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‘The Matrix Resurrections’: How VFX Cracked the New Bullet Time Code

DNEG used a mix of volumetric seize, underwater footage, and stereo rigging for the return of Bullet Time.

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The largest VFX determination on “The Matrix Resurrections,” in fact, was the best way to replace the mind-blowing Bullet Time impact for the return of Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). In any case, rather a lot has modified since Bullet Time earned the Oscar in 2000, creating the phantasm of bending time and house so Neo may carry out his balletic martial arts. However because of new developments in physics-based lighting and volumetric seize, it’s now rather a lot simpler to supply superb photorealism. But director Lana Wachowski didn’t need the VFX to overwhelm her richer and hotter aesthetic, in step with the surprisingly emotional love story between Neo and Trinity. That utilized to cracking the brand new code for Bullet Time by DNEG.

“One of many issues that was essential was the aesthetic,” mentioned Dan Glass, DNEG’s senior VFX supervisor (who beforehand labored on “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions”). “It’s clearly an improve. It’s a brand new model of the Matrix that’s realized classes from the earlier movies [about blurring reality and unreality], and she or he needed it to really feel all of the extra actual. As you watch it, you relate to it much more. It’s a continuation of ‘Sense8,’ which was primarily shot on location with out there mild in a documentary strategy…and, in fact, the visible results responded to that.”

The unique Bullet Time impact, which had its roots in Eadweard Muybridge’s experiments in persistence of imaginative and prescient in addition to animation, was achieved by photographing Reeves dangling on wires from all angles with a personalized 120-camera rig, after which stitching collectively the pictures with software program to simulate his slo-mo acrobatics. Right this moment, volumetric seize achieves the identical outcome digitally by capturing 360-degree imagery after which transferring and manipulating the footage in 3D house.

The Matrix Resurrections

“The Matrix Resurrections”

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Image

Nonetheless, Glass needed a extra natural strategy to Bullet Time with personalized digital camera rigs and fewer reliance on volumetric seize for the 2 bravura sequences by which Neo faces off with The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) baddie. “Actually, Bullet Time on this film is used primarily in opposition to Neo, so it’s energy that’s taken away,” added Glass. “We checked out initially capturing underwater [footage] since you get this very pure sense of exertion however [also] slowness of motion. We don’t have rigs to do this, however we needed to do bizarre issues with the lead actors’ faces with out eradicating them.

“Then you definitely’re noodling with a digital utility [for the performance], so we reversed it and shot it dry, referencing again to the underwater footage. And we used stereo rigs. However as an alternative of being offset cameras, they have been lined up and capturing at completely different body charges and shutter speeds, in order that we may seize components concurrently within the interplay between The Analyst and Neo. Then we composited them and split-screened them collectively from completely different movie speeds. But it surely wasn’t at all times easy. The digital camera was usually on a Steadicam, and so they moved at completely different charges. There was fairly a little bit of massaging and trimming, after which we added CG hair and slowed down actions for that underwater look.”

The primary Bullet Time scene takes place in a workshop, the place the rusty Neo is overpowered by The Analyst, who threatens to kill Trinity with a bullet that Neo is unable to cease. The Analyst teasingly intervenes as a warning to Neo what he’s up in opposition to.

The Matrix Resurrections

“The Matrix Resurrections” utilizing Unreal


“The workshop affords the longest and most refined use of Bullet Time, kicking off with angle grinder instruments going off within the background. That are one of many cues for when time is reversing, going ahead, slowing at completely different speeds,” mentioned Glass. “However even these are largely constructed from cinematography, so we shot at completely different body charges, and so they’re combined collectively, and time-wrapped. However arriving at that look was not simple. Whenever you go to excessive velocity and sluggish issues down, they turn into sharper, they don’t have longer trails until you’re doing lengthy publicity, so we needed to mess around to give you that look.”

In contrast, the second Bullet Time sequence in a restaurant was about Neo overpowering The Analyst and hurling 20 baddies up within the air. This got here after the brand new Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) combats Neo in a dojo callback to the primary movie to regain his mojo. For the background surroundings, they used Epic’s Unreal real-time engine for a softer, extra stylized look.

“The [cafe Bullet Time sequence] was a combination,” continued Glass. “There have been stunt gamers that have been suspended [on wires] and we added CG round them, utilizing completely different body charges, and a few volumetric seize. [But] we have been innovating as a result of the unique Bullet Time was an intense train. All the things was pre-planned, and also you constructed your digital camera path, and to alter issues set you again days or perhaps weeks. And we would have liked a system that was much more supple and pliable to work round the best way we have been capturing. Which was: Arrive with a Steadicam, placed on a zoom lens, after which [shoot]. And we may modify the rigs with 10 or 12 cameras in a short time with engineering and 3D printing items in a single day. It was cumbersome, but it surely labored greatest for arising with the correct gear.”

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