If riding a giant log down a steep mountain sounds like an ideal way to spend a quiet spring afternoon, the Onbashira Festival is for you. Held every 6 years in Nagano, Japan, the festival involves moving enormous logs over difficult terrain completely by hand with the help of thickly braided ropes and an occasional assist from gravity as the logs barrel down hills. The purpose is to symbolically renew a nearby shrine where each log is eventually placed to support the foundation of several shrine buildings. The event has reportedly continued uninterrupted for 1,200 years.
Onbashira is split into into two parts, Yamadashi and Satobiki, taking place in April and May respectively. Yamadashi involves cutting down and transporting the logs, each of which can weigh up to 10 tons. The logs are harnessed by ropes and pulled up to the tops of mountains by teams of men and then ridden down the other side. The event is exceedingly dangerous and comparable to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, where a brush with peril is seen as a form of honor. The second part, Satobiki, is a ceremonial raising event where participants again ride atop the logs and sing as each is hoisted into the air. Participants of both events are frequently injured and sometimes killed, but despite the obvious risks the tone of Onbashira is quite festive with lots of singing, music, and colorful costumes.
Filmmakers from Oh! Matsuri were at the festival this year and edited this beautiful glimpse into the obscure tradition.
It’s not often we stop to consider feats of human strength and agility, but this is definitely worth an exception. On November 15, Théo Sanson completed what is likely a new world record for slackline, a 500-meter walk between The Rectory to Castleton Tower in Castle Valley, Utah. The cinematography does a fantastic job of capturing just how ridiculously far he had to walk. Filmed and Edited by Tim Kemple, Renan Ozturk and Anson Fogel of Camp4 Collective. Madness. (via Devour)
This new promotional clip for Philips TV and Atomic Skis features several skiers wearing multi-colored LED light suits as they traverse mountains at an Alaskan ski resort at night. The brightly lit suits create a fantastic glow around each skier that illuminates anything nearby. While I don’t see him listed in the credits, the video seems to be an homage to Jacob Sutton’s L.E.D. Surfer from two years ago. (via Vimeo)
First: put on your headphones or turn up the volume, otherwise the beauty of this clip might be lost. Sounds of Paragliding is a new video from director Shams (previously), and sound engineer Thibaut Darscotte who took special equipment into the skies above France to record the sounds of Théo de Blic’s aerobatic paragliding. Instead of amping up the music and intensity like so many high-speed stunt/wingsuit/skydiving videos these days, Shams instead slows everything down to focus on only the sounds created by Blic’s parasail whipping through the air at incredible speed. It doesn’t really get going until after 2:00, but is completely worth it.
This surprisingly lovely dance performance was filmed vertically on the side of Oakland’s 18-story City Hall building earlier this month at the Art + Soul Festival. The dancers are Amelia Rudolph and Roel Seeber from Bandaloop. (via The Awesomer)
First: extreme vertigo warning. When this video begins it seems as though you’re about to witness a fairly typical gymnastic routine on a pair of swinging rings, but then something unexpected happens as the camera begins to move with the gymnast. The twist: there are actually two individuals performing a synchronized routine. The video isn’t a reflection, but rather the camera is mounted to the other performer who perfectly mimics his partners moves.
The video was shot in 2012 by photographer and filmmaker Thomas Hubener (who I believe is the performer with the camera mounted to him) while filming Raphaël Schulé. (via Reddit)