The classic infinity mirror consists of two parallel reflective surfaces, the top one of which lets some of the light pass through it. The result is a series of copied reflections as light bounces from one mirror to the other and back again.
Usually lit from the edge by a string of LEDs, this creates the effect of lines of light reaching back apparently toward infinity. This web page explains how to create a similar effect using a television and video camera, with the bonus that the images can be made to come alive.
Place a camera in video mode aimed at the center of a television and feed the camera's output into the television. This creates a feedback loop that emulates the infinity mirror effect, with the added bonus that you can move whatever light source is used to illuminate it to make moving infinity images. Anyone wanting to see what these look like can do so by clicking on the following YouTube link:
For those preferring to remain on this traditional text-based page, the following images will try to capture some of this simple system's capabilities:
When the camera and TV are turned on, you should see something like the above. The red dot is the record light from the camera. It's on the image sent to the TV, which projects it, is picked up by the camera, sent back to the TV and so repeated. Each repetition is slightly smaller that the previous, creating the illusion it's stretching inward toward infinity.
If the camera is attached to a mount that allows it to be rotated then turned, the image above winds up into a spiral.
Hold a flashlight between the TV and the camera but not pointed into the lens, wiggle it up and down and you create waves propagating into the screen.
Move it back and forth horizontally to create a snake-like image wriggly side to side.
Briefly flash the light from the flashlight into the lens then quickly away produces a red blaze that seems to retreat into the screen, as the following sequence of three images show:
A very interesting effect can be created by shining a laser pointer at the screen and moving it around. The camera picks up the reflection to start the repeating pattern.
The result is a more star like pattern than with the flashlight.
Holding a lightsaber vertically on one side and quickly moving it toward the center of the TV then back produces a wave rippling into the distance.
My favorite effect is to move a lit fire starter around between the camera and the TV. The camera picks up both the light from the flame and the image of the flame reflecting off the screen.
The light-chasing-a-light effect is both interesting and attractive. Needless to say, this one should only attempted by an adult with appropriate safety precautions taken.
These are just a very few of the possibilities with a video infinity mirror. It's quick to set up and the range of images produced only limited by how many light sources you can think of to place between the camera and TV. A particular favorite of my grandchildren is to light their faces as they look into the camera to create hundreds of their heads fading away into the distance. Thank you for visiting this page. I hope it gave you ideas for your own video infinity mirror.
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