Thanks to the advent of virtual reality devices, 3D videos have begun to appear on YouTube, offering 360-degree views of music videos, eclipses, and short films. You don’t need a fancy headset, however, to see YouTube videos from deep, three-dimensional angles. Creator Tom Scott has pulled off a neat trick by employing an optical illusion to create a clip that is visible in both 2D and 3D.
To watch Scott’s video in three dimensions, you’ll need to use a pair of sunglasses to cover only one of your eyes. The contrast between light and darkness causes the images your eyes see to become out-of-sync, which makes it possible to experience a phenomenon known as the Pulfrich effect. As Scott fills the frame with lateral motion, your brain interprets the side-to-side activity as depth, causing foreground images to seemingly pop off the screen.
In order to get this trick to work properly, you’ll need to watch Scott’s video at a high frame rate.
The 2D/3D hybrid is the latest in a long line of fascinating videos from Scott, whose YouTube channel has more than one million subscribers. Previous highlights have included his explanation of YouTube’s unique URLs and his attempt to look inside the black box that dictates YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. Here, he’s done all creators a public service. Sure, his 3D technique may not be more than a simple gimmick, but at least a pair of Ray-Bans are significantly less expensive than the sort of camera rig that is typically required to shoot videos in 360 degrees.