Hoax: Supposed UFO releases orb over Southern California.

[Update] This appears to be a hoax, with faked camera motion added in Adobe After Effects, as explained in this video by HoaxKiller:
More detail from HoaxKiller (along with lots of other hoaxes debunked) here:
http://thehoaxkiller.com/forum/index.php?topic=262.msg963#msg963
Original post follows
[/update]
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Hi Mick! I saw this video of what looks like a supposed UFO ejecting an "orb".
A contrail + CGI or what?

From the youtuber (Ken Roberts)

"I was driving home after work when this UFO or whatever you call it caught my eye. I pulled over in front of somebody's house to film it. I would have got a better shot but I didn't want to jump these peoples fence. Anyway I don't know what the hell to make of it. Couldn't have been a plane cause there was no noise. And I never heard a crash after either. The Orb thing flew straight up into the sky and disappeared. Sorry I didn't film that. I didn't know what to focus my attention on."

**Warning**
Re-uploads without permission will be removed.
 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Well, not smooth enough to be a plane-contrail.

A bit of analysis from IFLS:

 

deirdre

Senior Member.
This guy re uploaded it and says it was Santa Barbara. and comments are enabled. doesnt look like a contrail unless it was manipulated with computer software. does move about he right speed for a plane, imo. either way, what makes this guy think he would "hear" a plane up that high?

 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
I think that a short trail from a four-engine jumbo jet may look like this, particularly if it is overexposed and out of focus. If the time and location of the video were known, this suggestion could be readily checked out. If it was a contrail, the plane was quite a distance away (20 miles or more) and viewed from side, so its four trails appeared as one thick trail.

Also, it looks like the trail was zoomed in, that would have increased the apparent speed of the object across the frame compared to a wide angle video. The camera the most likely was facing toward the Sun, but such a zoom would allow to keep the Sun out of frame. It could be that the 'orb' was due to some kind of reflection from a dust speck on the lenses or a window glass, rather than a deliberate fake.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I think that a short trail from a four-engine jumbo jet may look like this, particularly if it is overexposed and out of focus.
That's interesting, I'm used to seeing contrails formed thin and high and super-smooth. Are there any examples of this sort of 'turbulent' contrail action shot form the ground?
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
That's interesting, I'm used to seeing contrails formed thin and high and super-smooth. Are there any examples of this sort of 'turbulent' contrail action shot form the ground?
It is not 'turbulent'. This effect could be due to variation of contrail density at the relative humidity bordering between the conditions for formation of short contrails and no contrail. I have observed this on many occasions.
I used to take pictures of passing planes just for their identification on FR24. I'll check later if I still have an example of this effect.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
IFLScience looked at the circumstances around the video and in the comments section people help to debunk the video. Glad to see this in my Facebook feed.

 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think Lisa Winter's analysis seems very reasonable. I lean towards fake.

That's a stabilized version of the video, I've isolated just the "release" of the "orb". It seems to be instantly moving backwards at twice the speed of the plane.

Given that nobody else saw this, and the nature of his YouTube account, then fake seems the most likely explanation.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
I have taken a few still frames and aligned them together by the utility pole and the house roof positions:
View attachment 10971

This shows both "UFO" and "orb" moving along straight lines, with the latter moving only about 1.6 times "faster" than the former. As the camera has been moving around a bit, this also suggests that the "orb" probably was a real object in the sky rather than a reflection or SGI fake. I think that it could have been another plane that had no contrails. It is hard to spot such a plane in the sky, unless it reflects the sunlight toward the observer. In this case it looks like a bright spot in the sky and is practically impossible to focus on by a simple camera. It can only be seen in a narrow range of viewing angles depending on the Sun position in the sky. To the observer it appears suddenly and then quickly disappears again in a few seconds, that seems to be the case here.

The suggestion of both "UFO" and "orb" being two planes flying (horizontally) in the opposite directions can readily explain their different apparent speeds. The 'UFO" plane flies 'down', that is, away from the camera, whereas the 'orb' plane flies 'up' toward the camera and appears 'faster' due to the perspective shortening.

PS While I have been writing this post Mick has come with essentially the same analysis but a different conclusion.
I disagree with it, unless it has been a very elaborate fake that it doesn't look like to me.:confused:
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think that it could have been another plane that had no contrails. It is hard to spot such a plane in the sky, unless it reflects the sunlight toward the observer. In this case it looks like a bright spot in the sky and is practically impossible to focus on by a simple camera. It can only be seen in a narrow range of viewing angles depending on the Sun position in the sky. To the observer it appears suddenly and then quickly disappears again in a few seconds, that seems to be the case here.
In the video it does not disappear though. The camera pans back to the trail, and we just don't see the "orb" again.

The planes crossing paths is plausible, but it's a pretty amazing coincidence that it would be illuminated/reflecting at the precise point it (visually) crossed paths. However if it was dark before that point, then it would quite likely not show up in the noise of the video, which seems both out of focus, and digitally zoomed.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
PS While I have been writing this post Mick has come with essentially the same analysis but a different conclusion.
I disagree with it, unless it has been a very elaborate fake that it doesn't look like to me.:confused:
I'm just leaning towards fake. It is a very good fake if it is fake, but it's also a very lucky coincidence if it's a coincidence. It's the suspicious nature of his YouTube account that makes me think fake.

Actually it might be a combination - if he had a video of two planes crossing, he could digitally remove one before they cross.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I'm just leaning towards fake. It is a very good fake if it is fake, but it's also a very lucky coincidence if it's a coincidence. It's the suspicious nature of his YouTube account that makes me think fake.

Actually it might be a combination - if he had a video of two planes crossing, he could digitally remove one before they cross.
how come in your gif, the area where the 'orb' travels... the pixles in the sky are all moving about bt they arent in the rest of the sky. i'm thinking a 'photoshop' type overlay as editing the film
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
how come in your gif, the area where the 'orb' travels... the pixles in the sky are all moving about bt they arent in the rest of the sky. i'm thinking a 'photoshop' type overlay as editing the film
I did that to reduce the size of the gif. Otherwise all those moving pixels need storing, and make the gif about ten times twice as large.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I'm wondering if the double images during the camera movement might indicate post-process camera movement (i.e. fake).



It might just be an encoding thing, but then it might be a clue.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
Might the filaments on a car's heated rear window in combination with the usual lack of focus create the turbulent/pulsating effect? The trail seems to fade in and out in fixed parallel lines to me.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
It does, but also the wake from the plane interacting with the contrail forming would do that in a regularly spaced pattern, and I think the highlighting exaggerates it.
I wonder if the plane is at a lower height than normal contrail formation usually is for that effect to be seen, and also if the eyes would see the same effect that the video picks up.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Based on what he says about pulling over in front of a house, and not wanting to jump the fence to get an unobstructed shot, I'm assuming he's shooting perpendicular to the road. If he'd stayed in his car, he'd be filming through the side window, not rear.
 

Fin

Member
Has anyone else noticed the horizontal lines running across the top half of the sky, in a gradient? These don't move with the camera, suggesting they are not a camera generated artifact. They suggest to me that the entire scene could be a CGI creation. [edit] perhaps what I am referring to is the car window heating "filaments" mentioned above?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Has anyone else noticed the horizontal lines running across the top half of the sky, in a gradient? These don't move with the camera, suggesting they are not a camera generated artifact. They suggest to me that the entire scene could be a CGI creation. [edit] perhaps what I am referring to is the car window heating "filaments" mentioned above?
I think that's simply the banding you get in monochrome images when you are boosting a low dynamic range image. There are not many blues in the encoding, so you get this banding, and it just reflects the color gradient of the sky.
 
According thehoaxkiller.com forum, where I reported the video in a new thread to ask an opinion, the fake is confirmed:

http://thehoaxkiller.com/forum/index.php?topic=262.0

by the expert HOAXKiller1:

 

deirdre

Senior Member.
the fake is confirmed
it's alot easier to just film the footage you want and add the effects later.

other than that, i personally i have no idea what that "debunk" is even saying. They should make a tutorial video and show us what they mean.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
It's saying that because the entire background image is perfectly fixed (the objects don't shift perspective and the sky gradient doesn't shift in the least with camera movement) that it's a still image with the UFO and orb added, then the shaky cam effect is made by cropping frames differently.
 

Freak

Active Member
it's alot easier to just film the footage you want and add the effects later.

other than that, i personally i have no idea what that "debunk" is even saying. They should make a tutorial video and show us what they mean.
The "banding" that others have pointed out with the red lines is a compression artifact. Basically, the software takes a group of similar color pixels and makes them all one color, which recuces the memory size needed for storage.

But at some point you're going to have a cross over into a different color, and because the other color is going to be similarly compressed, they can be significantly different hues. Depending on how heavy the compression is (more compression means a wider range of colora will be grouped together) you can get some clearly defined edges between the two colors. (Sometimes it's refered to as pixelation, because heavy compression usually causes blocky images)

Now, since each frame of a video is slightly different, each will be compressed on its own, so the banding will change from frame to frame. And it wont be fixed in the same spot relative to everything else in the frame.

In this video, the banding never changes, and never moves relative to the house and pole in the foreground. In fact, when the camera follows the object, then pans back over the house, the bands are there exactly as they were a few seconds ago.

All that points to a single photo, with an animation inserted, then some artificial shake, zoom and movement added.

The other thing the the guy was talking about is that it's easier to use a still picture to add the animation to, because there's no frame movement to try to match. (Though I have no experience with video editing, so I can't say that's accurate)

Here's a more clear pic of banding
IMG_20150108_090620.jpg

And blurred a bit to more closely match the video
IMG_20150108_092600.jpg

Those pics were done on my phone, with photoshop or another good editing program It could be made to match much better.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Seems like Hoaxkiller1 confirmed my suspicion about the ghosting being fake motion blur. Here he explains it, and duplicates the effect in Adobe After Effects
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
So is the sunlit-contrail completely fabricated? Because that looks the least unusual part of the video - sunlit contrails happen. The orb is the only thing I assumed was added.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So is the sunlit-contrail completely fabricated? Because that looks the least unusual part of the video - sunlit contrails happen. The orb is the only thing I assumed was added.
I suspect it's a tripod shot with the contrail (a brightly lit, mostly aerodynamic contrail), and the "orb" and camera motion was added.
 

Fin

Member
Anyone who wants to use my "banding" pic in other places please feel free. I thought I might be on to something!! Thanks hoaxkiller1 for making my day.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
I am not so eager to dismiss this video as fake. After all, it shows the two objects flying along straight lines with apparent speeds in the plane range. I yet need to look thoroughly into the Hoaxkiller1's second argument about image ghosting, but his first argument about gradient banding did not convince me. I compared the 1080p video frames (screenshots) at the different moments and do not see conserved banding patterns, e.g.:
Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 11.37.12.png Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 11.42.56.png
Initial comparison of the two frames suggested a slight difference in the relative positions of the pole and the rooftop due to the camera movement, but after straightening the images (their pole directions differ by about 0.5°) the difference disappeared:
no 3D effect.png
I should note here that the apparent thickness of wires varies within each frame but these variations are conserved between the frames. This does look suspicious but does not necessarily prove they come from a single image.

There is another thing that I do not know how to explain. I've enhanced a few last frames before the video goes completely dark:
Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 15.18.04.pngScreen shot 2015-01-08 at 17.09.12.pngScreen shot 2015-01-08 at 15.19.39.pngScreen shot 2015-01-08 at 15.20.41.png

They show the same pole and, in the last frame, a part of the rooftop, but what is a diagonal dark band that slides up and breaks the pole image in two parts? Is it another CGI artefact, or is it something intrinsic to the camera used?
 
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