Close encounters of the fabricated kind

Fake YouTube videos showing lights over Dome of the Rock spark Internet debate ranging from theology, eschatology, one user’s genealogy.

By JONAH MANDEL
February 7, 2011 04:52
2 minute read.
Still image from YouTube UFO J'lem video

Jerusalem UFo311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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The lack of higher intelligence seems more acute than ever, with at least three fabricated YouTube videos recently posted showing the same spot of light floating above the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with the unconvincing oohs and aahs of those witnessing and filming the “UFO” in the background. The videos have garnered over 2 million views by Sunday.

On January 29, a user calling himself eligael posted a video showing a man with his back to the camera looking toward the Dome of the Rock.

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“This morning around 1:00 AM at the promenade of Armon Hantziv in Jerusalm, i was witness (with another guy), an amazing ufo aircraft over Jerusalem old city (mount Moriah) Dome of the Rock,Temple Mount...What is the meaning of this sighting ???” eligael wonders in the description of his video.

Judging by the amount of views and many of the comments, when people want to believe something, they won’t let facts get in the way. The unidentified man and the cameraman attempt to sound amazed in their Hebrew exchange at the small spot of light that hovers above the Temple Mount before shooting up into the sky, joining a group of smaller red lights.

In an attempt to lend reliability to the first video, a second appeared the same day, showing the same view from much closer, with the same soundtrack. The next day, another video by 50nFit made its way to the Internet depicting the same event, sans the Hebrew-speaking men. Here, a group of English-speaking people, one of them apparently from Mississippi, express their wonder over what they pretend to be witnessing.

HOAXkiller1 is leading the pack of debunking videos, with some 350,000 views on Sunday evening for six separate pieces, showing the original photo available on Wikipedia Commons that was the backdrop for the rather primitive work done in an attempt to make it look like part of a video shoot.

Besides close-ups that showed the background image was actually a static image on a screen and pointing out the faults in the attempt to show flashes of light, an effect called “motion tile” was also used in eligael’s video to enable the deception of an authentic video camera shot.

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Motion tile mirrors a bit of the edges of a static image “to hide the black edges created when they added fake camera shake to the video,” HOAXkiller 1 explains. “The camera movements are fake. That is why the mirror lines follow the movement of the camera.”


But such a fabrication could also be done using a real video, and a user identified as xbatusai posted a remake of one of the “original” UFO videos, in which not one but four pretty colored lights accurately mimic the pattern of the single light spot in the eligael piece.

The depiction of an ethereal light above the spot holiest to Judaism and holy to Islam engendered lively debate below the videos on topics ranging from theology, eschatology, contemporary Mideast politics, the Egyptian pyramids and HOAXkiller1’s mother, to name a few.

But as ryno2085 wisely summed things up, “UFO existence is fact, there’s more than enough of it around the world. Whether this video is real or not doesn’t change a thing.”

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