19 Replies Latest reply on Mar 7, 2012 9:22 AM by A.I.1

    5 Camera bullet time orbit effect

    bradmagnus Level 1

      At a recent User Group meetup, we tried an experiment to roughly recreate the Matrix bullet time effect: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.376764519000214.98835.148210135188988&type=1

       

      We used 5 Canon DSLR's to record the action in video at 60fps. I haven't really gotten started trying to edit the footage together, but I wanted to see what feedback I might get on the best way to create that slomo camera orbit. I've looked briefly at AE's Frame Blending, but have heard that it doesn't work that well for video. What would you suggest? Have you seen any tutorials on that effect that may be useful?

        • 1. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
          bogiesan Level 4

          You shot a setup without knowing how you'd process the footage?

          Bullet time orbit shots aren't done with 5 cameras, they're done with 100-300.

           

           

          What is it you're trying to do? Exactly. Tutorials for Frame Blending are rare, it's an assumed minimum level of comprehension, like keyframes. If your video needs frame blending, the activation of frame blending works for video exactly as promised. You're not loking for frame blending, I don't think.

          Are you looking for bullet time tutorials? There are so very many.

          • 2. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
            bradmagnus Level 1

            That is correct... It was an experiment. And yes they are usually done with hundreds of cameras, but we didn't have that luxury. Basically I am looking for bullet time tutorials, but searching "bullet time" generally turns up tuts like Andrew Cramer's or similar of orbiting around a 3D bullet.

             

            Have you seen a good tut out of them all?

            • 3. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              I'll take a wild guess that in this Andrew Kramer Tutorial,  the bullet to which you refer was NOT shot by 5 cameras.  I'd bet it was a still image, and a simple one at that when compared to a human being.

               

              If you want the motion to freeze, then appear to orbit around the subject, you need a lot of cameras. It's flat-out the best way to do it.

               

              I forget the name of the piece, but there's a video of a big bank holdup where the bad guys are all in clown masks.  It's a single shot, and the camera is in motion throughout.  Okay, it APPEARS to be a single shot.  It starts on the street with cops, moves inside as the bad guys loot, throw paper around, terrorize employees, get shot by cops in the building, then moves out an upper-story window back down to the street to the first cop.

               

              The entire thing is frozen motion.  I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how they did it.  But if you can find the video, you might be able to find who produced it, and there may be a "how we did it" article somewhere.  You might be able to glean a thing or two to assist you in your project.

              • 4. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                bogiesan Level 4

                bradmagnus wrote:

                That is correct... It was an experiment. And yes they are usually done with hundreds of cameras, but we didn't have that luxury. Basically I am looking for bullet time tutorials, but searching "bullet time" generally turns up tuts like Andrew Cramer's or similar of orbiting around a 3D bullet.

                Have you seen a good tut out of them all?

                 

                There are dozens of bullet time, matrix-like, and frozen time tutorials out there. You're on your own to find them but it's not that difficult. The hard part for you will be finding a tutorial that will show you how to fake a 300 camera setup with five cameras.

                 

                But I asked you to describe what you're trying to do or accomplish. I still need you to tell me what you think you are trying to do and then LaRonde and I can tell you if it's possible or not regardless of the information you receive form a tutorial.

                 

                Message was edited by: bogiesan

                • 5. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                  A.I.1 Level 3

                  The entire thing is frozen motion.  I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how they did it.  But if you can find the video, you might be able to find who produced it, and there may be a "how we did it" article somewhere

                  Apparently a motion control camera and big track and people standing still, with some of them (and other things) held up on wires, and they filmed it again (the motion control camera repeating the same moves) without people to get a clean plate to remove the wires + some 3D cgi I think.  According to youtube

                  youtube "cinema 21:9 clowns vs cops making of"

                   

                  I think in an episode of Heroes they were standing still too, but helped by props that they removed in post, so they looked like they were at unusual angles so it looked like they weren't just standing still.

                  • 6. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                    bradmagnus Level 1

                    Sorry @bogiesan, for missing your question. We shot video at 60fps, of various motion jumping and messing around, probably the best one is a my wife doing a cheerleader jump kick thing. From that video I want to freeze the motion at the peek of interested, and create the slow-mo camera orbit around the subject. Suggestions?

                    • 7. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                      bradmagnus Level 1

                      Dave LaRonde wrote:

                       

                      I'll take a wild guess that in this Andrew Kramer Tutorial,  the bullet to which you refer was NOT shot by 5 cameras.  I'd bet it was a still image, and a simple one at that when compared to a human being.

                       

                      I don't want to do what Kramer did. In his tuts it's a 3D/CG bullet that orbits in Maya (or other) with post done in AE. What I'm looking for is the best way to morph between the camera's footage (the 5 cams we were expirementing with)?

                      • 8. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                        A.I.1 Level 3

                        Wouldn't it be easier with a video morphing program, where you morph (using video not stills) between the footage from each of the 5 cameras.  Also, change fps from 60 to 24 or time stretch even further.

                        Though you could (like you say in your first post) experiment using frame blending (eg. using pixel motion) with the footage from the 5 cameras (to go between clips).  I don't know whether/how well it would work for it but it's worth experimenting in case?

                         

                        If doing it again, couldn't it be done with 1 camera moving where you go right round the people, again at 60 fps or higher, then slow it down to 24, and time stretch it even further with frame blending (set to pixel motion?).  If frame blending with pixel motion doens't look great some people said a twixtor plugin is good.  The people would still be in motion with this but it would sort of look similar I think.

                         

                        Though using more cameras could be an option too.

                         

                        Just making guesses, but it might work

                        • 9. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                          Dave LaRonde Level 6

                          bradmagnus wrote:

                          We shot video at 60fps, of various motion jumping and messing around... From that video I want to freeze the motion at the peek of interested, and create the slow-mo camera orbit around the subject. Suggestions?

                           

                          I'm glad this is an experiment!  It's good that you shot at 59.94, but it won't really help you make the kind of slo-mo you want.  You want just one point in the action.  Just one point in time.  No matter how fast a frame rate you shoot with all 5 cameras, you will only have 5 frames of any one point in time. And 5 frames is not much to work with for slo-mo. 

                           

                          Your best bet is to get a morphing plugin.  You might be able to fake something that looks tolerable.  Your downfall will be if you shot against a visually-complex background like a living room or something.  Shooting against an all-black background or something equally featureless would give you a fighting chance at success.

                          • 10. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                            bogiesan Level 4

                            The technical requirements for this effect are not trivial.

                            Five cameras at five different angles ony creates a useful movie if the frames are precisely spaced in time. If they're off by even thousands of a second, that difference will show up dramatically.

                            The idea with a 3D move in bullet time is that cameras start at precisely the same instant and are shooting precisely the same frame rate, shutter speed, aperture, &c.

                            The individual movies can be separated into into individual still images and, after caerfully parsing them in order, brought into a comp as layers of, say, one second length. You can use the auto function to distribute the layers in time and use a 12-frame overlap with dissolve. You will get five frames of your 3D move. That's all because that's all you shot. You'll get some idea of what this might look like if you had the resources to actually perform the task.

                            • 11. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                              bradmagnus Level 1

                               

                              Here's our "inpiration" for the experiment (around 1:05). I guess I should have posted that first.

                               

                              We were just messin' around. And trying to figure out if it was possible to do on zero budget. @bogiesan I'll try that technique out.

                              • 12. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                bogiesan Level 4

                                Thanks, this helps tremendously. At 1:20 and 2:05 there are more frozen pan sequences. You'll notice the timing is off just slightly, the feet move between the frames, indicating the cameras were started just slightly out of sync with each other. You could download this clip, change it to a frame-based codec, and caerfully step through it one frame at a time to count how many cameras were used. The technique is either deliberately funky or just sloppy filmmaking presented as funky.

                                This filmmaker will probably share his techniques. No reason not to; he's done nothing unique or original. He's just adapted existing techniques to yet another niche sport.

                                Without deconstructing the clip or bothering to search for a behind the scenes clip, looks like they've got eight or ten of these cameras mounted on ball heads 1-2 feet apart on a curved bar that must be ten feet in diameter. They start off all cameras, do the stunt, stop all cameras. At the freeze point, they're switching between the same frames on all cameras. Or they're switching between advacning frames which gives a combintation of 3D movement and slowed action.

                                The echo at 1:44 is a common technique that can be handled lots of different ways.

                                 

                                If you have five cameras shooting at 60p (remember that 60i is only 30p) you cna do some lovely slomotion. But the thing that will make building this in AE easier is converting the H.264 you get out of most DSLRs and Gopro to frame-based codecs.

                                 

                                Try to have fun, let us know what else you need now that we know what you're after.

                                • 13. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                  A.I.1 Level 3

                                  (remember that 60i is only 30p)

                                  60i can be twice the temporal resolution of 30p.  It can be de-interlaced to 60 fps.

                                  • 14. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                    bogiesan Level 4

                                    I'm not going to even discuss that point here.

                                    If you have the citations to support this claim, please let the OP know where to find them.

                                    • 15. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                      A.I.1 Level 3

                                      So you don't agree?  You also think every European 50i TV programme, including 'live' TV has the "film look" - ie. the same as 25p (close enough to 24p)?

                                       

                                      Here's a link:

                                      http://help.adobe.com/en_US/aftereffects/cs/using/WS725e431141e7ba651e63e3d124985b84f9-800 0.html

                                      "you get the best results if you separate the video fields when you import the footage. After Effects separates video fields by creating a full frame from each field, preserving all of the image data from the original footage."

                                       

                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_rate

                                      "25p captures half the temporal resolution or motion that normal 50i PAL registers"

                                       

                                      ---

                                      Also, I'm not saying 60i is as good as 60p at the same res -  it isn't - so shooting 60p is better, but in terms of smooth motion, 60i can be a lot better than 30p, since it can contain twice the temporal samples (each field taken 1/60th of a second apart).

                                      • 16. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                        Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        This discussion seems to be way off track. Shooting 60i is a good idea because you can separate fields and then double the comp frame rate to get 60 full frames per second.

                                         

                                        Doing a bullet time effect with only a few cameras requires careful positioning of the cameras, matching the center of the action, 2.5 D techniques, masking, setting up each of the footage layers as a 3D layer, Time Remapping, Syncing layers, and some corner pinning, warping, blending, morphing or other techniques to blend the 2.5D projection mapping techniques into a wrap around morph. The farther apart the cameras are the more trouble you're going to have pulling off the effect.

                                         

                                        The way to set up the cameras for the shoot is to put something like a tennis ball on the end of a pole, put the pole where the center of the action is going to be, and point all cameras exactly at the center of the tennis ball. Now you have a chance of replicating a bullet time effect with very little masking and morphing.

                                        • 17. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                          bradmagnus Level 1

                                          Thanks Rick, it has gotten quite a bit off track. If you know of any tutorials that show a step by step of what you're talking about that'd be great! If not, your input if very much appreciated.

                                          • 18. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                            bogiesan Level 4

                                            If only Rick had been here three days ago!

                                            I pretty much explained how to switch between the cameras (you can select the frames for time- or for space-shifting) and how to set them up on a solid rig if not exactly how to orient them. I presumed a minimum level of skill and camera awareness. To line up five or more cameras on a target like a tennis ball only works if you have luxury of planning. KNow that, for any subject that is not roughly the same distance from the camera rig than the tennis ball was in the set up phase, the parallax between the cameras will produce an interesting, but different, visual effect.

                                             

                                            Shooting 60i and converting to 60p creates an irreconcilable loss of half of the frame's resolution. 60i is not 120 fields. It's 30 frames split into 60 fields. Shooting 60p, however, will produce 60 slices of time.

                                            This guy I trust:

                                             

                                            http://www.biscardicreative.com/blog/2011/09/1080i-60-is-not-60fps-repeat-after-me/

                                             

                                             

                                            You can use line-doublers or some of the better transcoders which can interpret for replace missing spatial resolution. Apple's Motion offers delightful time stretching. The challenge for amateurs who have no background in technical filmmaking, only exposure to point and shoot consumer cameras and the idea that software can solve anything, is comprehending what super slow motion really is: a combination of increasing the number of discrete slices of time from which to build the extended playback and competently setting shutter speed to give the software what it wants. Sony's ultracool superslomo for sports shoots 90 frames per second at very high shutter speeds, as high as 1/4,000 second, so you can see the individual stitches on a hardball flying at 90 miles per hour and it's rotating, too. If the same 90 frames were exposed at 1/100th second, the ball would be a blurred streak on each frame. That information canot be interpretted by the best time stretcher.

                                            • 19. Re: 5 Camera bullet time orbit effect
                                              A.I.1 Level 3

                                              bogiesan wrote:

                                               

                                              60i is not 120 fields. It's 30 frames split into 60 fields. Shooting 60p, however, will produce 60 slices of time.

                                              I never said it was 120 fields.  You were the one that said "remember that 60i is only 30p".  I was the one that said that it can have twice the temporal resolution (twice the temporal samples) as 30p.  Which it can.  Footage shot at 30p has 30 temporal samples per second.  Footage shot at 60i can have 60 temporal samples per second (60 fields, each 1/60th of a second apart) - so can have twice as smooth motion as 30p shot footage.

                                               

                                              Plus, the first response in your link tells the author where he is wong - in fact the author doesn't believe that in a normal interlaced camera capturing at 60i, that 60 points in time in each second are being captured - he says "if this whole “60 points in time an image is captured” was true...".  So he is wrong there (as there are plenty of examples that will show combing if you just put fields together as though they were just the same as 30p shot footage).

                                              .

                                              What he also doesn't do is distinguish between 60i which contains 30p shot footage (as in his example), - ie. progressive segmented frames - such as when they show a 25p drama in a 50i broadcast signal, and 60i which contains fields from 60 different points in time - normal interlaced shot footage (as you would for a live football match)  which would have twice as smooth motion as 30p shot footage.

                                               

                                              Also, like I said, I know 60i isn't as good as 60p at the same resolution (since the de-interlacer has to make up for missing lines in each 1/60th of a second for interlaced shot footage, so spatial resolution can be reduced).