FE balloon video curvature analysis using Blender

Teme Wilson

New Member
Hello. I'm Teme and I want to debunk some of the FE curvature claims (observed curvature does not match the globe earth model etc.) using screencaps from FE balloon videos. I believe using videos from made by FE community itself presents a good basis for discussion, as many times other videos get labeled as "faked" and so on.

I think the method I'm using here is a good general debunking method. There might be similar ones in here already.

1. Screencap high altitude FE videos
2. Model the globe and the balloon in a 3d modelling software and CAREFULLY research & punch in the correct data
3. Compare the screencap and render which each other by overlapping them.

Youtube user Dwayne Kellum, who apparently is a flat earther, has launched a great series of balloons to over 20 miles up in the atmosphere. What is the most important, Kellum includes all the data we need for careful analysis: camera used (Gopro Hero 4 black), lense used (4.35mm), altimeter data and so on. 4.35mm lenses generally seem to have very low (< -1.2%) distortion values, so "fish-eyed lense" argument does not apply very well to them.

The apparent curvature in Kellum's videos is not lost to flat earthers. For example, jeranism who shared seems to attribute this being the edge of your view. ("Raw Uncut High Altitude Balloon Launch Above California", check comments)

Before going through what I did, this is the result:

Screencap from video 7, chosen for a very clear horizon line and altitude meter. Although Kellum does not mention the 4.35 mm lense here, I assume it based on the earlier videos using the same camera:
Source: http://imgur.com/la2mkWE

The same setup (height & rotation&camera) rendered in Blender using modelled earth:
Source: http://imgur.com/H18eOfx

Composite image:
Source: http://imgur.com/robyStX

The video material regarding the curvature of the earth from Kellum seems to very closely correlate with the scientific consensus about how the curvature should look if the we live in a ball. There is a slight mismatch though, which I would atribute to the individual lense -particularly the unknown exact amount of distortion it produces.

Mismatch visible when zoomed in:
Source: http://imgur.com/fwp6Veh

This method is usable on any curvature video providing you have good data on the equipment used and the altitude. I think this is a workable antibunk, what do you think? Also, I'm not a camera expert, so it would be nice if those of you would comment this methodology, particularly the distortion values.

How I used Blender(a free and open source 3d modelling software):

1. model earth, give it a diameter of 3959, so that 1 unit in Blender corresponds 1 mile in real world

2. Change Blender viewport distance so that we can see the whole ball
Source: http://imgur.com/PLH1guZ

3. Add a camera as the balloon

4. Check altitude data from a screencap, convert it to miles and move camera to right position (BTW this is a good way to observe the proprotional height of the balloon in 22.22 miles compared to earth. The balloon is in the center of the compass rose)

5. Go to camera settings and add in the camera sensor size and focal length, max out the camera view distance to see the curve
Source: http://imgur.com/rust1br

7. Adjust the render size to match with the screencap size (I took 1920x1080 caps from youtube) so that they fit perfectly together
Source: http://imgur.com/mvMt5Y7

8. Set the screencap as a background image, go to camera viewport and rotate the camera to correspond with the screencap camera rotation
Source: http://imgur.com/A83I11p

9. Last before rendering, you need to account the slight lense distortion effect. Blender doesn't automatically do that. Go to composition, change to Cycles rendering, add a distortion node, and add a distortion value. Generally it is negative, barrel distortion.
(NOTE: as I didn't have the exact manufacturer and model of the lense, I researched similar lenses meant for Gopro cameras. Several retailers promised < -1.2% distortion, other mentioned -0.85%... so I went with -1%)
Source: http://imgur.com/fUCUOMU

10. Render the image

11. Take the rendering and the screencap to a photo editing software and superimpose them.
Last edited:

Mick West

Staff member
Nice. You could also duplicate it in Google Earth. Is that 71.82 degrees horizontal FOV? (atan(3.15/4.35)*2 in degrees)

Tom Binney

New Member
Wow. Can I call you Mick Jr.? You did an excellent job here and the amount of detail you provided on your method was very impressive.

Teme Wilson

New Member
Heh, thanks. I was doing a youtube rebuttal video at first for Kellum's videos, but while doing that it started to feel that it might not find an audience. So thought this forum would have people that appreciate this type of methods.
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