by Ryan Collins
I have to admit that I watched the video several times this past week, marveling at how authentic it seemingly looked – but in that computer-generated kind of way.
You know the video I’m talking about – the one with an arch imploding while a cameraman stands back filming the impending explosion.
There’s a loud bang (which apparently travels faster than the speed of sound because you hear it almost prior to the explosion) and the arch collapses into a thousand little pieces, some of which disappear into thin air at the end of the video if you watch close enough.
There is no explanation or countdown prior to the demolition, leaving many wondering why they would go through the trouble of making the videos in the first place.
That’s right, it just wasn’t the video of the lone arch that got sent to major news networks and released on social media. There were apparently three altogether.
The second video that made rounds across the internet on the way to going viral was another explosion video centered on the destruction of a geological formation. This time it was two hoodoo formations getting the business.
There was a countdown as the cameraman wailed down from five until there were duel explosions, toppling the hoodoos off their points in a climactic cloud of dust before the video abruptly ends without explanation.
Since the video was sent off to major Salt Lake City news networks, the National Park Service has been contacted and asked if there has been any reported damage to arches or hoodoos in any of the many Utah National Parks.
None have been reported as of yet. The videos have now been analyzed by experts and dubbed a possible fake, but a good one at that.
What remains to be seen is why the entire stunt was orchestrated in the first place.
Many of the experts have noticed the background in the videos does not match the unique characteristics of any of the geological formations in the foreground.
This information has resulted in a universal discrediting of the video as a fake. The videos were finally ruled fakes by the Intermountain West Regional Computer Forensics Lab, according to a press release from the Utah DNR.
“The two videos from Monday depicting the destruction of an arch and hoodoos allegedly somewhere in Utah have been reviewed by the Intermountain West Regional Computer Forensics Lab in Salt Lake City, an agency that assists law enforcement throughout the Intermountain West,” the press release reads. “It is the opinion of the lab that the videos are more than likely computer generated, and therefore, fake.
“Employees from the Utah Department of Natural Resources, including geologists from the Utah Geological Survey and law enforcement from the Division of Parks and Recreation, have also reviewed both videos and are unable to identify the locations of these two alleged explosions.
“Additionally, we have received no investigative leads or information from the public.
“While the experts believe these videos are fake, the fact still remains that many of Utah’s natural resources are damaged from careless and irresponsible act of vandalism and destruction.
“These acts include spray painting over rock art, carving into sandstone and outright destroying natural rock formations. In these cases, those involved are demonstrating poor judgment and disrespect.
“Formations like hoodoos and arches take tens of thousands of years to form and can be destroyed in seconds through the careless acts of some.
“We hope those visiting our beautiful public lands appreciate and enjoy the natural scenery Utah has to offer and realize their responsibility as stewards to protect it. We encourage anyone who witnesses acts of vandalism on public land to report it to the appropriate land managing agency immediately.
“Enjoy it. Don’t destroy it.”
As far as I know, it’s not illegal to post fake videos blowing up geological formations and many have dubbed the fake acts as “eco-terrorism.” By the definition alone, I would think it should have actually been called “fake geo-terrorism.”
Or perhaps, simply, it was a video resumé sent out to put the world on notice there is an amateur videographer who has some serious CGI skills. So much so that he or she put the Utah geological and park services on warning and made them devote some of their resources to verifying whether or not the video was a fraud or indeed genuine.
The real name of whoever created the videos will eventually be released. I’m curious to see whether they will be charged with some sort of crime or given a job by some newly-gained fan of their work. My geuss is that the creative endeavor will perpetuate the idiom, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”