Friday, March 22, 2013

Bullet time rig made with single GoPro camera and a kitchen accessory

Admit it, when you saw Keanu Reeves limboing in place in The Matrix, you thought bullet time was pretty awesome. Then, when you dove over countless countertops in Max Payne while pulling off headshots, you were pretty sure just about everything should be performed in bullet time. Unfortunately, though, you aren’t a video game hero, and you don’t have oodles of cameras attached to a rig that spirals around you like Keanu did. Now, Caleb Kraft is here to show you that you can build your own bullet time rig. It might end up a little boring though, depending on what you choose to film.
In the iconic scene in The Matrix, Neo is dodging bullets in slow motion, but the camera pans around the slow motion scene in regular speed. To achieve this effect, a circular rig with a bunch of attached cameras was used. The cameras all snapped pictures from their respective angles, and the pictures were edited together to make the scene. Kraft made his own (relatively) cheap rig, which only involved one camera and, amusingly, a lazy susan.
GoPro Bullet Time
The camera used was a GoPro Hero3, and it was mounted to a robotic arm, which in turn was mounted to the lazy susan (basically a rotating circular tray). Kraft set the GoPro’s recording mode to 120fps, then simply hit record, and spun the lazy susan. When the arm is spun faster, it looks more like bullet time.
The results — what you see in the video above — teach you that when bullet time doesn’t involve mind-bending bullet dodging, bullet time video can also feature people doing normal things in slow motion, like chopping bananas in half and pouring beer into glasses. It’s not quite the same as Neo dodging Agent Jones’ bullet on a rooftop helipad but it’s still pretty cool, especially given how cheaply it can be done.

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