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How do they do that 'frozen time rotation trick'?

Internet Filmmakers' FAQ

Many commercials, music videos, and films have employed a technique where the subject appears to be frozen in time and the camera then changes angle to give a frozen time and rotation effect. This technique became extremely popular after it was used in The Matrix.

This effect is created by setting up several cameras in an arc around the subject. Each camera photographs the subject by a slightly different angle and in post-production, the footage from all the cameras (as many as 150) are edited on nearly a frame by frame basis to create the impression of a slow dolly around while time has stopped.

These days there is software that allows you to achieve this effect in post-production with images from as few as two cameras. This is done buy using the shots from each camera as key frames and having the computer render the frames in between (a bit like morphing). Don't, however, expect to be running this kind of software on your PC at home.

UK production company Time-Slice Films were a pioneer in developing this technique and have quite a bit of info on their web site.

Answer by Benjamin Craig  |  Last updated 19-Nov-2004


Older Comments

Silvio DaVinci  |  07-Feb-2006
Another way of doing this trick is to put an object on another object like a pillar / stick. Have the pillar or stick wrapped in green screen and change it in post. Simple consumer software like Premiere 6.5 has already greenscreen options (right-click on the filmclip on the timeliine and select "Video Options") Or, if it is some easy subject like a sigaret-packet or paper airplane, just have someone do it in CGI. It would take only an hour max to make the object, render it in another hour or two and then just merge it in post with the orriginal footage. In this case you can just do a dolly-tracking of a fictional object. Silvio DaVinci