I don’t have a TikTok. That’s not a intended to be a flex or or anything, I’m just an old man. So when a hot new — I don’t know how to put this — physical activity becomes a phenomenon on the platform, it’s my youthful friends and coworkers who bring it to my attention. That’s how the “pzoom” trick, popularized by one TikTok user named Lightskinyogi, was brought to my attention over Slack on this fine Friday.
You can see the “pzoom” in action in the GIF above. To describe it in plain terms, Lightskinyogi appears to pretend to sit in an car, turn an imaginary ignition, press an imaginary throttle and — inexplicably — spin about 90 degrees and slide out of frame like he’s been pulled by an invisible force.
Some theorized the dude must have extremely strong butt muscles, but come on. I mean, I’m sure he does, he looks fit as hell. Regardless, while I’m well aware some people’s butts can do things that defy the laws of physics, things that that my butt cannot do, this simply contradicts everything we know to be true about butts. Unless Lightskinyogi’s cheeks are vibrating at an imperceptibly rapid speed, I don’t know how he’s getting the acceleration to yeet himself from a stationary pose like that.
And so, people have been desperate to know Lightskinyogi’s secret. TikTokers lobbed tons of requests at him to recreate the move at different angles, in different places and sometimes with moving elements in the scene to determine if this was all actually happening in real time, or just a product of very slick editing.
You can assume Lightskinyogi has taken only the requests he can do without breaking the illusion. And after watching the above compilation of all of his clips, a few things become apparent:
- When he finishes the move, he always lands off-screen — he never stays within the frame for the entire duration.
- When he pours water before a few attempts, he always does it very close to the camera, and gets up in a way where his body obscures the entire frame.
- When he moves the plant before one attempt, the plant becomes perfectly still immediately after he is seen putting it down in an unnatural way.
- When he has a game of basketball on the TV behind him during one attempt, the entire display is mirrored, as evidenced by the text on the court.
All of this has led to the consensus that Lightskinyogi is making these motions backwards, and reversing the footage before uploading it to TikTok. If you surmised that from the very beginning, pat yourself on the back! You deserve it.
One YouTuber, GirlWithACellphone, recreated and explained the water video, and did a pretty solid job of replicating it herself. She says that she believes when Lightskinyogi pours the water, he’s actually doing that in real time. Then, as he gets up, there’s a cut, and everything you see from that point on is reversed.
If you watch Lightskinyogi’s videos backwards (which Snopes thankfully allows you to do) they make a little more sense. The reason the dude can’t end the pzoom unless he leaves the frame is because he starts by sliding in, and if you saw him sort of fall upwards in reverse at the end of the scene, it would immediately destroy the facade.
All that said, props to Lightskinyogi for figuring this out, perfecting the pzoom and being able to do it reliably about a hundred times, judging from his TikTok feed. Regardless of how “fake” it is, you still have to be strong and extremely deliberate in your movements so the effect can be convincing in reverse. Of course, you also gotta be slick with the editing, too.