What is the name of the shooting technique that seems to freeze everything in the world except the camera you're shooting? The camera can travel a certain path and nothing moves in the scene, even things that are falling are as if they were frozen in the air.

Unfortunately I can not remember any examples at the moment ....


2 Answers 2


It's called "Bullet Time" and was popularized by the movie The Matrix. The effect is achieved by using many, many cameras to all shoot stills at the same time, and then effect of motion around the subject is achieved by animating across the different simultaneous images.

To make the effect more believable, the still camera has to really freeze the motion (because motion blur from a given camera-subject relationship contradicts the eye's expected motion blur that would come from motion tracing the path of the camera array that gives bullet time its distinctive look). But perfectly still images usually make for fake-looking video, so to make it look more believable, motion vectors are derived from the sequence of stills and motion blur is then applied to the stills, completing the effect.

n.b. Motion cameras that cam capture stills (from GoPro snapping away at 12fps to RED WEAPONs cranking out 96 fps at 6K resolution) can be used as a source for the stills. This provides the opportunity for a two-dimensional bullet-time effect: in one dimension one can move through time as usual and in the other one can slide across space while freezing time. This surf video from 2010 demonstrates the two-dimensional possibilities with a shed-load of GoPro cameras.

  • 1
    Clarification: Many, many STILL cameras to all shoot at the same time. And some computer interpolation between shots from nearby still cameras was used in The Matrix movies to make the apparent camera movement appear more smooth. Mar 8, 2017 at 21:57
  • It's basically a step down from cgi.
    – user24601
    Mar 8, 2017 at 23:37

The BTS from The Matrix shows the early days of this technique:


The newest technology is Intel 360° Replay.

Its customized for Sports Arenas and other places where there's a high value in making instant (takes almost a minute) 360° stop motion replays.

In some setups a low number of low resolution Cameras are used, this is evident by a lack of zooming or 'fine circular panning' with more expensive setups using dozens of JAI 20MP Cameras (and a Semi-Trailer full of Server Racks hooked up with Fiber).

Baseball Game example:


Formerly it was called Recode's FreeD:


It's simply a matter of recording Video simultaneously from many angles (not necessarily lined up, but it makes the Math a bit easier and the result more universally useful (audience acceptance)) and then on one particular Frame you switch from one Camera to another.

You could have a curved track of Cameras that follows the action or evenly distributed Cameras around an Arena. They can be low resolution or extremely high resolution which allows interpolating between Cameras and zooming in without loss of resolution.

Additional Notes:

One of the most advanced uses of 360° Replay is this Video of the Super Bowl 50 in "EyeVision 360" (Motion Graphics overlaid with FreeD zooming and flying): https://vimeo.com/157809580 .

The Earliest Days ('6 Cameras in a Basement'): https://vimeo.com/162429040 .

How it works and Demo: Simplified: https://vimeo.com/178228338 . Technical: https://vimeo.com/155729581 .

In the future TV could be FreeD: https://vimeo.com/195225232 .

You would watch using VR Goggles. You could stand in the middle of a Football Field or fly through the air while watching the Game. You could run through the local park wearing VR Goggles and determine if YOU would have caught the ball that fumble fingers missed; you would be in the Matrix (oops, I mean the Game on VR TV).

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