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How is this bullet time-like effect done?


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I've been seeing the new promos for all the new shows on TNT and they all have this effect that is similar to Bullet time (ie Matrix). I have also seen a similar effect done where the action will occur normally, then freeze while the actor/objects are suspended in midair while the camera will push in and around actors and then the action resumes without any perceived cuts. One example I can think of was in the first season of Heroes where the character Hero would freeze time and he would move around actors and objects suspended in mid air and then he would restart time during the shot. I know how the effect is done with a large number of digital still cameras, but was wondering if there was another way that the effect is achieved.

 

At about 0:24

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Looks to me like they could have used bullet time for this bullet time effect - just array them in front then down of each other (with tilt shift if you wanted to get real frisky) then clone them out in post...

 

But more likely due to the lack of a general downward movement in the shot or general availability of heaps of PC lenses, you have faux 3D here, foreground cop with water is just a freeze fame, as is the guy on the scooter (there is no parallax or foreshortening/perspective change) - the last plate is different in that there is perspective change, but the talent could just hold still for the duration of dolly track (there is no water or other gravity defying elements in that part of the shot), probably shot it overcranked and moved the dolly quite fast to assist... ;)

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There's no pan or tilt so that makes this shot much easier.

 

1st pass- 48FPS Have actors stay as still as they can, have wires help support them, like the guys arm which is extended outward.

 

2nd pass- (frame rate doesn't matter) Blank plate, only atmosphere like the car, setting, No actors.

 

In post... Take out the wires because of the blank plate you're able to "see behind" them. Add spilling water (3dS Max or Maya) Add Logo. Speed up/slow down as desired.

 

(^this^ would actually have had better results,- but after watching the video again, Chris is right with his faux 3d theory IMO)

Edited by Rob Vogt
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Same effect can be achieved very easily with high resolution still image, since characters are frozen. separate each one to different layers and do 3D comp with digital camera move.

 

Yeah, now that I look at it more, it does look like it could be a still photograph that they extracted the characters out of. But check out the opening and closing shot of this promo for another TNT show. There's a definite perspective change. The last shot where it tracks around the actors does look like it's the typical bullet time shot with a bunch of still cameras rigged in a sequence. But is there another way to achieve this that doesn't involve setting up a bunch of cameras?

 

 

TNT Commercial

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Yeah, now that I look at it more, it does look like it could be a still photograph that they extracted the characters out of. But check out the opening and closing shot of this promo for another TNT show. There's a definite perspective change. The last shot where it tracks around the actors does look like it's the typical bullet time shot with a bunch of still cameras rigged in a sequence. But is there another way to achieve this that doesn't involve setting up a bunch of cameras?

 

 

TNT Commercial

 

I dont see any perspective change in the opening bullet-timey bit - just 3D compositing, or 2D and someone is working harder...

 

Last shot - again, there is no gravity defying water and what not going on - 'talent' (:rolleyes:) just holds still while the camera makes its move, like I mentioned earlier, probably overcranked ... the only trick is the flash, which is added in post... Any movement can also be fixed in post - as simple as that sped up bit if you like, maybe someone blinked :lol:

 

If we weren't used to/expecting bullet time we'd probably be asking 'why are these people standing still all the time ?' instead...

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Agree with previous sentiments. I think it's a combination of filmed camera move with the actors holding positions as best they can plus some CGI work assisting - in order to freeze their movements completely.

 

There is a bit of parallax happening around the foreground cops elbow which gets revealed as the shot dollies in - but that doesn't say much, as it could be a still frame which they've adjusted so it sits better in 3D space. Or they could be reprojecting select frames from the shot onto 3D geometry or 3D cards in certain areas in order to freeze subtle movements.

 

There is also something between the cup and his arm, which suggests that it might be part of the rig used to hold the cup which wasn't removed (hard to tell from 480p youtube).

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Faux 3d has an interesting look to it .. How cold I achieve this? meaning what program or plug-in should I use ?. I'm terrible when it comes to 3d studio max. AE , FCP motion is more my jam.

 

Also if it was done in 2d. It looks as if they did a blank slate because the actors seem to pop out.

Edited by Ray Lavers
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The Faux 3d has an interesting look to it .. How cold I achieve this? meaning what program or plug-in should I use ?. I'm terrible when it comes to 3d studio max. AE , FCP motion is more my jam.

 

Also if it was done in 2d. It looks as if they did a blank slate because the actors seem to pop out.

 

I don't know about motion - but you could always open it up and search the manual for a 3D compositing section

 

Since you're on a mac (and in Montreal) with the right system specs you could download the Smoke demo from autodesk - it has the Action mode/toolset so it's getting very near to a full Flame in your bedroom ...

 

Nuke is probably what you'll end up with - Shake .... etc..

 

oh yeh and AE - but thats not your 'jam' :lol:

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I don't know about motion - but you could always open it up and search the manual for a 3D compositing section

 

Since you're on a mac (and in Montreal) with the right system specs you could download the Smoke demo from autodesk - it has the Action mode/toolset so it's getting very near to a full Flame in your bedroom ...

 

Nuke is probably what you'll end up with - Shake .... etc..

 

oh yeh and AE - but thats not your 'jam' :lol:

 

I'm pretty good with AE just not 3d studio max. Thanks though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Funny, I was just coming to come an make a thread about this technique. As far as the still photograph possibility, I don't think it is. There are other commercials that have perspective switches such as this one where the camera rotates from right to left as it pans.

Edited by Jamie Lewis
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Funny, I was just coming to come an make a thread about this technique. As far as the still photograph possibility, I don't think it is. There are other commercials that have perspective switches such as this one where the camera rotates from right to left as it pans.

 

 

Which is bullet time ...

 

snore

 

What technique were you going to make a thread about ?

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Yeah, I believe it is Bullet Time but Joe had suggested it was a single photograph and I was pointing out that it can't be that.

 

Read the full thread - he was referring to the earlier spots that had faux bullet time where they (very likely) did use single photographs...

 

The series of commercials here use a bullet time aesthetic, but use different techniques to achieve it - some real bullet time, some 3D composites with still photography and actor freezes ...

 

Keeps people off the streets I guess :rolleyes:

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  • 1 month later...
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  • 3 weeks later...

These are definately 2D stills composited in 3D space. It's commonly called 2.5D. You take a 2D image and give it movement in 3D space. Its like sticking some cardboard cutouts in your screen and then moving the camera past them. Really really simple.

 

There is zero paralax in that promo, so it's not a bullet time rig or any kind of high speed camera trick. It's just 2.5D.

 

In fact in this case it looks to me like they are actually promo stills that were not originally shot with this in mind. They just cut them out and composited them into a moving shot of the background.

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If you look closely at the 'Leverage Season 3' promo, you will see that when we fly around the characters there is only two perspectives of them. It is 2.5D combined with a cleaver morph from one perspective to the other. When done really fast like that it fools your eye into thinking you saw the camera spin around the character when really it just transitioned from a still shot at one angle to another.

 

[EDIT]

 

I had missed the BTS video when I posted this. I was wrong. I have seen a very similar-looking thing done with the technique I described above though.

Edited by Adam Hunt
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These are definately 2D stills composited in 3D space. It's commonly called 2.5D. You take a 2D image and give it movement in 3D space. Its like sticking some cardboard cutouts in your screen and then moving the camera past them. Really really simple.

 

There is zero paralax in that promo, so it's not a bullet time rig or any kind of high speed camera trick. It's just 2.5D.

 

In fact in this case it looks to me like they are actually promo stills that were not originally shot with this in mind. They just cut them out and composited them into a moving shot of the background.

Yeah...

 

Too bad that behind the scenes clip showed that they did it in camera with the Phantom HD Gold. I'm sure that they could have added to the effect in opost, but it was definitely shot this way on set. Sorry to let the facts get in the way.

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Yeah...

 

Too bad that behind the scenes clip showed that they did it in camera with the Phantom HD Gold. I'm sure that they could have added to the effect in opost, but it was definitely shot this way on set. Sorry to let the facts get in the way.

 

No need to be rude. I literally scrolled past the BTS video by mistake. I corrected myself long before your response.

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  • 2 months later...

Here is a new music video I just stumbled across that takes this effect to another level from these commercials. The rappers are moving in real time, while everyone else is frozen, and there are various different kinds of camera moves (handheld, crane, dolly, etc...). Any insights on what method(s) Joseph Kahn employed to make this happen?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuJDaOVz2qY

Edited by Alexander Disenhof
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