How The RIT Stairwell Illusion Works

Earnest-Pettie by Earnest-Pettie on May. 05, 2013

We already know that staircases that end where they begin can’t exist. They are illusions, impossible objects. The RIT Stairwell can’t exist in real life; thus, it must be fake. In the RIT video, a host sends a student up the staircase, and when the student reaches the next flight, she is greeted by her host. Or is she? The video relies on the fake viral video technique of using a continuous take to convince you that what you’re seeing is real, and what you’re seeing here is real. A girl reaches the top of the staircase and sees her host. Or it could be a guy who looks a lot like the host, a twin.

We see an inversion of this trick later in the video. Instead of sending a student up the stairs, the host descends the stairs, meeting the guy he left at the top of the stairs. Or maybe he meets a guy who looks like the guy he left at the top of the stairs, another twin. This sequence uses another technique to convince us that what we’re seeing is real: the students holding hands around the staircase. Why go to such elaborate lengths to convince us this is real? This was originally a Kickstarter project by students at the Rochester Institute Of Technology to “create a myth” by producing a short film in time for the Imagine Rochester festival, on May 4th, 2013.

The Kickstarter sought $12,000 for production and only raised $940. The filmmakers were going to create the myth by developing supplemental materials to support the idea that people had been talking about this for a while (ala The Blair Witch Project), including creating clips from of a 1997 TV show with people talking about the staircase. Although they didn’t reach their goal, they had already begun production and clearly finished in time for the festival. Many of you pointed out that this video was fake and questioned why we would post an obvious fake. The better question is why wouldn’t we? While I hate most viral marketing campaigns, A good fake can be a good time, and some of the most memorable videos we’ve ever posted have been fakes. So enjoy the video, send it to your friends, and then tell all your friends about the history of the Penrose Stairs.

 

Earnest (@earnestp on Twitter)

Still reading? Check out these fun optical illusions:

53 comments
Egeli_Fenerli
Egeli_Fenerli

@kum_kitabi @GamzeBFB1907 2 nize de çok teşekkürler.Erdoğan Bayraktar okumasın.Ara eleman muhabbetinde sınıfta kalır.Ya da TOKİ İnş.larında+

Marsha-Hudson-190
Marsha-Hudson-190

I think the students did an excellent job! Great idea to create something so convincing (the video) and is fun to watch.

Rob-Patterson-445
Rob-Patterson-445

You can go do it yourself instead of believing that it's fake because someone who hasn't been there said so....

Stan-Zabecki-468
Stan-Zabecki-468

I have been trying to get to my class for three weeks. HELP SEND FOOD! sent from q fone..

Stuart-Rayner-137
Stuart-Rayner-137

I should know better than to read the comments section but damn, this is crazy. The article says it was a hoax by some art students and people are like "no idiots, it was a hoax by some art students". You guys agree pretty aggressively huh?

Ayub-Basha-255
Ayub-Basha-255

i want build this in my home , is it possible? can i get total daring? .

Virginia-Martin-651
Virginia-Martin-651

fake...just like magic. Enjoy it for what it is. Kind of sorry to find out the way it was done.

Judy-Dissmeyer-478
Judy-Dissmeyer-478

This was just FUN! Who cares if it's "fake", The explanation & other examples of illusions were cool!

papsmear
papsmear

at least its not a video about forklifts

KealGSeo
KealGSeo User

It is fake, it was a failed group fund (kickstarter like) that there is already an admission video to. As for this post, he specifically addresses the canted stair theory and says that it is not...the glass of water was to "prove" it.

KealGSeo
KealGSeo

It is fake, it was a failed group fund (kickstarter like) that there is already an admission video to. As for this post, he specifically addresses the canted stair theory and says that it is not...the glass of water was to "prove" it.

pen_cap
pen_cap User

Um. This isn't even remotely correct. The people responsible admit themselves that this was a huge hoax. Not only are you stupid for posting the original video believing it to be real but then you post all these explanations that are idiotic and untrue themselves. The ENTIRE thing is a hoax and the creators / people responsible openly admit this. Come on break.... really?

pen_cap
pen_cap

Um. This isn't even remotely correct. The people responsible admit themselves that this was a huge hoax. Not only are you stupid for posting the original video believing it to be real but then you post all these explanations that are idiotic and untrue themselves. The ENTIRE thing is a hoax and the creators / people responsible openly admit this. Come on break.... really?

Sam-Saqib-566
Sam-Saqib-566

this was part of a project at the university. get a grip you guys.

Sam-Saqib-566
Sam-Saqib-566

this was part of a project at the university. get a grip you guys.

WZRDZ
WZRDZ User

this was fake? who would've guessed....

WZRDZ
WZRDZ

this was fake? who would've guessed....

uBlow
uBlow UserTop Commenter

I just made $50 bangin yer momma

uBlow
uBlow

I just made $50 bangin yer momma

puppetshow
puppetshow User

I can't believe how many fu@king cretans bought into this bull$hit.

puppetshow
puppetshow

I can't believe how many fu@king cretans bought into this bull$hit.

gweedomang
gweedomang User

I'm giving you 5 seconds to leave, if I see you again I'm gonna rape you...

gweedomang
gweedomang

I'm giving you 5 seconds to leave, if I see you again I'm gonna rape you...

retardiq60
retardiq60 User

They did it in editing, it was an art project you dumbasses

retardiq60
retardiq60

They did it in editing, it was an art project you dumbasses

onasphere
onasphere User

I want to see Peter Griffin falling down those stairs.

onasphere
onasphere

I want to see Peter Griffin falling down those stairs.

H0p3le55
H0p3le55

Its still fake to me damn it!

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie moderator User

It appears that you didn't bother to go on to the second page.

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie

It appears that you didn't bother to go on to the second page.

Delilah-Jozaf-745
Delilah-Jozaf-745

like Janice explained I'm amazed that any one able to make $8881 in 4 weeks on the internet. have you read this site link >>>> wow92.com

youngrob650
youngrob650 User

yeah, if you read the article, it says its fake.

hypra1
hypra1 User

youtube.com/watch?v=GiTK3tbNt4Q

Hue-Nery-785
Hue-Nery-785

"The filmmakers were going to create the myth by developing supplemental materials to support the idea that people had been talking about this for a while (ala The Blair Witch Project), including creating clips from of a 1997 TV show with people talking about the staircase." This article clearly states that it is fake. READ the whole thing again. The INTENT was to create a hoax.

Hue-Nery-785
Hue-Nery-785

So the article that you read saying that it's fake is lying?