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“Presence” is the illusion of being in a mediated experience rather than simply being an observer. It is a concept often applied to the question of realism of virtual environments. However, it is equally applicable to the act of watching a movie. A movie provides a markedly different visual environment to that given by the natural world—particularly because of frequent edits. And yet, the audience in a movie achieves high levels of presence. We investigate the relationship between presence and the optical and temporal parameters of movies. We find effects of mean shot length, colour/b&w, and 3D/2D. We find that short shots, while being unnatural, are associated with high levels of presence. We consider why such artificial stimuli should appear so real and immersive.