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Just in time for its 10th year anniversary, "Trinity Help" is a frame-accurate stop-frame animation of the famous bullet-dodge scene from the 1999 movie The Matrix, all done in Lego.

By "frame accurate" we mean that we took all of the video frames from that part of the movie (that's nearly 900 frames for just 44 seconds of footage) and reproduced them all in Lego.

This was time-consuming to say the least, taking us something like 440 hours to make the completed movie. At that ratio of 10 hours per second we figured we could do the whole film in about 9 years, so long we didn't need to eat or sleep. As a full-time job then, we're probably looking at 25 years or so. No thanks.

Early in the piece we decided we wanted to do everything "in camera". No wire-removal, no special effects, no crazy Photoshop tricks. We pretty much regret this now, but I guess it gives us bragging rights of some sort. We did do some colour correction and image stabilising, and at one point we edited a very small number of frames in one scene so that some minor background shake was taken out, but that's it.

We went to great lengths to match camera angles, lighting conditions, continuity errors, focal depths and so on, but obviously we had to work within the limitations of point and shoot cameras and the Lego medium. Not having any knees or elbows on the minifigs can make it tricky to reproduce the actor's movements, but we tried our best.

The project came about after sitting around with some spare time and making a build animation of a Lego spaceship that Trevor had.
This was your straight-forward reversed video of us pulling the completed model apart, along with some cheesy animation thrown in as an afterthought. It's the General Grievous Starfighter, for anyone out there keeping score.

This was the first stop-frame animation we had really done, and for some reason Trevor figured we'd done a good enough job to reproduce the bullet-dodge scene from The Matrix.

The camera we used was a Canon 850IS point and shoot. We also tried using a Canon DSLR, but we had difficulties getting it close enough to the ground and for some reason we weren't happy with the focusing. Using the cheap Canon camera also made it a bit more "amateur", which we could fall back on as an excuse as to why our movie was so bad. We also had no idea what F-stops or aperture sizes were, so we didn't fiddle with any of that. We did ensure a custom white balance was in effect, though.

Trevor coined a catch-phrase which was soon to be heard every time we made some footage - "expectations lowered to meet output".

The movie ended up taking us about a year to make, based on us practicing, planning, testing and filming on mostly just one evening a week. We both had full-time jobs, so we weren't going to knock it out in a few weeks. Mind you, it took us way longer than we ever envisaged. If we could go back and have our time again, I'd say this thing would never have been made.

All up, we guess the movie would have cost us less than $500. With all that, though, we ended up with a bunch of stuff to use on other projects. The lighting and hardware we needed was all nice stuff to have anyway.

Along with the set construction and filming, there was a lot of computer programming involved with some custom tools for doing Lego text animation and special effects and image stabilisation.

You can read about the intricacies of filming this behemoth in the "making of" section - it's quite extensive to say the least. We figured after spending all this time on it we might as well go the whole hog and build a web site to show it off.

Even though there are plenty of areas in it that could stand to be improved, we were tired of all the work and decided that enough was enough. Here you see our final product, unless we suffer from some sort of extreme mental condition and decide to release a Director's Cut or reproduce some other scene.