Another great video sent to me by David B today.  Watch this, it is amazing.

52 comments

    1. That’d be my guess. I thought initially that there was some kind of superfine wire that might have been magnetizing the oil, but the splash pattern at the bottom looks more like a strobe just outside the threshold of detectability (>60Hz?).

      Cool effect, though.

  1. Someone there claims it’s not a strobe but it looks to me exactly like a strobe slightly out of phase with water droplets, giving the illusion they are moving upwards.

  2. I can see distorsion in the close-up, the pucture jumps. So I think it’s either a projection, or a stroboscopic effect.
    I think it’s filmed and then projected, no real liquid there.
    But how to achieve the clearly three- dimentional projection, is beuond me.
    I say, kill the witch!!

  3. I’m pretty sure it has to do with static electricity.The crossed metal under the cans suggests this. A similar thing was done by Walter Lewin in an OCW lecture on electromanetisme, (Lewin’s experiment produced visible and audible electric discharges using dripping water that was led through crossed.pipes to build up charge (if my recollection is correct).

  4. Definitely a strobe. The same phenomenon that makes a spoked wheel seem to be going backwards, or forwards, or even not moving when it’s really going forward.

  5. Its to do with sound waves played at a certain frequency. The oil is coming out on the can but a vibration being played at a certain frequency from the source of the oil gives the optical illusion that its falling upwards. You can find videos like this on youtube, where they do this or even make it appear that the liquid has frozen mid air.

  6. I like the fact that you can actually hear the oil falling into the puddle below. The out of phase strobe effect is very cool, but even better is listening to the people trying to rationalize what they are seeing. Very interesting!

    1. Yes the befuddled comments add weight to the illusion.
      “It’s definitely going up” said the lady and for a millisecond I thought maybe it wasn’t a feat of flashing and wobbling.

  7. Strobe. Or it’s purely a video effect (i.e. using the 50/60 video frame rate in place of a strobe light), and the people commenting on it are in on the video.

  8. if this is a trick with a strobe why does slowing the play back not destroy the trick? or watching out door during day time so my lamp is not flickering?
    i see the drops go upwards no matter how i try to replay without strobe effect.
    clever effect. i think we have not reached it’s proper description

    1. The video IS a strobe effect. You can’t get rid of it by replaying it slowly or by looking at it one frame at a time.

      The drops are going down. Each frame sees every drop slightly above where the previous (lower) drop was in the previous frame, creating the illusion of upward movement.

    2. Ken Haley below explains it well. A photo or video of an illusion is still an illusion.

  9. Does this help? Here are 9 “drops” (represented by @) moving to the right in 4 successive frames. But, the strobe effect makes it look like they’re moving to the left.

    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @

    That looked good when I typed it. I hope it renders ok.

    1. I was afraid of that. Darn! Here’s another try:
      ……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@
      ………………….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@
      …………………………….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@
      ……………………………………….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@……….@

  10. Thanks!
    But to me, a strobe is a light source, I understand how that works.
    Even why wheels turn backwards in movies and so on, but not how sound gives that effect.

  11. Thank you, Gus.
    I understand that a camera works with 24 frames per second and that accounts for the strobe effect.
    But how does that explain what we see with our eyes that run continually?
    (As far as I know)

    1. Our eyes aren’t actually registering as much as often as we think they are. It’s amazing how much our brain fills in with expectations and assumptions. That’s why every once and while people discover new ways to trick our eyes. I think that’s super interesting, don’t you? 🙂

    1. It’s simple things like this that demonstrate just how scientifically illiterate the gen pop is. With all those ppl looking at it, you’d expect one to had a plausible answer.

    2. Actually, I think it’s pretty easy to see the problem. Notice that one guy talking slightly more loudly than the rest? His confidence in his own explanation and willingness to tell others they’re wrong is making them either question their own ideas or hesitate to share them. Notice how he overpowers the women, despite the fact that they are closer to the truth than he is? And the woman at the end, who is right on, is reluctant to say what she knows to be true (and you can hear in her voice that she is speaking with some knowledge) when this guy is standing there pushing his idea and challenging all others. Sometimes the answer isn’t stupidity but gender politics…well, and stupidity. 🙂

  12. It’s using a strobe light which will appear to make the water droplets travel upwards. The same effect can be done with a rotating wheel that appears to be going backwards.

  13. I’m more amazed that someone found motor oil sold in cans! I haven’t seen canned motor oil in 30+ years. We used to use 3 cans each to play cricket on the street with cutoff hockey sticks! Now its plastic jugs and no more cricket 😦

    Cool illusion though.

  14. C’mon, do you really think someone would put electrically charged wires near a flammable substance? LOL

    It’s obviously a strobe light. As far as the consistency of the droplet size goes, I assume that’s why oil was used. Any fluid dropping at a steady rate should have a fairly consistent droplet size, the viscosity of the oil combined with the still air of an indoor space makes this illusion quite possible.

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