On the Discovery Docket: Films on Perspective

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

It can be easy to make fun of the old educational films that used to be shown on projectors in school (1949’s Exercise and Health, anyone?), especially when so many of us are used to Blu-ray, HD, and 3D films now. But sometimes low-tech can be just as, if not more, successful.

The 1960 film Frames of Reference, made by MIT’s Physical Science Study Committee, is definitely a classic. University of Toronto professors Donald Ivey and Patterson Hume give clear, understandable and funny presentations on basic principles of physics and perspective. You know that any video that starts with a man in a three-piece suit hanging upside down has to be good.

Here’s Part 1:

You can watch the following three parts of the film on the YouTube channel, or view the film in its entirety through Archives.org.

And since one film on perspective is never enough, why not take a minute to test your own abilities of perception when confronted with the McGurk Effect? Did you think your ears did all the work when you’re listening? Think again.

Do you have any favorite educational films?

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