QUESTION. You must be trying to debunk this YouTube video.
ANSWER. What gives you that idea? "Debunking" the YouTube is about the same as
debunking The Wizard of Oz, Mickey Mouse or Alice in Wonderland. (I don't suggest that the
YouTube ranks with any of these works.)
My concern is the YouTube video's unsolicited use of my name. That use is a form of
QUESTION. The name of the man who videotaped and edited NASA's moon footage is real.
The YouTube video titles are real. Why wouldn't the rest of it be real?
ANSWER. I see your reasoning. But you're wrong again. Here are the facts...
Is the name real? No. You have no proof that this is a real person. Yes, my surname appears on the title.
But: I had nothing to do with this video. To fake authenticity, somebody probably copied my name. Also, my first
initial is missing from the title. So: I'm not your proof.
Is the title real? Not likely. How do you really know that the title is real?
Because my surname is on the title? As I've said, I'm not your man. If someone lifted my name, the title is phony.
If the name is a coincidence, then you have no real person as proof.
Then is the video real? Not likely. Your proof depends on proving the other two points. You failed to prove
either one. These results suggest fakery, not authenticity.
QUESTION. What do you think about the YouTube "moon hoax" video?
ANSWER. This video is art, not fact. My first reaction is that the video's pretty funny.
And it's a skillfully done fake.
By the way, NASA isn't the faker. A YouTube member doctored some allegedly NASA footage. That guy is
the faker. The flaws are obvious. Otherwise, we wouldn't see this video on YouTube. We'd see it on Fox
News or CNN.
Anyway, since the video is art, why all the furor? Because the artwork presses people's buttons. That's
the way Dadaism and Andy Warhol worked, too: Artwork with a political effect. Look at all the people that
take this stuff literally. They're on both sides of the argument. But this is a prank. They rose to the bait.
Meanwhile, the videographer is falling down laughing.
By the way, art as a practical joke has a serious flaw: Such art tends to discriminate, to target and harm people.
That's why mature artists usually move on to other forms of artwork.
QUESTION. What's your analysis of the YouTube video?
ANSWER. Here, we're talking about the video
Strange Video of Moon Mission
by videographer Denny “rudbprs.” First, my views are the opinions of a
layman, not an expert. I have no connection with NASA or with “rudbprs”
and his video.
The video's very creative. And a little creepy. I suspect that the
YouTube video is a CGI montage. The source seems to be a digitized videotape or DVD of a film
of a videotape. I don't know how many generations from the original that the YouTube video is. The
quality is very poor, probably on purpose. Bad quality covers imperfections. For years, UFO
tricksters have used this method.
The YouTube might be five or more generations from the live event. The opening titles seem to be added material
with simulated aging. In a later question, I'll spend more time on the flawed opening shots.
To my eye, the superimposed “stagehand” doesn't match the rest of the video. He's
only there momentarily. (Good idea!) Most viewers won't notice the sharpness, shadow and exposure differences.
The photo shows a four-times blowup of two details from the video.
Notice the shadows and highlights on the
astronaut (left) and the superimposed “stagehand” (right). The astronaut is a foreground image. Yet he seems
less defined than the “stagehand”. The astronaut's shadow is lighter than the “stagehand”
My favorite spoof on the moon missions is this page...
Moon mission page.
It's not realistic, but it makes me laugh.
For a much more polished effort, I suggest Zelig, by Woody Allen. Zelig uses film footage from the
1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Allen even syncs old silent films to music. Clever! This is a
pre-CGI film. See... Zelig.
I hope to see more video artwork from “rudbprs.”
QUESTION. What are some errors in the YouTube video?
ANSWER. Again, I'm not an expert, but here are a few observations from a layman's
Shot 1. The first title is a Department of Defense logo. Then, you see a film splice.
After that, you see a conveniently blurry screen with a NASA logo. Yet NASA isn't a part of DoD. The spliced-on
DoD logo is an obvious error.
Shot 2 displays the heading "TOP SECRET" and a NASA logo. Under the heading is
a conveniently unreadable disclaimer. At the top of shot 2, notice the gray, horizontal line. This line is a vertical sync bar.
The bar is characteristic of some video tape recorders, especially early consumer equipment. You might also see a sync
bar if you film a video monitor, as a novice filmmaker might. The bar doesn't appear in the rest of the video.
Also note the small size of this screen. The dark frame around the image suggests a projected film. Apparently an
amateur with a video camera rephotographed the projection. NASA wouldn't resort to that technique. Anyway, the other
shots don't repeat the dark border.
Of course, the amateur could have minimized this border. Yet then the type would be
larger and less difficult to read.
Conclusion: The source of shot 2 differs from the source of the remaining
footage. So now we have a DoD logo that came from film. The following NASA screen might be a video of a
film, or vice versa. The two sources obviously don't match. Also, the NASA title with the bar doesn't
match the moon video without the bar.
Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3
Shot 3. Throw in shot 3, a table with both type and handwriting. The image seems to be a film off
a TV monitor. The shot wavers from side to side, suggesting a handheld camera. Many old home movies
waver this way. Again, no other shot in the video contains similar shaking. We
have yet another unmatched source that videographer “rudbprs” edited in.
Overall Comment. Notice the DoD and NASA logos. Normally, both are round. Yet in this video, they're
ovals. Obviously videographer “rudbprs” is pulling another film school trick. The oval shape of the
two logos is a telltale sign of horizontal compression. You'll see such compression in many of the shots in this video,
including lunar images.
Stretched 120% to get NASA logo round
In the title shots, the compression makes the type more difficult to read. By distorting the
type, “rudbprs” can more easily disguise mismatched shots. Unfortunately, the logos render this
coverup obvious. I stretched some of these shots back to their original width. According to my calculation,
the amount of compression is between 15 and 20 percent. This amount seems to vary from shot to shot.
QUESTION. Why would a YouTube member try to simulate a moon landing hoax?
ANSWER. Interesting question. The YouTube video suggests more about its author than about
the Apollo program. For instance, this video might be politically motivated satire. That is, propaganda. If you strongly disagree
with US policy, then you can make your point in various ways. A political cartoon is one way. A YouTube video is another.
The idea is to find a symbol of the US. Then you somehow debase or demolish this symbol. For the symbol, YouTube
videographer "rudbprs" chose the Apollo moon program. In suggesting a hoax and coverup, rudbprs may seek to embarrass the
The YouTube video is humorous, maybe unintentionally so. Most Americans are big hearted people. We can laugh at
ourselves. (For example, take the song Yankee Doodle.) While we're proud of the moon landing, we can chuckle at a little sophomoric
space humor. We've certainly joked about the space program before. Remember Don Knotts in
The Reluctant Astronaut?
Political humor even finds its way into high art. For example, Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros.
But back to the YouTube video and its political overtones. As I said, most of us can laugh
along. Still, not everyone forgives a snide, cynical attempt to smear our country and its achievements.
What goes around comes around. Critics draw criticism. For example, take the YouTube
forum. There, the insults of one side meet with the catcalls of the other. This is the reception
that the YouTube video receives. Lesson: This provocative video proves nothing.
QUESTION. Doesn't this video prove a moon hoax conspiracy?
ANSWER. No. Some people find a conspiracy under every rock. If you're susceptible to conspiracy
theories, nothing I can say will persuade you differently.
Otherwise, you wonder why a "top secret" film turns up at YouTube. Exactly what are YouTube's news
credentials? As a news medium, how reliable is YouTube? In a crisis, would you turn first to YouTube
for your news? What type of source checking do you suppose that YouTube does? Is this moon story
serious, or even newsworthy in any way? Why haven't AP, UPI and Reuters picked up the story?
For true believers. May I suggest submitting the video to the
Washington Post? The Post intensively investigated the Watergate story. The Post
offers your story reliable news credentials. Better yet, this paper loves a good conspiracy. Remember the leaked
testimony from the dark character "Deep Throat"? He had all the answers. The Post ran the story
and scooped the world.
If you believe that this video proves a moon conspiracy, talk to the Post. Suppose that the video
stands up to the Post's fact checks. Then this video will be world news. Then again, if this latest moon
conspiracy story doesn't measure up, you'll soon find out. And you'll look very foolish.
Or, maybe you don't think this video is worthy of the Post. Then you have no case.
QUESTION. On opening shot 3 of the YouTube video, one line reads
"REASON FOR EDIT: CIF." (This line appears under the NASA logo, in the screen's right column.)
On Youtube, a "moontrue" claims that "CIF" stands for "Crew In Frame." What does CIF really mean?
ANSWER. "Crew In Frame" is obviously wrong. It could easily refer to just the Apollo 16 crew. That's
too obvious, too ambiguous, and not a valid reason for editing. You hoaxers have to be more creative than that!
Here's a thought. Isn't "CIF" the official, NASA designation for "Computer-Imposed Figure"?
Or, let's try DoD definitions: Isn't "CIF" the approved term for "Content Is Forgery"?
Shot 3, stretched 120% to make logo round
I suppose that these terms are classified. Anyway, they're not common knowledge. Since I'm just a layman, all I can say is
this: Certainly either term applies to the YouTube video. On a more serious note, we should consider this: That "rudbprs" or someone
tacked shot 3 onto the front of some altered NASA footage. As I've said, shot 3 plainly doesn't match the rest of the video.
QUESTION. On the right side of the picture, don't you see the second person?
ANSWER. Yes. The YouTube video seems to show two men. But don't forget: Two men landed on
the moon. Why should we believe that one image is an astronaut, but the other is a "stagehand"? Because someone
on YouTube says so? That's such a far-fetched claim! I see the claim, but I don't see the proof. A far more
plausible explanation is that both images are astronauts.
The right image might also be a CGI effect or a lens flare.
Apollo astronaut, under right leg of LEM. Right: Alleged “stagehand.”