When we think about “movie magic” we often think about special effects — green screens, CGI, and other enhancements that can bring a film to life. But this amazing video explores an astonishing piece of documentary movie magic, which works a little differently. Documentary makers have to capture life without interfering with it, which in some cases can be harder than you might imagine. “Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the directors of the documentary ‘Free Solo,’ discuss how they captured rock climber Alex Honnold’s free solo climb (without any ropes, harnesses or protective equipment) of Yosemite’s El Capitan in June 2017,” the video explains. “The film crew was challenged to record his incredible achievement without affecting Honnold’s climb.”

How did they accomplish it? A lot of thought, some remote cameras, and a large dose of talent and luck helped make this shoot come off seamlessly. You can see the whole video here:

When watching a documentary, we’re often so caught up in the story of the extraordinary person that we overlook how the footage was captured. This video shows that with innovative thinking and a lot of determination, a gifted filmmaker can capture a subject without disrupting them — even when that subject is thousands of feet in the air.