Author Archives: jasrub

Visual Effects

Video Recipe:


  • Camera
  • Tripod (very important!)
  • cutting board, knife, fruits/vegetables
  • Printed image of a strawberry
  • 2 helpful friends
  • Adobe Primier Pro

How it’s done:

  • Set the camera on the tripod and make sure it’s not moving.
  • One of the helpful friends is responsible for clicking the record/pause button on the camera.
  • Start recording, when a magic need to happen, tell the friend to pause the camera, while the other helpful friend is responsible for replacing the objects in the frame.
  • It is very important that someone else will swap the changing objects, so you move your hands as little as possible between each shot.
  • After all the recordings are done, choose you favourite editing software to cut, connect and insert audio.
  • I used Adobe Premier, and there are many tutorials for that online.
  • I also speeded most video parts to play at X2 speed, and added music I found on the free music archive.
  • To hide the video cuts, which were very noticeable, I added the “ding” sound on each switch.
  • I changed the strawberries color using the “paint bucket” effect in Premiere, described here

Bon appetit!

A Gustatory Illusion

I’ve been very interested in food in the past few weeks, and also in the human perception of food and taste.
I think food that is done and served well could definitely feel like magic.

So, for this week I wanted to try and do a gustatory (taste) illusion.
Research regarding our perception of taste as already been done before, and it is extremely interesting!
One famous experiment is the Fake tongue illusion
Other very interesting work has been done by the british chef Heston Blumenthal (1, 2)
And by the artist Miriam Simun

I’ve decided to combine the facts I learned from the above readings with a show.
For this magic I used 3 pairs of wooden chopsticks, 3 small plates, 1 strawberry and a knife

When showing the magic, I asked a volunteer from the audience to cut the strawberry into 3 equal pieces and put one piece in each plate.
Than, the audience member was asked to eat the first (left most) piece of strawberry and describe it’s taste.
I then did a “magic movement” above the second strawberry. Now the second piece should taste differently from the first one. even though it was the same strawberry! and a different taste for the third piece as well.
The magic performed in class did not work well as I expected (worked better when I tested this on my office mates) but the third strawberry piece did tasted a little different (according to my volunteer).

The trick was adding different scents to the chopsticks. When holding the scented chopstick near the nose the smell has an effect on the way taste feels.


For the “Trick++” assignment, I wanted to use the computer as the magician.

Our group recently purchased a couple of Tobii eyex eyetrackers and this was a great opportunity for me to learn how to use one.

The magic worked as follows:
The audience member volunteered was asked to sit in front of the computer screen, which showed an animation of shuffling deck of cards.
When the volunteer is ready he/she clicks the “Magic” button and the computer shuffles the cards and open the top 5. Then, a short tune is starting to play and the user should now choose one card and concentrate on it really hard – “transmit your choice to the computer”.
After 10 seconds the music is over. The deck of card is again shuffled and then all the cards in the deck are spread on the screen, all facing down but the chosen card that is facing up.

The method:
The eye tracker at the bottom of the screen is tracking the user eyes while the cards are open and music is played. The chosen card is the one that the user looked on for the longest time.
The code for the webpage running the magic is here.
And the server I used for reading data from Tobii to javascript is from here.