Technical Physics Video Series

Elevator movies

What is the acceleration of a ball at the highest point of its trajectory?
Does the answer depend on your frame of reference?


E-E Movie (Person tossing ball in elevator; camera outside elevator)

This was made at night so the passenger throwing a tennis ball can be seen through the half-silvered glass window of the elevator. Each frame of the movie has been retouched so the elevator and ball are easier to locate. It is available in two sizes: The "large" movie E-El has a resolution of 640x480 and the "small" one E-Es is the same movie at 320x240.

Download Video:

    E-El.mp4 Elevator Toss: External (large; 1.5 MB)

Download Video:

    E-Es.mp4 Elevator Toss: External (small; 530 KB)



E-I Series (Person tossing ball in elevator; camera in elevator)

The first two movies were made inside the elevator as it moves at roughly a constant speed.

Download Video:

    E-IU.mp4 Elevator: Internal Upward (single toss, 30 fps, 599KB)

Download Video:

    E-ID.mp4 Elevator: Internal Downward (single toss, 30 fps, 618KB)

The third movie shows the elevator accelerating upward. The speed and acceleration of the elevator can be measured using a corner of the window in the background (the bars seen in the background are in several different planes, so it is best to use a point on the left where a bar meets the wall.)

Download Video:

    E-IUS.mp4 Elevator: Internal Upward Series (several tosses, 10 fps, 1 MB)

Download Video:

    E-IUSf.mp4 Elevator: Internal Upward Series fifteen (several tosses, 15 fps, 1.6 MB)

The last toss in this series of tosses is the one shown in the movie E-IU.mp4


These movies were made by Bob Teese at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans, with the help of Patrick Cooney, Dennis Kuhl and Mark Luetzelschwab.

Financial support for producing the Technical Physics Video Series was provided by the Green Educational Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Dickinson College, Muskingum College and Tufts University.