DPS Memorial Summer School week 3: Bullet Time Boys – New World Designs

From Angy Ellis

There are not many out there … only a few in the whole wide world … but these local Bullet Time Boys came to our DPS Memorial Summer School last night and what a thrill it was. Never before have we seen anything like it. We weren’t sure how the night would work, or what they actually did, or how many members would turn up but last night was a full house. 54 members & guests attended filling the space in the hall around the curve of the Bullet Time Rig.

Ian the front man and Steve behind the computer started off the night explaining the story of how the concept came about. Working at London fashion week Ian was asked if it were possible to shoot a model as if she were on a turntable in 1998. He was the first photographer to try/use a virtual panoramic

It wasn’t perfect, it needed adjustments and more thought, so over the years it improved, until in 2003 he built his first Bullet Rig. This led to an amazing advertisement for Santander Bank capturing Rafael Nadal, the world class tennis player, in action mid-air – the first advertisement ever to use this Bullet Time rig concept.

Since then the likes of Land Rover, rock bands and blockbuster movies to name but a few have hired the lads and their the Bullet Time Rig to get the unique results. We watched the amazing footage of their advertising campaigns and saw how it had evolved into experiential marketing, where members of the public were involved in the advertising themselves, as recently used by Nike.

I think the capability of this set up was crystal clear when we were shown the images of 3 coloured water filled balloons shot and burst with an air rifle, the most outstanding footage complete with the bullet penetrating through,

The rig set up for us had 24 Canon SLR cameras bought in bulk (for serial number sequence so that calibration is more accurate) and locally sourced. They frequently use set ups of over 100 cameras. The members asked excellent questions throughout and we learned that the days of laborious & time consuming tasks such as adjusting each camera setting, taking the images from each memory card and stitching them together, were gone. Now it is a one touch adjustment on the computer using software that they have had developed themselves and exists nowhere else in the world.

The second half of the night, involving numerous members of the audience being photographed, was hilarious. I don’t think I can put into words what was happening in that final scene so get ready for the release of the footage. Before that jumping with brooms, leaping on Neil Maughan, throwing flowers and umbrellas in the air, using the Star Wars force – to name only a few.

What can I say but a huge thank you to the amazing New World Designs guys, Ian and Steve, for generously giving up their time and letting us into their very exciting world. And members – you did us proud with your enthusiastic involvement.

We made some amazing memories last night, let’s reflect & relive the fun that we all had by sharing with our family and friends and of course other photographers to encourage new membership – letting them know that the Durham Photographic Society have raised the bar for club nights.

Angy Ellis

See “Durham Photographic Society Fun Night” featured on the New World Designs website here

Learn more about New World Designs here

More pictures from the set-up and the night by Angy are in Members Galleries here

Photo: Angy Ellis


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