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5 People Who Accidentally Filmed Real-Life Action Scenes

#2. Skydiver Drops GoPro, Captures a Perfect Story

All right, that last entry was pretty dark -- let's back off, cool down a bit, and check out something that's awesome from a purely aesthetic standpoint. There's no inspiring story here about human endurance -- I just think this turned out neat.

That video starts off with a dude dropping his GoPro while skydiving, and while there's an initial jolt of shock when you see the case dislodge itself, it quickly dissolves into several straight minutes of pure visual nonsense. That's not the good part -- you can skip that.


If you must know, it's basically this, only seizure-inducing.

Then the camera bounces into a field (and continues filming, which is something of an advertisement for GoPro all by itself) and something amazing happens: Because of the angle the camera lands in, we get a perfect shot of somebody -- some majestic skydiver of a man -- drifting slowly to safety in the distance.


Then, moments after he lands, we get this guy approaching ...

... from the exact same corner of the screen that the parachute disappeared into, inextricably linking the two figures in our minds (I have absolutely no idea if they really are the same guy, but the camera insists that they are). Then he picks up the camera and shows us his face so that we can meet him:


"Hey."

But this isn't just any random dude -- it turns out that he's a friend of the skydiver we met a moment ago, and, immediately recognizing the camera, brings it right to him.


I like to imagine the guy was inconsolable moments before -- like this is a gritty reboot of The Missing Piece
from the perspective of the piece.

No need to post the footage online to find the owner, no need to "meet up later" to complete the exchange, no ransom notes written with letters cut out of issues of Incredibly Serendipitous Skydiver Events Magazine -- we get the entire story, from airplane to free fall to field to back in the dude's pocket, in less than eight minutes. I've seen actual Hollywood movies with less efficiently explained plots than that.

#1. Prisoners of War Build Camera, Film Their Own Escape

So far, all of these videos were taken by accident -- these people meant to film one thing and ended up filming something very different, and through sheer luck it turned out kinda awesome. That's not always the case with these kinds of things: Sometimes people have an extremely insane, difficult task ahead of them, and they decide to make it more difficult by filming it -- just because. And to illustrate that fact, I present Sous Le Manteau, or "Under the Cloak," a documentary about Nazi prison camps filmed by French prisoners in a Nazi prison camp. Narrated by David Attenborough.


"Behold the majestic Nazi in its natural habitat."

The David Attenborough thing is a boldfaced lie I told just to deceive you and shatter the bond of trust we've been building together, but everything else is real: The prisoners smuggled the camera into the camp in different pieces, hidden inside sausages. Then they cut out the inside of a dictionary and hid it in there -- just like how Neo hid his hack-disks at the beginning of The Matrix. Then they escaped, filming the entire thing. We get shots explaining how they forged documents:


They used their hands.

How they hid their camera:


To be fair, it's way easier to keep stuff hidden when everything's black and white and jerky.

And even the act of digging their way out:


"Gosh, I sure hope someone wearing designer underwear writes a snarky caption about me 70 years from now."

Of the men who escaped, 126 were recaptured within a week, and only two ended up surviving back to France. But the footage remains, and it will last forever as the single most incredible thing anyone ever did just to get views on YouTube.


JF Sargent has a free sci-fi novel and a Twitter and a Facebook and a blog.

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J.F. Sargent

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