36 comments on “One genuine question – real or fake?

  1. neuronova says:

    Oh man, it’s hard to tell. I imagine that they would make it a little more impressive if it were faked, but the time lapse and editing make it seem real. His reactions seem real too, but I’m thinking he may just be an actor.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Its plausible. I’ve seen that before with stones only. If he does it real you cannot decide. Put it is possible, that its real.

  3. cthuluforprez says:

    I think it is real. the only one I am not sure about is the motorcycle at the end – that one is less believable. very cool if it is all real.

  4. David D says:

    It may well be real but at no time are we shown the moment that balance is acheived (there is always a cut between him fiddling and a totally stationary object). So he either isn’t showing his skill off very well or its fake.

  5. I might have gone with real but the editing threw me as they always cut to a new shot (even if the camera angle remained the same) just before the final release of the object

  6. I say real. I know the eggs are possible as I can do that. Your doppelganger Phil Plait showed me how. A slight cheat with the eggs is to stand them in a pinch of salt but I do it without that. This guy may be doing something similar when he balances larger objects on stones, using the irregular surface to widen the contact point. Some might call that cheating, (unless they can do better who cares what they say) but certainly wouldn’t call that fake. The vid may be edited so that we can’t see a continuous shot of the item clearly off balance then balanced. That would be a particularly long shot so I don’t find that suspicious. We do however see the other way round when the phone goes off. I’m certain that this at least was genuinely balanced. Though the phone being rung at that moment was probably staged.

  7. Tom says:

    I think the quick satisfaction move he makes after balancing each object should (in many cases, such as the laptop) cause an air blow sufficient to break the balance. So I’d say fake.

  8. Physics: if vertical[1] through centre of gravity of object being balanced falls outside zone of contact between object and what it’s resting on then it will topple. For something like teapot on jar or laptop on table that zone will be very small because hard surfaces will have miniscule area in contact and even if you can get balance slightest current of air will disturb. With eggs I think Van der Waals force[2] can help keep objects stuck together.

    If as trickery it’s still pretty cool though : – )

    [1] actually a line joining c.o.g. of object being balanced with c.o.g. of the earth

    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_der_Waals_force

  9. Fran6co says:

    Real !
    Check how he does not balance the objects directly on hard surfaces, but rather uses a tiny objects which looks like a bloc of soft wood. This may enlarge the contact point.

  10. Todio says:

    Real. There is a similar act that comes to the Canadian National Exhibition every year. I find it fascinating. He balances all manner of odd shaped stones in stacks sometimes taller than he is. That’s MULTIPLE points of contact. He doesn’t fudge it either. Sometimes he lets the crowd choose which stone to stack next and I’ve seen him stack objects as well. I believe the camera cuts are because balancing sometimes takes a fair bit of time to find that perfect balance point (remember, this appears to be an advertisement, they just don’t have the luxury of time to watch the whole act without cuts). I’ll bet if you hunt YouTube you could find some uncut footage of him in action.

  11. ChivNick says:

    Fake. A pencil can’t be balanced on it’s point because the most infinitesimally small deviation from balanced will cause a movement that will cause the pencil to become even more unbalanced that will cause more movement …. etc, etc. It’s a feedback loop that can’t be got around without putting some more energy into the system to rebalance it. Think this is entropy at work – but will leave the more scientifically minded denizens of these message boards to correct me on that.

  12. I think it’s plausible that the guy is genuine and has spent many years harnessing his talent. Real

  13. Berhard says:

    I woted fake cause the motorcycle seems not plausible, and i am also not sure about the laptop…
    The others may be real…
    it is very nice to see the smartphone fell to the floor…

  14. I’m sure he clicks his fingers through gloves at the end there. Not sure that bit’s real.

  15. louisbarbier says:

    Definitely real. Anything can be balanced on a small surface, just a matter of exploring the space and having the patience. It’s a lot of fun – I’d encourage anyone to try it at home, with anything decently heavy.

  16. physicalist says:

    I agree that the balancing could be done, but that the editing makes it look fake. If it were real, and you wanted to show that it was real, you should have a single continuous shot going from having the object clearly free to having it steadily balanced. And they don’t. So I’m going to guess that this guy can actually do some impressive balancing, but they cheated at least some for this video.

  17. Tim says:

    Real. There really isn’t much reason to believe that these things can’t be done with the right preparation and practice. As others have noticed, the balancing seems to always be done using a secondary surface which he can probably control (via having them already or through selection on the spot) which improves the ability to perform the trick. Nothing shown isn’t outside the laws of physics. Good show, I would watch his act.

  18. Skepdirk says:

    To me it seems kind of suspicous that for all the balanced objcecs (beside the teapot and the not-so-difficult iPhone4), the scene is just cut so that you will only see the result, i.e. when he stops touching the balanced object.

    Anyway, with a little invisible help (like molding the surface where the object should be placed, putting salt around the eggs as mentioned above, etc.), every shown feat should be possible ;-)

  19. One Eyed Jack says:

    Yes, it’s real, but it obviously takes quite some time to get the balance correct, so there has a be a “cut” between the start and the end of each task to keep it in a short time frame.

    It does appear that he gets a bit of help from the surfaces he uses to balance items on, especially the tea pot.

  20. Ken Haley says:

    I voted “fake” not because I think the balance acts are impossible, but because he does them so fast (apparently). It’s easy to do some of the small ones. A little bit of salt on the table helps. Try it! :-)

  21. Thomas says:

    not even a question – it’s real. I’ve seen the same with stones put atop each other and it really works

  22. It’s iterative instability (not unlike a feedback loop) that makes all this pretty unlikely. However, it might have something to do with me being in a good mood lately and having left the bugs at my place, among which several butterflies, alone, thus alive, which might have led to this man succeeding nonetheless. And yes, that was an utterly nerdy nod to the field of chaotic dynamics. If the clip was genuine though, that man is the embodiment of a “strange attractor”.

  23. In either case, that last finger snapping sound has to be fake. :-)

  24. Lazy T says:

    Are balancing skills more highly prized in earthquake zones?

  25. Carmela says:

    I think it’s real. He’s good a balanceing stuff (large and small) and genuinely seems to be proud of it. Plus it’s a travel ad….so I hope that the likelyhoold of the balancing act to be real is high.

    In any case….”It’s real to me”.

  26. MagicSquares says:

    I’m sure I read a long time ago that it’s almost impossible to balance items like this because of the minute air currents – and outdoors, that has to make a much bigger difference. Ergo, faked!

  27. mykdowling says:

    It’s clearly fake. You can’t click your fingers like that wearing woven gloves

  28. Michael Sternberg says:

    Alright, I’m going with real. The cuts late frequent and close, but this being an ad, time is limited.

    The biggest blunder is the silly QR-code at the end.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Richard has no idea if it’s fake so speculating here…

  30. People respond.... says:

    As usual Richard has no idea if it’s fake. Speculating makes no sense here :)

  31. Duncan says:

    Looks real enough me.

  32. burt says:

    I think there’s not much deception, but at least some. Usually the “deception” is that the bottom object is actually more supportive than it might look. It could have a surface shaped to have more contact (like the salt for the egs, Matthew Hardy mentions – hard to see, but enough to support).

    There’s a cool trick with a wineglass that’s balancing on one edge of its foot, that works using the same deception: Get a napkin, wet one side (not an ‘open’ side, but one with a fold) by putting it in your mouth (insert showmanship here ;-> ), put the napkin on the table or bar, balance the wineglass on the napkin where you just licked it.

    The deception is that just before the trick, you put a toothpick in the fold of the napkin.

    I can’t find a video of it on youtube. If anybody likes to see it, i can make one. Just reply. (-:

  33. John Donachie says:

    0m:53s A finger click is quite difficult when one is wearing wooly gloves…

  34. DethEngine says:

    I see many people here glancing over the cuts made in the video as a non-issue and necessary for time’s sake. But if they had to make cuts, why not just trim all but the three seconds before and three seconds after the moment of balance? What is a “balance expert” anyway? Is there a school in Seoul for balancing objects, or maybe a book I could read?

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