Movies from Stills - shooting "Bullet Time" with a camera array

You could be forgiven that making movies with still-cameras is a relatively new thing that only came into existence with the introduction of video modes in digital cameras. While it's certainly fair to say that the HD movie capabilities of modern digital SLR cameras has meant that they are being used more and more for serious video filming (see our blog post on this very subject), their stills performance is also being utilised to create incredible video footage.

If you've seen the film 'The Matrix' you will already be familiar with 'Bullet Time' - a visual effect that allows the audience's point-of-view to move around the scene at a normal speed while the action unfolding is played out in slow motion. As part of a recent advertising campaign, surf-wear manufacturer Rip Curl teamed up with Timeslice films to shoot some professional surfers using this "bullet time" technique. To see what they came up with, check out this video:

Now although this footage is impressive in its own right, what makes this particular project so interesting to us at Wex Photographic is that the "bullet time" effect in the Rip Curl video was created using 52 Canon DSLRs! Although the exact model used is not mentioned, they would appear to be something like a Canon EOS 400D or similar - proof that you don't need a top of the range model with full HD capability to shoot a great movie - entry level SLRs will suffice, even if you do need 52 of them...

The cameras were used to capture the same shot from 52 different angles, then stringing the frames together for the final footage. To see more about how they created this effect along with some behind-the-scenes footage, have a look at this "making of" video, and be inspired!