‘The Matrix’ “Bullet Time” VFX Innovators to Receive Engineering Society’s Progress Medal

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By Joshephira Honey

A pair of VFX pros behind 1999’s groundbreaking sci-fi thriller The Matrix will receive the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineer’s highest honor, the Progress Medal, next week at the SMPTE awards gala that will conclude its annual Media Technology Summit.

John Christopher Gaeta and Kim Libreri will be recognized for their contributions to emerging technologies, which according to the announcement, includes virtual production, volumetric capture, and most notably, “bullet time,” the digital effect that was pioneered on the original Matrix film. As VFX supervisor, Gaeta won an Oscar for his work on The Matrix; Libreri provided technical supervision on the production.

Since then, Gaeta co-founded ILMxLAB and worked with various entertainment tech developers. Libreri is currently chief technology officer at Epic Games, for which he has helped to bring the capabilities of its Unreal Engine to film and television.

“The work of our honorees has impacted countless people,” said SMPTE executive director David Grindle. “To be able to recognize them and their impact on the art and science of media is an opportunity to shine a light on folks who often get little recognition.” 

The SMPTE Media Technology Summit runs Oct. 16-19 in Hollywood, with the awards ceremony scheduled to be held Oct. 19 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom.

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