Holy UFO hoax!

By Phil Plait | February 9, 2011 12:00 pm

I have received approximately an infinite number of emails about a video purporting to show a UFO hovering over the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The video went viral last week, with several others being released not long after. When I first saw it, I knew instantly it was a hoax. How? Watch for yourself.

It’s pretty cool, but an obvious hoax. Imagine you’re standing late at night videotaping the scene with a friend because it’s so pretty. Out of nowhere a bright light comes down out of the sky, hovers over one of the most famous temples on the planet, then flashes brilliantly and shoots straight up at fantastic speed.

Would you just stand there like a lump without showing any reaction at all, like the guy in the video?

Also, it seems a little weird that such an incredibly bright object could hang over this heavily visited site, even in the middle of the night, and there were no reports of any eyewitnesses. Just one video that turns up, and a few days later a couple more. Seriously?

And now this video has been conclusively shown to be faked. Whoever made it used commercial software to mimic the "handheld camera" effect, as can be clearly shown in this debunking video (you only need to watch the first minute to see how it was done):

I compared this to the original video, and the mirrored lights at the border are clearly there. In the immortal words of Elaine Benes: "fake, fake, fake fake."

When I was a kid, a video like this would’ve been a sensation, but today the availability of good video editing software makes it clear that any video of a UFO should be treated with an even more-than-usual degree of skepticism. And now that Hollywood has discovered viral video campaigns there’s almost no reason at all to trust any UFO videos (though I doubt this one is for a movie; a professional visual effect company wouldn’t have made that border mistake). As the technology improves, so too must our demands of solid evidence.

Call me when a spaceship lands on the White House lawn and an alien with clearly non-terrestrial evolutionary adaptations hands us a piece of material with non-tellurian isotope ratios. And even then, keep asking questions.


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It’s a UFO by Jove
Erie UFO sounds familiar to me

Comments (97)

  1. mike burkhart

    Maybe its a sing form God? just kidding. I see Phil a fan of the Day the Earth stood still. You know I wonder why Aliens would contact us at alL ? I meen Earth is just small part of the universe and if they are curious about us they could observe us form a far and probaly learn all about us by montering our radio anf tv brocasts that are now moveing at light speed into the vast reaches of space and time. I think the main thing Aliens who are friendly would need to be worried about is there tec falling into the worng hands and us fallable Humans make a big mess of everything .

  2. Idlewilde

    What’s so infallible about aliens? Interplanetary travel doesn’t make you into an all knowing saint.

  3. Thopter

    No, but interplanetary travel does imply that they would know more than we do.

  4. There is at least one other video showing this supposed ufo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyTehM92hi8

  5. Ray

    Or that they stole the spaceship from someone and are joy-riding around the galaxy.

  6. JH

    ^Only about space travel.

  7. Greg

    Nice try. This Is far from debunked. All the videos are legit. It’s easy for you to talk down things you never have seen, or understand.

  8. BIgSoph

    So, that newly contacted Amazon tribe could reverse engineer the plane that photographed them if it crashed?

    Funny how we romanticize primitive peoples and say they have something we are missing and romanticize that a species more advanced than us would be saintly

    I think it is just good old human self-loathing

    If there are aliens reading this – beware. Not all of us humans would surrender our sovereignty because you are uber-enlightened

    If there are primitive peoples reading this, I would like to point out that you can only do that because we are capable. I would not trade interior plumbing, vaccines, and a 80 year lifespan for your best folk wisdom on why the sky gods make thunder

  9. Joseph G

    “Where’s the sonic boom?” would be my first question.
    Also, the Israeli military would be all over that, especially in such a sensitive area. They’re already testing lasers that can shoot down individual mortar rounds in flight, the least they could do is scramble some fighters. The only possible explanation would be that it showed up too quickly to draw a response, but again, that’d imply enormous speed, and yet no noise.

  10. Joseph G

    The really cool thing about modern technology is that video-editing techniques that were beyond even professional filmmakers a few decades ago are now cheap enough for nearly anyone to get hold of. For some (really cool) examples, I refer you to this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3u1QlKUAHI

    Check out the rest of freddiew’s videos, too – he shows exactly how he makes his films, including the “guitar on a car” one above. He’s got some really cool Hollywood gunfight stuff, too.
    Specifically, check the portal gun vid and chrono trigger gunfight :)

  11. Unaspammer

    “a professional visual effect company wouldn’t have made that border mistake”

    It’s more a shortcut than a mistake, really.

    /pedantry

  12. Number 6

    Between the claims that shifts in the Earth’s magnetic fields are causing superstorms and now this fake spaceship sighting, Phil will soon have to clone himself to stay on top of the de-mystifying. Or we may suffer a “debunking gap”!

  13. ERic

    “Where’s the sonic boom?” You just don’t get it. They’re aliens. Their ship moves through air in a way that won’t cause a sonic boom!

    ;)

  14. Martha

    Obviously the aliens have sonic boom dampening technology. It apparently has an unintended side effect that dampens the intelligence of MUFON types.

  15. noen

    Clean up on isle three!

    Huffinton Post has an article on Ahophsis with a video implying that it’s a planet killer and will strike in 2036. This is because the Russians are saying Ahophsis WILL hit or at least that is what the HuffPo is implying. So I am going to guess you’ll get calls about that too.

  16. Joseph G

    @#7 Greg: What?
    He understands it perfectly. You seem to be the one urging us to consider a really, really unlikely explanation. If this video weren’t obviously edited, it’d only bring up even more questions, such as “Why didn’t the devout Jews and Muslims directly under this very bright object see it and report it widely (probably as some divine manifestation)?

    I’d also point out that it’s quite possible to make something like this without the added shaking effect – I’m guessing that they filmed the stock footage on a steady base to make inserting the UFO easier, then added the shaking afterwards, but with the software that’s out these days, they probably could have filmed the original with a shaky handheld cam and skipped that whole step.

  17. Joseph G

    @ 14 Martha: Muhahaha.
    I think it has to do with conservation of energy. In order to suppress its own noise, it has to make the people around it much louder ;)

  18. noen

    “Where’s the sonic boom?”

    There is a guy in my building who totally believes in all this alien junk. He would say it’s because they are using anti-gravity technology and there is a plasma around their craft which somehow makes it able to silently travel though the air, at mach 10 or whatever it is.

  19. Carey

    I thought while I was watching that the camera was remarkably steady. It’s one of the things that infuriates me about amateur video. How freakin’ hard is it to hold a camera steady, people? Even a little dinky camera phone can be held pretty steadily.

    Anyway, I noticed that this one didn’t follow that trend, and I wondered about it. I guess I was right to wonder.

  20. Number 6

    Getting back to the space aliens….If one ever steps out of a ship and utters words similar to this dialect — “Klaatu barada nikto” — that’s bad, but if they say these words — “Holy Haleakala” — we’re OK.

  21. Rob

    I was with you until you suggested you could only believe in an alien being of superior intelligence if it first landed on the White House lawn. ;)

  22. Nemo

    Nice try. This Is far from debunked. All the videos are legit. It’s easy for you to talk down things you never have seen, or understand.

    Well, gee, I’m convinced. That’s such a compelling argument you make there, I don’t know how anyone could remain skeptical.

  23. Dave

    Joan Rivers nailed it when she joked “Why doesn’t a UFO ever land at Yale or Harvard? It’s always near two a–holes with Coors beer in a recreational vehicle”.

  24. Number 6

    @Dave….

    I loved it…Chuckled out loud!…So true!…So true!

  25. CB

    @ noen:

    There is a guy in my building who totally believes in all this alien junk. He would say it’s because they are using anti-gravity technology and there is a plasma around their craft which somehow makes it able to silently travel though the air, at mach 10 or whatever it is.

    That’s so crazy it just might work!

    No, wait — That’s so crazy there’s no chance it would work!

    Hehe. “Plasma” is to UFO and physics crackpots what “crystals” are to alt-med hippies — magic that can do whatever they need it to do in order to defy the laws of physics and reason.

  26. Utakata

    “Life searching for life.”

    …and with this video, life faking life. :(

  27. Kevin R. Bridges

    Judging by the mirroring, you can tell that the original video was completely stationary along the x axis.

    One criticism: While the guy in front didn’t jump up and down, or throw his hat, he did point his phone upward. He was a bit late, though.

  28. Dave

    25 CB –

    “Plasma” is to UFO and physics crackpots what “crystals” are to alt-med hippies — magic that can do whatever they need it to do in order to defy the laws of physics and reason.

    Don’t forget “energy” to psychics –

    It’s always about some kind of ‘energy’ to them

  29. bigjohn756

    I have some questions for the alien UFO believers to answer, to wit, why do these aliens show up so infrequently and never hang around for more than a few seconds? Why don’t they stop by and say hello sometime? How come they drive around mainly at night with their lights on if they don’t want to be sociable. Why do most of their ships either look like hubcaps or are ball shaped? What are these guys made of that lets them withstand incredible G forces? I could go on ad infinitum, but it would take too long.

  30. Max Ehrmann

    What about the other three videos?

  31. CB

    @ Dave:

    Heh. “Energy” is the go-to source of reality-defying magic for pretty much every kind of crazy or bullplop peddler.

  32. CB

    @ bigjohn756:

    I don’t believe in UFOs at all (despite believing there’s a good chance of life out there), but I can still come up with a bunch of BS to answer your questions!

    I mean, they don’t stop and say hello because we’re a backwater planet of losers that isn’t worth speaking to (and it’s possibly forbidden). The ones who do show up only show up for a second at night, or only show up to drunken hillbillies nobody is going to believe, because they’re the equivalent of trust-fund college students having fun on the weekend by hazing the backward planet — thanks go to Douglas Adams for this idea, though I have to admit it’s probably something I’d do if I were a rich and bored alien. They’re all saucer and ball shaped because those are the ideal shapes for a space ship. And the alien ships have inertial dampeners that let the ships zip around without harming the occupants. They’ve already got FTL drives, anti-gravity drives, and anti-sonic-boom-plasma, so it’s not like that’s a big deal! We just think it is because we’re a backwater planet of losers!

    Heh. But seriously, the point is — your rational questions all have irrational answers and aren’t really going to make someone who already accepts the idea of FTL flying saucers visiting us from other worlds so much as bat an eye.

  33. John Sandlin

    There are other take downs of this. One stabilizes the image and you can see all the car head lights and other points of light don’t move, flicker, or change in any way during the whole video. The background is a still image. That’s why the camera shake was added – to simulate a live image that would otherwise be very obviously fake (not that it isn’t anyway).

    jbs

  34. WHAT? No aliens?? Phooey!

  35. Alex Dalton

    Well – you have bad instincts if you just “knew” it was a hoax instantly bc of the man’s reaction. I wouldn’t budge an inch if I saw such a light. There are a million possible explanations for such phenomena.

  36. bigjohn756

    @CB

    But, but CB…if we are such a backwater planet then why are they here at all? Oh, I have it, each visit is from a different planet and they don’t know what a retarded place this is until they arrive. How many technically advanced planets there must be, then, to be sending out all these space explorers!

    But, of course you are right, no amount of explanation is going to convince true believers to abandon their religious beliefs. And, here I was trying to insert an atom of rationality next to their atom of brain in the hope that it would form a molecule of thought. Well, my intentions were good…

  37. CB

    @ bigjohn:

    I already explained that, it’s interstellar frat boys having a good time in their parents’ SUV (Space Utility Vehicle). They just love doing a flyby and then seeing our primitive news media go crazy with all the “Omg space aliens!” “No way, it’s the northern lights reflecting off swamp gas!” “No, it’s Space Jesus come to save us!” and so on.

    Oh and they can tell from a long way off that we’re a backwater planet. As soon as they’re within range of our TV broadcasts and they see our “sitcoms”, they know we’re not worth visiting except for pranking.

  38. Maria

    @19.Yeah. Something about the camera shake got under my skin. It seemed too.. fluid. Like, watery or viewed through water. And the horizon line of whatever the guy is standing on also seems to waver (receding at times) It’s really noticeable when the camera pans out a little. Like it’s not really there (I’ll admit that could be the compression and low lighting playing tricks on my eyes.)

    As an aside, I utterly believe (notice I don’t say ‘know’) that there is sentient life out there, mucking it up in some dusty corner of the cosmos. Call it my one real article of faith.

    But that doesn’t mean I also believe in shy alien spaceships puttering about our airspace playing Doctor with our cattle and unloved hobos, like a pack of outer-space anti-social Mengeles.

  39. Jamie

    There are obvious parallax errors in these videos to. Which is probably the easiest way of deducing that the camera shaking has been added in.

  40. The most depressing thing about all these things are the vast quantities of numbnuts who “know” this is real vs. the scant few who accept a reasoned argument for why it’s not. The fact that the original video has over a million hits on yahootube and the explanation video has a mere 15 thousand says it all.

    Besides, Billy Meier said it was fake.

    //snark

  41. Also, I wonder how such a bright flash would have happened without affecting the auto-exposure control on the camera.

  42. MichaelL

    @7 “This is far from debunked…”

    If you care to look at the responses by some people who have looked at these videos, and scrutinized them, you will clearly see that these Jerusalem UFO videos are fake, and these people even take the time to show you the places in the video that show evidence of ‘fakery.’ Unfortunately, the majority of individuals will jump on board the bandwagon and make uneducated asinine comments. The onus is not on us to prove UFO’s do not exist, it is on the UFO believers to show tangible evidence that UFOs are real. However, when believers try to pass off videos like this as evidence, many of us will gladly comb through it with a fine toothed comb to see if the “evidence” stands up to scrutiny. In this case, as in countless previous cases, it did not. Sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming “Lalalalalala, I can’t hear you!”, does not make it real.

    @39 Jamie:
    The parallax errors were pointed out in one of the first videos responding to the UFO videos.

    Seriously, I would love to see the real thing. I would have been one of the first to whoop it up if it could have been shown that these videos were the real thing.

  43. Ray

    So we know the video was a hoax. Who made it? Were the voices on the video Arabic? If so, can anyone translate?

    And why did they do it? I seriously doubt that a couple of Arab teenagers got together and figured it would be a cool joke to make a hoax UFO over the dome of the rock. When you consider the political and religious value of that location, you have to wonder if this wasn’t some kind of attempt to push some Islamic propaganda.

    It reminds me of the “djinn” videos that are on youtube that were supposedly shot in mosques. Those videos are used by the more faithful to push religious dogma. I can see a video of a bright light over the dome of the rock being pushed in the Arab street as a sign. Remember, if you will, that Iran’s President is an apocalyptic type who’s been preaching the return of the Imam for years.

    Oh, a couple of videos of “djinns” taken in mosques.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkiqtirghbk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouOXWgJS-gc

  44. The Mutt

    Clearly you are not recognizing that the ENERGY PLASMA is reacting on a QUANTUM level.

    And of course the people on the ground didn’t react to the flash of light. It was HOMEOPATHIC light!

    If you could only accept that the VIBRATION of the ENERGY FIELD reacts to your THETANS, you could be CLEAR.

    And you could see that facts have no bearing on reality. As you believe, so shall you do.

  45. zubby

    The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren’t any space aliens. We can’t be the best that creation has to offer. I pray we’re not all there is. If so, we’re in big trouble.

    the universe is just too big for us to be alone!……it just doesnt make sense

  46. MichaelL

    @43, Ray:
    “So we know the video was a hoax. Who made it? Were the voices on the video Arabic? If so, can anyone translate?

    And why did they do it? I seriously doubt that a couple of Arab teenagers got together and figured it would be a cool joke to make a hoax UFO over the dome of the rock. When you consider the political and religious value of that location, you have to wonder if this wasn’t some kind of attempt to push some Islamic propaganda.”

    Why can’t it be a couple of Arab college students out to try and pull a fast one? Why do you assume that they are trying to push some type of Islamic propaganda? That type of conspiratorial thinking is in my opinion worse than what UFO conspirators are trying to push.

    Maybe they were trying to see how gullible some people are. From the results, I would say they were quite effective, if that was what they were trying to accomplish. My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that these guys were a couple of college students that got together and said, “Let’s have some fun with this!” Anyone with a decent computer, and decent CGI software can do this. I remember back in the early 1980’s, here in small west coast Canadian town of Squamish, a couple of guys got together, nailed some 2X4’s together in a cross shape, attached orange garbage bags to it, fixed candles or some other incendiary device to the wood, and launched them from the base of a 2,000 foot granite cliff. for months the town was caught up in a “UFO flap!” It made national news, until one of the UFOs came down in flames and landed on a car causing hundreds of dollars in damage. This was back in the ’80’s! No computers. No photoshop! Just some old fashioned ingenuity.

  47. Michael

    “2. Idlewilde Says:
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    What’s so infallible about aliens? Interplanetary travel doesn’t make you into an all knowing saint.”

    True. Look at the Vogons.

  48. KC

    My first impression was that it was fake. The light looked like it was being reflected from behind the camera onto piece of glass that was being tilted. (I’m sure one could do this digitally as well) Then there’s a strobe – looks like a flash unit also somewhere behind the camera – the light does not seem to come from the object (does not reflect off of the buildings in the foreground).

  49. cmh

    Another note to the hoaxers: when you make a UFO hoax video, try hard to resist the temptation of putting some ridiculous US southerner in the video saying things like “we’ve seen ‘em in Mississippi like dis”. Way too predictable and too much of a caricature, thus making it very obvious. Besides everyone knows people from Mississippi don’t ever travel beyond its confines. JK.

  50. csrster

    Well yes, _this_ video is obviously a fake – presumably it was made by Mossad to discredit by association all the other _genuine_ videos of the UFO. I mean these are the guys who sent a Great White Shark to Sharm el-Sheikh to destabilise the Egyptian government (http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?ID=198286&R=R1) in order to provoke a nuclear war with Iran, so what’s a little UFO cover-up here or there?

  51. Solitha

    @ noen #18…

    Ask your friend why they can’t also run without lights.

    I mean, WE have aircraft that can do that… why can’t they manage it?

  52. What about the other videos, Max? One is a cropped and shakier version of this one, another was faked using a stock photo for the background. The last one is obviously the real video of your chakras being aligned.

  53. Muzz

    A bright flash of light that doesn’t affect anything on the ground? About the only way that can happen is if it’s pointed directly at the camera.
    I gues that just means it’s real and they know we’re watching though, huh.

  54. Nigel Depledge

    The BA said:

    I have received approximately an infinite number of emails . . .

    Let’s see if I can do a convincing Poe here…

    What???!!!

    An infinite number of emails is impossible!!! This is an obvious lie, which means the whole “debunking” ;-0 article is an abvious sham and a lie put-up job paid for by Big Pharma. Or the Pentagon. Or both.

    Not only is it impossible for there to be an infinite number of emails, but the author’s inbox would overflow even before you got to infinity!!!!!111!!!

    Any takers? Or did I include too few spelling mistakes and grammatical erros?

  55. Richie

    As per usual, the BBC provides all the answers – this time from the TV series of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    Arthur: “So how did you get to Earth?”
    Prefect: “I hitched a ride with a couple of teasers”
    Arthur: “Teasers?”
    Prefect: “Yeah, Bored rich kids with nothing to do. They find some backwater planet no-one’s made contact with yet, and …buzz them”
    Arthur: “Buzz them?”
    Prefect: “Well mainly they just find some poor yokels no-one will ever believe, and then strut up and down in front of them making ‘woop-woop’ noises”
    [Arthur looks shocked]
    Prefect: “Rather childish really”

  56. Messier Tidy Upper

    UFO’s ~wise, I think David Brin says it all in this here :

    http://www.davidbrin.com/thoseeyes.htm

    Very well indeed.

    Great short story, even better arguments on things connected with Flying Crockery. 8)

  57. Michel

    “And even then, keep asking questions. ”

    Why?

  58. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Michel : Because thats’s how we learn more & more and how we make sure we know what we think we know.

    Also what I noted before here on an old thread :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/10/03/its-a-ufo-by-jove/#comment-314511

    On the other thread – comment # 123 with a little help from #116. Nigel Depledge there.

    ***

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
    – Carl Sagan.

    Not blurry, fuzzy photos or [fake] video of odd lights that may or may not be anything.

    Not anecdotes or wild conspiracy theory claims.

    Not unreliable eyewitness accounts that we know can be fooled as human eyes, minds and senses often are.

    Real, firm, conclusive, tangible evidence that is clear and unambiguous and extraordinary. That would be convincing.

    That’s what the Flying Saucer crew consistently fail to provide us.

    ***

    Once again, that’s what this faked video fails to provide us.

    I’ love to be proven wrong about UFO’s.
    I’d love them to be visiting aliens albeit one’s behaving badly.
    But to prove it there needs to be, well, proof!

  59. Michel (58):

    “And even then, keep asking questions. ”

    Why?

    A journalist in the making. :-)

  60. Joseph G at #16 said,

    “I’d also point out that it’s quite possible to make something like this without the added shaking effect – I’m guessing that they filmed the stock footage on a steady base to make inserting the UFO easier, then added the shaking afterwards, but with the software that’s out these days, they probably could have filmed the original with a shaky handheld cam and skipped that whole step.”

    Yeah, here’s a quick never-finished example of my short foray in match-moving software, which figured out the 3-axis orientation and translation of a hand-held camera during a video. Matching moving software is amazing—it is unbelievably easy to create very real looking effects these days.

    Here it is with all the tracking points still in it. I never bothered finishing it completely because the sun caused vertical streaking that would have been very difficult to blend the saucer into. I need to go back and give it a try with decent footage and make something entertaining. (I had planned on having the saucer land on my porch table.)

  61. Michel

    ssssstttttt I was for 20 years

    ;)

  62. Piesquared

    I’ve always kinda wondered why alien spacecrafts all seem to have brightly lit exteriors. I mean, airliners are required to have exterior lights so they don’t run into each other but I don’t think those laws apply to spacecraft.

  63. Flash_NNJ

    Phil;

    Even a quick google search will return the result that very soon, this year, the movie UFO , based on the 1970s BBC TV series is going to be released. There was another UFO “sighting” video release a couple of months ago. It had my facebook friends astonished.
    I, of course, was labelled a killjoy for spotting this viral-video marketing campaign so early on, (it’s what you get from working in retail and advertising).
    So, enjoy the commercial, and you producers of UFO, enjoy the “free”* publicity.

    movie link:

    http://ufo-themovie.com/shado/

    *for all I know, the company that owns DiscoverMagazine might own the same company that produced this movie. Thus the large number of ABC “news” stories that just happen to feature Disney stars/movies/TV shows as ABC and Disney are corporately linked.

  64. DrivethruScientist

    @#7 Greg

    I think is a troll. He was on the Bad UFO site too saying the same things, and ignoring the evidence all the same.

  65. jjfrommonroe

    at first i was excited that phil would look into the videos of the incident. there are multiple videos and the one he points out as a clear hoax is not the one that everyone is talking about. this video and the obvious Mississippi tourists is fake as well, but there are at least two with close ups that aren’t so easy to debunk. there is reactions from several spectators in one video that i have in mind and the visuals are amazing. am i saying its real? no, but to dismiss this moment with one of the worst videos that even ufo believers thinks are a plant doesn’t help.

    phil time after time you complain that ufo videos don’t have multiple viewers yet this incident does. why wouldn’t you show each video? and comment on each? be fair or don’t comment on the subject at all, simple as that, it makes you sound like a hypocrite.

  66. @ DrivethruScientist:

    UFO nutters ignoring evidence? I’m SHOCKED!

    @ Flash_NNJ:

    Same thing cropped up a couple years back with the HALO promo video that went viral. Naturally, good old fashioned marketing, a.k.a. selling you crap, was too prosaic an explanation for the die-hard nuts.

    @ Cody:

    Cool! Of course this is OBVIOUSLY not the same as all the myriad genuine UFO videos out there now. Snort!

    And for those who’d like to enjoy (?) a bit of pre-CGI flying saucer non-sensory:

    www (dot) youtube (dot) com/watch?v=hDg3l-88lJc

  67. Hey JJ, you wouldn’t be referring to the video (www (dot) youtube (dot) com/watch?v=rY2FFEufsuY&feature=related) that clearly shows a still image of the old city with the “UFO” flitting about on top of it, would you?

    Because, that would be, like, really lame.

  68. Strahlungsamt

    Wireless internet may very well destroy our chances of contacting intelligent life.

    http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=aliens

  69. Joseph G

    @ 61 Cody: Wow!!! 8-O
    Ahh, “Match-moving” must have been the word I was looking for. I don’t know squat about the actual technology, just that it exists. And it is indeed freakin’ amazing! Think of all the blue-screen scenes in old movies that were just made so darn obvious by a little camera shake.
    If you actually finished up that video, I’m sure you could fool quite a few people.
    Not that that’s saying much, unfortunately :P

  70. Strahlungsamt

    This isn’t a hoax either. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 2 hours in a Lunar Temple filming it before they dropped an atomic bomb on it. Proof: some guy whose name can’t be revealed for fear of his life said so.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWkGTJEK0Mc&feature=related

  71. neednFewer

    Um…the “mirror” effect also happens during the stabilization process, which was probably done. Think about it. Why would they fake camera shake? The landscape scene is not a static, still image, so that wouldn’t be necessary. All these video “expert” wanna-bes have found the dumbest theories to prove the 3 real videos are “fake”. Stay focused on what would need to be faked: the light orb, the flash (very difficult), the orb’s movement (complete with motion blur), and then the red lights flickering in the sky towards the end of the videos. Study those aspects of the 3 videos in question, and it appears they are real. I’ve been in the video biz a long time, and if this event is a fake, it’s the best one yet. One other point: where are all these debunkers coming from and why the debunking frenzy?
    “me thinks thou doth protest too much”

  72. @ neednfewer:

    Gosh, where to start?

    Um…the “mirror” effect also happens during the stabilization process, which was probably done

    Uh, nope. The standard way of stabilizing shaky footage is to track a fixed point, zoom in a bit, then compensate for the motion of that fixed point. Zooming in prevents the edge of the frame from showing. And, uh, what exactly do you mean by the “stabilization process,” as the video is quite obviously not stable? Duh #1.

    Think about it. Why would they fake camera shake?

    Well, probably because jittercam style is in vogue right now? Every two-bit commercial director, and quite a few 4-bit film directors, seem to think it adds “verite” to their crappy images? Duh #2.

    All these video “expert” wanna-bes have found the dumbest theories to prove the 3 real videos are “fake”.

    How, exactly, is explaining how to produce the said effects, including pointing out the obvious artifacts of said effects, “dumb?”

    “That word you use, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Duh #3.

    study those aspects of the 3 videos in question, and it appears they are real.

    Uh, no, again, they appear to be the result of standard effects you can generate with Adobe After Effects. Moving lights…check. Flash…check. Motion blur…check. Duh #4.

    I’ve been in the video biz a long time, and if this event is a fake, it’s the best one yet.

    Well, at least you didn’t say, “It’s the pixels.” Remind me never to hire you to produce media. Not that I’ll be needing a wedding video anytime soon. Duh #5.

    One other point: where are all these debunkers coming from and why the debunking frenzy?

    Well, gee, Badastronomy is a blog by a guy who is a fairly noted personage in the skeptic movement? His blog is devoted to just this sort of thing? He promotes critical thinking and real science over incredulity and pseudoscience?

    Duh #6 and we’re out.

  73. neednFewer

    @kuhnigget
    Oops. Sorry to participate in this “forum”. Sorry to have to have an opposing point of view. It is obvious by your defensive, snide reply that I offended you. And, I am sorry to hear that you won’t be hiring me. I can tell by your extensive use of the word duh that you hire many video producers. As you youngsters say, my bad.

  74. Neednfewer, opposing views are quite welcome, just be prepared to back them up with something other than your own grand pronouncements. I can’t help but notice you didn’t actually counter any of my rebuttals. So, pot meet kettle?

    As for snide…puh-leeze! You caught me in a pleasant mood! Stick around.

    And as for video producers, I hire quite a few, actually, given that I’ve worked in the entertainment and media industries for…oh, let’s see….25+ years now?

  75. Mark Hansen

    neednFewer, the debunking frenzy, as you call it, is in response to the gushing “ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, THEY’S HERE” reaction to the videos. Or, if you’d prefer, we’re all getting paid by Big Pharma™, Teh Ebil Gummint™, the NWO™, and/or Our Nibiru Reptilian Overlords™ to do this debunking and keep mankind safely ovine and easy to control. Speaking of which, where is my latest debunkers cheque? Damned Greys, always stealing my mail…

  76. Joel

    I’m also convinced it was a fake, for one very good reason. I have a strong suspicion that any mysterious lights seen flying over the centre of Jerusalem would probably start world war 3. That hasn’t happened, yet. Thus I conclude that the video is a fake.

  77. Muzz

    Sorry neednFewer. I have trouble believing you’ve worked in video for as long as you say. Or if you have you’ve developed no eyes for the quality of video vs artificial insertions and not touched post production animation software like After Effects et al (quite possible). Indeed the peculiar quality of the motion and motion blur in most of these is part of what marks it as a rudimentry post production effort and gives the game away. (you can do flashes like that in your sleep too. Particularly, as I mentioned earlier, when they have no real effect on the lighting on the ground. It’s sole effect is that of a narrow beam of light pointed directly at the camera

  78. Nigel Depledge

    JJfrommonroe (66) said:

    am i saying its real? no, but to dismiss this moment with one of the worst videos that even ufo believers thinks are a plant doesn’t help.

    phil time after time you complain that ufo videos don’t have multiple viewers yet this incident does. why wouldn’t you show each video? and comment on each? be fair or don’t comment on the subject at all, simple as that, it makes you sound like a hypocrite.

    First off, man you need to get your shift key fixed. In English, sentences and proper nouns start with capital letters.

    Second, you quite obviously don’t get it.

    The concept of intelligent alien life that is capable of casually-routine interstellar travel but that refuses to make contact with us and yet is so incompetent at hiding that they get seen all the time is a pretty unlikely scenario. This does not mean it is impossible.

    However, what this does mean is that it will take some pretty hard evidence to convince a rational person that this is real. As Phil said, when they land and make contact, then we will believe in them. If they leave some kind of residue behind that can be shown to be non-terrestrial in origin, then we will believe in them.

    Otherwise, the explanations for UFO sightings about which we do know (such as hoaxes) are orders of magnitude more plausible than “alien spaceships”.

    In the absence of genuine evidence, the assumption of the existence of alien space travellers violates the principle of parsimony.

  79. Dr.Sid

    It’s an UFO, that’s right. But why everybody thinks it is ETs ? In Jerusalem !? It clearly is Lord Jesus Christ himself ! Which also solves the problem with sonic booms .. hes god damn GOD !
    That is actually pretty simple argument .. if you can’t tell if ‘something weird’ is UFO, angel, ghost, Jesus, whatever .. then maybe it’s not anything weird at all.

  80. Nigel Depledge

    NeednFewer (74) said:

    Oops. Sorry to participate in this “forum”. Sorry to have to have an opposing point of view. It is obvious by your defensive, snide reply that I offended you. And, I am sorry to hear that you won’t be hiring me. I can tell by your extensive use of the word duh that you hire many video producers. As you youngsters say, my bad.

    Any chance this could actually be a Poe?

    If not, I’ll back up what kuhnigget said with a few points of my own…

    First off, as kuhnigget points out, your participation is welcome, as are opposing views. What is not welcome is you making claims without any support, apart from an argument from authority (a classic logical fallacy), citing yourself as the authority.

    Second, when you post stuff that you seem to have just made up, what do you expect but that someone will rip it to shreds?

    If you really are a video producer, how come you’re so agog at effects that can be produced trivially erasily with the right software? Are you really so naive that – even were you unaware of the software that kuhnigget mentions – you would think it is difficult to produce digitally the effects to which you refer as “proving” the video to be “genuine”?

  81. @ Nigel:

    Any chance this could actually be a Poe?

    Nah, Mr. Niedenfuer is a fan of various forms of woo, from crop circles to the whole, “after 2012 things will be different” silliness.

    He is also at least marginally familiar with Apple’s Final Cut video editing software, or so he claims. Yet, how he could use it and not be aware of the fairly sophisticated effects built into even the most basic versions of that program remains a question. Perhaps he never read the manual.

    As with most UFO nutters, he’s not really interested in logical debate or reason, he only wants his expert wisdom to be received as the earth-shaking proof he himself believes it to be.

  82. I don’t understand the “if this is fake, it’s the best one yet” type comments that I’ve seen associated with these videos at a number of places. Can somebody please explain how ‘fuzzy unresolved light moving across the screen’ gets the title of ‘best UFO video ever’? Even *I* could whip up something of similar quality on my computer, never mind someone who actually knows what they’re doing!

    I’ve seen this sort of comment made for other UFO videos in the past. I guess it’s really one of the only defences that UFO proponents have to prevent the “fake video is more likely than alien spacecraft” (read: rational) debunking.

  83. neednFewer

    @muzz I wasn’t talking about the close-up ‘Mississippi woman” plant video. It indeed had no peripheral light reflection on the flash.
    @chrissyo. I said best EVENT yet. Not video. Extenuating circumstances, multiple angles, many reports to the police, all those unimportant details.
    Kuhnnigget, you crack me up. In the same sentence, you call me a “UFO nutter” and then claim to be in a logical debate. You guys can spend the next couple of days figuring out the different ways you’re going to beat me up after school. I am out of this “discussion”. I have work to get back to.

  84. @ neednFewer:

    Funny, but you seem to have again forgotten the part of your latest comment where you actually address the arguments made by kuhnigget and others in response to your earlier comment. And you’re the one accusing others of not wanting to have a “logical debate”? Amusing. Pot meet kettle, have a nice day. :)

    Edit: Event/video – as far as I’m concerned, my comment addresses both. This is hardly the “best” example of a UFO video *or* a UFO event. As others have pointed out, only relatively basic video editing techniques are required to replicate such a video and many aspects about the “event” itself are highly questionable (like how we have multiple videos of such a bright object over an important landmark but essentially no other eyewitnesses – certainly nowhere near the number you should expect?). The whole thing stinks of phooey. And yet it’s being lauded as some excellent example of UFOery. It’s inane.

    Also, as I said, this isn’t the only place I’ve seen such a comment made (for example, see the Universe Today article on the subject – comment 1 by ‘ufojack’) – my comment wasn’t referring solely to you.

  85. UFO nutter – definition:

    Steadfastly, desperately, believes that unidentified lights in the sky are alien spacecraft or other such outlandish explanations, despite no evidence supporting such.

    Ignores commonplace explanations for same, despite solid evidence supporting such.

    Equates own opinions, typically presented in grand poobah pronouncement mode, with solid evidence.

    When called to task for his unsupported opinions masquerading as fact, complains that he is an “outsider” and “obviously not welcome” in the debate, despite the fact he doesn’t actually debate.

    Calls others out for name-calling, when he plays the same game himself. (Oh, you old people, you!)

    Makes endless “final comments” appended with the standard “I’ve got better things to do” whine.

    Fails, repeatedly, to actually counter any arguments presented against him.

    Co-mingles with fellow nutters swapping phoney youtube videos, conspiracy theories, and assorted nuttiness rather than actually learning something new, such as critical thinking skills, or in this case, the basics of digital video manipulation, that might actually help advance his standing relative to the population at large.

    So, yeah, Tom, I think the “nutter” label fits pretty well. But then I’m just a mean old rationalist.

  86. Muzz

    neednFewer: I’m not talking about the mississippi one either. I’m talking about the more recent one linked at #47. While it’s better than the others it’s still not that hard to do, ultimately. The large flash at the end, before the thing zips off, shows no impact on the ground except to brighten already bright points. While it’s possible the light isn’t meant to be that bright and is pointing right at the camera, I doubt it because such a light would affect the entire frame and not just an area below the object. Plus, as we can see when the thing leaves, its mere presence is supposedly brightening the entire area below it in a similarly undetailed fashion (I’d say they have masked around some of the buildings more to the foreground, but it isn’t enough to suggest such a vastly bright light source). This tends to mark it as an overlay. A lot of people are terribly impressed by the moving glow on the dome itself. Me, less so

  87. What gets me most riled is the way you can continually explain to people how video, still images, and audio tracks (e.g. “mississippi” woman reacting to a fireworks show…clearing audible in the b.g.) can be randomly grabbed off the internet, layered with simple visual effects via commonly used and commercially available software, and then posted on the internet to make a stir…and they STILL would rather believe it’s a spacecraft from another world, or a pan-dimensional hoozeewhatzit, or an angel, or whatever.

    It happens over and over again. Yet, still they believe.

  88. Nigel Depledge

    NeednFewer (84) said:

    Kuhnnigget, you crack me up. In the same sentence, you call me a “UFO nutter” and then claim to be in a logical debate.

    Nope, he called you a UFO nutter (which, BTW, is pretty damned obvious from your comments) and then pointed out that you refuse to participate in a logical debate.

    Prime example – how about you respond to the actual points he and I have raised instead of sniping at trivia?

    You guys can spend the next couple of days figuring out the different ways you’re going to beat me up after school.

    Actually, your comments can be torn to shreds without much need for extensive thought. Your “arguments” really are that lame.

    I am out of this “discussion”.

    You never even entered it.

  89. Nigel Depledge

    @ Kuhnigget (90) –
    Two words: confirmation bias.

  90. nobodyspecial

    fake video to entertain the stupid

    “you can’t fix stupid” – Ron White

    maker of the video is lolrofl @ all the beLIEvers

    this is just hype for psychout of 2011

    to debunk this video look at the metadata or analyze the video’s anomalies any 9/11 nutjob will show you how to spot them

  91. Steve Boltzman

    @ Kuhnigget

    >> the “nutter” label fits pretty well. But then I’m just a mean old rationalist.<<

    Keep telling yourself that, you nutter-apostate. Noobs to skepticism like you are the worst sort of metareligious fanatics. And having absolutely zero scientific expertise doesn’t help.

    >> What gets me most riled is the way you can continually explain to people….<<

    So maybe one day you'll graduate from negative pseudoskepticism to positive debunking. But I DOUBT IT!

    Skeptimus Maximus

  92. Steve Boltzman

    @ Kuhnigget

    >> video…can be [created and manipulated] with simple visual effects…and then posted on the internet to make a stir.… <<

    You mean as the Italian self-styled astrophotographer, Alberto Mayer, did with his "UFO over the Moon" video hoax, that simple-minded wannabe skeptics like you misinterpreted as a literal "balloon" in front of his telescope? And that was exactly what he wanted, to get his name known as the "UFO" nutter who got bonehead "skeptics" to squeal "weather balloon."

  93. Jim Andrews

    It’s a grand fake. Kudos to the guys who made it. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater here. I will just address the sonic boom criticism. It’s theoretically possible to affect spacetime in ways that make such speed and acceleration possible. Doing it that way would not only create no sonic boom but would also, theoretically, have no inertia effect on the craft and its occupants. Theory, but at a practical level, virtually impossible.

  94. fsb1004

    I am going to state this here … only because I can’t find anyplace else to state it, and it has been bugging the hell out of me. For the record, I am not a fruitcake or a conspiracy-nut and I am NOT Jewish ….. (actually, I am a Licensed Professional Engineer).

    In Late January of 2011, there was video footage of alleged UFO activity over the “Dome of the Rock” in Israel (you can still Google it today). Anyways, I pulled it up because a fellow employee was sorta INTO that kinda thing. Basically, it was your typical long-distance video of glowing orbs descending onto this Holy-Site. Then I started thinking … this is one of the Holiest-Sites in the world — maybe someone closer had better footage. So, I pulled up additional video footage of the same event .. and sure enough, there was video footage of someone right at the base of the Temple looking “up” at this weird phenomenon. I watched that video in complete “awe” of what I was seeing. It very clearly showed some sort of craft with two glowing bands of energy that circled it (similar in the fashion of a gyroscope). It then dawned on me that THIS is what Ezekiel must have witnessed (and described) in the Old Testament (i.e., a “wheel within a wheel”). I then saved the link to my computer.

    Anyways, the next day I told my co-worker and my boss about the video and proceeded to show it to them. The problem was that the Video was “pulled” from YouTube, specifically stating that it was confiscated by the Israeli government (i.e., it is their legal right). What I then found really strange was the non-stop concerted effort employed to completely discredit the entire event! There is no record of that particular Video … and I believe they now state that it was “withdrawn by the owner”. I only wish NOW that I should have taken multiple screen-shots of different views from that video.

    My Engineer’s technical opinion on what I saw …. the energy-bands I viewed were most likely a 3-dimensional shadow of some form of 4-dimensional energy/craft (similar to a Tesseract or HyperCube). This whole event has made me Rethink my viewpoint on the entire UFO phenomonon. I am NOT saying that I am a believer … but I definitely no longer dismiss UFO claims as pure fantasy or fiction.

    I feel somewhat “relieved” to finally tell my story. Long-Story short … please don’t completely discredit what you may hear/read from former/current credible or experienced witnesses.

    Thanks.

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