The Matrix series consists of three movies that were influenced by mythology, anime, and Hong Kong action films. The trilogy was produced on a $300-million budget and brought in $1.6-billion in box office receipts worldwide. Continue reading to see rare behind-the-scenes pictures, videos, and information on the visual effects used in the movies.
- The film is known for popularizing the use of a visual effect known as “bullet time”, which allows the viewer to explore a moment progressing in slow-motion as the camera appears to orbit around the scene at normal speed. The method used for creating these effects involved a technically expanded version of an old art photography technique known as time-slice photography, in which a large number of cameras are placed around an object and triggered nearly simultaneously. Each camera is a still-picture camera, and not a motion picture camera, and it contributes just one frame to the video sequence.
- When the sequence of shots is viewed as in a movie, the viewer sees what are in effect two-dimensional “slices” of a three-dimensional moment. Watching such a “time slice” movie is akin to the real-life experience of walking around a statue to see how it looks from different angles. The positioning of the still cameras can be varied along any desired smooth curve to produce a smooth looking camera motion in the finished clip, and the timing of each camera’s firing may be delayed slightly, so that a motion scene can be executed (albeit over a very short period of real time). Some scenes in The Matrix feature the “time-slice” effect with completely frozen characters and objects.
- Film interpolation techniques improved the fluidity of the apparent “camera motion”. The effect was further expanded upon by the Wachowskis and the visual effects supervisor John Gaeta so as to create “bullet time”, which incorporates temporal motion, so that rather than being totally frozen the scene progresses in slow and variable motion. Engineers at Manex Visual Effects pioneered 3-D visualization planning methods to move beyond mechanically fixed views towards more complicated camera paths and flexibly moving interest points. There is also an improved fluidity through the use of non-linear interpolation, digital compositing, and the introduction of computer generated “virtual” scenery.