There’s no denying that the iconic bullet time scene from The Matrix turned cinematography up to eleven. But it took months of planning and over 50 DSLRs, plus hours and hours of post-production to create it. GoPro has helped with creating rigs using their cameras, still, the procedure for getting the shot has been pretty much the same. Get a still from each camera and piece it together, and that’s the way it’s been for many years.
But what if you could do it with motion? That’s the promise of OrcaVue, which harnesses the GoPro HERO 4’s capability to shoot slow motion at 240 fps, and a “lazy Susan” to capture that 360 degree bullet time effect without having to freeze the action.
“We’re so excited to bring a new concept into the hands of filmmakers and consumers alike. The Bullet time effect no longer needs dozens of cameras and hours of setup time to achieve it. OrcaVue allows users to film a revolving shot around their subject. And it can be used in a variety of situations.” – Jonathan, Chief Cinematographer, OrcaVue
Although the basic idea of using a swiveling GoPro along a 360 degree arc has been tackled in the DIY realm, this is perhaps the first time a start-up has tackled the design as a bonafide piece of filmmaking equipment and they are seeking to not only bring it to the professional marketplace, but also to the masses.
The OrcaVue sets up in less than a minute, and once you place your subject on the rotating platter, activate the Orcavue rotation and record … taking only seconds to get the shot you envision.
To create the traditional Matrix bullet-time effect requires a Hollywood-sized budget and can cost anywhere from $50,000 – $200,000, not to mention all the hours one would spend setting up and editing the camera images together. But now, OrcaVue makes this cinematic look affordable for filmmakers and consumers alike.
The Orcavue is designed to spin at a rate of 1-2 revolutions per second. Shooters can set their GoPro or other High speed camera to either shoot in real time and slow it down in post, or use the high frame rate slow motion capability to get a real, crisp slow motion 360 degree effect. Plus, they can do it without breaking the bank. Here’s a brief rundown of the specs:
- Supports one person
- 21″ platform
- Camera Arm swing 6-12 feet diameter
Orca Vue XL (coming soon)
- Supports 1-3 people
- 30″ platform
- Swing Arm Range 8-12 feet
Cameras supported include GoPro Hero 4 Black edition (although I can pretty much guess that any GoPro will work, but you don’t get that 240 fps HFR with previous models), Sony Action Cam, Panasonic GH4, Canon 5D Mk. III (just about any DSLR, actually), and even an iPhone. The swing arm will also support a RED Scarlet Dragon.
The OrcaVue Life, is available for $2500, and it also comes in a Travel Package that includes a Pelican case, battery, and other accessories for $2800. The OrcaVue XL is still in development and there’s no word how much it will run, but if I had to put a premium on the additional support, I’d assume it’s going to still be under $4,000. That may seem like a lot. And if it is, you can always do what Eric Beck did and rent multiple GoPros and build your own bullet time rig. But remember, time is money.
While many guerrilla filmmakers who rely on the GoPro to get their action shots would probably demur at that price tag, it’s important to recognize not only the build quality, but also the motor that’s capable of spinning the rig at 1-2 RPM.
For more information, visit OrcaVue.com. You can also check out their Instagram account for some other really cool sample footage. I like the snowboard shot the best. If you’re unsure about what Bullet time is, check out the primer below: