Another fake "close lightning strike" viral video making the rounds

Dan Robinson

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Jan 14, 2011
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Quite a few of these "close lightning" CGI/fakes making the rounds lately. I've seen this one picked up by legitimate news media, so it deserves to be exposed as a fraud.


Let's take a look at what this one is missing: 1.) real lightning channels have a visible "bead out" at close range. The cooling channel should break up into visible segments. 2.) Real lightning bolts have an orange color close to the point of ground contact. 3.) the microphone on a GoPro or action cam in a housing is incapable of recording the high-fidelity thunder sound clip that has been dubbed in here. 4.) Lightning doesn't produce the cute little "splash" in the water we see here (find ONE other example of this happening).

If you don't believe me, look at every legitimate close lightning video you can find and compare it to this one using these characteristics as a guide..

Lightning videos like these are easy to fake, viewer beware. All it takes is to draw in a lightning bolt in a frame or two and dub in a sound file. Comparing these videos to real lightning bolts captured on camera will make the fakes easy to spot.

Here are some real lightning bolts for comparison (language warning on some of these):



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgXULNHyNVQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usJDen5HeMI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ovwi9LB-xU
 
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Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
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Oct 7, 2008
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4.) Lightning doesn't produce the cute little "splash" in the water we see here.
I disagree with this one. I've seen videos of lightning strikes that blow up chunks of asphalt from road surface. The amount of energy being converted into heat along the channel is more than enough to cause some small effects at the point of impact. If a bolt hits water it probably can boil a small volume near the point of impact. I don't know how big of a splash it might make, but I doubt it would leave the water's surface unaffected physically.
 

Dan Robinson

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Jan 14, 2011
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I disagree with this one. I've seen videos of lightning strikes that blow up chunks of asphalt from road surface. The amount of energy being converted into heat along the channel is more than enough to cause some small effects at the point of impact. If a bolt hits water it probably can boil a small volume near the point of impact. I don't know how big of a splash it might make, but I doubt it would leave the water's surface unaffected physically.
The pavement gets blown up because the lightning channel continues on under the surface, uplifting the pavement above it. The reason it doesn't happen with water is that the channel terminates at the surface instead of going beneath it. There's no mechanism to uplift water in this way, and I've never seen a legit video or still image of a lightning strike to water that created any type of splash.
 
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calvinkaskey

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Feb 17, 2014
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Quite a few of these "close lightning" CGI/fakes making the rounds lately. I've seen this one picked up by legitimate news media, so it deserves to be exposed as a fraud.

It's a little weird that the girl points just 2 seconds before then hunches over after it hits.



 
Mar 28, 2009
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I guess this is a little late, but I just saw the post.
I've always been interested in photographic analysis, so this caught my attention.

Thought I'd throw in my $0.02

I am sure Jeff is right about the steam explosion / splash.

One dog day afternoon I did a practice intercept of a run-of-the-mill thunderstorm
-just to kill boredom, and maybe get the truck washed for free.
While I was sitting on a farm lane about 150-200 feet from a metal roofed barn,
the roof was struck while torrential rain was washing over it.

The entire side of the roof facing me was enveloped by a cloud of steam
maybe 5-6 feet thick that was opaque for about 8-9 seconds and took
almost a full minute to thin out.

I always start counting after a CG strike, its like a reflex. (one mississippi, two mississippi...)
This time I just kept counting after the sound came (immediately),
I think because I was stunned a bit.

Steam kept forming for several minutes after.
I kept watching to make sure that I was seeing steam and not smoke.

Anyhow, lightning strikes can flash water into steam explosively.

Typical lightning channels are a little over 50,000° F -- the same as a plasma cutter.