Debunked: Human Birdwings - Hoax.

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
[Edit: it's a hoax, but apparently nothing to do with Nintendo. He claims to be just an artist. ]

I'm 98% sure this is some creative viral marketing for Nintendo's upcoming game Kid Icarus. It's an extensive series of videos and a blog proporting to show a wing-flapping flying machine.

http://www.humanbirdwings.net/

Culminating in this video:



The video has many people crying foul, it has rather odd transitions, very suspiciously blurry and low quality video, and the helmet-cam footage does not seem to match the ground footage - at one point being cropped, as if to disguise this fact. But the most damning evidence comes in the 13th video, where a repair patch magically appears on the wing in a supposedly continuous shot with a suspicious transition.



In video 14, there are several more patches, but they at least keep continuity this time:



Note the gearwheel design on the right is black in one video, but white in the other. This is because it's backlit in 14. But since the patch is solidly visible in both, then it can't simply be a trick of the light.

The Nintendo connection is that he uses WiiMote controllers as haptic devices, and the video campaign culminates three days before the release of Kid Icarus:Uprising on the Nintendo 3DS on March 23rd, 2012.



The web site also tags some of the pages with the word "Icarus".

http://www.humanbirdwings.net/tag/icarus



And this is all besides the sheer physical impossibility of it. It was a windless day, he's barely jogging, and somehow it manages to lift up about 160 pounds of machinery and human. Google Earth indicates that he's actually running UPHILL on a slight gradient.

It's funny they are so concerned about the weight of the fabric, which comes to just 1Kg. Yet seemingly unconcerned about the weight or fitness of Jarno Smeets. Jarno seems like a regular sized (but taller than that his friends), regular fitness guy. It seems like they would be much better suited to have someone smaller and stronger doing the test if a few grams in wing material were to make all the difference.



Very interesting to watch the press lap it up though. And another lesson to not believe everything you read on the internet, or see on YouTube.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Then there's this guy, clipping through the wing:


Even on the second image his feet are in front of the wing, and on the last shot, he's clearly meant to be 2-3 feet in front, based on the shadow, yet the tip of the wing is still in front of his leg.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
There are some minor continuity issues with video 14. The audio is set up like it's continuous, but it cuts from:

To


The guy who was adjusting the camera has moved to the right, and a different guy is now behind Jarno.
 
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U

Unregistered

Guest
While I don't believe it is real, the "debunking" is just as bad! The guy "clipping through the wings"???? No he doesn't! People being in different positions in different video shots???? Seriously??? Do you guys know nothing about editing video? And as far as Nintendo is concerned, there is no way they would allow the f-bomb to be spoken in any of its promotions!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Well technically it's the wing clipping through the guy. He's in front of the wing, yet the wind appears as if it's in front of him

Obviously the video was edited. The question is why they edited it as if to appear it was continuous, when there were actually large gaps in continuity.

Nintendo games have had viral marketing before, with some R-rated content, see:

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Good job I reserved that 2%. I only need it 1 in 50 times :)

It will be interesting to see how he did it, and how many of the things people spotted as problem are really real problems.

I also find it interesting how many ardent defenders there were. People like rooting for things.

Just watching the video - I see he notes the black sticker as an importnat thing people should have spotted. Fascinating.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
http://www.floriskaayk.com/index.html

Today, I revealed my latest project on Dutch prime-time TV show 'De wereld draait door'. In the past months I have been working on an exciting fictional online storytelling project called Human Birdwings. To be precise, Human Birdwings was an online adventure and invention story in which fictional character Jarno Smeets developed wings in a do-it-yourself manner. The intention of this project was to share a personal, yet universal dream about flying like a bird. Technological developments of the last decade, gave this fantasy more relevance then ever before. By taking advantage of this technological revolution, I designed a haptic flapping wing-system which in theory would make it possible to fly like a bird.

The story of Jarno Smeets' ambition and dream-come-true was distributed on online platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a blog. With this, I aimed to make the audience part of an exciting experimental online storytelling format and had them participate by sharing their own ideas, dreams and solutions for building the wings.

The Human Birdwings project was a non-commercial media project supported by a professional team. The story was carefully crafted and build over a period of around eight months, creating the fictional character of Jarno, his backstory and the storylines leading to the final flight. We have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive reactions we got from all over the world, both on the original ideas of building the wings, the dream of flying as well as on the fact that in the end it is a fictional project.

Human Birdwings was produced by Revolver Media and intitiated by the Dutch public service broadcaster NTR. In the coming month I will share a making-of about my project.

http://www.revolver.nl/index.php?page=newsdetail&CID=2144

Today, we revealed our latest project on Dutch prime-time TV show 'De wereld draait door'. In the past months we have been working on an exciting fictional online storytelling project called Human Birdwings. To be precise, Human Birdwings was an online adventure and invention story in which fictional character Jarno Smeets developed wings in a do-it-yourself manner. The intention of this project was to share a personal, yet universal dream about flying like a bird. The story of Jarno Smeets' ambition and dream-come-true was distributed on online platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a blog. With this, we aimed to make the audience part of an exciting experimental online storytelling format and had them participate by sharing their own ideas, dreams and solutions for building the wings.


This transmedia story was carefully crafted and build over a period of around eight months, creating the fictional character of Jarno, his backstory and the storylines leading to the final flight. We have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive reactions we got from all over the world, both on the original ideas of building the wings, the dream of flying as well as on the fact that in the end it is a fictional project.


Within 2 days the last film reached over 3,200,000 views and 12,000 reactions on Youtube, while all videos on the channel have been watched over 4,500,000 times. The story of Jarno Smeets was covered by major media like BBC, Wired, Daily Mail, Gizmodo, Techcrunch, Discovery and many Dutch media. We stopped counting the amount of tweets about the project, but we're talking tens of thousands. Even the Mythbusters shed their light on the matter.


Human Birdwings was produced by Revolver Media and intitiated by the Dutch public service broadcaster NTR. In the coming month we will share a making-of about my project

 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
So, Dutch public TV is involved in production of a hoax? That's odd.
One thing I noticed was the change in sky color when the CGI segment started rolling, about the same time his legs move up to that impossible horizontal position.

To me, that transition, the legs moving from hanging down to horizontal, let me see the fakery beginning.
He's not in a typical hang-glider sling, the wings are attached directly to his shoulders, and basically supported by his arms.
Go to a chin-up bar and try to move your legs into a horizontal position, and imagine what abdominal force it would take to do that and maintain a flapping motion at the same time!
 
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