The Timeslice Phenomenon
October 27, 2009 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Tim Macmillan has been slicing time for more than twenty years now. His early attempts and the recent applications of his technique in nature documentaries, commercials, sports, music videos and his own short films can be watched on his vimeo page. His technique later mutated into the Bullet Time effect made popular by the Matrix movie. Watched enough? Then read an interesting article about him. Via Fleischfilm.

Another great treatment of time is of course Zbigniew Rybczynski's Tango. Where Macmillan freezes time and navigates space, Rybczynski locks space and moves in time.
posted by namagomi (13 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome. I also find it really interesting to see what artists do with sound, respective to how they manipulate time/visuals. The music video link and Matrix are good examples. I also think of Memento, and how when the bullet goes backwards into the barrel, the sound goes forwards. We just can't perceive audio stimuli backwards in any meaningful way, relative to the tweaked imagery. This guy seems to have a really good sense about what to do to make it all come together, either timing the normal, forward sound in a complimentary way (the commercial link), or creating new, invented sounds that support what we're seeing (Agent Smith's arms in the Matrix). It's neat.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:58 AM on October 27, 2009

Good-good, but as an old-fashioned cinephile I would prefer the effects by Michel Gondry: he doesn't use digital technology (except a few cases), just tricks your eyes in a very smart way, which I think is more breath-taking. But I admit this is awesome too.
posted by daazofilms at 9:25 AM on October 27, 2009

Daazo, this technique as explored by Macmillan doesn't use any CGI. It's simple a circle of pinhole cameras over a circle of film. It's actually exactly the kind of technique Gondry would use. Great post, I love the nature films.
posted by cyphill at 9:28 AM on October 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Before I looked at the inside part of the post, I watched Ferment and was reminded strongly of Zbig Rybczynski. Very cool.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:55 AM on October 27, 2009

i know it's not completely on subject here, but could someone make vimeo suck more? i realize it could be a sisyphean task, but i'm really worried that vimeo doesn't suck enough. perhaps some sort of knives that pop out of the screen and into my eyes and ears along with the dropped frames and stuttering audio?
posted by sexyrobot at 10:18 AM on October 27, 2009

I've never had a problem with vimeo. The HD version usually buffers much faster than YouTube's. What's it doing to you?
posted by lazaruslong at 10:28 AM on October 27, 2009

Here's another link to Tango (a favorite of mine), the one in the fpp didn't work for me....

Nice post..thanks!
posted by HuronBob at 10:38 AM on October 27, 2009

Beautiful and hypnotic. What a treasure trove of Macmillan's work. Thanks for bringing this to the fore and posting it. (Bonus -- many more of his films linked in the right-hand sidebar of the Vimeo pages.)

And I also have to ask, what is sucking so much about Vimeo for you, sexyrobot? I find it as useable as any other video site, and it has the added bonus of not having YouTube's comments.
posted by hippybear at 10:39 AM on October 27, 2009

At least with the Linux version of flash, vimeo has very poor quality, choppy playback, worse than any other flash video player out there. I recommend the downloadhelper firefox plugin, and playing the flv in a regular video player.
posted by idiopath at 11:14 AM on October 27, 2009

In 1989 Pinnacle Effects in Spokane, WA used 64 Fuji point and shoot cameras all wired together and mounted on a 20 foot diameter hoop of PVC tubing to "time slice" (they called it "circle cam") for a local commercial for a mental health agency.

Used the technique again in 91 or 92 for the Chicago White Sox game intro video.

I seriously doubt either piece is available on the 'net.

As far as I am concerned, the real breakthrough on the bullet time piece in The Matrix was the vector-analysis based time re-mapping in post-production that allowed the smoothness when moving from camera-to-camera. Real-Viz in France was one of the pioneers in time-remapping with their appropriately named software "Re-Mapper." Real Viz is now owned by Autodesk and, sadly, re-mapper is no longer available.
posted by bz at 11:20 AM on October 27, 2009

Oops, I meant "motion vector analysis based time-remapping."
posted by bz at 11:22 AM on October 27, 2009

Just ran into this wild video: Yuki - Sentimental Journey
posted by gwint at 7:46 AM on October 28, 2009

I was reading a table tennis blog this week and saw this video.
Looks like at least two dozen high-speed cameras producing slo-mo, stop-action and Matrix-like effects.
Awesome table tennis as well.
(I don't speak Japanese, so I don't know why the 0:11-0:30 segment is there- the rest is great film)
posted by MtDewd at 5:34 PM on October 28, 2009

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