BTS: How the Sony Skydive Lens Change Ad Was Filmed… and No It Wasn’t Fake

There’s no doubt the ubiquity of fake and mis-reported content on the Internet has turned many of us into big-time skeptics. Whenever we see something that seems incredible or outlandish, our knee-jerk reaction is to call it fake and begin searching for evidence of that fact, using our confirmation bias as a guide.

One video that elicited such a response from many of the people that saw it was this recent Sony ad that showed an a7R lens change happening in mid-air during a skydive.

As it turns out, the footage was actually 100% real. Filmed by Simon Hammond and Cutting Edge, the behind the scenes video above gives us a peek at how the mid-air, slow motion, 4K video was captured over the course of nine jumps.


In all, they had two days to perform the nine skydives that would need to contain every single bit of footage required for the aerial shots. That amounts to about 9 total minutes of shooting time.

Of course, even the BTS video won’t turn skeptics off, but as Rob Douthat — one of the Aerial DOPs for the commercial — tells ISO 1200, he’s not worried:

I have been pretty amused at the comments on the A7R skydive commercial. The BTS Vimeo link gives some of it away. I laugh my guts out at the armchair experts who speculate what is “FAKE”. You don’t see every trick of the skydiving cinematographer trade and the multiple times we shot different views so the haters will never be satisfied . And to be truthful I’m not overly worried either… When you use the best people for the job you can do amazing things.

I actually did 3 test jumps the week prior changing a camera lens while in free fall so I can tell you 100% for sure it can be done.

To read more of what he had to say, head over to ISO 1200 by clicking here. Otherwise check out the video at the top and then stop by the Cutting Edge website to see more of their phenomenal work.

Making of the badass changing lens on Sony A7R like you’ve never seen it before [ISO 1200]

  • taufik akbar

    this is internet, everyone is an ‘expert’

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  • ElCaminovsTransAm

    It looks like the lens change was filmed in the plane. At the 1:11 mark on the BTS video it shows them filming it or at least rehearsing it. The hand placement, the sun position, etc seem to indicate this is the type footage they used, as opposed to changing a lens during free fall (which, while I am sure is possible as stated in the interview above, it’s probably very difficult to film) I think this is where people feel the footage is “faked”.

  • Ralph Hightower

    At least they weren’t using a Canon L lens. Whoops! with that one handed demo…

  • Walter


  • digitldude

    Does anybody else see the irony of a Sony commercial being Shot on RED?

  • TSY87

    like a pro!

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  • Sky

    Noone had doubts that lens can be changed in freefall – never the less advert looked every bit like fake. In the end though it came out to be just a super-heavy post processing giving that weird effect.

    Still though IMHO using mirrorless for that is a bit more risky than any ither camera – damaging uber-expensive sensor is by far easier in this type of camera than in DSLR which protects sensor with mirror while a lens is swapped.

  • FFPUrbex

    So? no one is actually going to do it.

  • greenarcher02


  • Chung Dha

    Its funny they shot it on a RED and not with their own 4K camera or other Sony like FS700 and film it also in slomo. I think if they didn’t cut to a close up but actually had the camera guy go in close himself with the cam it would be more interesting, as the close up could easily be done on the ground cause of the jump cut to close up.

  • Toby Hawkins

    It bugs me how they keep teleporting between above and below the clouds.

  • CTS

    Cutting that insert to make it look like a lens was changed in free-fall is disingenuous. The fail of this commercial though is that the cut didn’t convince us that it actually happened. Wether or not it did happen doesn’t seem relevant.

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  • 11

    same sense here. The punch line seems like “can change lens even in mid sky dive’ .. if this seems like an obvious fake, the whole ad is fake.

  • Jim Johnson

    That’s what I thought, as well.

    I never heard anyone claim the whole thing was fake, but that the moment the lens is connected does not look like part of the actual dive. And that means that they did not actually film someone changing a lens while skydiving. This video seems to show that that was indeed the case.

  • Dhaval Panchal

    well, at least it wasn’t a damn goPro

  • Jose Hexagon

    For me, the awful thing of this ad was not only the fake “mid-air lens change”, but the light mistakes in some parts due to some lazy or careless postproduction work. See minute 3:53. Sun in the horizon,on the left… but the skydivers have the light coming to them from a totally different direction. The same in 3:56, and 4:00 (this one is terrible!!!)
    It’s an example on how to overprocess a nice footage and a destroy a hard work until you have that cheesy image and these unforgivable mistakes.