For ten days – from September 17 to 27 – visitors to the Opel booth at IAA 2015 could create their own personal ‘Opel Selfie Jump’ – a Bullet-Time tracking shot with solutions provided by Production Resource Group LLC (PRG). Bullet-Time, a visual effect method of shooting with multiple cameras creates an image frozen in time yet can be rotated around and is well-known from the Matrix films and numerous commercials.
Opel relied on the experience of PRG for the planning, design, and technical implementation of their exacting requirements. Bellprat Associates AG was responsible for the idea and the concept. The graphical user interface of the terminals, the Facebook connectivity, and implementation of the barcode scanners was realized by bluelemon Interactive GmbH. The Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA - International Automobile Exhibition) is the world’s largest motor show and is held in Frankfurt, Germany.
For the Opel Selfie Jump, PRG developed a system using 75 digital SLR cameras arranged in a semi-circle of 270 degrees, which was aligned with millimeter precision with the booth visitors in the center of the circle. As a visual aid to the participants, a monitor with countdown was displayed below the cameras. The shutter release of the 75 cameras was done manually using a remote control by an employee at the Opel booth.
The instantly-created three-second video sequence from the 75 simultaneously acquired images was incorporated into the interactive content displayed on high-resolution LED screens and 3D objects around the Opel booth. At the same time, visitors could access their own Selfie Jump posted on the Opel Facebook page.
PRG faced enormous technical requirements for this engaging interactive display during the two-month design and production phase. The company had to respond to a variety of technical challenges including automating the post-processing of the camera images as video to make the sequence available immediately.
During the production phase of the event, PRG developed, specifically for this purpose, an innovative modular system of opto-couplers and a microcontroller. These were able to synchronously trigger all of the cameras, start the countdown over the network, begin the rendering process, and display any error messages. This allowed the error detection mechanism to autonomously utilize the fallback system.
Since the installation of the cameras was covered to protect against unauthorized access and to avoid dust entering the mechanisms, PRG also developed a custom software solution that enabled technicians to remotely configure the cameras both individually and collectively. In addition, the team had to allow for sufficient manual access to the camera hardware to enable servicing and recalibration.
The Opel Selfie Jump project was a complete success. Over the ten days of IAA 2015 more than 3,500 video clips were created by visitors on the Opel booth – meaning the 75 cameras clicked and produced a Bullet-Time tracking shot every 2 minutes.