Surf gear company Rip Curl and Time-Slice Films, the visual effects house behind the "bullet time" visuals first seen in The Matrix, have partnered up to take digital camera arrays where they've never gone before: In the water to capture surfers in action.
As you can imagine the technical challenges were immense, and their first foray was in the more controlled environment of the wave pool at Malaysia's Sunway Lagoon Hotel. There they could erect an in-water scaffolding to mount 52 full-sized DSLR cameras, and the results were stunning (I highly recommend you watch them full-screen):
That challenge complete, the collaborators then pushed it further, relocating to Fiji and building a rig of 30 GoPro cameras on a rail that one poor bastard had to hold aloft whilst riding on the back of a jetski or floating in the water. The length of an array that can be supported by one person is a lot shorter than a scaffolding rig, so the virtual range of motion is more limited, but I find these shorter shots even more beautiful and immersive:
I could see something like this turning into a subset of art photography in its own right. Imagine a gallery showing where flatscreens replaced framed prints, and the images within racked back and forth either unprompted or somehow driven by the viewer. It would be like an interactive version of those newspaper images from the Harry Potter movies.
Below are the making-of videos for each process. Creatives used to being behind the scenes will likely find these even more fascinating than the commercials themselves.