UPDATE: The White House has responded to our inquiry and they deny that this week’s weekly address video was shot in front of a green screen. They also explained that the production line that the president was posed in front of is always shut-down on Fridays, the day President Obama taped his message. It’s impossible to resist the temptation to speculate that this odd production schedule must suggest that the production line is designated for the Chevy Volt.
President Obama delivered his weekly address to the nation from Detroit, Michigan this week after visiting workers at a GM assembly plant. When the video hit at Breitbart.tv, our tip box suddenly became very active with people claiming that the President was actually sitting in front of a green screen and the background image was really a composite image of an assembly line.
In the image below, you can see a black outline around the president’s shoulder, and you can see the background image slightly distorted around the president’s ear.
Several experts in the field of video effects have given us their opinions on the matter. Some examples of their takes:
- It is a complete lie as this is so obviously green screen it ridiculous! I have been doing green screen for a very long time and although the Key on the green screen is very well done it shows the clean edges that a natural environment doesn’t have. Also, they have added an ambient sound of an empty warehouse and buzz of the transformers to make it more believable.
- It’s a green screen, IMO. Notice the lines and cables behind him, they are totally still. Even if a factory is abandoned lines don’t just hang frozen like that. When I took it to full screen HD the most telling part for me were the areas around his head.
- It definitely looks greenscreen to me. there’s a lot of artifacting going on around the edges, which makes me think it was keyed out. also, the spacial relationships look off…just doesn’t seem to fit…however, around his hair, I don’t see any traces of the keyed out background…this is usually a good place to see some artifacting from the keys.. that said, its tough to say definitively, but it does look greenscreen
- I’m an expert with 20 years of experience in digital visual effects. I’ve been the visual effects supervisor on features and TV shows. I was also the editor-in-chief of two magazines, I’ve hosted dozens of instructional videos and I’ve taught hundreds of seminars around the world. The shot is obviously a composite and a ‘weatherman quality’ one. In it’s front of a still photo and President Obama doesn’t blend into the scene at all.
- I just spoke to a friend of my from Skywalker Ranch. He has been doing Visual X for 2o years. He said “100 % Green Screen” and He LOVES Obama. He was also crushed by watching the video.
- My brother – Emmy award winning VFX artist. – at first thought it was green screen but after looking at it thinks it was likely shot
It’s likely that if the video was shot in front of a green screen, it was so the president wouldn’t disrupt the important work being done at the factory. If this is the case, it does bring up several interesting questions about the stage-management of the presidency. President Obama has been routinely placed in front of stirring backgrounds dating back to his candidacy. The Greek columns placed behind him for his nomination acceptance in Denver was a perfect example of his reliance on visual imagery to convey an important, unspoken message to his audience.
It’s true that the president was in Detroit. And it’s probably true that it would have been wrong for him to shut down production for the sake of taping his weekly address. That being said, why go to the great lengths they went to (assuming this was a green screen composite) just to convey the image of the president sitting on a factory floor? What does it say about the White House’s desire to manipulate reality to evoke an emotional response from voters?
Here is the full video. We’re interested in your opinion. We’ve asked the White House about it and as soon as they respond, we’ll let you know.