This Robotic Camera System Can Capture Bullet Time Slow Motion Replays

The folks over at NHK’s (the Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s) Science & Technology Research Laboratory have developed a groundbreaking multi-viewpoint, motion-controlled camera rig that could very soon be changing the way we view sports, among many other potential applications.

The rig is a robotically controlled system that links one camera to eight sub-cameras, all of which are pointing at the same thing. Basically, it’s a bullet time rig that moves, enabling the people behind the lenses to take the technique of timeslicing to new heights.

Each camera has two motors that allow it to pan and tilt, as well as lens technology that allows for zoom. The operator controls all of the sub-cameras from one main camera. If one tilts, so do the rest; if one zooms, so do the rest — you get the picture.


Speaking with DigInfo TV, an NHK spokesman expressed high hopes for the system:

Pictures from this system can be sent out about one minute after filming is finished. First of all, we intend to use this for live sports broadcasting. We’d like to make it easy to understand what’s happening, by providing multi-viewpoint pictures instead of the current slow-motion replay.

As you can see in the demo video at the top, the system already works very well. The idea that you’ll be seeing bullet time style replays shot by one of these rigs in the near future is not only possible, it’s likely.

(via SlashGear)

  • gtsomething

    At first I was like “Pfft, only 8 cameras (after seeing all the 24-30 camera bullettime rigs) but then I was like THAT’S SO COOL O.O

  • pourio

    Now that is pretty cool.

  • nopenopenope

    “…NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Association)…” is incorrect.

    NHK (日本放送協会/Nihon housou kyoukai) translates to, and officially is “Japan Broadcasting Corporation”. Specifically, this was done by the NHK STRL or “Science & Technology Research Laboratory”.

  • DLCade

    Thanks for pointing that out! It’s been fixed :)

  • Thisisamazing

    This just makes watching any sport that much more entertaining.

  • Joe Golling

    love this

  • Adam Cross

    pretty sure this has been in the Olympics for a while? definitely in London last year at least

  • feklee

    NHK’s system shows a considerably smoother rotation animation than 360replays. I believe the challenge is the software, which needs to interpolate images. Say you have cameras at angles 0°, 3°, 6°, 9°, … then the software needs to interpolate images from angles such as 0.5°, 1°, 1.5°, …