow. Do yourself a favor though and take in the full 8 minute version here; it’s simply too incredible not to watch in it’s entirety.

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Dave Wallace's picture

Thanks for posting Dave! Worth the wait to see this.

David Geffin's picture

You're welcome Dave, and i agree, very much worth the wait!

That was such a gigantic büllshìt Red Bull/GoPro propaganda stunt, which accomplished absolutely nothing.

Excellent comment! Now, please go away.
We don't want people to push the limits of what humans can do - and keep away of nifty small cameras to document it.

Dude, NOTHING was "pushed" here. Wake up.

Given the expense of doing this the sponsors are necessary. Don't understand the attitude at all. It was worth the effort just for the video. The cameras enable those of us who can't do some of these marvelous things to gain a little understanding of what some of these athletes, free spirits and adventurers see. Giving us these views is a great accomplishment itself. Just don't be a buzz kill it is unnecessary.

So he didn't achive three world records with the jump? Please, go hate somewhere else.

So what? Did he make any great advancement in science? Did he make some great contribution to humanity? No. He put himself in some world record book for pulling a stunt. A feather in his cap. What he did was no different than Evel Knievel trying to jump the Grand Canyon in a rocket bike. The only people making out here here are Baumgartner, Red Bull and GoPro. It's a stunt, the buck stops there.

That said, I have nothing against people pulling off stunts like this, you're free to knock yourself out anyway you like. My objection is that they've made this look like it's some kind of monumental achievement. It's not. It's a stunt.

Wasn't the Air Force on hand for this as well? I remember them saying that data was being collected on extremely high altitude bail outs. Imagine being able to eject from a compromised spacecraft.

Yes he did. I love people like you sitting there with nothing positive to say. He showed that astronauts could fall to earth if a disaster happened and they had jump. So yeah he did actually. And every, and I mean every achievement, advancement on earth, comes from people pushing the limit of what we can do. So sit down there and eat your cheeto's and complain while the rest of humanity praise this person for once again pushing the limits.

So you grew up on Evel Knievel, ay?

So people often jump from 127,000 ft and free fall past Mach 1 and up to ~845mph from the world you are from?

Always a soiled diaper in every online forum. Todays feature..."spy black"

Joao Barcelos's picture

wow. That´s all there is to say...

This was an outstanding achievement on the part of Felix Baumgartner and his team. Without the financial backing of the sponsors, principally Red Bull and GoPro, it couldn't have happened and we wouldn't have had the opportunity to witness it in this way. It is a great shame some people are so cynical that they can not see see this feat in a positive light. It matters not a jot that Red Bull and Go Pro receive substantial publicity from this incredible jump and I applaude them for it. Without commercial sponsors financing such events we would be deprived of the spectacle and talented engineers and scientists would be stifled and prevented from developing new or improved products and materials.

Great video.

Except that somehow people were able to build pyramids, sailing ships, flying machines, and elaborate works of architecture without financial backing from lifestyle brands.

The pyramids received financial backing from the brand of the Pharaoh. Inventions require more brain power than financial power. This jump obviously required funds, where do you suggest they should have gotten them if not from sponsors?

Hardly an "outstanding achievement". You want outstanding achievements? Look at the accomplishments of the likes of Helen Keller, George Washington Carver, Madam Curie, or how about commander James A. Lovell, who with the help of tireless crews on earth piloted a crippled spacecraft, low on power and oxygen, a quarter of a million miles back to earth to save his life and the lives of his crew mates. THOSE are outstanding achievements.

Felix Baumgartner jumping 24 miles from space? That's a stunt. Please learn to differentiate. Thank you.

And who were those people funded by (the space program and Curie)? Yeah... Thought so. All of humanity's achievements are "stunts" when you consider that we don't have to do anything more than build a fire to keep warm and sleep in a cave to be safe. Sometimes "stunts" push the technology that is required to perform them because it's not economically feasible to research science for science's sake.

Stretching it thin here, aren't we?

Tell that to NASA and people that want to do good for humanity, only to see the funding diverted to destruction.

I'm fairly certain you can use the phrase "outstanding achievement" on a sliding scale... No one's suggesting what Felix did ranks with the likes of the people you mentioned, they basically just mean what he did was really cool. Might want to think about lightening up a bit, dude!

Yeah OK, it's cool, just don't try to make it look bigger than life. Unfortunately today people are hyping everything to be exactly that. That's why I made my original comment.

David Geffin's picture

Spy Black when was the last time you broke 3 World Records? In the same day? ;)

I guess sensationalism is all that matters today. It's not like there was a need for it, now was there? Again, I have nothing against it, just don't try to put it up there with great achievements in life. It's for someone's personal gain, and that of the sponsors.

The gain of these sponsors have pushed so many sports and even ideas around the world so far. GoPro has single handedly pushed the world of video production so much further. The idea of a smaller camera alone being so capable has dramatically increased production of so many other types of cameras - thus creating jobs, better shots, better technology, etc. FOR INSTANCE: Kids started making attempts at sending weather balloons to space with GoPro cameras attached, allowing for them to get beautiful shots of the earth's atmosphere (like the ones above). These kids were doing this with budgets of less than 500 dollars, and NASA spends millions on equipment to do the SAME EXACT THING. This company deserves to be profitable, as it pushes technology and ideas further. As for Redbull, I can't even begin to explain how much it has pushed the world of sports, technology, and most everything you see on TV. I'm not talking about the drink exactly, but the brand itself. It is a non-government, private company that sponsors anything that will push people to the next level. These companies deserve the attention, this event, and this GREAT ACHIEVEMENT. Quit being so closed minded.

Well, you're quite corporate whore!

Sorry, but kids were already sending MiniDV video cameras up on balloons to do that years ago. Nothing new there. GoPro also doesn't like websites that give them bad reviews either, they've already forced one shut one down and gave lame excuses as to why.

Red Bull. Promote sports and everyone will overlook how bad your product really is.

"These companies deserve the attention, this event, and this GREAT ACHIEVEMENT."

You meant "GREAT (self-centered corporate) ACHIEVEMENT" I'll assume...

Some achievements make it easier to live life. Others make life worth living. Your attitude contributes to neither.

My "attitude" is unimportant. I'm merely speaking my mind. You're free to disagree.

Seriously? These are the people dumping more money into action sports than action sports are worth. These are the people that fund all kinds of bmx skate snow etc events. If this is the future of marketing I am ok with that.