Recreating the ‘Bullet Time’ Effect from The Matrix with 1 GoPro
You certainly remember 1999’s iconic feature film “The Matrix” which has certainly had a profound impact on a lot of science fiction films in the decade that followed and on me personally. Apart from its content it established a number of styles that were unknown in filmmaking before, among them what became known as the “Bullet Time effect”.
Bullet Time describes something that is seemingly frozen in time, like a still frame, but the camera is dollying/flying around it at the same time. Basically an impossible shot to shoot with one camera, that’s why they used MANY cameras and triggered them at the same time. A computer interpolated the in-between-frames. In 1999, that was a big deal, in 2013, you can do it yourself with countless of VFX tutorials for it online, here’s one.
The downside: you STILL need many cameras. That’s where it becomes tricky for most people.
Not so for NASA engineer Mark Rober - he built a DIY bullet time rig with ONE GoPro camera. Of course it’s not as perfect as the big Hollywood solutions, nor as versatile, but it is indeed big fun: he uses a ceiling fan motor to rotate the camera extremely fast around a static platform, with a neutrally lit background. The effect: it looks like the object (and whatever you do with it) is spinning super fast. Add the GoPro Hero 3‘s slow motion ability of up to 120fps in 720p, and I am sure you can get even more impressive results.
Check it out:
Now, why has nobody built this with a DSLR yet??