I just wanted to pop in and thank all of the folks who contributed to the data collection and conversation here (and, of course, to Isaac). The below
is just my opinion and not necessarily that of the PRRR.
So we are just a rag tag crew and everyone works in fits and starts but I thought I might update everyone with what is happening with this
Tim Printy's article in Sunlite definitely has a lot of good info in it.
In short, working with Florent Michard's initial plot, we created a path that demonstrates how a balloon isn't just a random possibility but really is
a likely suspect for the object seen in the video.
I used Cinema 4D Studio and a plug-in called DEMEarth to create a super accurate map of the area. The map is textured with satellite imagery. DEMEarth
also allows precise positioning of geometry using GPS numbers just as we see in the video.
We took data points at every second and used those to position both a plane camera and the line of sight for that camera. One important discovery we
made is that the assumptions made by the SCU about the LOS data were quite incorrect. The data we see onscreen is often inaccurate by a rather large
amount (even using the SCU's proposed one second delay). This makes mathematical reliance on that data pretty foolhardy.
Fortunately we also have, for much of the video, actual visual landmarks that allow for a sort of checksum to correct the LOS. This is something I did
by hand for each second of video. We end our simulation at the point at which water is the only background. Although it would be easy to pretend that
we could place objects, etc., without landmarks, this, as mentioned would be foolish and it would be cheating. One can easily judge how well the
simulation follows the real video by simply comparing the frames.
We also estimated the various focal lengths of the plane camera by using the video itself as a guide.
The SCU paper postulates that the position of the object can be determined, in part, because it seems to go behind trees at certain points. We found
this claim to be unsupported. There are earlier sequences in which there are no trees present but the object dims away (almost completely
disappearing). The SCU paper does not offer an explanation for this apparent winking out. Our surmise is that we are seeing something related to the
imaging hardware/software itself. Further, during the proposed time that the object is going behind trees it is actually still there (and can be seen
by changing the contrast). There is one frame in which the object is almost completely gone in both the tree section and the no tree section.
Additionally one can see an overall change in contrast happening in the video during this time period.
In the PRRR simulation the object is actually much closer to the camera than it appears. We have modeled a 15" slightly squashed sphere representing a
balloon (or something like a balloon, perhaps a Chinese lantern, something lighter than air moving at wind speed).
This balloon is attached to a spline (path) that is positioned 245m in the air.
No effort was made to precisely match the location of our proposed object to the one seen in the video. This would have been a trivial task but really
wasn't the point of the simulation.
The C4D timeline was tied to the frame numbers seen in out frame set. So the huge advantage of the simulation is that one can see exactly what the
situation was from any viewpoint at any time in the video. When looking from above, for instance, we can see precisely (as possible) where the plane
was and exactly what its field of view encompasses.
This allows us to understand some rather powerful indications that a balloon is a good candidate for what we see in the video:
1. For the entire video, the plane camera is turned to face one particular (slightly drifting) area. This is where we placed our path. The SCU
scenario has the object seemingly connected to the plane and pivoting around the airport as the plane does.
2. The altitude needed to bring our postulated balloon into the view of the plane camera JUST HAPPENS to be where the wind picks up enough to make our
scenario fit (~18mph).
3. Our pathway follows the prevailing wind direction.
4. Our simulation demonstrates how the apparent great speed is just an illusion.
5. Our balloon moves at an almost constant speed (+/- 2%) and altitude (-20m) . No cheating was necessary to make the scenario fit.
6. We postulated the path and so forth prior to building the model (we didn't work backwards) without any idea as to how the finished product might
So what's left of the SCU paper if one discards the supposed great speed that they spent so much time and effort (and a supplemental paper) promoting
while insisting that a ballon path was impossible and could not fit the data?
From my perspective, not much. What's left is really mostly just assertions by unnamed witnesses and supposed "experts". Almost every bit of the
presumed hard science is, to my mind, disproven or immaterial.
So when will we be releasing all our material? Very soon--work is going on now preparing our presentation. I intend to make the actual C4D project
available as well.
If you are someone interested in the case and need to see the simulation now, send me a PM and I'll forward you an early peek at the video we made.
Thanks again to the ATS community for responding to Isaac's call for help.
Feel free to ask me anything!
P.S. I wanted to mention also the things we have not dealt with as yet:
1. The disappearance (submergence?) into the water and the apparent splitting in two. We don't know what is causing this. We suspect that it has
something to do with the imaging at the great distance. If we are right, we are talking about an object that 15" in diameter being viewed by that
point at near 5 miles away. The earlier winking out sections suggest that something was happening with the imaging. We don't have the technical
expertise to say what. We hope to find someone who can speak about this with authority and on the record. If not, I am still comfortable ruling out
dimensional magic or whatnot.
2. The heat signature. We aren't sure if this means anything or not. We do have a statement from someone who is an unquestioned expert in the field
saying that it doesn't rule out a balloon but our feeling is that this person only gave the matter only cursory thought so we don't cite this as
evidence. Again it would be helpful to find someone with unquestioned expertise.
3. The delayed flight, lights in the sky, witnesses, etc. All of these claims which exist only as assertion from unnamed parties don't rise high
enough as evidence to overrule a more parsimonious explanation (as above).
edit on 22-1-2016 by lancemoody because: (no reason given)