What is Bullet Time and How Does it Work?

Filmmakers have a whole bag of tricks that they use to continue to amaze fans. The way these talented individuals can create images out of this world makes all the difference between top box office grossing films. One trick producers and directors have up their sleeve is a slow-motion effect, more commonly referred to as bullet time.

The concept of bullet time dates way back to 1878. Eadweard Muybridge used a set of still cameras activated by a string to create the effect of a horse running in his work, Sallie Gardner at a Gallop. Very primitive, but the idea worked. When you put all twelve pictures together side by side, you can see a smooth transition between each photo.

Since Muybridge’s idea worked, people played around with the idea of freeze time. It wasn’t until 1962 when director and producer William Castle put it to the test in one of the scenes from his movie, Zotz! In the film, the character Professor Jonathan Jones uses his magical powers to slow down the speed of a bullet. 

The visual effect became more popular as slowly but surely, music videos, commercials, television, and motion pictures started to use bullet time. In another motion picture, Blade, the directors used this time-slice effect to have one of the characters dodge bullets. Then again, in 1999, the Matrix used the same special effect in the famous scene where Neo and the agent engage in a shoot out. The scene paved the way for how directors film special effects. The superhuman ability to outmaneuver a bullet became popular to include in films. Hence the name, “bullet time.”

Watch the video below to see how the movie The Matrix used bullet time.


Bullet time isn’t just for the big screen. Pixperience uses bullet time too, only this time it is to promote businesses with experiential marketing. Using our toolbag of technology, we create a widely talked about experience for consumers to have while attending a business event or trade show. Our typical setup consists of multiple digital cameras, a curved stand or completely branded room fun props, and custom software. Just like in the movies, the cameras all fire at once and seconds later, guests receive their GIF or video to share.

See why businesses are doing so well with this type of experiential marketing and contact us today to find out more about our 180° and 360° photo booths.