How to spot a fake parkour video

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/22/how-to-spot-a-fake-parkour-vid.html

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wow a commercial is fake, whatever next

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If the fake parkour video was for a commercial then yeah, i’m not surprised they faked it. Although makes me question how lazy they were because they clearly went through the trouble of hiring a parkour expert and still decided to fake all of it. And as the guy mentions, why not hire a female expert instead of hiring a dude to run around in drag for the POV shots? Everything about it seems lazy and half assed but enjoyed the dissection and analysis of the video.

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I imagine the process went something like this:

  1. This commercial is for makeup. Line up a model who’s worked in cosmetics shoots.
  2. Get the “creatives” to come up with an idea for the commercial. . . Parkour is big right now, right?
  3. Hire a parkour guy—my cousin knows someone. Have them shoot some footage for us and coordinate with Continuity. (Continuity: oh shit we haven’t got this to Costume yet have we, tell them to go with a “little black dress” thingy)
  4. Shoot our own parkour footage in case the stuff from the guy isn’t usable. I know, no one on the crew does parkour just figure it out
  5. Shoot some quick cuts of our model running around rooftops and whatever fun locations we can line up for the day
  6. Okay, time for Post. Here’s a box of DV cassettes, good luck Eric
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In the breakdown vid the guy did some research and found out that they did actually hire a professional runner, which makes the lazy choices they made worse. I totally get that ultimately it doesn’t matter because its for a makeup commercial and they just wanted something that was good enough to be convincing, they probably shot it extremely fast. But France is one of the major hubs for parkour and free running (its actually where it was invented in the first place) and i would have hoped they would’ve put more effort into it than they did

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I am guessing most of it was fake because it was a commercial, which was filmed by a company, I am guessing union actors, actual production rules, and liability insurance. No way an actual company would take that much liability to do anything but the most basic because if the parkour artist fell, the person paying them would be financially responsible.

I am kind of surprised they would do it at all, to be honest. I wouldn’t want the possibility of some kid trying to replicate these stunts and falling, getting hurt, and blaming my company for it.

(And yes, when I was young and dumb I did some jumps that could easily have been fatal, although in the woods on rocks because that is what I had near me. Absolutely fun, some treasured memories. But I was an idiot.)

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It’s great that he shows off how it’s all faked. Great job!

But the outrage over it is wasted. It’s an ad.

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I think the question of manipulating audiences with “real” footage to go viral has murky ethics. If the parkour ad had all the usual “professional stunts. do not attempt” legal language, it would not have gone viral.

For another example, the woman who stands up to bullies 2 minutes into this viral Burger King video is a paid actor, even though they imply this is all hidden camera footage.

Like the parkour ad, the reason it went viral is because it is presented as real. It’s a rip-off faked version of those “what would you do?” hidden camera scenarios that people love. “Woke” brands faking videos for a noble cause are just another version of shady marketing. It’s called “borrowed interest” in advertising.

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fake or not, it still makes my stomach clench when there’s those high POV shots.

Yeah, that was my take too. It’s not that they couldn’t have found a parkour expert to do the stunts, it’s that they couldn’t find a lawyer who would sign off on something that potentially dangerous just for a commercial.

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Sheesh. The film stars of yesteryear didn’t need no freakin’ green screens to make it appear that they were at risk of falling to death. (Just deceptive camera angles that didn’t show that there was a platform just a few feet underneath them)

Keaton was a legit parkour master though.

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I disagree. They pretended it was real. Stupid kids learning parkour are going to think the stuff in this video is possible.

Hopefully they just break a leg and don’t try to do a roll from 4 stories high.

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Seems a bit weird to single out something that never actually claims to be a real parkour video, but I guess some of the tells that it’s fake work for other videos, too.

Yeah, and especially for a commercial, where they don’t have the budget of an action movie. But the weird thing is, that is pointed out, is by not hiring an actual parkour athlete to play the woman, they ended up creating danger where none needed to exist and the actual parkour shots that used the guy end up looking weird.

Though the criticisms leveled here are that they didn’t find a female athlete to do the actual parkour bits or the running, which actually would have made it safer if they had.

Yeeaaah, but Harold Lloyd’s movies contain scene after scene where he was actually doing things that easily could have killed him. Half his hand got blown off when a prop bomb turned out to be big enough to blow a hole in the roof. He continued doing stunts for years with a right hand that couldn’t grip anything because he didn’t have a thumb or index finger. Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr. falling house gag involved dropping the actual side of a house on him, which, if even slightly miscalculated, would have killed him instantly. They had very different notions of safety back then.

It’s interesting to see commentary from current stunt performers on these old movies because they’ll point out, “This part could have killed him. This stunt was potentially deadly. They took these unseen safety precautions on this stunt, but it was still dangerous enough to seriously injure him. This bit doesn’t look so dangerous, but yeah, it still could have killed him several different ways…”

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