Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Please Refract That Statement


I snapped this picture (click it to get a better look) only moments after a theater usher or manager or other staffer had informed us that we were about to watch a movie that had not yet been released, so any mobile phones must be turned off to avoid the temptation of snapping a pic or video of the top-secret information (can you tell I’ve been reading Cormac McCarthy?).

She didn’t say anything about just plain cameras.

I wasn’t there to scoop the masses and destroy Disney’s hopes of springing its latest animated wonderment on the public. Before the movie began, I was fascinated by the room lighting. From what I could tell, uncolored bulbs shone up from sconces, through two adjacent filters — one blue, one red — mounted several inches above the bulb and pointing opposite directions from one another at an obtuse angle.

The light shooting up the wall was blue or red, depending on the filter color. More interesting to me was the fainter, reflected light. Yellow came back from the blue filter, and green came back from the red.

At the least, it’s an efficient way to add color to the room — four colors from one light source. For me, it’s also a visually pleasing blend of geometry, physics, and art.

4 Responses to Please Refract That Statement

  1. Far out.

  2. And… what movie, and how was it? (leave it to you to be so concentrated on the picture, you forgot THE PICTURE!) LOL

  3. Pops – I thought I was the only one who felt that way.
    Dave – Oh, dang! It was a sneak-preview of the new Disney Channel movie, “Phineas and Ferb Across the 2nd Dimension.” Absolutely delightful and very funny. Even if you’ve never seen the show, it would be great (my brother is a prime example, as he was with us), but if you have then it’s even better. Shannon scored free tickets from a friend. Most people will never get to see it in a theater. I might post about the experience. We’ll see.

  4. Did you look up into the fixture to verify your hypothesis? I would expect the orange light to be reflected from the filter that looks blue in transmission and vice versa, as you observed. If the filters are thin films, one expects the transmitted to be the complement of the reflected. A thin gold film, for instance, is blue in transmission, gold (natch!) in refection. Under any circumstances, there are some pretty clever optics there.


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