Some movies seem to move the camera amongst the people in a crowded scene, but everyone and everything is completely still. For example, in the series "The Flash", season 3, episode 16 starts off with such an effect.

In "The Matrix", various angles on a still situation were shot by having a series of adjacent cameras, and I suppose some image processing was used to interpolate between their images to achieve the effect of continuous panning. This can't, however, be used to seemingly weave a camera among the people in a crowd.

Was the effect achieved by computer-generated imagery (CGI)? The characters looked so real, and CGI characters are usually pretty bad. Unless the technology has advanced so much, and the challenge of achieving realism is simplified by the fact that they characters aren't moving.

To those who marked this question as duplicate: I already referred to the Matrix in my post. I explained that the puzzling aspect of this question was that the POV seemed to traverse amongst the group of people. Hence, this seems to differ from the previous question that was referenced, the answers to which contained links about techniques involving cameras positioned outside the group of people in the scene, i.e., as per the Matrix film that I mentioned.


2 Answers 2


You assume that the Matrix technique cannot be used to weave a camera among people. The exact same technique - a combination of multiple cameras, cgi, and interpolation - can do exactly this.

That said, the Flash has much more mature cgi technology than the Matrix, and in fact is famous for the cgi quality. Check out this video for some behind the scenes info. The majority of the intro you mention appears to be cgi.

  • It seemed difficult to position cameras amongst the crowd in that way, and then to digitally erase them afterward. To me, its feasibility is a valid question, especially since all the examples provided were from POVs outside the crowd. That is why I wondered whether it was CGI instead of multiple cameras. Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 12:17
  • The example you posted mostly showed CGI, and texturing of the animal surfaces or waves/foliage, but the structural details in the footage I described was a lot less "entropous". Clothing and instrumentation details; human facial expressions (which are done rather imperfectly in CGI, from what I've seen in the past).So it seemed valid to question whether it was CGI as well. If that is the actual answer, it would be amazing (to me). Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 12:17
  • It's not that amazing. Getting fur right was one of the first challenging things the guys at Alias|Wavefront managed to do, followed by flowing fabrics. Stationary models of humans - not so difficult.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 12:48
  • If all I saw was flowing fabrics and wavy hair, I'd say that was done in the Lion King. I can't think of good renderings of human faces. Think of the virtual Princess Leia in the live action Star Wars (can't recall which one, as I'm not really a fan), or the virtual Terminator in place of an aging Arny. Admittedly, the faces in The Flash were not moving, but the camera angle changed continuously. They captured real people's faces in 3D in minute detail, while the faces were in a transient expression. Not just any face, but ones that look like the actual characters. Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 2:13
  • Stationary is really easy. Fixed 3D models with texture and palette map.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 6:53

In the series "The Flash", season 3, episode 16 starts off with such an effect.

You undermine the power of "Hey guys, get in a comfortable position and hold your breath".

They are all in simple positions. I'm sure you can stay still for one minute or so.

enter image description here

Image belongs to The CW

You can add a fast framerate, let's say 60fps for the slow-mo parts, and cover any movement of the actors with the "warp" effect.

For more dynamic poses, you can use multiple cameras. You can have a bunch of cheap ones (for a tv production) or rent some dozens of them and put them on some rig. Shoot that on a green screen and compose it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.