Batman v. Superman: What does Affleck see via the lighted-eye helmet?

The promotional materials for Batman v. Superman heavily showcase photos of Batman in a helmet with lighted eyes. This looks cool, to be sure, but from the point of view of the person wearing the helmet, isn’t it the equivalent of driving at night with the dome light on? Can he actually see anything out of his helmet?

Note: I put this in GQ because I am asking a real-world question, presumably with a factual answer, about what the actor is seeing. If a mod deems this more appropriate for Café Society, please move it with my apologies.

Is the actor necessarily seeing out of a lighted helmet at all? That seems like the sort of thing that would be easier to add via effects. Actual glowing eyeholes probably wouldn’t look right.

You can make something like that with eyes that you can actually see out of using material that acts like a one-way mirror. Get yourself some white LEDs, place them around the edges of lenses from a pair of reflective sunglasses, and put a clear sheet of plastic in front of that, and you’ll basically get the same effect. The eyes won’t be quite as bright as that image, but they’ll be bright enough to make a decent Halloween costume.

It does cut down your vision a bit, but you can see through it. I wouldn’t recommend wearing it while driving a Batmobile through Gotham City at night though (or while driving your car to the Halloween party).

Another trick is to have small vision slits underneath the glowing eyes.

Just to clarify that, there is no such thing as a “material that acts like a one-way mirror”. What are usually referred to as one-way mirrors are just partially-silvered mirrors, which let some light through and reflect some back. The proportion that they let through is the same in both directions; the only thing that makes them seem one-way is the difference in illumination on the two sides.

I think I’m following you, but I’m not sure I understand the conclusion. I get that the partial mirror* cuts out half the light from the LEDs around my eyes, but doesn’t it also cut out half the light from outside? How does it do anything to increase the relative prominence of light from the outside?

And I get that the lighting may have actually been added in post-production. Consider this a thought experiment if need be.

  • The terminology is a bit entertaining in a Dr. Nick inflammable-means-flammable sort of way: Wikipedia says “A one-way mirror, also called a two-way mirror…” I then googled a “three-way mirror” and got a bunch of websites for swingers.

I interpreted it as a technical problem. If his eyes are some sort of camera lens, then they should not be lit. This is a pretty common movie and comic book trope because it looks cool. For instance, check out how often NVGs are depicted as having glowing green lenses like on “Splinter Cell”. In real life, the optic lens should be taking in light, not emitting it.

A related note: Another common trope is for space helmets and similar things to have internal lights. This is done solely for the benefit of the audience. IRL, there is no reason for a helmet to have internal illumination, and it would make it harder for the wearer to see.

In The Dark Knight batman’s eyes glow when he activates his sonar vision. I imagined the were more of a mechanical eyelid that from the outside lit up but from the inside he was viewing a display on the back of the eyelids.

Actually, Batman is one of the very few heroes for whom glowing eye-holes just might be plausible. The whole reason for the bat schtick is because it’s spooky and intimidating to criminals, and glowing eyes would make him more spooky.

It does cut down the light from outside. The point is that you can actually see through it well enough that it can be used to make a practical Halloween mask. It’s not as bad as driving at night with the dome light on and you can actually see out of it. It does cut your vision down a bit though, and hence I recommended that you not drive to the party with your mask on.

If it cuts down the light by half, that’s not a big deal. It would be like wearing sunglasses with very light gray lenses. (Typical sunglasses cut down the light by a lot more than half. More like 80%.)

It’s the same principle as a Teleprompter. The speaker sees a glowing screen in front of the camera, but the camera doesn’t see it.

Actually, with a teleprompter, the reason the camera doesn’t see the script is because the mirror is at an angle. The speaker sees the camera lens and the monitor mounted underneath the camera. The camera sees the speaker and the featureless ceiling of the studio.

I assumed that’s what engineer_comp_geek was suggesting - array of LEDs around an angled reflective lens. Otherwise the LEDs will be shining directly into the person’s eye.

Another technical solution would be to make the helmet opaque, and put a small display inside.

But I’m sure the movie effect was done in post-production. It would be trivial to have a prop helmet with just outlines of the eyes, and fill in the shape with glowing light later.

p.p.s. Yet another technical solution is to have a mesh (array) of tiny LEDs, each with an opaque backing on one side. Seen from one side it will just be a fine black mesh, from the other side it’ll be a brightly lit mesh. Or think of it as an OLED panel, with half the pixels replaced with holes. You’d need a lot of specialized tooling to fabricate something like this, but the principle is simple, and it should work.