The most memorable bullet scene in question in “The Matrix” involves Neo being cornered by an agent on a rooftop and the former using his abilities as The One to manipulate space-time and dodge bullets in slow motion. in the process. It was no small feat to achieve in 1999 – today bullet-time effects are used using free point-of-view television or FTV, which had not fully matured as a technique at the time of the creation of “The Matrix”. So how did the Wachowskis pull this off?

According to the Wired article referenced above, green screen technology was involved, and Reeves was hooked up to wires so he could pull off the “superhuman backward camber effect,” which mimicked a rigged semi-circle trajectory with 120 cameras. As Reeves implemented the action of falling backwards, still and motion-capture cameras were used in tandem, while the whole shot came together using bullets and digital effects that gave l illusion of standing still – a feat that took two years to put together and ended up costing around $750,000 for this one shot.

Pierre Jasmin, who worked at Mass. Illusions during the filming of “The Matrix”, said in a interview that test shots for bullet-time scenes digitally included “actor decomposition into layers by limb”, which were polished using morphing and stabilization.

Obviously a lot of work has gone into these sequences, and “The Matrix” pioneered the technique in an amazing way, using interpolation and time-slice effects in a way that hadn’t never been done before. The rest is history.


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