Join 3,554 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

There is a surprise at the end.
February 11, 2014 7:10 PM   Subscribe

A Camera falls out of a plane. It records the journey. It is found eight months later. [Video contains flashing images.]
posted by codacorolla (56 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

That's insane! I love the strange strobe effect that happens as it's spinning on its way down.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:15 PM on February 11

posted by suprenant at 7:20 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Amazingly, apparently not an ad for GoPro.
posted by Nelson at 7:20 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

Durable little sucker, innit?
posted by SLC Mom at 7:21 PM on February 11

Guh, now when I land in a falling dream pigs will appear and eat me.
posted by planetesimal at 7:23 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Mom, I found a camera in my hotdog.
posted by Jode at 7:24 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Conclusion: It's Not Good Eats.

your local pig in your local pig pen

(and holy gods, thank goodness it didn't hit anybody on the head! pig, human, or otherwise.)
posted by simulacra at 7:26 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Seriously, that is some beautifully choreographed shit.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 7:37 PM on February 11

For a second there I thought the camera might end up like one of these!
posted by TedW at 7:38 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Nutty rolling shutter effect. If it was recording at 30fps, it'd have to be spinning at 1800 rpm to alias the way it was when the view appears to stabilize near impact. And at 21 seconds in it's going 1.5x as fast!

If it was recording at 60fps, double that speed.

Good thing it was so sunny, otherwise it'd all just be just motion blurred away!
posted by aubilenon at 7:38 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

I am stunned at how it shows the plane it fell from, the farm it is falling on, the sun after it lands and then the gaping maw.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 7:39 PM on February 11

Well now I know what happens after you get to that damn white light. NOT FUCKING GOING THERE.
posted by localroger at 7:42 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

I don't think the camera fell; it jumped.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:03 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Deadwood: 2014
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:03 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

The gods must be trayf-y.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:20 PM on February 11 [6 favorites]

Lesson learned: the inside of a pig's mouth is the stuff of visceral nightmares.
posted by Salieri at 8:32 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

It was meant for Hannibal Lecter...but he escaped.
posted by Chuffy at 9:01 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Police investigating screams found happy pig
posted by homunculus at 9:33 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]

MetaFilter: stunned at how it shows the gaping maw
posted by hippybear at 10:02 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Come to think of it, the happy accidental angle + timing of the pigs maw us the best evidence this is a directed advertisement.
posted by Nelson at 10:13 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Dear God, is there no way to kill these things? At least when our civilization finally gets wiped out by global warming or zombies future archaeologists will know why.
posted by fshgrl at 10:21 PM on February 11

Dear God, is there no way to kill these things? At least when our civilization finally gets wiped out by global warming or zombies future archaeologists will know why.

C'mon pigs aren't that bad
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:43 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]

This gave me worse vertigo than "GoPro Dog Cam: Jaws Flex Clamp Attached to a Rawhide" wherein a man attaches a GoPro to his dog's new bone, then chases her around the house.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:08 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

GoPro will be so over when they make a camera that passes through the digestive tract unharmed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:15 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

I'm now imagining this as the recovered flight recorder from the escape pod of a crashing UFO with a tiny little alien thinking it's ejected to safety, only to meet one of Earth's most terrifying predators...
posted by Major Clanger at 11:52 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

That was tremendously cool, and very, very flickery. Painfully so, in my case. Could the mods please add a strobe warning for those of us who are prone to migraines/seizures/vertigo from flashy things?
posted by embrangled at 12:14 AM on February 12

[Of course, added.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:19 AM on February 12

Nelson: "Amazingly, apparently not an ad for GoPro."

Nah, we've just reached peak GoPro viral ad saturation now. They no longer need to mention their product anywhere in the ad, knowing that the Youtube commenters will do it for them. (Cf. all the comments on this video where anybody questioning whether a camera could survive this fall, gets a response of "You've never seen a GoPro, have you?")

So yeah, I'm pretty sure this is a fake, but I really don't mind the fake GoPro vids so long as they continue to be entertaining.
posted by the latin mouse at 1:13 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


But it's way too fast. Sport skydiving altitude is 12500 ft, or 3810 m. In a vacuum, it would take an object sqrt(2*(3810m)/(9.81m/s^2))=28s to fall from that altitude to the ground. Here the camera is shown falling for almost exactly that amount of time: 29s (0:13--0:42), as if there were almost no air resistance whatsoever. If somehow the camera had fallen so rapidly from that height, it would have been going ~275m/s -- about 600 mph -- when it impacted the ground, and certainly not survived to record the pig. But there's no way the drag on a lightweight, mostly flat camera would be so negligible! It almost certainly would have reached terminal velocity far sooner; even a [denser & more aerodynamic] baseball has a terminal velocity of only ~34m/s, requiring 110-120s for it to hit the ground. Indeed, this video of a GoPro camera falling from a skydiving plane shows it taking over 2 minutes (0:34--2:41) to land.

So either this is a complete fake, or the tumbling free-fall has been cut/sped up. I really want it to be the latter, but....
posted by Westringia F. at 2:32 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

The Junior God looked from his place
In the conning towers of heaven,
And he saw the world through the span of space
Like a giant golf-ball driven.
And because he was bored, as some gods are,
With high celestial mirth,
He clutched the reins of a shooting star,
And he steered it down to earth.

The Junior God, 'mid leaf and bud,
Passed on with a weary air,
Till lo! he came to a pool of mud,
And some hogs were rolling there.
Then in he plunged with gleeful cries,
And down he lay supine;
For they had no mud in paradise,
And they likewise had no swine.

The Junior God forgot himself;
He squelched mud through his toes;
With the careless joy of a wanton boy
His reckless laughter rose.
Till, tired at last, in a brook close by,
He washed off every stain;
Then softly up to the radiant sky
He rose, a god again.

The Junior God now heads the roll
In the list of heaven's peers;
He sits in the House of High Control,
And he regulates the spheres.
Yet does he wonder, do you suppose,
If, even in gods divine,
The best and wisest may not be those
Who have wallowed awhile with the swine?
posted by Brodiggitty at 2:59 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

So either this is a complete fake, or the tumbling free-fall has been cut/sped up. I really want it to be the latter, but....

Interesting point. But I think maybe the entire video has been sped up. The camera doesn't really linger as long on the figures in the plane as might be expected, and the pig's movements look pretty fast as well.
posted by Quilford at 3:23 AM on February 12

Seems unlikely that a random camera-finder would carefully tweak found footage like that. The balance of probabilities is that some marketing weasel did that.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:46 AM on February 12

Free range pig. Makes me happy.

This is the only context where the words "modern battery" and "pig farming" belong together.
posted by EnterTheStory at 4:22 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

The balance of probabilities is that some marketing weasel did that.

And then the camera was found in the marketing weasel's slit-open belly.
posted by item at 6:09 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Not a marketing weasel, a marketing pig.
posted by localroger at 6:45 AM on February 12

Sport skydiving altitude is 12500 ft,

But the silhouette of the person at the beginning don't look like a skydiver. For one thing, no helmet. I think they were just in a plane screwing around with the camera and dropped it.

Also just based on the view at the start, it sure doesn they're not at 12k ft; it looks more like a couple thousand ft, maybe less. I suppose you could invert your math and figure out how high the plane actually was.
posted by aught at 6:59 AM on February 12

This is kind of like the "Stargate" sequence in 2001, with a very different ending.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:05 AM on February 12

This is kind of like the "Stargate" sequence in 2001, with a very different ending.

Indeed. I think a giant space pig eating the Starchild would have been pretty controversial.
posted by aught at 7:07 AM on February 12

Good point about the helmets.

> I suppose you could invert your math and figure out how high the plane actually was.

Well, since the camera is going to spend most of its fall at terminal velocity, to first order approximation the distance should be proportional to the other falling camera video I linked above. 12k ft in 2min from that video would imply an altitude of ~3000ft for the 30 sec here. Flung out of a sailplane?
posted by Westringia F. at 7:33 AM on February 12

I'm not sure the 12,500' premise is correct. The altitude looks lower to me and that wing is for a relatively small plane, not a big jump plane. OTOH what the hell are idiots doing sitting in an open door? That's a pretty high risk sort of screwing around. Also I think the woman in the plane is sitting facing backwards which means it's at least a 6 seater, bigger than the usual "go screw around" 4 seater plane. None of this is impossible, but it is implausible.x

Someone smarter than me could divine a lot about the camera and its speed from the way the video smears during the fast rotation. The fact that it stabilizes pointing at the horizon is another improbability along with the instant arrival of the pig.

I fear the latin mouse has it right, that GoPro's brand is so saturated that people will point to any video like this and say their brand name for them. Digg certainly did yeoman's work, the headline they went with is "GoPro Falls From Plane, Lands In Pig Pen, Gets Attacked By Pig". Gizmodo and Reddit also went with GoPro in the headline, and the commenters all just gamely go along calling it a "GoPro". Despite the video itself never containing the brand.

So my money is on this being an ad. A very effective ad, which I'm both hating and enjoying.
posted by Nelson at 7:42 AM on February 12

posted by scalefree at 7:45 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

T'was the pig fair last September
The day I well remember
I was walking up and down in drunken pride
When my knees began to flutter
And I sank down in the gutter
And a pig came up and lay down by my side

As I lay there in the gutter
Thinking thoughts I could not utter
I thought I heard a passing lady say,
"You can tell the man who boozes
By the company he chooses."
And with that the pig got up
And walked away.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:50 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

FWIW, the (putative) finder did refer to it as a GoPro in her twitter post, so I don't think it's purely presumptive branding.
posted by Westringia F. at 7:52 AM on February 12

a. Looks like a jump plane from the seating, maybe they were waiting to don helmets. I couldn't tell if they were wearing rigs from the short exposure. BION, a lot of skydivers don't wear helmets.
b. The view from out the door and the math (30 seconds' fall, 32 ft/sec2, terminal velocity, etc.) has the height around 4000 feet AGL.
posted by achrise at 7:56 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

This Reddit discussion about GoPro astroturfing is interesting. Particularly the comments by iwsfutcmd, who posted the pig video to Reddit and then got called out as a possible corporate shill. That user has a 3+ year legitimate history on Reddit, so I'm inclined to believe the person is real (albeit also still possibly a paid shill). They seem sincere on the discussion about whether it's an ad.
i said 'gopro' as a genericized trademark.
honestly, what you're saying is making me wonder if i got so many upvotes on the damn thing because some guy at gopro is promoting my post in some way.
Another legit-looking user popped up to say
I am personal friends with the OP of this video. ... I can confirm that this video is 100% legit, and NOT a Go Pro ad. Just today, the OP said to me as I was working, "Hey, have you heard of those Get Pro video cameras?" I proceeded to correct him on the name of the camera.
If GoPro is planting these ads, they're very thorough in creating the backstory. Maybe they really are just fortunate to have a brand so strong they own this kind of video. Either way, they're winning.

(Sorry if I sound a bit obsessed. I think unlabeled viral marketing is cancer for online communities like Metafilter and Reddit. I like to understand where the media I'm consuming is coming from. GoPro's name gets out there so often it seems awfully dodgy.)
posted by Nelson at 7:57 AM on February 12

Camera falls out of a plane and is still recording on landing: unlikely, but possible.

Camera dropped in a purely random location captures amusing video of investigative pig-snuffling: unlikely, but possible.

Both those events together: getting a bit too unlikely for me.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:57 AM on February 12

Nelson, the camera never stabilizes - once the picture becomes more solid, it's still twirling madly about an axis running from one side of the camera to the other.

What's going on here is that digital video cameras don't capture the entire image at one go like a film camera; there's actually a very rapid scan from one end of the sensor to the other. You can see similar distortions in footage of propellers; here's a video explaining this in more detail.

So each vertical line of the video is actually from a slightly different point in time, and it so happens that the camera ends up twirling at a rate pretty close to an even multiple of its frame rate. Thus, the image somewhat stabilizes.

(Each point on those vertical lines is also at a slightly different point in time, which explains why everything gets so vertically compressed. I think the camera ends up spinning at about 1.9 to 2.1 rotations per frame, which is... assume it's shooting at 30fps, that's almost 60 rotations per second. Woo.)

It still might be a faux viral, there could be all kinds of crap stuck on the camera to help MAKE it spin at a rate close to its frame rate, or it could just be a happy coincidence. I do find it interesting that it seems to spend more time pointing straight up or down than to the side - or at least that's how I'm reading the varying slope of the s-curve the horizon line is making across the view.

The obvious next step is to get a GoPro and start throwing it out of airplanes to see what unaltered video looks like, and I'm kinda busy with other things...
posted by egypturnash at 8:33 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]

As a follow up to Nelson, searching the name of the woman who tweeted the original link brings up an address in Geyserville, CA, which is very near Cloverdale (CA) Airport, which offers skydiving. The landscape in the video is very plausibly the vineyards of the Russian River valley.

On the other hand, GoPro just filed plans for a confidential IPO a few days ago, so viral marketing would be timely.

On the other other hand, if GoPro is the bestselling video camera, I suppose odds are pretty good some dingaling who dropped one would have been using a GoPro.

On the other other other hand, the pig was hella cool. And yes, I am bored at work today, why do you ask?
posted by aught at 8:43 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

The "what are the odds" calculations in here are making exactly the same error as someone who would say, on reading that So-and-So had won last week's lottery in the newspaper, "but that's impossible! The odds against winning the lottery were a million to one!"

If this post were the result of someone saying "I'm going to go out with my GoPro tomorrow and post whatever I happen to film; I hope it's cool" then you'd be right to say "what are the odds of you getting this set of images." But that's not what happened. The only reason we're seeing this video is because it's the one that beat the odds. Everyone out there who has a video of dropping their GoPro off a cliff and the GoPro landing in a snowbank face down or smashing on a rock or what have you leaves that video sitting on their hard drive. There are enough GoPros out there filming in extreme conditions of one kind or another that it would be statistically odd if some pretty amazing images didn't get captured. And human nature and the web being what they are it would also be implausible that those images would not go viral.
posted by yoink at 9:41 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

The plane is a PAC 750XL, an aircraft which is, in the United States, used almost exclusively for skydiving. The position of the horizontal tail and the camber of the wing tips are distinctive. It's very common for skydivers in warm climates to open the door in order to cool off on the ride up. Also, not all jumps are made from 12,500' feet. If you just want to work on flying your parachute, you can save a few buck by doing a "hop and pop" from 2,500'-4,500'.

If I had to guess, the skydiver who lost the camera was trying to get some shots of the scenery and accidentally dropped the camera or snapped it off of his helmet.

I'm speaking as a skydiver with 13 years in the sport and 2,500+ jumps from the type of aircraft shown in the video.

(Old joke: How do you know if there is a pilot skydiver at your party in your thread? Don't worry, he'll tell you.)
posted by indyz at 11:42 AM on February 12 [6 favorites]

the instant arrival of the pig [is suspect]

I take your point, but - I hear pigs are curious animals, I don't suppose pigpens are all that large, and I should think something falling out of the sky with considerable speed in a pig's immediate vicinity would be both noticeable and unusual enough to excite that curiosity. I mean, I'd certainly go and look at once if something slammed into the ground a few feet away. Mind you, I wouldn't then try to eat it.

Why yes, I do want this video to be for real.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:16 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

I had my doubts as well, since it was so perfectly timed (much like the eagle abducting a toddler video from about a year ago). I tried to avoid using the likely brand name if this is a viral advertising video for that reason. Regardless the pig appearing onscreen was probably the hardest I've laughed in a while, if only for trying to imagine what the pig was thinking when it happened.
posted by codacorolla at 3:57 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

if only for trying to imagine what the pig was thinking when it happened

I thought the video made it pretty clear: "New thing: tasty?"
posted by Ogre Lawless at 8:45 PM on February 12

Phil Plait: Fall and Spin Along with a Camera Dropped from an Airplane
posted by homunculus at 10:19 AM on February 15

Monkey Steals GoPro Hero 3+
posted by homunculus at 12:30 PM on February 26

Now that one is suspect to me. The monkeys will actually try to steal your sandals off your feet at Uluwatu, so that guy may well have expected that to happen. Those monkeys at Uluwatu are a fucking menace.
posted by planetesimal at 2:04 PM on February 26

« Older In 2002 Henry Louis Gates jr. published...  |  The Little Girl from the 1981 ... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments