Bullet Time Rig Made With a Ceiling Fan

May 10, 2013

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Bullet Time Rig Made With a Ceiling Fan

May 10, 2013

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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Back in 1999 the Wachowskis and Keanu Reeves introduced a something new with The Matrix – Bullet time effect. The idea was to show the time flow from a bullet perspective. Since time is relative, bullets moving in mundane speeds meant everything else really slows down. This trick allowed Reeves to dodge bullets, and to ponder about the existence of spoons.

Bullet Time Rig Made With a Ceiling Fan

In the matrix the effect is achieved with tens of cameras shooting in succession or simultaneously, and in the final edit a sequence is made by grabbing a frame from each camera. Even today making a full 360 bullet time can be really expensive.

but for smaller objects Mark Rober found a way to spin a camera really fast to get a similar effect. Mark hooked a rig to a ceiling fan using its high speed rotation for swift camera placement. A set of lights was placed on the rig so they are stationary in relation to the camera. the last ingredient was a  GoPro Black set to shoot 240fps slow-mo. Mark was able to capture some amazing bullet time footage.

YouTube video

Here is Mark’s description of the project:

“I shot all off this footage with a GoPro HD Hero 3 at 240 fps. NO TWIXTOR!!!… but I did you use After Effects smooth motion thing in parts which is pretty much the same thing… it just seems like writing NO TWIXTOR is like a badge of honor for slow mo videos for some reason… so I wanted to put it in there.

And one of the resulting bullet time sequences:

Bullet Time Rig Made With a Ceiling Fan

Here is a closer look at the rig. Since the background and light is stationary relative to the camera – the light and position stays constant while the middle object rotates.

Bullet Time Rig Made With a Ceiling Fan

[EPIC Matrix effect w/ a ceiling fan & 1 GoPro (ghetto bullet time) | Mark Rober via Gizmodo]

P.S. While other methods may not be as cheap as 30$ it is still possible to produce a budget tight bullet time scene provided you have enough photographer friends.

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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11 responses to “Bullet Time Rig Made With a Ceiling Fan”

  1. Andy Avatar
    Andy

    That’s awesome!

  2. David Avatar
    David

    That works so much better than I was expecting. I raise my hat to you…

  3. David Avatar
    David

    Coolest cheap video rig I’ve ever seen! :)

  4. saud alali Avatar
    saud alali

    to be unest .. briliant idea and thanks for sharing your idea

  5. saud alali Avatar
    saud alali

    and sorry for the last comment it include my picture

  6. Michel Avatar
    Michel

    Wow great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kurt Avatar
    Kurt

    Very innovative! You should show this at one of the Maker Faires!

  8. Sonburst Comm. Avatar
    Sonburst Comm.

    We did something similar using a GoPro and a ceiling fan rigged to two trusses. It turned out pretty well and gave us some unique shots!
    http://www.sonburst.com/bullet-time-gopro/

  9. Outdoor Ceiling Fan With Light Avatar
    Outdoor Ceiling Fan With Light

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing!