Sunday, 23 May 2010

Mama, they're making CGI's at me!

Also in April The Sun claimed fighter jets had been captured on film in daylight pursuing a UFO over the M5 motorway. We were told “a mystery cameraman” obtained the footage from a West Midlands service station car park and posted the footage on YouTube. Ex MoD saucer-botherer Nick Pope was quoted as saying this was “one of the best videos” he had seen and suggested the object was either a military drone or “the real thing” – “a UFO in our airspace and military aircraft scrambled to intercept.”

But was it? Had the balloon gone up? Or was it just another cynical exercise to attract readers? If so readers were not taken in.

Immediately, commentators dismissed the footage as fake. Questions asked included: why was there just one witness and why was he anonymous? why do both the UFO and the jets appear to be motionless and why do the trucks appear so clean and spotless? Another identified the jets as Russian Sukhoi Su-27s, not normally part of the RAF’s interceptor force!

All the clues pointed towards a clever hoax. Investigative UFOlogist Isaac Koi - who has a fantastic new website here - spent an afternoon scrutinising the mystery footage and consulted CGI experts who have posted similar films on YouTube. One said: “…everything that appears in the video is digital. The textures are very clean. The trucks, the tree, the UFO, the jets. Not mine, but it is very good, and is CGI.”

Not conclusive proof, but it shows what an enquiring kind and a small investment of time can come up with. Koi pointed out there is a P&O container in the foreground of the video on which some serial numbers are visible. Suspiciously, the camera appears to focus on the serial number before shifting to the UFO. He then traced an online 3D image of a P&O container with a serial number visible, which appears to be the same serial number as the container image online.

Conclusive evidence the video is a hoax?

Yes. The creator of the video confessed on 21 April and posted the full video on YouTube, along with a stage-by-stage account of how it was produced using a simple computer programme. It appears the whole story was a clever exercise in viral marketing - with the tabloids and UFO 'experts' all taken in by their will to believe.

Bear in mind that none of the international news outlets - including The Sun and Daily Mail - who ran the original story have told their readers it was a hoax.

As a YouTube viewer commented, the hoax revelation has received just 65 hits in five days. That compares to the original footage, which received hundreds of thousands of views, net comment and international media coverage.

Won't get fooled again?

Only 'till next time.



    There's your proof. The video was done in Vue too, which is a 3D program that any hobbyist could easily afford. That was the most shocking revelation of the entire episode. I figured it was CG, but thought much more professional level programs were used.

  2. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Frank. I've updated the blog entry on the M5 hoax with a link to the full version on YouTube.