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HR Apprentice. Ex Media Studies student at Swansea University. This blog is a collection of links, articles, academic reference and random thoughts.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Derren Brown: rumours swirl about lottery stunt - Times Online

Derren Brown: rumours swirl about lottery stunt - Times Online

Derren Brown’s apparent success in predicting last night’s national lottery numbers on live television has sparked a massive nation-wide sleuthing mission.

Viewers baffled by how the illusionist carried off the trick have been watching clips of the show online and clubbing together on social networking sites to suggest explanations.

Brown’s ten-minute Channel 4 show, The Event Live, in which he revealed a pre-selected set of lottery balls shortly after the real ones were drawn, is to be followed by an explanatory show tomorrow night.

But, unable to wait, viewers have set social networking sites alive with the idea that Brown, watched by 2.7 million people last night, used a split screen to fool viewers. The technique would have seen the picture divided into a live shot of Brown on the right-hand side and a pre-recorded shot of the lottery balls on the left-hand side. When the lottery numbers were drawn, an assistant would have put the correct balls in place before the entire shot was converted to a live feed.

But those brave enough to go public with their split screen detective work on Twitter and YouTube have been criticised by the technologically savvy who claim the shaky camera used for the show ruled out the explanation. The camera, they said would have needed to be stationary so the pictures could be spliced together.

But the truly suspicious disagree. One keen detective, going by the unusual moniker of Mutated Monty, posted a video demonstrating how Brown could have employed the split screen technique and added artificial shaking later.

Times Online reader John Smith adds weight to Mutated Monty’s explanation, arguing that the moment when the split screen reverts to a live feed can be seen.

"Between Derren saying "23" & "28", the left-hand ball moves upwards! (clearly the moment of mixing from split-screen to full-screen again, after correct-numbered balls have been placed).”

Magic balls are another popular explanation. Times Online reader Alfie LeBeauf is convinced Brown employed a special type of ink to fool viewers.

“This trick can be done by using 'e ink' which uses programmable molecules on an object surface, enabling the numbers to be whatever you might want.”

Less popular theories swirling around cyberspace include the use of a false wall and the unrealistic suggestion that Brown filmed multiple versions of the show in advance to cover every conceivable combination of lottery result.

One Twitter user who mused that it was the work of “psychic fairies” failed to find any traction.

While Brown has promised to put an end to the speculation tomorrow night, fellow illusionist Paul Daniels has warned fans not to give up the sleuthing.

He said Brown was unlikely to give away his secret and would instead be vague in his explanation, employing "gobbledegooky" and putting the trick down to something like "neuro-linguistic programming".

*Derren Brown: How to Win the Lottery will screen on Channel 4 at 9pm, Friday 11th September

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