Bullet Time

This video was just posted on Reduser, the discussion forum and news outlet for Red Digital Cinema:

National Geographic Glidetime

It got me thinking about the history of the effect commonly referred to as “bullet time.”  The first instance I remember is probably the one everyone remembers, The Matrix (this clip is meant to showcase the audio, but it’s the one I could find that only includes the bullet time scene):

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhxbYTMNMxo&w=425&h=349]

This Wikipedia article gives a good summary of how it’s done and where it came from and mentions the first music video to use bullet time, Midnight Mover by German metal band, Accept:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9el2lg2olpE&w=425&h=349]

It’s not quite what I see when I think of bullet time, but the beginnings are there.  And the song…!  That was 1985, but in 1980 Tim MacMillan was developing the “Timeslice” technology while working on his B.A. at Bath Academy of Art. You can see his current work here, which is done with bazillions of DSLRs, but this collection of early work is amazing.  Be sure to read the explanation of how it was done:

Tim Macmillan Early Work 1980-1994

I’m not sure which pieces were made while he was in college, but wow.  I especially like the double-exposure light painting fire.

Speaking of light painting, here’s an early lightwriting animation by German group, Lichtfaktor that has nothing to do with bullet time:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlWnpz0Di90&w=560&h=349]