February 6, 2016

Want to Shoot a Bullet Time Action Shot? Grab an iPhone & a String

Bullet time sequences are awesome -- The Matrix taught us that. But unless you have dozens of GoPros or DSLRs handy, you're going to have to get creative with how you pull one off.

We've seen lots of DIY bullet time rigs -- some that use some pretty interesting materials, like a GoPro and a ceiling fan. But pro skier Nicolas Vuignier has come up with a pretty cool way of capturing slo-mo bullet time shots by simply twirling an iPhone around on a string.

Okay, these shots aren't technically bullet time, since that would require capturing each frame from different angles and then stitching them together in post. However, if you're able to spin your iPhone (or I imagine you could also use a GoPro or other action cam -- or smartphone) fast enough, the illusion will be pretty much the same.

This technique seems like it'd be relatively simple to pull off, but Vuignier says that it took him about 2 years of "tinkering and tweaking" to get this rig to work just right. And unfortunately this video doesn't show exactly how he managed to fasten his iPhone to the string -- which is probably the most important part of being able to do this -- but he's planning on uploading a video tutorial to his YouTube channel for those who are interested in trying his technique themselves. So stay tuned!      

Your Comment

11 Comments

Cool!
Great creative thinking :-)

Freezing time bullet time can actually be more boring than this kind of slowmo-bullet time.

February 6, 2016 at 6:45PM, Edited February 6, 6:45PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
7456

Now somebody grab a rope and a Phantom.

February 6, 2016 at 7:26PM

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Manny Villanueva
Cinematographer
81

I'd love to try this with my GoPro. Awesome Idea

February 6, 2016 at 10:42PM

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David Prokopchuk
Photographer / Film Maker
88

Yup

February 7, 2016 at 2:07AM, Edited February 7, 2:09AM

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I used to swing my toy planes around like this as a kid.

Ima gonna guess he's got the camera rigged to some sort of winged device to keep thing pitch/yaw/rotation stable and it all has a nice solid adjustable weight to maintain a useful equilibrium.

The thing is, the shadow doesn't betray such, so... Maybe I'm wrong!

February 7, 2016 at 2:09AM

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There's multiple strings, if you look closely, you can see all of them. Guessing it was attached to each corner of the phone, so that at full tension, it stays pointed toward the center.

February 7, 2016 at 11:22AM, Edited February 7, 11:22AM

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Pat Heine
Camera Op/Grip/Adventurer
212

multiple strings would not be enough..the phone would rotate on its axis anyway.

He should have winglets or a "tail" to stabilize it and keep it from spinning and pointing to the same direction.

he said he will post a "making of"..let's hope it shows the trick.

February 7, 2016 at 2:32PM

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Matt
155

There appear to be two strings. A second string running to a counterweight about 60 degrees away from the iPhone would be useful to stabilize the iPhone from rotating freely on the end of its string. It's a great idea.

February 9, 2016 at 2:26PM

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Jeremy
Director of Photography
29

This is awesome. Will have to try it out.

February 8, 2016 at 1:03AM, Edited February 8, 1:03AM

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Genuis!!!!!!

February 8, 2016 at 2:07PM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1277

Thanks for sharing, great article.

February 9, 2016 at 11:15PM

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