The city’s notorious slopes are great for doing “gravity illusions.”

It’s hard to have fun while summiting one of San Francisco’s kneecap-shredding hills. But Karen X. Cheng keeps a good game face while prancing up and down them in this strange, perspective-twisting compilation of “gravity illusions.”

Cheng, a former Microsoft Excel employee turned dancer, “viral video consult,” and Queen Latifah guest, collaborated with filmmaker Ross Ching for the trick-heavy homage to slopes. If one were to boil down S.F. Hill Style to a couple signature moves, it’d probably be rotating one’s hands to change the camera angle and mimicking the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a skill Cheng perhaps honed learning the “balanced robot”:

When I grow up I want to be a #robot. #giveit100

A video posted by Karen X. Cheng (@karenxcheng) on

To give credit where it’s due, the project was inspired by Dan Ng’s photos that “correct” San Francisco’s awful angles. Here’s Cheng explaining a bit of the video’s backstory:

Ross got the idea for this video after seeing some photos with the “tilted camera” effect on steep streets. Since San Francisco is so hilly, it was the perfect city for this idea. The week before we filmed this, we ran all around San Francisco looking for steepest streets we could find (and gained some killer calve muscles).

The hardest part was coming up with ideas that made the gravity illusion look good—we tried lots of stuff that we thought would look good but didn’t work for various reasons (balloons got blown away, pouring water wasn’t visible enough on camera, moonwalking looked weird at an angle). Our favorite effect is the pendulum!

H/t SFist

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  2. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.

  3. A photo of a visitor posing for a photo with Elvis in downtown Nashville
    Perspective

    Cities: Don’t Fall in the Branding Trap

    From Instagram stunts to Edison bulbs, why do so many cities’ marketing plans try to convince people that they’re exactly like somewhere else?

  4. Life

    The Town Where Retirees Can’t Retire

    In fast-aging pockets of rural America, older residents are going back to work. But not always because they need the money.

  5. Amazon HQ2

    Without Amazon HQ2, What Happens to Housing in Queens?

    The arrival of the tech company’s new headquarters was set to shake up the borough’s real estate market, driving up rents and spurring displacement. Now what?