This Matrix Effect is Easier To Recreate Than You Might Think

Learn how to recreate the Hollywood Matrix Bullet Time effect in a few easy and simple steps in this Adobe After Effects tutorial video.

The bullet time effect

Now what is the bullet time effect and how do you create it? Well it’s actually not that hard if you have the right equipment. With multiple cameras setup besides the talent and pointed towards them, you can give the impression of time slowing down or standing still.

The Matrix Bullet Time BTS
The Matrix Bullet Time BTS

Each camera takes a picture in a certain order while the talent does their thing. In post production they are then stitched together, resulting in an awesome camera movement.

The bullet time effect isn’t actually invented by the creators of the matrix. The first ever use was in 1878, where a galloping horse was photographed in a series of stills. By placing these side by side, the illusion of movement was then created. From then on the effect made several appearances in the cinematic scene, from commercials to music video’s and eventually became famous through the matrix.

Recreating the Visual effect

We have a lot of equipment, however we don’t have 50 cameras laying around. So we decided to look for another way to recreate the effect and we actually found two methods. One method we found was with an A.I. to help us create a big camera movement. Nvidia has this A.I. tool called NeRFs, which allows you to create a 3D scene with just a few photos.

NVIDIA NeRF A.I. Tool
NVIDIA NeRF A.I. Tool

We don’t actually want a 3D scene, but the A.I. tool gives us the possibility to move through our scene without actually using 3D software. And thus helping us to create that iconic Matrix shot with ease. However it has it’s restrictions, as the talent that is being filmed can’t move and the quality is kind of low.

The second technique and the one we will be showing today, is with a gimbal. We will be shooting in slow motion while sprinting around our talent. This technique will of course need some planning and choreographing. But it gets the job done.

Storyblocks

Big thanks to Storyblocks for the support on this video. Their community driven library always help us to find something perfect every VFX shot. They really help us to bring our Visual effects to life, without compromising on anything.

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