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How “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” Ruled The Internet
February 21, 2013 10:17 PM   Subscribe

Chris Stokel-Walker of BuzzFeed explains the motivation and technology behind last year's “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” viral video sensation. [Previously]
Four Canadian film students were assigned a project: Create a YouTube hoax video that gets 100,000 views. They got nearly 42 million instead. Here’s the definitive behind-the-meme look at how—and why—their homework snowballed into one of the most popular and rapidly spread videos ever.
posted by ob1quixote (32 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is really interesting... thanks!
posted by salishsea at 10:43 PM on February 21, 2013


What a fascinating article...it's great to learn how that kind of video fakery is done. Thanks for this.
posted by medusa at 10:54 PM on February 21, 2013


I wish more internet phenomena had detailed
follow ups like this.
posted by quazichimp at 11:25 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Good read, thanks.
posted by smoke at 11:35 PM on February 21, 2013


I'm calling this post out as a fake. There is no way an article of this robustness and caliber is from BuzzFeed.
posted by oulipian at 11:48 PM on February 21, 2013 [30 favorites]


"It looked so fake to me," he explains. "The main thing that gave it away was the baby falling down." When the eagle snatches the child in its talons, it drags along the ground. As the bird gains a little altitude, the child slips. "It really looked like a 3-D model to me," the kind of models that populate Call of Duty, says Duarte.

It's like as a culture we're achieving yet another level of visual literacy and perception. Wild.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:49 PM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


I really like the play-by-play chronology because that night (Dec. 18th) was particularly memorable for me. We had an old friend arrive in town for the holidays, he came over around 7 and we drank some tequila, at some point I glanced at Metafilter on my phone and saw the video. Then we went out to dinner and I was telling them about it, got home around midnight and I looked at the thread again and the first debunking rumours were coming out.

Yeah I too wish more viral deconstructions existed!
posted by mannequito at 11:50 PM on February 21, 2013


I was taken in, in part by the fact that so many mefites seemed to be similarly credulous. However, I showed it to my boyfriend, and his immediate reaction was "Fake" and he took great pleasure in being right about it.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 11:55 PM on February 21, 2013


TLDR; how many babies did they have to go through before the final take?
posted by Auden at 11:56 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


People want to beleive.
posted by fshgrl at 11:58 PM on February 21, 2013


(sorry- just finished watching tonight's Archer and was in a smart-ass mood) - the article was actually incredibly interesting. Hope that Archambault and his team go on to greater things in the industry, they've definitely got their calling card for now. And kudos to Robin Tremblay.
posted by Auden at 12:11 AM on February 22, 2013


The video is still more true than Pawn Stars.
posted by johnpowell at 12:27 AM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know, I'm more surprised that golden eagles haven't swooped at human children than anything. They hunt young deer, for chist's sake.
posted by wayland at 12:49 AM on February 22, 2013


Ha! I'll never do precisely what Professor Robin Tremblay wants me to do. Never!
posted by orme at 2:20 AM on February 22, 2013


It's like as a culture we're achieving yet another level of visual literacy and perception. Wild.

And yet we still vote for terrible political candidates on the flimsiest of pretexts!
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:33 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a great article.
But it makes me want to know: did teh internets ever decide on the reality of not of that Matt Cain pizza box video? The MeFi thread is long and interesting and inconclusive.
posted by chavenet at 4:11 AM on February 22, 2013


Too many of us believe things for which there is no evidence and reject claims for which there is evidence. Progress? I would love to know what percentage of the 42 million viewers--particularly in the USA--still believe that the video was real--despite the article explaining in great detail how it was faked. Sort of reminds me of crop circles being produced by alien spacecraft as opposed to some creative drunk dudes with a bottle of whiskey and wooden boards.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:15 AM on February 22, 2013


you know, I heard it was fake almost immediately after I saw it for the first time. and I'm pretty familiar with the techniques and software they used to create it. I just really want to believe that it's real, so deep down I still kinda believe an eagle swooped down and grabbed a kid.

kinda like how some kids find out Santa Claus isn't real but still kinda believe in him for a year or two.
posted by dogwalker at 4:36 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last year my wife took an extended trip to South Africa for bird watching, with a specific focus on raptors. At one site they found a pile of monkey bones beneath a tall tree where there was an active eagle nest, and the local guide pointed out to them how each skull was pierced in back, as the eagles' technique was to put two talons through the eye sockets and one through the back of the skull to pick up their prey.

The same cheerful fellow studied primate vocalizations and said they had identified specific calls for different predators, including one they tagged OHCRAPEAGLE. In fact, he believed OHCRAPEAGLE may have been one of the very first words in the very first languages ever spoken by our ancestors.

All in all he was sure eagle predation was a large factor in our early evolution. So there might be some deep reasons this video had such impact.
posted by localroger at 5:38 AM on February 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


And yet we still vote for terrible political candidates on the flimsiest of pretexts!

To be fair, Mitt Romney clearly being a hologram really worked for Obama in the swing states.
posted by griphus at 5:48 AM on February 22, 2013


Seymour Zamboni: "Too many of us believe things for which there is no evidence and reject claims for which there is evidence."

This is an unfair characterization of the event. I mean what more do you want in the way of evidence than eye witness testimony and a recording of the event?

I mean obviously this is too low of a bar now that manipulation allows for outright fake recordings. But how are we supposed to believe anything? Wonder down this path too long and you start to question stuff like whether we landed on the moon.
posted by Mitheral at 6:39 AM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The worst part of this is that now CS classes/projects will have to face an IRB review too. Ugh.
posted by bonehead at 7:36 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


localroger's comment above really resonates with me. This video had me excited because it pushed every single one of my OCD/anxiety buttons. "See? That's why I must never let my guard down for even a second!"
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:38 AM on February 22, 2013


The same cheerful fellow studied primate vocalizations and said they had identified specific calls for different predators, including one they tagged OHCRAPEAGLE. In fact, he believed OHCRAPEAGLE may have been one of the very first words in the very first languages ever spoken by our ancestors.

All in all he was sure eagle predation was a large factor in our early evolution. So there might be some deep reasons this video had such impact.


You may be on to something. I can't tell you how many hiking partners have pointed out eagles to me. They're cool birds and all, but I've always found it pretty baffling that so many people are on the lookout for eagles specifically.
posted by mantecol at 8:05 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope they at least had account monetization enabled
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:06 AM on February 22, 2013


They did, but couldn't profit from ad revenue because the software they used to make the video was educationally licensed. The profits are going to a scholarship that'll help other students attend the same program.
posted by subdee at 9:20 AM on February 22, 2013


Is no one bothered by the idea that a professor assigned his students to perpetrate a hoax?

The profits are going to a scholarship that'll help other students attend the same program.

And launch more hoax videos? How about the money being used to fund more ethics classes?
posted by tommyD at 10:02 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The profits are going to a scholarship that'll help other students attend the same program.

A B.S. in Hoax Management?
posted by perhapses at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've got a question for y'all. This video - is it fake? And either way, what's the likelihood of it being a cross-promotion viral with Bud Lite?

I'm certainly not the only person to wonder about this given two of their video responses.
posted by Drexen at 12:07 PM on February 22, 2013


I support more hoaxes like this. Maybe people will become less credulous. Plus they're funny.
posted by fshgrl at 2:22 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


tommyD...professors assign their students hoaxing assignments all the time. It's the very basis for a marketing degree.
posted by salishsea at 4:29 PM on February 22, 2013


Since I love saying "I told you so," I will just point out I was the first to call it fake in the previous MeFi thread.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:21 PM on February 22, 2013


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