6 Signs That A UFO Video Is Probably Fake
UFOs. These divisive objects are all over the internet with footage ranging from the curious to the sensational. Some of these videos can rack up millions of viewers on YouTube, whereas others barely make the faintest of splashes. Almost all of them claim to be real. However, regardless of their stance towards the area, most people will tell you that a huge percentage of UFO videos and photographs are just straight-up fakes. So if we all know fakes are out there, why can't we spot them?
While faking UFOs is certainly not a new pastime, it is true that, as technology advances it becomes much easier for people to create computer generated objects from their own homes. These fraudulent videos and photos not only muddy the waters for those investigating the cases, but they also overshadow the enquiries from witnesses who have genuine questions about something they have seen. Luckily, there a certain red flags that you can watch for when assessing the reliability of both the video and the person that posted it...
*Too Good To Be True*
We all want to see that one video which provides incontrovertible evidence of an alien craft visiting Earth. In reality though, the chance of this moment showing up on a Youtube channel that has hundreds of UFO sightings is actually pretty slim. Alejandro Rojas of OpenMinds.tv says that when it comes to channels with countless sightings, you should definitely be armed with a healthy dose of salt before you start viewing.
"They will often claim people send them videos and they have all rights over those videos," says Rojas. "Having worked with MUFON, the largest civilian UFO investigative organization in the world, I know great UFO videos are few and far between. It takes a long time for people to even know you exist and take videos, let alone these people who claim UFO spotters all over the world are instantly sending them videos."
And even if they were getting sent all of these videos, these channels offer little to nothing in the way of analysis, instead choosing to blindly label a video as "Real".
For Rojas, one of the best ways to determine if a UFO video is genuine is to ask questions of the person posting it.
"Often these videos are vague with details, and no one can talk to the witnesses who recorded the original," says Rojas. "Even worse are those who filter their comments and only allow comments to be posted from people who are amazed by their incredible find."
Indeed, it seems all too often that YouTube comment boxes get filled up with inane chatter about how "This is proof!" and "I love your work!". I'm not one to dampen anyone's enthusiasm, but as I mentioned above, UFOs cause a great deal of debate. All you need to do is look at any legitimate Ufology forum or comment box and you'll see web users going at it with a vitriol reserved normally for something akin to a Yankees/Red Sox game. So if you want to get a measure of the man or woman that posted the video, ask a few probing questions and see how responsive they are.
One of the best ways to spot a hoaxer is to determine their motivation, and what better motivation is there than making some serious green? Yes, unfortunately one of the best, and worst features of Youtube is the fact that you can make money from your videos. The more views your channel gets, the more money you can rake in. Many hoaxers entered 'the game' because UFO footage is intriguing to a lot of people and as such, videos on the subject often receive a lot of views. This means that where UFOs are concerned, there is some serious money to be made.
Of course, this doesn't mean that any UFO video that has an ad on it is a hoax, but it should certainly raise the question of its owner. Sometimes these folks go a step too far though, it's not uncommon to see a YouTube user post a plea for donations in the video description. They might say that this is to "fund their research", but the chances are, this is one of the clearest indicators that their video is a fake and that they're trying to make a few bucks from your curiosity.
As the lead investigator on SyFy's Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files and Ben Hansen knows a thing or two about spotting fraudulent UFO videos. Hansen told me that one of his biggest red flags is something that most of us might not be able to spot, but could ultimately be one of the most reliable methods for spotting a fake UFO video.
"Rotoscoping is a process where the hoaxer creates a new layer for the video (such as a UFO)," says Hansen. "They then have to tell the software if the object will pass behind any foreground or background images already in the video."
Many hoaxers take a painstaking level of attention to their work, meticulously going frame by frame to make sure it passes behind or in front of everything it should do. But as is the case with any fraudsters, sometimes UFO hoaxers slip up just as Hansen points out..
"If the hoaxer gets lazy or does a sloppy job, you will see evidence of their mistake when the object partially goes in front or behind an object it wasn't supposed to."
Just like this CGI video that wasn't fooling anybody, but still managed to rack up over 1,000,000 views.
*Zooming and Lighting*
Looking at the lighting in a video can often be a sure-fire way of catching a computer generated UFO. Take a look at this recent video that suggests an alien craft approached the International Space Station. As well as triggering a number of other red flags from this list, you can clearly see the sunlight reflecting off of the space station's right side, but the UFO appears to be lighter on its left side, which just isn't possible when the sun is your only light source. It may seem simple, but this is a problem that hoaxers run into time and time again.
Hansen points out that another problem hoaxers run into is when they use the zoom function.
"Sometimes a videographer will get clever and zoom in or out on a UFO the animated into the scene. In the real world, the zooming should increase the object's size accordingly. However, the timing and size are often done incorrectly and you can sometimes spot a lag in the response to the object's size."
In fact, sometimes they will avoid having to zoom in on the object at all, just like this 'Real UFO' video that opts to zoom in and out when the object is out of frame.
*Too Much Drama*
Ask yourself this question. If you had just seen a strange object in the sky, would you upload it to YouTube with dramatic music? Probably not. The chances are, you're probably a little freaked out and you're just looking for answers, so why on Earth would you opt to add a panpipe soundtrack to your video? Many channels will add music to liven up a compilation, but if someone is masquerading as a genuine UFO witness and they've dramatized the presentation of their video, there's a damned decent chance that you've got a fake on your hands.
Panpipes aren't a hoaxers only dramatization tool, though. Use of dramatic and conspiracy-themed language can often giveaway someone who is trying a little too hard to convince their audience they have a genuine sighting. Sometimes you can see whole channels that are filled with dozens of videos with titles such as "UFO in a Chemtrail" or "Alien Craft Docks With ISS!". My advice? Just steer well clear of these folk, because anyone who can boast hours of footage that proves the existence of aliens is in for a rough ride with the feds.
This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but it should be enough to help you identify some of the internet's worst offenders. Fake UFO videos might be entertainment for some, but many others fear that these sensationalized and easily debunked videos drag the name of Ufology through the mud. In fact, if you were to speak to any well-meaning expert on Ufology, they will tell you that at least 95% of UFO sightings are either perfectly explainable, or fake. So the next time you watch a video, take a more interactive approach and ask a few questions of the person that posted it.