Automating New World Designs (NWD) bullet time photography process.
New World Designs (NWD) is the world leader in bullet time photography – also known as camera array – a time slice photography effect where images are captured to create 360 degree video stills of a subject.
NWD developed a portable and experimental bullet time rig for 12-96 DSLR cameras. The rig works as a group of cameras, setup in a circle that all focus on a subject placed in the centre. The cameras then capture multiple pictures at once to create a 360 degree image, most famously used with the bullet time effect in the film The Matrix.
There are 100 images per shoot and the resulting 360 image is completed following hours of manual processing on each individual image file. The NWD team would often be working on a project for 24 hours to knit the images together, combatting the different zoom effects of each camera and aligning all images so that they are centralised to the subject.
NWD wanted to automate and streamline this process so that the full 360 capture could be ready to send to a subject immediately after a shoot, or to share via social channels and YouTube.
We hosted one of our Discovery Workshops with the NWD team. This was an important part of our process as it allowed us to get an in-depth understanding of our client’s priorities and requirements.
NWD were using Aftereffects following the pictures being taken, and due to multiple cameras being used, the images did not always align exactly to the central point of the shot.
In order to tackle the alignment of the images, we needed to create software that would work out the degree of the offset through each lens. We achieved this using trigonometry, allowing each camera and rig to auto align when it is offset to centre. The team take one shot, which loads into the app, the app then aligns all other images in the shoot to the central point of this image, meaning that all images are uniformed and aligned to the central capture point.
We created two apps that work simultaneously with each other. One app was for guests, built for iPad to capture a subject’s details to send the 360 file to following the shoot, and the all-important Management App.
The Management App automates the collection of the images from the cameras for each shoot, processes the final video, and assigns the video to a user to share. We also added an ‘intro’ and ‘outro’ function for marketing purposes. This allows different clients of NWD to add company logos and make the videos bespoke to their companies.