Explained: "Beam" in Video of Explosion In Iraq. [Rolling Shutter Artifact]

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
This video of an explosion in Iraq last month is doing the rounds with the claim that it shows a "directed energy weapon". It appears to be another rolling-shutter artifact, with the light source from the explosion rather than lightning.

 

CeruleanBlu

Senior Member.
This video of an explosion in Iraq last month is doing the rounds with the claim that it shows a "directed energy weapon". It appears to be another rolling-shutter artifact, with the light source from the explosion rather than lightning.

That explosion was filmed from at least 3 different cameras, and the "directed energy weapon" flash that is visible in the video you posted is not visible in the other videos. If you were to look at the group of soldiers standing in front of the camera in the video you posted, this video is recorded by one of the soldiers in that group.


In that video you see a Humvee in front of the camera with a man filming the machine gun fire on the disabled VBIED. Here is the video from that man beside the Humvee.


So basically you have a video of a firing machine gun appearing to cause a VBIED to explode, you have a camera recording that man recording the explosion, who is then being recorded by another camera. We have 3 layers of view available here, and the flash is only on the first and furthest away layer. I would have to agree with your assessment that this is a camera shutter effect caused by the initial flash from the explosion.

Alternately, I would propose it was more likely the huge machine gun firing into the stuff that goes boom that actually caused the boom, not an energy beam from above only visible to one of the three cameras filming. :rolleyes:
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
This video of an explosion in Iraq last month is doing the rounds with the claim that it shows a "directed energy weapon". It appears to be another rolling-shutter artifact, with the light source from the explosion rather than lightning.


I was looking at that last night. I'm pretty sure it's fake. There's a a moment where the explosion appears to be imperfectly spliced in, (deidre's frame five, actually) and the white shock looks fake to me based on the other shockwave footage I've seen. Look up a myth busters explosion montage and you'll see the difference.
(Edit) Then there's the part where the camera points at the ground; I'm not sure how you'd get that effect.
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
Looks bizzare, but you could be right.

Even if the video is real, the fact that the "beam" doesn't strike where the explosion is makes it pretty easy to explain why it's unlikely to be a directed energy weapon. That's not how physics works.
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
Actually I'd like to modify my position; it seems to me to be a composited and edited video. First, there's the 'beam', which I think probably is a rolling shutter artifact. It seems likely that whatever ordinance was used was edited out, leaving that strange fifth frame of deirdre's. Then the shockwave was edited in; as it dissipates it shows some sloppy use of a magic wand-style tool, with sections dropping out with sharp edges. It also appears to originate inside the fireball, which makes no sense.

I'd suspect the shockwave was from a wetter environment than the rest of the video of it is real; that vapor density is jarring.

All told, it looks to me like a real video that was edited to try to show something else, I.e. a directed energy weapon.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Actually I'd like to modify my position; it seems to me to be a composited and edited video. First, there's the 'beam', which I think probably is a rolling shutter artifact. It seems likely that whatever ordinance was used was edited out, leaving that strange fifth frame of deirdre's. Then the shockwave was edited in; as it dissipates it shows some sloppy use of a magic wand-style tool, with sections dropping out with sharp edges. It also appears to originate inside the fireball, which makes no sense.

I'd suspect the shockwave was from a wetter environment than the rest of the video of it is real; that vapor density is jarring.

All told, it looks to me like a real video that was edited to try to show something else, I.e. a directed energy weapon.
Yes, the white vapour cloud appears to be fake, and isn't shown in the other videos of the event.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Here's a better version of the video:
https://www.facebook.com/teammediawar/videos/777724525673330/
(Attached as 720p MP4)
It appears to be genuine, the shockwave is real, the vapor cloud is real, the "beam" is there, but is just a rolling shutter artifact. Notice here (contrast enhanced) how it is frame aligned and continues down the ground in front of the crash barrier


In the slow motion version from the OP the vapor cloud looks fake because of the slow motion software interpolating the frames.

But it's real
 

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  • ‫فريق الاعلام الحربي | Facebook‬.mp4
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, I was wrong about the vapour cloud not appearing in this video: it is there but it has dissipated by the time the camera pans upwards and catches the fireball:

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
i got to play with my new frame grab toy!

expl.jpg

Unfortunately though none of those frames are the actual "beam", as it only appears in one frame of the original video, and all those frame grabs are interpolated (i.e. the computer trying work out what the extra frames should look like to get smooth slow motion).

The real frame is:
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Unfortunately though none of those frames are the actual "beam", as it only appears in one frame of the original video, and all those frame grabs are interpolated (i.e. the computer trying work out what the extra frames should look like to get smooth slow motion).
thanks. i was actually thinking that, the video in OP was weird/choppy. between the slow mo and the camera shake... figured the footage was odd.
 
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