These athletes turn their best tricks into optical illusions


In 2018, Red Bull released “Twisted Reality,” a video in which several professional athletes express themselves artistically. The footage, which consists of several archival clips, features BMX cyclists Kriss Kyle and Danny MacAskill, free runner Jason Paul, along with skateboarders Jost Arens and Vladik Scholz — all of whom create stunning visuals by showcasing their skills in seemingly otherworldly settings.

In Paul’s segment “Running Illusions,” for instance, he and fellow free runner Pavel Petkuns create optical illusions with the help of clever camera angles. In one scene, a seemingly taller Paul hurdles over a much smaller Petkuns from one end of a distorted room to the other. When the two exchange places, Paul appears much shorter than his counterpart.

“To create a clip like ‘Running Illusions,’’ a number of factors come into play,” Red Bull explained in a 2015 article. “You need to be an expert free runner, approach everything you do from a gymnastic point of view with perfect timing and at the perfect angle and have the imagination to understand how every shot, trick and stunt works. Jason Paul and Pavel Petkuns have all of that and then some.”

In other segments, Kyle and MacAskill perform stunts in larger-than-life setups. Kyle, for example, rides a bike in a massive yellow tunnel.

“Teaming up with esteemed set designer and first-time director Ben Scott, the Scottish biker’s latest labor of love is truly a game-changer in every sense,” Red Bull said of his Cirque du Soleil-like performance.

MacAskill, on other hand, cycles his way through a sea of giant playing cards, life-sized toy soldiers and game pieces. In the video’s remaining segments, Arens and Scholz similarly skate through a monochrome playground as they sport contrasting colors.

Watch the video above to witness some of these athletes in action.

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