Examples of Flicker

Here are some good examples of flicker in the real world. All of the videos were taken by me with the 8x slo-mo video setting on my Google Pixel 2, 3, or 5 smartphone. Yes, this is very close to what these locations looked like through my eyes! It is no mystery at all why flickering lights give me vertigo! It’s like putting a disco strobe light in absolutely the wrong place. If you suspect flicker, your phone usually does a pretty good job of showing it.

My daughter graduated from her preschool in Berkeley, CA in August 2021. In September 2019, they remodeled the front half of the campus, sparing no expense, using a reputable contractor. Since the remodel, I can’t stand to be in the new rooms! Why not? The new lighting flickers intensely! The 8x slo-mo feature on my phone shows the flicker very clearly. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you experienced the room in this way? What if you were a kid in that classroom that saw this flicker?
Recorded at 1/8x speed Slow Motion on a Google Pixel 2 phone.


The image below shows my family’s 2021 Honda CRV Hybrid. The running lights are long curved strips. The image shows 10 light strips on each side in a phantom array, as a result of the long camera exposure and the flickering of the running lights, revealing that the running lights cycle at 200Hz. The image was taken on February 20, 2023 with F4, 1/20th of a second exposure with a Canon EOS D5 and flash, panning the camera quickly on a tripod during the shot. The only edit was to obscure the license plate number.
My own car’s running lights give me vertigo when I’m looking at them from outside the car!


In 2019 I worked as an occupational therapist in a public school. One day I sat down in one of my middle school classrooms, feeling a bit of vertigo. I got out my phone and recorded this snippet of what the room looked like at 1/8th speed slo-mo. I discovered the problem! Notice how the sunlight outside isn’t flickering but the lights inside are. If you were a student in that room, might your ability to focus on schoolwork be impacted?
Recorded at 1/8x speed Slow Motion on a Google Pixel 2 phone.


A food vendor at San Francisco International Airport in Terminal 1 on November 24, 2019. The flicker was as horrid to my eyes as you see in the video!


The counter at Starbucks in Weed, California. Taken October 8, 2019. To keep from getting nauseous, I had to look out the window the whole time.


My periodontist’s office at 3999 Regent, Berkeley. Notice the one office with no flicker but the hallway is practically psychedelic! Taken June 3, 2022 in 8x slo-mo on a Pixel 5 phone.


The regular in-cabin lighting on this Southwest airline flight was fine. But their cool night-time lighting made me nauseous. Taken February 9, 2022 with 8x slo-mo on a Pixel 5 phone.


The instrument panel and center console of a 2021 Honda Pilot

This is what LED twinkle lights look like to me when I turn my head. Disorienting? Yes!

Taken in front of Zut! on 4th restaurant in Berkeley, CA on February 25th, 2023 with a Canon EOS 5D, F3.5 1/10 second exposure, tripod, and flash. I panned the camera left-to-right quickly while taking the shot. Most lights are duplicated 12 times because the lights are flickering at 120 Hz (twice the mains frequency) and I took the shot with a 1/10 second exposure (120/10= 12). You can also see some unwavering lines, those are lights that aren’t flickering, like some of the interior lighting and the street lamps in the background.

Here is the same location, with a tripod with a long exposure, not panning during the exposure.


A white car with running lights that flicker. Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. on March 25th, 2023 just south of El Cerrito Del Norte BART Station. F/3.5, 1/20th second. The flash is about 15 feet to the left of the camera. 10 sets of running lights can be seen in a phantom array, flickering at 200hz.

A blue car with running lights that flicker at 200hz. Decreased flash gives a somewhat more realistic impression of nighttime driving conditions.

Another white car at the same spot, same settings, with running lights that do not flicker.

A control image of the same location, without panning the camera