September 29, 2013

Watch: Bullet Time Video Made with 52 GoPros

52 gopro bullet time rigWe've seen the bullet time effect achieved through many methods. In terms of low-end tech and budget, you've got the inventive ceiling fan/GoPro technique, and on the high-end you've got the innovative 12 Teledyne DALSA Falcon2 multi-viewpoint technique. However, somewhere in the middle lies the action camera array approach, and Devin Graham and his team took 52 of GoPros, built a specialized circular rig, and filmed dogs running through it with some pretty cool results. Check out the behind the scenes video as well as the finished product after the jump.

The process described by Graham's DP is essentially the same process as other GoPro bullet time filmmakers have been using for years, just on a larger scale -- a much larger scale. The team bought 52 GoPros in bulk, set them up on an 8' specially made circular rig that was fitted with individually cut brackets that fit each camera at a precise angle.

Graham says (slightly tongue in cheek) that this is the "largest GoPro array that has ever been conceived." There was a 52-DSLR camera setup done by Timeslice Films for Rip Curl a few years ago that had stunning results, but I haven't heard of anything done on this scale with GoPros (if you have, let us know in the comments.)

The trick with getting good bullet time footage is keeping your cameras on the same plane, otherwise each successive image will be slightly askew from the previous one, leading to a disjointed sequence overall. Graham and his team did a pretty descent job with the video, however the sequences lack that sought-after perfect fluidity.

The team worked with the company OraPup, and through brand integration received the funding needed to make the video. Graham describes this more in the BTS video below, as well as how to construct the rig they used -- so if you ever just so happen to get your hands on 52 GoPros, you'll have an idea on what you'll need.

What do you think? Have you ever constructed a bullet time rig similar to this one?

[via Filmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

49 Comments

The idea was there but I think they could've done a better job on the execution.

September 29, 2013 at 1:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hubert

My thoughts exactly.. Shoot those babies at 120fps and find the matching frames.

September 30, 2013 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Elias

This concept is nothing new and it is fairly easy to pull off. I've seen this method executed very well numerous times, but I don't think this video was well done. The majority of the effect is in the editing (the other part of the effect is consistent camera angles and settings), and this is not edited well. You have to really have the patience to pick the right frames from each angle to make the smoothest transitions.

September 29, 2013 at 2:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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argh, the effect is so ugly. This is literally painful to watch, the images that come from a gopro are ugly.

September 29, 2013 at 3:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

I didn't watch the BTS video but it's pretty obvious that they just shot high speed video and picked frames from each video to do the effect. It seems like even 120fps isn't fast enough to sync everything up, especially with objects that are moving really fast, like the dog's tail or legs that are kicking when in mid-air. I don't think "bullet time" is the right term, it's not even "tail-wagging time."

The only way this works is if you set up your own system to trigger each camera at precise, calculated times. Other people have pulled this off better, this video comes to mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlZPmABrLu8

Graham's video is a valiant low-budget effort, less than stunning results.

September 29, 2013 at 3:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ty

hahaha tail wagging time

September 30, 2013 at 1:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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andrew

We spend a long time perfecting this technique, this is how it should look like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGEYb-KrwFY

September 29, 2013 at 5:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Now THAT is awesome

September 29, 2013 at 6:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mark

Oh yes, finally an example of how it should be done

September 30, 2013 at 2:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

That is stunning work. Bravo. NFS should've linked to that instead.

September 29, 2013 at 7:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Shawn

No shit I agree, NFS link to this not that Devin Super Tramp crap

September 30, 2013 at 12:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tim

seriously awesome. that uses twixtor as well though, correct? or something similar?

September 29, 2013 at 12:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dv

Yes, Twixtor was one of the different tools we used. Each shot is different and required a different approach. There is no always working solution for each shot.

September 30, 2013 at 3:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Do you do motion too?

September 29, 2013 at 2:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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We're currently working on motion but that's way more difficult to pull off, and we will need a little bit longer for that.

September 30, 2013 at 3:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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This is incredible, Jakob.

September 29, 2013 at 4:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

Thanks!

September 30, 2013 at 3:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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gorgeous work.

September 29, 2013 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Have you considered a way to make the footage seem like a film rather than a still?

September 29, 2013 at 8:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Greyson Welch

Working on it! ;)

September 30, 2013 at 3:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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This was incredible. The dog video of the post was nothing new and it didn't look good at all. But his one was worth the time.

September 29, 2013 at 8:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

Hey guys!
check out this implementation on Myavi's videoclip "Strong", pretty cool result :)

September 30, 2013 at 11:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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that edit was wack!

September 29, 2013 at 8:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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matt

Does anyone remember those philips widescreen ads.. WIsh someone could teach me that..

September 29, 2013 at 8:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Archie

My mate worked on those. It's motion control. People standing still

September 29, 2013 at 2:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

And tons of 3D elements added in post (with wires removed and such). A gorgeous project, for sure.

September 30, 2013 at 12:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Elias

If the GoPros were closer together, so there was no gap between them, there would have been less of the choppy look. It would take a sophisticated software to make a solid look all the way across.

I have thought pro sports should use GoPro arrays. Hockey teams could easily have an array all around the rink that was protected by plexiglass. GoPros can do 120fps at 720p so you could have slow motion replays of the puck. Pro football could have an array that is above the field, goes from sideline to sideline, and could be moved up and down the entire length of the field. It would take about 670 GoPros, in the waterproof case, to cover the 53 yards of the fields width, to do it. They would get a whole new look at the game with it. It would cost around $270,000.00. Then there'd be the cost of the software. Seems like a good idea. The NFL could afford it.

I see some NFL game use the DJI Phantom quadcopter.

September 29, 2013 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

I have zero expectation it will happen. ;-)

September 29, 2013 at 2:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Yeah you also need a very efficient editing option. I don't watch a lot of sports, but isn't a lot of that stuff broadcast live? Don't think the GoPro array would be good for anything but promos if thats the case.

September 29, 2013 at 2:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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With WiFi in GoPros they are being used on Sunday Night Football mounted on a DJI Phantom. They get some good field level shots. An array of GoPros may not ever be used since freeD looks like it is working great.

Pro and College football have a single camera overhead, SkyCam:

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGcYHt4qa3g ]

September 29, 2013 at 7:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Monday Night Football not Sunday Night

September 29, 2013 at 11:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

September 29, 2013 at 4:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

Yeah, that is something like I was thinking of. Somehow I didn't catch that post here. It adds so much to the game. It does make the game more fun. I still want more cameras though. :-)

September 29, 2013 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

And it is awesome. They used it for a few replays last week and it's an incredible addition to the game.

September 29, 2013 at 5:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Chris

What game was it and on which channel?

September 29, 2013 at 5:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Pro football could not only run cameras above the field but all the way down the sidelines and have rows both horizontally and vertically in the end zone. These cameras are small.They won't obstruct view of the fans in the seats. I see a lot of potential in this!!

September 29, 2013 at 5:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

30 second rendering time. They're going to have to work on getting down to like 10 seconds so they can get more use from it. But 30 seconds really isn't bad.

September 29, 2013 at 5:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Ok, when I have an idea and go out and shoot it, and it doesn't work and looks like a bit cack, I don't use it.
These guys obviously don't feel the same way.

Oh, and NFS has a serious hard-on for bullet time vids.

September 29, 2013 at 2:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

I think it's just me. Big time.

September 29, 2013 at 4:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

Hah! ;)

September 29, 2013 at 5:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Jorge

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld says:“Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” And "Bullet Time" has gone gone to Tacky, it's become "so last year."

September 29, 2013 at 4:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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c.d.embrey

Looks like they didn't all fire at the same time, there is some motion other than what is desired. Real dslr's would work better and cost could be similar if they were rented or purchased used.

September 29, 2013 at 4:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Larry Vaughn

I wonder why the footage seemingly pauses during the 360 wrap-arounds. If I was these creators, I would have taken only 48 GoPros and cut the footage for a frame. In other words, each frame comes from a different camera. If it spins too quickly, do two frames per camera.

September 29, 2013 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Greyson Welch

Very bad execution

September 30, 2013 at 4:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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noone

I have a friend who wanted to do the exact same thing, minus the puppies. I asked him "Why waste time and effort (and money...) on something that you know can be done and probably better than what you will achieve". He wasn't convinced and still has that urge to, some day, do it. I showed him this terrible video and he finally said "On. OK. Now I know what you mean".

No dog is centered in the shot. This is the definition of fail. (Including that piece of shit song used as a soundtrack).

Terrible idea, terrible execution.

September 30, 2013 at 7:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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FabDex

Having the camera do a 360 turn around a subject is cool idea, but its boring to me when the subject is frozen and not moving in slow-mo. My idea is to create a rig where the camera rides on a 360 degree track and spins around the subject really fast. Then we slow it down and we have a slow-mo/360 degree shot, that is way more interesting than one that has to freeze.

September 30, 2013 at 7:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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bert

Having spent at least $10,000 on cameras alone (I am guessing), they could hired some morph artist for a couple thousands dollars and smooth out the effects. The effects is pretty ugly since we are so used to watching something so much better. Sorry.

October 4, 2013 at 9:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Not bad. I liked the beautiful Mormon girls the most!

October 4, 2013 at 9:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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MikeyMo

The amazing thing is that they managed to turn on and hit record the 52nd camera on without several of the other cameras turning off. They have always been finicky for me, with the worst batteries ever.

October 7, 2013 at 5:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Mimura