In conjunction with Chicago-based Asylum Stunts and producers Carpe Diem, Chicago Flyhouse was called in to provide flying effects for a Chinese Gatorade commercial with a production team based entirely out of China and featuring basketball superstar Yao Ming.

The performer flying required Ming leap up to make a shot and then be stopped sharply just short of the basket. The production team had concerns over a back injury the athlete sustained prior to the shoot, and Flyhouse took special care to design a system able to deliver the tricky stunt, while ensuring Ming’s safety and comfort, allowing the star to work a long shoot day.

The commercial was shot in an abandoned Chicago warehouse, with the rigging mounted directly into the 32-foot high steel ceiling girders. With a 6 a.m. start time, Flyhouse completed installation of the rig, plus safety and comfort testing, in under four hours. Manually controlled, the flying rig allowed Ming to travel both vertically and horizontally in completely controlled flight.

The shoot itself lasted until after midnight, with Ming reporting that the harness was completely comfortable and that he had no trouble with his back during the stunt.

Flyhouse is proud to have been part of this high-profile project, and to represent the best of Chicago’s technical arts community to the visiting Chinese production team.

Watch the Finished Gatorade Commercial