SPORTS & ACTION

How we filmed the first ever wingsuit flight through Tower Bridge

Two Red Bull wingsuiters made history flying through the middle of London's iconic Tower Bridge, all captured by Canon technology.
Wingsuiters Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel in their flight through London's defining landmark Tower Bridge, shot on Canon.

© Alex Grymanis

London's defining landmark, Tower Bridge, has witnessed over a hundred years of history from its place on the River Thames. In fact, you could say it had seen it all - until the dawn of 12 May 2024, when two pioneering wingsuiters flew between its two iconic towers for the very first time, captured in stunning detail by Canon technology.

Professional wingsuiters Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel completed a challenge never-before faced in history, jumping from a helicopter at 3,000ft, diving down to 35m above the river, soaring through Tower Bridge and completing a complex manoeuvre, known as a 'flare', to rise up again to 80m, the height required to open up their parachutes, before landing safely.

As the sun rose over London's skyline, the Canon and Red Bull teams were busy on both banks of the river as well as Tower Bridge itself, setting up a full arsenal of Canon cameras and lenses to capture every angle and detail of the action.

A montage of the Red Bull Tower Bridge wingsuit flight, shot on Canon technology.

Red Bull partnered with Canon as the Official Technology Partner to bring the project to life, utilising a broad range of cutting-edge imaging technology to capture the flight.

To fly between the towers of Tower Bridge is something (very) few of us will experience, but we can offer the next best thing thanks to a Canon EOS R5 mounted on the helmet of a camera operator who accompanied the flight, as well as on a drone. This footage puts you in the shoes - or should we say wingsuit - of the flyers themselves, and thanks to the inbuilt image stabilisation and full frame 4K 100, it's almost the same as doing it yourself.

For the view on the ground, the challenge was to capture the flight of the wingsuiters in accurate, fast-moving detail but also convey the drama as these two men flew high above the Thames, lit by the London dawn and down towards the bridge. As both wingsuiters jumped from the helicopter above an awakening London, their descent was captured in stunning close-up by a Canon CJ45EX9.7B lens mounted on a Canon EOS C300 Mark III with a Super 35mm DGO sensor, making full use of its ENG optics to capture the flight in vivid, true-to-life detail. A Canon CN20x50 IAS H E1/P1 CINE-SERVO lens brought the required cinematic edge to the footage, all captured in cinematic large-format thanks to the Canon EOS C500 Mark II.

If the two wingsuiters were the main actors, then London itself was their dramatic backdrop. The iconic background of St Paul's Cathedral, the glittering towers of Canary Wharf and the steadfast Tower of London were captured in wide-angle alongside the action by a Canon CN8x15 IAS S E1/P1 CINE-SERVO lens mounted on a Canon EOS C500 Mark II as well as our perfect all-rounder CINE-SERVO lens, the Canon CN10X25 IAS S, mounted on a Canon EOS C300 Mark III.

As the wingsuiters passed through Tower Bridge itself, Canon kit captured every angle - including head-on shots from HMS Belfast docked further up the Thames made possible by the super-telephoto abilities of the Canon UJ111x8.3B broadcast lens (capable of capturing detail on the moon), which was mounted on a Canon EOS C300 Mark III. This unique configuration was made possible possible due to the adaptability of Canon products, in this case using the Canon MO-4P adapter which allows for B4 mount broadcast lenses to be used on PL mount cameras.

The electric atmosphere on the bridge itself was captured by Canon Powershot V10 vlogging cameras, and Canon flagship CR-N700 PTZ cameras, operated remotely by a RC-IP1000 controller, found unique angles on the flight by being inserted into hard-to-reach areas on Tower Bridge. For even more immersion, a Canon RF 5.2mm F2.8L DUAL FISHEYE lens brings the moment the wingsuiters passed through the bridge into virtual reality in stereoscopic 180°.

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For good measure, we also used a Canon CJ45EX9.7B lens on a C300 Mark III from the Tower of London's Traitor's Gate on the north bank, using its telephoto abilities to capture the entire action from the helicopter to the flare-up.

Canon's R System completed the line-up, allowing operators to nimbly capture the flight in both stills and video with a suite of Canon EOS R3 cameras. The Canon portfolio allows the use of multiple types of camera and lenses, all using the same colour science and log curves to seamlessly combine into the final content.

Wingsuiter Marco Fürst or Marco Waltenspiel fly through London's defining landmark Tower Bridge, shot on Canon.

Wingsuiter athletes Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel emerge through Tower Bridge. © ITCH Media Ltd

A Canon EOS C300 Mark III with a CN10X25 IAS S len, with Tower Bridge and London City Hall in the background.

A Canon Canon EOS C300 Mark III with a Canon CN10X25 IAS S lens captured the flight from HMS Belfast upriver. © ITCH Media Ltd.

Red Bull skydiver Marco Waltenspiel said: “It’s just insane to get this opportunity to fly through such a unique landmark – you see moments like this in films, but to actually do it ourselves is amazing. It gives me goosebumps just talking about it.”

The pair of wingsuiters have been preparing for the jump since April 2022, which has involved constructing a training ground in Oxfordshire, England, featuring two cranes to mimic the dimensions of Tower Bridge.

Wingsuit flying has revolutionised skydiving, allowing the conversion of vertical falling into a horizontal flight and then landing safely on the ground using a parachute.

Known for pushing the conventional limits of skydiving, the Marcos are part of the Red Bull Skydive Team. Having completed over 22,000 jumps between them in places like Croatia’s heart island and iconic downhill ski run ‘The Streif’ in Kitzbühl, Austria, the duo have now achieved their dream of flying through the historic London landmark.

A Canon UJ111x8.3B broadcast lens mounted on a Canon EOS C300 Mark III, with the river Thames and Tower Bridge in the background.

In a unique combination, a Canon UJ111x8.3B broadcast lens was mounted on a Canon EOS C300 Mark III, made possible by a Canon MO-4P adapter. © ITCH Media Ltd.

A Canon EOS R5with a Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS III USM lens is pointed towards Tower Bridge, with the Tower of London in the background.

A Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS III USM captured the action from Traitor's Gate at the Tower of London. © ITCH Media Ltd.

Adam Koszary

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