A mentalist makes this in-flight safety video way more entertaining thanks to some trippy optical illusions

January 24, 2018

If you fly regularly for work or pleasure, you likely know the takeoff drill: shuffle down the aisle toward your seat, put your carry-on luggage away, pack yourself in, and half-absorb the in-flight safety video while thumbing around on your phone or finishing off that magazine article you started. These safety videos are vital for informing the public about important procedures during emergencies, but once you’ve seen it a couple times, you start to tune it out. So how do you keep people glued to the screen long enough to tell them information they likely already know? Israeli airliner EL AL had a bright idea: hire a magician.

The video above features Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard, who starts the video by asking you to remember a card as he quickly flits through a deck. Now that he has your attention, he starts walking you through all of the procedures, from stowing luggage, to exit row locations, to oxygen mask use, and more. But this isn’t some stuffy explainer; Suchard throws mind-bending illusion after another at you, messing with depth, space, and camera angles to make objects appear larger or mess with your perception of gravity. 

You can even catch a glimpse of how the video was made in the video below, where director Dror Nahumi and Suchard explain how they made it without the use of trick edits or computer-generated imagery. Suchard was even suspended at a 90-degree angle for over three hours for what amounts to about 15 seconds of footage, just to nail a really cool effect. “Our minds work on automatic pilot all the time,” Nahumi says in the making-of video. “It’s used to seeing things very clearly, and the moment the daily routine is broken, it seems interesting and magical.”

“It will be the first safety video people watch from beginning to end,” Suchard says. He’s not wrong.