Hawes Mechanical Television Archive by James T. Hawes, AA9DT
Moon Camera FAQ (Part 3)


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 identity theft.

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” shadow.

Poor match! Left: Astronaut. Right: Alleged “stagehand.” Enlargement: Comparison 
        between YouTube images of astronaut and alleged 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 viewpoint...

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 1 from rudbprs' YouTube video: 
        Department of Defense logo
Shot 2 Shot 2 from rudbprs' YouTube video: 
        Blurry NASA screen with vertical sync bar & border
Shot 3 Shot 3 from rudbprs' YouTube video: 
        Table with type & handwriting. (Handheld rephotography)

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 To get this shot, I stretched Shot 3 from YouTube by 120%. Now the NASA logo is 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 United States.

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. See... Ionesco and 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

To get this shot, I stretched Shot 3 from YouTube by 120%. Now the NASA logo is 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.”

Moonscape with astronaut
          (under right leg of LEM. Unidentified person or object is on far right side of picture.

Go to Page:   1   2   3   4   5   Next

     Key of knowledge unlocks doors. Likewise, sync unlocks TV imagery.

Google Search
Web www.hawestv.com

Copyright © 2007 by James T. Hawes. All rights reserved.

•URL: http://www.hawestv.com/mtv_FAQ/FAQ_moon_3.htmWebmaster: James T. Hawes
•Revision—March, 2014 •Page design tools: HTML, Notepad & Explorer