I usually say, “If you’re bored watching the Grand National on telly, put your sunglasses over one eye and it will be in 3D.”
The reaction to this little nugget of information is invariably the same. People take a ‘Yeah, sure… pull the other one” approach and I suppose I can’t really blame them.
This year, as I sat with my sunglasses watching the race in 3D, I was longing for someone to try it out and come back and confirm that I was neither a raving lunatic nor an inveterate prankster. Of, course, as we know, I am both. But not in this instance. This really works.
But nobody would try it.
Of course it doesn’t work for just the Grand National – that would be silly – it will work for practically any horse race or anywhere else on telly where people or things run around a track. If the action is moving from right to left on the TV, put the sunglasses over your right eye and/or vice versa.
Why doesn’t anyone believe me?
It’s a widely known effect but I like to think I put the spin on it of using it to watch horse racing. I’m probably wrong, it’s a big old world, somebody else probably did it first.
Here’s a little of the science. We’re talking about something called ‘The Pulfrich Effect’ which refers to lateral motion of an object in the field of view being interpreted by the visual cortex as having a depth component, due to a relative difference in signal timings between the two eyes.
In simpler terms, if you delay the light coming into one eye – by the use of, let’s say, sunglasses – then the object can appear to have some depth.
“But if this is the case”, you cry (I know you don’t really), “why don’t all 3D glasses just have one eye darker than the other?”
The problem lies in the phrase ‘Lateral Motion’. You see the depth perception trick only works while the object is in motion. When it stops, the effect stops too. So, unless Avatar was going to be a constantly whirling extravaganza, this technology would not work for it.
But it does work for horse races…
But none of you are ever going to try it out, are you? It sounds pointless and stupid and, in truth, that’s exactly what it is. It’s rather a weak effect and it gets tiresome awfully quickly but my refrain is, it does work and nobody will believe me.
So maybe you’ll have a look at this…
The BBC tried to use this Pulfrich Effect in their 1993 Children in Need programming. They even produced a dreadful Dr Who short, touting it as a 3D episode, they even issued glasses, which were just one lens darker than the other, as described above.
And here it is.
Humour me. Cover your right eye with your sunglasses, sit a little back and give yourself a minute or two to become accustomed to the effect.
There’s another example here.
I don’t expect a plethora of in depth comments on this dodgy post. I just wanted to explain my annual announcement. Maybe, though, someone could just confirm that it works.
And if you want to move on to a televised horse race, please, be my guest.