Producers of a new documentary on tennis star Rafa Nadal were at EPT Prague last week with an incredible 80-camera rig that can produce stunning time-slice and slow-motion effects.
The timing was perfect, as Nadal played and won his first live poker tournament ever.
Sometimes called bullet time, time freeze, dead time, flow motion or time slice, the effect was made popular in the 1999 film The Matrix, but has been widely used in television shows, commercials and motion pictures.
The effect involves creating super slow or frozen subject-motion while the camera's perspective moves around the scene in normal time.
The effect is achieved in the real world by assembling multiple cameras around the subject and triggering them all to shoot in concert.
Triggering the cameras all at once will make the subject appear frozen in time while the camera moves around it. Triggering them to shoot rapidly one after another creates a slow-motion effect.
First Bullet Time in Poker
The bullet-time effect isn't new. It's been used in video since the 1980s and the concept was employed in cel animation as far back as the 1966 Japanese anime Speed Racer.
But the shoot this week at the EPT Prague Charity Event is the first time the technology has ever been used to document poker.
The shot is reportedly being used as part of a documentary on Rafa Nadal coming out next year in Europe.
Also playing the charity tournament, and presumably appearing in the bullet-time shot, were football star Ronaldo, former Olympian turned poker pro Fatima Moreira De Melo and poker legend Daniel Negreanu.
The camera array being used for the shot consists of 80 DSLR cameras. They look to be Canon Rebels which, along with the lenses, run over $1,000 each.
So along with the trigger system and rigging this setup is easily worth six figures.
Examples of Bullet Time Video
Bullet time has appeared in everything from TV commercials, to music videos to feature films.
Here are a few examples of what's possible using an array of still-photography cameras for video.