A UFO sighting video went viral on YouTube this past weekend, but despite the sighting’s convincing appearance, the creator acknowledged the entire thing was a hoax.
The 39-second video, "UFO Over Santa Clarita," was uploaded in October but just now caught on with Internet audiences. The video depicts a driver cruising along a California desert road. He catches a glimpse of an unidentified object whizzing through the sky and pulls over to follow it with a smartphone camera. The object zips back and forth before it is picked up by a huge mothership and disappears.
Skeptical viewers immediately dubbed the video a fake, but it wasn't until last week that creator Aristomenis Tsirbas confirmed it. The video was entirely fake. The skyline, car, background and, of course, the UFOs were all computer generated.
"The point of the video was to prove that CGI can look natural and convincing,” Tsirbas told Wired
. "Everybody assumes the background and car are real, and that the UFOs are probably fake, especially the over-the-top mothership at the end. The general reaction is disbelief, so I usually have to prove it by showing a wireframe of the entire shot to prove that nothing is real."
Many YouTube commenters said the video looked so realistic, and suggested the creator shoot for a Hollywood CGI career, but Tsirbas, a visual effects specialist, has already done that. He directed the 2007 computer-animated film "Battle for Terra" and has also contributed special effects and animation to films like "Hellboy," "Titanic," and several episodes of the "Star Trek" television series.
The UFO hoax video took Tsirbas and his team four months to make.
"Without a doubt the 'real' stuff was the toughest because everybody knows what an actual car driving down a desert should look like," Tsirbas told Wired. "The digital versions either worked or they didn't. Getting it 'mostly' right wasn't good enough. We had to nail the car and desert perfectly, otherwise the gag wouldn’t work."
The video has almost 280,000 views on YouTube. Tsirbas is currently working on secret projects at Blur Studio while writing a script for his next feature film.
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