Reel Physics is a weekly web series of 7-12 minute videos about analyzing the plausibility of extraordinary stunts in movies. Created and hosted by Jason Dean and Colby Dane, each week they stand in front of a green screen and ask questions like “Can you ‘fly’ a tank?”, “Could Indy have survived that nuclear blast inside a fridge?”, “Could that helicarrier actually fly?”, “Are cop cars appropriate projectiles for taking down helicopters?”.
After looking at the scene, they gather as much data as they can (using the specs from real objects or the closest appropriate analogues they can find) and then calculate if the stunt was actually possible as it was depicted in the scene. It’s like Mythbusters but with more math. When data isn’t available, such as the make-up of cables used in a scene or the age and wear on materials, they err on the side of the scene as long as the question being asked doesn’t depend on that specific data; such as in the case of knowing the friction force of super sticky tires versus standard commercial ones. Then they go through the scene, showing the formulas they used, and how they plugged in their data before coming to the conclusion of whether the stunt was either real physics or “reel physics”.
While the data and math comes at you fast, so you can’t calculate it yourself without stopping the video, they do supply a good amount of information. The hosts keep the pacing up, and though some of the jokes are a bit labored, they have very good energy as presenters and they are obviously having a lot of fun doing this. As an added bonus, during the credits they show outtake clips of themselves screwing up their lines and barely containing their infectious laughter.
The series is available to view on The Escapist website, and The Escapist Magazine YouTube channel.