Slow Motion Reveals the Illusions TVs Use to Make Images Move

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Even high-definition television sets rely on the same tricks used by early motion pictures—that is, presenting multiple, still images as continuous action. In the first films, this disconnect is somewhat easy to spot, but to catch this process at work in modern TVs you need a really fast camera.

So what does a television look like when filmed at a rate between 1600 and 380,000 frames per second? That’s what The Slow Mo Guys investigated in their recent video. In slow motion, you can watch the screen of an old CRT TV build each frame pixel by pixel, starting from the top and working its way down. A similar illusion occurs on an LCD screen, but there are a lot more pixels involved (about 8 million in this case).

TV screens employ another visual trick that you don’t need a high-speed camera to see. Every color that appears on your favorite website, video game, or TV show is produced using one or more of the same three colors. When viewed under a high-powered zoom lens, the clear, high-definition image on a television screen is revealed to be nothing more than rows and rows of red, blue, and green blocks.

To see these illusions at play, check out the video below.

[h/t The Slo Mo Guys]