I have two sources from differents points of view of the same scene. I'd like to start the video from one camera, stop it, and make a rotation to the second source just like a famous The Matrix scene. They made use of several cameras, but I only have two sources, just like bellow: The scene

  • Is it possible to make it using an "easy" way ?
  • If yes, can you link a tutorial or sum up the steps ?
  • Does this technique have a name ?

I'm a real beginner, so please try to detail as possible your answer.

  • 1
    Depending on your intended use etc, when you consider that 1920x1080 is about 2 megapixels, you might be able to get some friends to bring their cell phones with them to do a "crowd sourced" shot.
    – horatio
    Mar 27, 2012 at 20:54
  • @horatio In the theory that would work, but in reality it will not. Every camera will have different levels of zoom, different exposure, different shutter speeds (thus different blur), different white balance, different vignetting, different positions both in height and a lot in rotation.. It's not practically possible.. Apr 2, 2012 at 10:06

3 Answers 3


This is possible, though it wouldn't look real at all.. If you use Adobe After Effects you can just put both sources in one composition. Then you would turn on the 3D-mode on each of the layers. There is a button on each layer. If you click it there should be a small picture of a cube where you clicked.

Then you press P on each of the layers to bring up the position sliders. Then you animate the first layer until it "matches" the position of the second camera. (The axis that goes from the top of the image and downwards.) Do this for both the layers and just blend them together. I don't remember if you have to insert a camera into the scene too. So you basically move the layers to simulate movement. Oh, and add motion blur too with the motion blur button next to the 3d-button. Remember to switch on the master blur button too. This will make the camera movement (or in this instance the movement of the layer itself) look more natural. Remember to zoom in a bit into the comp to compensate for the 3D.

Please post your video so we can see how it looks! :)

  • +1 this can look good, but it really won't look real. There aren't any shortcuts to this. You either need many cameras, or a detailed model to allow you to render the movement.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Mar 26, 2012 at 17:42
  • Thanks for your answer! However, I don't really understand how you're planing to do the trick. I put the two layers in one composition, adjusted the position of one layer to match the other one, but I don't get how the transition between Layer #1 and Layer #2 should happen. Can you go further ? :)
    – ldiqual
    Mar 26, 2012 at 18:50
  • You could try animating the opacity. So you'd be sure to match the contents of the layers up, so that the model does at all time stay in exactly the same position during the transition. I'll explain better when I come home. Mar 27, 2012 at 5:22

The technique is called "bullet time", and as stated by @DrMayhem, involves lots of camera. I seem to recall that The Matrix VisFX team had enough cameras to do 60 frames per second.

That being said, check out Vincent Gallo's "Buffalo 66" and look for some articles on line. I think American Cinematographer did a piece on it around the time it was released. On a limited budget with a SINGLE camera, the closing scene is a pretty convincing bullet time sequence. He held REALLY still while the camera rolled a few seconds, cut, moved about 5 degrees along an arc, rolled for a few more seconds, cut, moved, rolled...until they'd travelled along the arc as far as they needed to. Circular dolly track makes this a LOT easier, but I'm sure a creative mind can figure out a way to simulate that... :)

Any jitters were smoothed out in post by morphing one frame to another...they probably had about 100 - 200 frames of each camera position from which to choose. A pain in post, but single camera bullet time.

I've been muddling a DIY circular track in my head; A digital SLR on time lapse mode with the actor holding still is the next thing I want to try. I can get a solid 8fps; animate the other 16fps by interpolating from existing frames, e voila.

There's a lot of DIY Bullet-Time stuff on the web as well.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Enter-the-Ghetto-Matrix-DIY-Bullet-Time/ is one of my faves, though a little more complex than a single camera.

Good luck! d

  • I can't remake the footage, it's been already shot from 2 sources, just like I drew it above. I'm wondering if there is a way to recreate a 3d model of an object from the scene with PFTrack and then use it to change the angle during the animation. Any suggestion about that ?
    – ldiqual
    Mar 29, 2012 at 7:18
  • 1
    I have to say sorry, but that isn't possible. PFTrack is a program for tracking a 3D-scene. And if you are wondering about if anything could work when it comes to 3D, it will not.. If it will work, you know it beforehand. You could try consulting a professional from Warner Bros, but even the professional will not be able to make it look real.. You would have to use the two pictures to rebuild the whole scene in 3D, and because of that it will not look completely real. (And it would take hundreds of hours to make it look good.) Apr 2, 2012 at 10:04

My answer, given that the footage is already created, would mirror @50ndr33 above. Yes, you can create a 3-D model. However, people are the hardest to animate. It's no coincidence that the MAIN on-screen characters in Pixar's films are toys and robots, with humans appearing from the knees down. The translucence of skin just CANNOT be replicated well, even with today's animation. Look at the animated Beowulf. While that was somewhere at the top of animation's pinnacle, it doesn't look ~real~, and that level of animation likely needs more processing power than you have or can get a hold of...

Given the headaches, perhaps a reshoot might be easier...as much of a PITA as that may be, you'll likely be more pleased with the results.

Sorry I don't have better news on that front... :(

The good news is that this experience of looking for options to make it work is a valuable learning experience for you as a filmmaker. We've all been there...have a vision bigger than what we know and figuring it out along the way, missteps and all. That's an excellent place to be. Don't ever lose that spark.


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.