Then again, IME, journalists are some of the most
clueless people on earth. Just last night, ABC's David
Wright(?) was telling us how it'll take 35 days to
manually offload 4 tons of supplies from a ship in the
port of Haiti. I have to guess he meant 4 thousand tons,
but that's the problem with people on teevee today...
you're always having to guess what they really meant.
A moving crew of two can offload a moving van with 9
tons of household goods/furniture in ~2/3 of a day.
Very simple video trick, called "chroma keying".
even notice it on broadcast TV, they use it all
the time to paint
"studio sets" over plain furniture, TV weather
All you need is an object with a color that
doesn't appear anywhere
else in the set, and the video switcher can be set
video from a different source when it sees that
color. In this
case, they used an effects generator to memorize
before the guy stepped in front of the camera.
When the camera
sees the key color, it switches to the memorized
The first started doing this chroma key stuff
about 1965 or so, so
it is REALLY old TV technology.
Well, unless I see a demo in person, with my naked eyes (well,
OK, I need glasses to see more than 6", but...) I am NOT going
to believe this at all! This gadget needs to grab photons from behind
the guy's head and send them on toward your eyes without altering their
path at all. I find it REALLY hard to believe such a device can exist
at all, and that it fits is a 4" sphere that the guy waves around.
It defies what I know of physics that he is doing this, so I require
a **LOT** more proof than a you-tube video!
If it is not strictly a chroma-key job, then it is effectively the
same thing, video mask cutting of the image.
The background is a projection.
If he wears a reflective coat, then it reflects the projected image,
just like the projection screen behind him does.
And thus the shiny coat appears to be the background, and thus
Even if he is front of a real background, there is a projector where
the view is from, projecting the background.
Again, his shiny/reflective coat is painted with the background.
Not a chroma key job. And not even quite the same thing.
You could be standing there, and observe the effect. No Way you look
at a green screen chroma key studio and see the finished result with
the naked eye.
How does that defy physics?
Pretty cool eh?
We had a system (front projection) that did this when I was a studio
photographer in the late 1970's.
It consists of a large retroreflective screen behind the 'actor', and a
camera and projector in front of the 'actor'. (If you're not sure what
'retroreflective' is, think of the highway signs that seem to glow
brightly in the dark when illuminated by your headlights - it reflects
most of the incident light directly back along the axis of incidence. A
typical brand name is 'Scotchlite')
The camera and projector are arranged to be on exactly the same optical
centerline, usually by having a 'straight shot' for the camera and the
projected image is added in through a half-silvered mirror at right
angles to the camera lens axis.
The image from the projector is reflected back to the camera from the
retroreflective screen, and the screen is very high gain and directional
so it reflects mostly back along the incident axis.
The actor is carefully lit so the incident light does not swamp out the
reflective screen image.
Anything in the scene that is supposed to look transparent is simply
made of retroreflective material - so the actor's coat, the ball and the
block are retroreflective and appear transparent because they are
reflecting the incident background image back to the camera.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke
OK, so the ball is maybe painted with the glass bead stuff they put
on highway signs, so it reflects really well back toward the light
source? That's pretty simple, and has a similar effect when viewed
from a single vantage point. A true "cloaking device" would show
whatever was behind the ball, so if you moved your head, the view would
change, like looking through a window. This trick would not work that
way, you'd just get the same projected view.