When the Wachowskis were filming bullet time scenes for The Matrix they had an elaborate rig with dozens of cameras in a green-screened studio. But, as professional freestyle skier Nicolas Vuignier demonstrates, you can get a pretty similar effect just by whirling an iPhone round your head on the end of a string.
Earlier this month a Swiss freeskier named Nicolas Vuignier posted anamazing YouTube video featuring bullet-time footage of a run down a snow-covered mountain. More impressive than the video, though, is the simple rig Vuignier designed and built to capture that footage with just a single iPhone.
The device, which Vuignier calls the Centriphone, took him about two years to design, prototype, build, and perfect. In essence, it’s a simple sled that gives the iPhone a set of wings to keep it stable in flight as it’s soaring through the air around whoever is swinging it over their head.
It looks simple enough, but as Vuignier elaborates in this ‘Making of’ video, it was the subtlest of design tweaks and improvements, discovered through elaborate testing, that led to the rig’s final design, and the amazing bullet-time footage that only requires a single operator.
Just keep in mind, you are accepting some level of risk when using your $700r smartphone as a camera rig that’s whipping around your head. The Centriphone’s design promises to keep it held securely in place inside the rig, but should the handle that the four cables are tethered to slip out of your hand while you’re careening down the side of a mountain, the survival of your device is in God’s hands.