This is about to be your favorite UFO video of all time. Just look at the detail on that ship! This footage has been floating all over YouTube for the past few months, and at last the guy who made the film has spoken out about what he saw that evening.

What he saw was a video editing suite. And the best part is that the UFO isn't the only special effect in this video. Everything is a special effect. Over at Wired, Lewis Wallace writes:

In reality, "UFO Over Santa Clarita" was a painstakingly crafted joke played by Aristomenis "Meni" Tsirbas, the director of the 2007 computer-animated film Battle for Terra who has also contributed visual effects and animation work to movies like Titanic and Hellboy and several Star Trek television series. A long-time champion of "photorealistic" CGI, Tsirbas and his team spent about four months mimicking the look of an accidental extraterrestrial encounter captured on a smartphone.

And until now, Tsirbas hadn't revealed the truth to anyone outside a handful of friends.

"The point of the video was to prove that CGI can look natural and convincing," Tsirbas told Wired. "Everybody assumes the background and car are real, and that the UFOs are probably fake, especially the over-the-top mothership at the end. The general reaction is disbelief, so I usually have to prove it by showing a wireframe of the entire shot to prove that nothing is real."

I love the way this video duplicates the exact structure of most UFO videos, which I think reveals that these vids have become their own subgenre complete with rules. There must be a section where a person says something like "Holy crap!" or takes a surprised breath. And then there has to be some blurring, and some jostling of the camera. Tsirbas recreated all of this with CGI, including the phonecam feel.

Either that, or there should be strange background noise, people talking and dogs barking, so that you know this was just taken by an ordinary person. Here you can see another — supposedly not fake — UFO video that's been circulating online for a while. Dubbed the "seagull UFOs," it shows a formation of strange objects seen over Mexico a few weeks ago. By comparing this "real" UFO video with Tsirbas' work, you can see that the filmmaker has revealed himself as a master of the genre of movies designed to look like they are created by astonished amateurs. The only giveaway is that Tsirbas' ship actually looks freakin' awesome.

[Via Wired]