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Amateur filmmaker builds 'bullet time' rig for less than $100

Jul 2, 2013 at 02:05 GMT

Ever wanted to add a little spice to your video creations, perhaps your next Matrix fan-fiction video, by adding a little slow-motion bullet-time effect? Jeremiah Warren did just that, employing a ceiling fan, a GoPro 3 video camera, and a handful of bits of wood, effectively side-stepping thousands of dollars worth of individual cameras and rigging, not to mention computer-controlled timing equipment.

The so-called 'bullet time' effect was made popular in movies like The Matrix, and requires a bank of cameras, all synchronized perfectly, and untold hours of post-production work to achieve the final polished result.

As Warren notes on his blog: 'The obvious 'cheat' to this is to get a high speed camera and build a rig that will spin it around the subject, but this also has limitations. High speed cameras are still expensive, they weigh a lot, and building spinning rigs out of metal is also expensive'.

Here's the ceiling fan, costing $24, which Warren attached to a 14-foot length of planking.

Photo: Jeremiah Warren 
And here's the GoPro, firmly attached to one blade of the ceiling fan with another plank of wood.

Photo: Jeremiah Warren

So instead, Warren decided to hook a GoPro 3, which can shoot video up to 240fps, up to a ceiling fan, to spin around his subjects, filming at high-speed. Warren details how he built the rig, including an approximate cost breakdown of around $93 in parts (not including the GoPro 3 Black, which retails for $400), in his blog. You can see an appropriately dramatic video from the homemade rig below.

And no, we do not recommend doing this at home. Especially not the fireworks part. But really any of it.