People rolling off shields and spears clashing against swords as the camera zooms in and out wildly makes the hallmark action sequences in the movie 300 so iconic. Unfortunately, achieving this effect wasn’t particularly easy. Three cameras were rolling, each with a different lens (100mm, 50mm, and 21mm) to capture a different view of the same scene. In post-production, you can dramatically switch between the three cameras since the shot is synchronized. The folks over at [Corridor Crew] wanted to recreate the effect, but rather than create a custom mount to hold three expensive cameras, they 3d printed a custom mount to hold three costly smartphones.
While there are three cameras on the back of most phones, most phones can’t shoot in slo-mo from all cameras simultaneously. So they would need a rig to hold three phones. The first design was simple and just brackets to hold phones. While nice and sturdy, getting the phones in or out wasn’t easy, and getting to the record button was tricky. iPhones have this handy little magnetic ring on the back. They had a bracket that worked pretty well after a few iterations on the design and some printer issues. Since each camera has optical image stabilization, it is easy for the lenses to get out of alignment, which can mar the shot. However, they somewhat covered up the effect in post. With a working prototype, the only thing left to do was to slice a bunch of piñatas in slow motion with a thrumming soundtrack.
We love seeing exciting camera setups and iterating to find something that works. This dual-camera setup has a very different goal and tries to lean into the parallax effect rather than hide it. Video after the break.