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In many scenes in Heroes, we witness Hiro Nakamura display his ability to stop time:

enter image description here

However, also in these scenes, we witness him interact with the scene, whether it be interacting with stopped objects or just to move around.

My question is how was this accomplished? Is it a simple CGI trick or a combination of that with actors/extras having to remain REALLY still?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

One of the DVDs from the series has an excellent special feature showing the process used. It was often a combination of Green Screen/CGI and staged actors and props. So to answer the question it is a fusion of both.

The example shown on the DVD is a scene in the street where he's moving through a crowded shopping district and rescuing a child from an accident.

Note: No CGI trick is "Simple" ;)

enter image description here

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Ah! Green stands to prop the actors. Clever. –  System Down Jun 1 '12 at 16:17
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From fxguide.com:

To achieve the effect of frozen time special rigs were used To achieve this effect the crew had to make sure even the wind was not blowing the tree leaves

In “bullet time” or the classic multiple camera shoot, all action is frozen and the path of the cameras cannot be very complex. Without either the shooting time nor the resources for a computerized camera rig, the team needed to be inventive. The solution was to produce special frozen mounts and rigs to allow for actors to just act still and frozen while filmed by a normal camera.

To make the effect work there is also filmed a semi clean plate. While this plate is not motion control, it provides enough textures for the team to project onto dummy geometry and make a convincing final shot. The finishing touches are added by having some CG objects seamingly suspended in the air. This approach allowed the character Hiro to actually interact with the set and ‘walk’ the visual effect in the same pass as the main plate photography solving both eyelines and removing the need for any motion control.


  • The company that worked on it uploaded a video to their YouTube channel about the visual effects of the 3rd season. The making of the effect is discussed at around 2:03.
  • It's not Heroes, but here is a quite detailed video about the same effect achieved with the help of motion control.
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