Popular TikToker Janusz Ronki aka ronkijan shared a mind-bending video of himself jumping into a vertical pool – but is it real or fake?
“On my last trip to Turkey, I had the idea of jumping into a wall of water,” Ronki wrote in the caption to his extraordinary video.
The TikToker specializes in optical illusions and visual effects, along with explainers on how he creates some of his videos.
But could the latest one, of a vertical pool in Turkey, actually be real? And if not, how was it made?
Is ronkijan’s ‘vertical pool’ video real or fake?
“Jump into a vertical pool,” the video caption reads. After a trip to Turkey, where “almost every hotel has a huge water park”, but a disappointing lack of vertical pools, Berlin-based creator Janusz Ronki decided to fix this.
“So I created one,” he explained.
The video shows Ronki facing a lush wall of water, with the usual waterpark fixtures – tube slides, a flag – in the background. After dipping in his hand to prove this is no illusion, Ronki takes a running start and cannonballs in, vertically.
This blatant disregard for the rules of physics gained the TikToker a total of 2,4 million views and an additional 222,489 likes on Instagram, where comments range from wonder to praise for Ronki’s video editing skills.
So, is it real or a fake? Unfortunately, the viral vertical pool video is a fake – and a good one. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed the reflection on the surface of the pool, where the light hits it, does not match up with the tube slides in the video’s background.
Additionally, the flag in the top left corner changes position subtly, indicating where the video was cut.
Fans speculate on how the video was made
Ronki’s TikTok is dedicated to mind-bending optical illusions, such as a swinging Eiffel Tower, a relaxing swim through the air and a real-world version of Super Mario. Occasional clips show how these illusions were achieved and the effects Ronki likes to use.
Over on Instagram, he admits the vertical pool video is, in fact, fake and promises an explainer video on how it was created.
But in the meantime, fans with knowledge of VFX have some theories on how the “vertical pool” video was made.
One commenter on Instagram suggested the water’s surface “is an image of him touching the surface of a pool turned 90 degrees. Him running into the pool is an illusion of him falling into a horizontal surface of a pool edited to a vertical position.”
“Of course with many layers to smooth the transitions such as the mirror reflection in the water surface etc,” the fans added, giving credit where it’s due. “Clever fx.”
In response Ronki just wrote, “so close.”
The hidden vertical pools of Turkey
According to the TikToker, he created the video after a trip to Turkey where none of the hotels had a vertical pool.
But what if he he was looking in the wrong place?
Located in southwestern Turkey, the thermal pools of Pamukkale are vertically arranged in the cliffs of the Menderes river valley. Dating back to Roman times, the hot spring terraces are dug out of limestone and still feature columns, pillars and remains of ancient structures.
Temperatures in these pools range from 95 to 212 degreed Farenheit (35 to 100 Celsius), making them a popular tourist attraction year-round. Indeed, Pamukkale’s economy is based on tourism and the site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect it from overdevelopment.