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  1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    [​IMG]

    A video is being widely shared on social media (and the "weird news" sections of more traditional media) claiming to show the image of an impossibly large city rising above the fog in the city of Foshan (佛山), Guangdong province, China

    [​IMG]

    Here's a composite image of the Foshan video
    [​IMG]

    Notice the scale of things here, there are what looks like two construction cranes on the "horizon" to the left, and the buildings seem to loom high into the sky above them.
    [​IMG]

    Some have said this is an example of a fata morgana, a type of mirage where light is bent though the atmosphere in such a way to create the illusion of buildings on the horizon. This is utterly impossible in this case, as fata morgana only creates a very thin strip of such an illusion very close to the horizon, and appears small and far away. It does not create images high in the sky.
    [​IMG]

    Besides, a fata morgana might create the illusion of buildings by stretching landscape features, or it might distort existing buildings. But what it cannot do it create a perfect image of existing nearby buildings, complete with windows.

    [​IMG]

    The fata morgana explanation has been promoted with quotes from Atomospheric Sciences professor Kenneth Bowman, who gives a detailed explanation of what a fata morgana is. Unfortunately this was quoted in such a way that it seems like he though this was the explanation here. When I contacted him about this he said:

    So no expert has actually looked at this video and said it was a fata morgana, and they won't because it's obviously not.

    The second and more common type of "floating city" illusions is with buildings that are simply rising up out of clouds or low fog, and hence appear to be floating above them. This has led to "floating city" stories in the past, with this recent example, also from China.
    [​IMG]
    This is simply a photo of building across the river, but when cropped it appears like they are floating, which led to all kinds of wild stories of "ghost cities". This actually came from mistranslations of the original news reports, where local people (who knew exactly what they were looking at) were simply marveling at how pretty the scene looked, with the buildings appearing to float above clouds.
    [​IMG]

    Could the Foshan video be of real buildings obscured by clouds? It does not appear so. Look at some real buildings in Foshan (and keep in mind it's not entirely clear if Foshan is the actual setting of either the top or the bottom of the video.

    [​IMG]

    Consider what it would take for these buildings to appear like they do in the video, with the road beneath them. The scale is simply impossible. The image has to be composited somehow, and the possibilities are:
    • Computer generated buildings spliced into the video of the road.
    • Two different videos spliced together
    • The video is shot though glass, and the buildings are behind the camera, or to the side (with the glass at around 45°, like a half open window/door)
    It's unfortunate that many people leap for the "fata morgana" or other mirage explanation when it's quite clear that this is far too high in the sky to be anything like that.

    The image actually looks quite like this older image taken from a video published in June 2015.
    [​IMG]

    Here we can see the image is more obviously faked in some way. The "floating" building on the right goes in front of the mountains. This means it cannot be some kind of natural phenomena. The image is either a digital composite, or it was filmed through a window or other sheet of glass.

    While the two examples are not identical, there's enough similarities to think that they were faked in the same manner.
    [​IMG]

    Here's an example of how a reflection from a half open glass door (opening outwards) can appear to be an image in the sky.


    Here's an example of someone posting a reflection on Weibo, and calling it a "Mirage" (海市蜃楼)
    http://weibo.com/1560923874/Bjzjrjlqd
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    On Weibo it's quite common to see the word "mirage" used to describe a photo of buildings in cloud. i.e. it's generally used figuratively.
    [​IMG]

    The individual characters of 海市蜃楼 translate as

    海 - Sea
    市 - City
    蜃 - Mirage
    楼 - Floor
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
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  2. Spectrar Ghost

    Spectrar Ghost Senior Member

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  3. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    It's much too high in the sky. I think that part is simply CGI.

    I was looking into this just the other day. There's another version of the video doing the rounds which includes snippets of a totally different video, filmed in Huangshan back in 2011. (The "above clouds" example quoted by Mick above.) That was picked up by several news sites as a "mirage" when all it was was, as explained, buildings visible in their normal place with the foreground obscured by mist.

    http://aukiman.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/huangshan-city-mirage-all-down-to-bad.html

    upload_2015-10-20_16-22-23.
     
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  4. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    This video includes more apparently fake images from various locations, but also includes this image which appears to be real, but not a mirage:

    upload_2015-10-20_16-27-2.

    This appears to be a shadow cast by a tower (with the sun behind it) onto low cloud or mist.
     
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  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The UFOSightings2010 video is Oct 13th, but the Chinese media video is from Oct 9, so there must be earlier video without the chinese text over it.



    Anyone seen earlier examples of the raw video?
     
  6. Trailspotter

    Trailspotter Senior Member

    My first thought was a reflection of the buildings behind the camera in the window pane in the front of the camera. Like this one in the train window:
    6a705d21dd1aa2d0d5149721ab9d9f8a.
     
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  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, I'd considered clouds shadows. But you would have to have a crazy odd set of circumstances for it to work, in this case, none of which seem to be there, and the geometry does not work out.

    In most cloud shadows you get that 3D effect of streaks of light, as the shadow is volumetric.

    I had considered adding it as an example of a "floating city" illusion, but could not find any good examples. There are some pretty effects though:
    5d480727caaf22a18b3a5875017dc8e2.
     
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  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    It's tricky to see how that could happen. The are looking down at the road, but up at the buildings.

    Suppose though he were on top of a medium height building, there's a glass wall around the rim of the building, and behind him there's these much taller buildings partially obscured by cloud? That seems theoretically possible, if unlikely.
     
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    This older video shows some somewhat similar scenes:

    Translation: "Chongqing city discovered mirage"

    Cities in clouds are popular subjects in China

    Translation: "Recently, Hong Kong fine mist of water before and after the early morning sunrise, Victoria Harbour Language among the clouds, like a mirage."

    While both videos are obviously just a city in clouds, they are both described as "海市蜃楼", mirage. An image search for this word gives many other examples, largely of buildings rising above clouds, but also some Fata Morgana, as well as many artistic interpretations
    https://www.google.com/search?q=海市蜃楼&num=50&es_sm=119&tbm=isch
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  11. Hama Neggs

    Hama Neggs Senior Member

    On the national "news" program GOOD MORNING AMERICA this morning they gave the "fata morgana" explanation as the absolutely final and only possible one.
     
  12. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That last one, above, does look very like a reflection.
    Here's a very quick and dirty proof of concept for compositing scenes with just a small glass slide. It's shakey because it's handheld, and the lighting is not ideal, but I still manage to get a house (kind of) floating in the sky.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
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  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting that the "video" is just a series of still images, with panning effects applied.

    And apparently identical buildings (the large tower blocks) are shown at very different heights in the sky.

    Edit: the photos are shown in their entirety here: http://french.china.org.cn/travel/txt/2015-06/15/content_35825788.htm

    Look at the right-hand side here: it looks like a window frame, suggesting this is a reflection.

    cffdea2ad150d6b54bb4cfd35458c77a.

    This picture also seems to include a piece of window frame at the extreme top left, plus a bright reflection at lower right and some water or dirt on glass at the top.

    upload_2015-10-20_20-55-56.

    Judging from the foreground, this was taken in a car park, maybe from a bus?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
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  14. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    i'm getting confused. so.. are there 3 'videos'/photos (oct 7th in Fashon, Oct 12 th in Jiangxi, and June 12th in Hebei Chengde)?
    with 'matching' buildings (somewhat) and matching cranes? My mind cant sort them :confused: I give up.

    splice.PNG


    http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/10/ghost-cities-mysteriously-appear-over-parts-of-china/

    http://news21c.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-6068.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  15. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, this older example is almost certainly a reflection, you can see the image of the building continue in front of the hills.
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    Different cities. The "cranes" in the Chengde one are utility poles or light poles, I think. And the buildings are different shapes, albeit in the standard Chinese tower block style :)

    It's a shame there is no Street View in these places. I had a look at Panoramio pictures of Chengde but couldn't find the landmarks.
     
  17. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    yea i meant the Oct '9th' and Oct 12th shots. Their buildings are different though and teh cranes are different levels. Could just be cranes are everywhere in China. :)
    x.PNG
     
  18. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I've edited the OP to include the older video, and the possibility of a reflection.
     
  19. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    sorry my link is wrong. it stated the 'from apartment' photo as Oct 12th but here it too is posted Oct 9th.

    10906488_619144828189004_3840521519010398427_n.
     
  20. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Probably. While they are simlar, they are not the same.
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

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  22. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Ive got the Jiangxi (?) photo from Oct 8th/7th too. http://news.sina.com.cn/s/wh/2015-10-09/doc-ifxirmpz8175608.shtml

     
  23. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That looks a reflection though a dual pane door (or window). Something that opens outwards, and can be angled to see in the other direction.
    cdccf5bba26fece65531f79c7de6d9df.

    I've been taking photos of a ghost tree I saw in my backyard. It has a similar doubled up appearance due to the dual pane door. The door is opened out 45 degrees, so it shows what is to the side, not behind.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
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  24. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    A similar vdeo was posted claiming to be of Los Angeles.



    The viewpoint is Marina del Rey, end of Bora Bora way, looking south.

    I suspect this is computer generated.
     
  25. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    This reminds me of the famous 'Silent City' photograph of 1888...
    99032672085dd071488ff5c5dde4d7a0.
    However in a good bit of Victorian debunking the truth soon came out.

    For the record, here is the view from roughly the same location in the 1990's
    064929c6efb526bf74a779f3abd7e01e.
    and a modern one
    4e706908800ffcb7997b141e39453ecc.
     
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  26. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I made this video later in the day, and it is closer to the video in question, in terms of color and lighting:
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  27. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Chinese media are also suggesting glass reflection:
    http://news.mingpao.com/ins/instantnews/web_tc/article/20151009/s00004/1444367782486
    (google Translate)

    http://tech.gmw.cn/newspaper/2015-10/09/content_109472832.htm
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  28. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Chinese Debunking.

    http://guoqing.china.com.cn/2015-10/09/content_36769566_4.htm
     
  29. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    Trying to pin down the location. Strange Google Translation issue here:

    "Quebec Church Road" is actually 魁奇路, which is Kuiqi Road.

    The location would appear to be the intersection of this road with Foshan Avenue (Fo Shan Da Dao Zhong), which is here (Chinese Google Maps has a deliberate offset between the mapping and the satellite imagery).

    upload_2015-10-21_18-30-28.
    upload_2015-10-21_18-35-49.


    I haven't had any luck matching up features in the video with this area, though. There appears to be some kind of roof (maybe a covered toll plaza?) across the highway in this image:

    [​IMG]
     
  30. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, from the quote above:
     
  31. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    It's interesting that the Chinese stories mostly report that the conditions are not right for a mirage, and it would be physically impossible anyway, and that a reflection was likely. And yet the Western media reported it as if this was a settled matter, a fata morgana viewed by thousands of people.
     
  32. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Slightly better quality video, attached:
     

    Attached Files:

  33. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The file name translates as "Lianyungang mirage, forwarding bring good luck."

    Lianyungang is a different city to Foshan
     
  34. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    hhmm they do have those toll booths. hard to tell as my google maps has no trees :)
    y1.PNG
     
  35. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  36. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The fata morgana explanation has been promoted with quotes from Atomospheric Sciences professor Kenneth Bowman, who gives a detailed explanation of what a fata morgana is. Unfortunately this was quoted in such a way that it seems like he though this was the explanation here. When I contacted him about this he said:

    So no expert has actually looked at this video and said it was a fata morgana, and they won't because it's obviously not.
     
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  37. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

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  38. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  39. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

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  40. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Good analysis by Captain Disillusion, who sides with computer generated fake.


    I'm still going with a reflection.