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This morning I walked outside and discovered a sight I have not seen for many years: a weather balloon floating over the village where I live. In days gone by (and perhaps even today) there would be people calling the police to report a UFO. I took a few photos, just for the record, but it got me thinking; is it really possible, in this day and age with the technology we have available, to create the perfect hoax which nobody can detect? Transform that weather balloon into a real UFO?

Of course, we have the Metadata stored with each photo taken by many digital cameras which would need to be altered to eliminate any reference to Photoshop or other software used in modifying the photo but, no doubt, there are ways around this. What can be programmed can be un- or reprogrammed.

Then we have the matter of detecting changes made to photos. To pass muster, these would have to be modified pixel by pixel which could be a daunting task, though in my own case it might only involve a few hundred pixels.

The matter of lighting is an important factor. Older members, such as myself, may remember the botched photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, produced by the FBI, on which the shadows are on the wrong side. Nowadays, such an amateurish effort would be laughed at.

Obviously, it would require a photo of earth-shattering importance to justify the work needed but would it be possible to produce the perfect hoax photo which would fool all the experts?
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  1. crycocyon's Avatar
    Single photos are not taken so seriously nowadays for that very reason, that it is possible to alter the image enough so that it would be difficult to tell its authenticity. So it would be hard for the person who took the photo to be able to say it is proof of a UFO. What is much more difficult, or nearly impossible, is to modify a video. There's an interesting story about how LFL (Lucasfilm, of Star Wars fame) was brought in to check video footage of a particular UFO and the special effects artist said that many of the features of the footage would be hard to fake (won't go through it in detail here) on account of distance, focus, lighting, motion, etc..
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  2. MelodyTregear's Avatar
    Quite frankly, with the amount of work needed to do that, I don't know why anybody would want to. Just to be able to say you conned people? Besides, reality these days is indeed stranger than fiction!
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  3. WeeHector's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MelodyTregear
    Quite frankly, with the amount of work needed to do that, I don't know why anybody would want to. Just to be able to say you conned people? Besides, reality these days is indeed stranger than fiction!
    There are those out there who are easily amused.
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