Hoax U̳F̳O̳ videos have a tried and tested format: shaky footage, a bogus spaceship and cries of wonder from the person filming on a smartphone.
But one Hollywood animator has gone the extra mile to produce a convincing U̳F̳O̳ ‘gag’. Which entirely created with CGI effects – including the car, the skies and the scenery.
Canadian Aristomenis Tsirbas, who has worked on Titanic, Hellboy and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Created a short clip which appears to show a U̳F̳O̳ flying over Santa Clarita, California, seen from a moving vehicle.
The video seems to show a car driving through a desert at sunset when a dark, flat, latticed object flies overhead.
The driver can heard muttering ‘Woah’, before getting out of the car in the breeze to get a better shot of the apparent U̳F̳O̳.
It hovers around some pylons before a ‘mothership’ appears from nowhere, collects the U̳F̳O̳ and vanishes, at which the driver says: ‘Holy…’
Tsirbas, who spent four months creating the 30 second clip. Said he wanted to play a joke to prove to critics of CGI that the effects can look realistic.
The 45-year-old director told Wired: ‘The point of the video was to prove that CGI can look natural and convincing.
‘Everybody assumes the background and car are real. And that the U̳F̳O̳s 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 wire frame of the entire shot to prove that nothing is real.’
Tsirbas said the ‘real’ elements to the film were the most difficult to create convincingly. The Los Angeles-based director said: ‘Without a doubt the real stuff was the toughest. Because everybody knows what an actual car driving down a desert should look like.
‘Getting it mostly right wasn’t good enough. We had to nail the car and desert perfectly, otherwise the gag wouldn’t work.