With the recent, incredible advances made in Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) average consumers now have at their disposal, powerful, low-cost video tools which were once the exclusive province of big budget Hollywood studios.
That means video sharing platforms are being flooded with CGI fakes, ranging from good, clean fun, to the more malicious trend of "grafting" celebrity heads on to other people's bodies, making them appear to say or do outrageous things with stunning (and, virtually undetectable) realism.
It also means UFO hoax videos are getting a new life on the web.
Since inexpensive, personal video exploded more than a decade ago, sites like YouTube and Vimeo have been inundated with fake UFO videos, which, in most cases, weren't able to pass the smell test.
But, occasionally, talented VFX creators managed to spark debate with videos that were of such high quality, only CGI experts willing to undertake a detailed analysis were able to debunk them.
Most of the time...
Every once in a while a video comes along which has even the aficionados stumped and debating how such an image might have been faked.
Like the Tilo, Slovakia UFO video, time-stamped May 1, 2018, which shows what looks like a white, glowing, spinning, spherical orb darting crazily back and forth like a hummingbird in the sky, and is sometimes obscured by the branches of trees in the foreground.
Tilo, Slovakia UFO: Real or fake?
The video suffers from most of the telltale signs that some sort of trickery is likely going on.
It's grainy, the zoom is hazy and out of focus, and, as usual, the videographer seems to be stricken with some sort of neurological disorder preventing them from keeping the camera steady.
But, it's when the unidentified flying object zips back and forth behind a clump of trees, all the while defying the laws of gravity and current aerodynamics, that the video gains more authentic plausibility.
Even with the amazing CGI software available today, that visual effect is hard to pull off without intricate (and time-consuming) frame-by-frame tweaking in order to achieve a believable result. Basically, why take the trouble when there are much easier solutions?
At least, that's one YouTuber's opinion after a comment was posted on the video calling it out as a CGI fake.
CT 1 replies:
"It’s not. It goes behind the tree and leaves - one of the toughest things to pull off in CGI. With zooming in and continued recording, you have no idea how damn near impossible it is to pull that off in CG. (I work in the VFX industry)."
The debate continues with a reply from the original detractor, Choice 777:
"Very easy to do today with tools like Fusion. Requires a bit of time to do frame by frame movement of masks of foreground, but easily done. Not sure how you work in VFX industry and claim this is so hard."
To which CT 1 sums up his position and points out that it's a lot of grunt work for a video which has not gotten many views to date:
"I'll agree to disagree but if you do think it's fake then I'll give props to whomever took the painstaking time to roto, track and comp frame by frame over 2 mins of a video that has zero results in end. If this person did do 7000 to 3500 frames (depending how u look at it) then they get the trophy of time wasted."
For the video layman, this argument is very compelling.
Of course, any amount of labor is worthwhile if the video goes viral and is properly monetized. But, neither appears to be the case in this instance.
Similar shining, spinning UFO videos have been posted before, with plenty of video effects experts scratching their heads. So the possibility remains that this craft is real. Whether it was constructed by the military industrial complex—or alien visitors from another world—remains to be conclusively decided.
Until then, it's likely that the fake UFO video industry will see a resurgence on sharing sites and the debate will continue.
But it does raise the question:
When will we start seeing "fake" alien heads grafted on to human bodies and making controversial statements?