No doubt you are one of the four million people (as of today) who has seen this video:
It's apparently a viral advertisement by Samsung for their LED TV line, and their tactics were obviously successful since so many people are forwarding this thing around (and I just used their name myself!). I've been amazed at how many people think that some rag tag group of shepherds in Wales were behind this video, and actually arranged sheep on a hillside to create all these amazing patterns, and Googling around I didn't see that anyone had broken it down, so I thought I'd write this up.
Besides the obvious clues ("BaaaStuds" has posted exactly one you tube video, it's sponsored by Samsung, it has very high production values, it has the professionally done "amateur" look, etc etc), there's one key piece of evidence for me. Take a look at the video at 0:31. This is where they supposedly recreate a large graphic of a moving sheep on the hillside by arranging the sheep like individual pixels. The jerky motion immediately looked fake to me, but OK, I thought, give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they really did it but did it as a time lapse using stop motion. But take another look at the video from 0:31-0:46, but this time watch the clouds.
There's a little tiny movement in the clouds at the start, but from then on the whole sky is virtually stationary. I've never been to Wales, but everywhere else on the earth that I've ever been, clouds are rarely stationary for any period of time (and it appears that this is the same situation in Wales, if that's where they shot it: here's a time lapse of moving clouds over Wales ). During all that time that the Baaa Studs are supposedly arranging the sheep on the hillside, the clouds should have at least moved a little bit. And at the very least, the clouds should changed their rate of movement when the frame rate is obviously accelerated around 0:43.
Secondly, to get all that LED animation done, they would have to shoot some (relatively) pretty long exposure times, and you should see the clouds or planets or the moon or something in there, even at night. And with moving sheep, at least some "pixels" should have been streaked or blurry.
I love time lapses and shoot a lot of them, like the one below. Here you can see clouds moving in day and at night. Obviously, these clouds are over NYC so there is a lot more light pollution but nonetheless you should see something (or a planet, stars, etc in that sheep video).
Aha Jake Pinholster found this article from the Telegraph UK that I missed in my Google search. It says, in part:
The creators of the video, for TV makers Samsung, revealed that they recruited Welsh national sheep herding champion Gerry Lewis, and a team of Welsh sheep herders to guide the flocks into position.
However they admitted computer trickery had been used.
Matt Smith, the co-founder of ad agency The Viral Factory said: "The people on camera are real farmers and they were really controlling the sheepdogs. Rather than trying to fake it all we did it for real.
"The sheep herding bit is straight up – no trickery but there is a fair amount of computer trickery and post production work.
"We thought the Mona Lisa was the big wink to people – once they saw that we thought they would realise it was not all real.
"But we have been quite surprised that there is still a debate about whether it is all real and people have been coming up with various theories."
This all pretty much is in line with my thoughts about it, which I didn't totally cover in my quick post this morning. I agree especially about the Mona Lisa part, that was so obviously fake that I didn't even bother addressing it.
Be sure and look at the comments on this entry, "Some Guy in Nevada" has done some excellent work on this!
Not all of these viral videos are fake--I posted an entry on the Honda Insight "LED" video here.
Mark Fortgang sent me more details on the shoot here.