Shooting ‘Bullet Time’ For Samsung On A TimeSplice Rig

by Kate Ayrton | 6 June 2016

The Pulse

We recently had a lot of fun here at The Pulse shooting this 360˚ ‘bullet-time’ Matrix-style project for Samsung using a TimeSplice rig, but technically it was no easy feat and required the patience of Job, and an eagle-eyed crew with a meticulous attention to detail.

Working with Sydney’s digital experiential agency Traffik, we produced three pieces of content for them to showcase Samsung’s new curved monitors by creating a frozen moment in time. ‘Mountain Man’ depicts a National Geographic-type photographer working on some still photographs from his latest adventures in the mountains with the supers ‘See More’ and ‘Feel More’ as the wilderness comes alive around him.

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In ‘Architect’, a young woman works on her architectural drawings and 3D models of her latest creation as it springs up around her. And in ‘Gamer’, a young man goes head to head with some Zombies as they try to eat him alive.

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Every detail leading up to the shoot was carefully planned out so we knew the exact measurements required for each set up, including the size and height of the set, the camera speeds, and focal lengths. We also ran numerous pre-viz tests to determine camera lenses and talent placement.

The frozen moment effect was generated from 70 stills cameras (Nikon D5200) with 24 megapixels and a zoom lens (focal length of F=18-55mm) using a TimeSplice rig masterminded by our 360˚ photographer Mark Ruff. The enormous rig (about 150kg) was suspended from a 5m in diameter circular truss at the D1 Studios in Marrickville – an excellent space to work in if you need extra room with the added benefit of a motorized lighting rig – and took several hours to set up with each camera having to be perfectly positioned and tracked prior to being locked down for the remainder of the shoot. Embedded between the stills cameras was a video camera to capture the opening action and movement of each scene.

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Our fabulous art director, wardrobe, hair and make-up artists did an incredible job of setting the scene and styling our Zombie talent who slipped into character perhaps a tad too easily. Their challenge was to stay perfectly still for every take and everyone had to be ultra careful not to move anything on the set as the slightest shift would be detected and potentially result in an expensive fix in post.

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Every element in the frame from falling leaves to mist and smoke had to be carefully choreographed by our in-house creative director, Fabio Nardo, who tirelessly scanned every detail of every take and pass to make it perfect. Our technical director, Phil Sullivan, was also on set to police any potential inconsistencies in post when it came to stitching together every frame and made sure to capture HDRI reference for our post work on every setup.

Seamlessly running the crew (of twenty) was our multi-talented first AD, George Kacevski, whom when not on set filming is our Head of Content Development at The Pulse (and writer/director of our latest VR film Remember, now viewable on Jaunt.)

A massive effort from an amazing team with stunning results, so next time you head into JB Hi-fi or The Good Guys, watch out for the crazy Zombies on the new Samsung curved monitors and enjoy the spin.

The PulseCREDITS
Agency Creative Director: Adam Terrey
Pulse Executive Producer: Tracey Taylor
Pulse Director: Fabio Nardo
Pulse Producer: Kate Ayrton
Pulse Technical Director: Phil Sullivan
Pulse AD: George Kacevski
360 Photographer: Mark Ruff
DOP: Borce Damcevski
Art Director: Kerrie Van Lambert
Hair & Make-Up: Nugget McCabe
Wardrobe: Elena Demetriou
Photography: Samuel Gaudreau

Bonus Content: What do you get when you mix 70 cameras on a 360˚ circular rig, a crazy crew and a cast of flesh-eating Zombies? – An awesome 360˚ crew shot mash-up of course!

Kate Ayrton is a Senior Creative Producer at The Pulse, an international Creative Content Studio based in Sydney and Hong Kong using the latest technology, innovative design and strategic thinking to deliver engaging and immersive digital experiences.