Science, Tech & Environment

Political photo tampering

(You've seen these photos. How difficult is it to remove someone from video?) Video is more challenging. Typically, TV footage has 30 frames per second so that's 30 still images for every second that need to be manipulated. In Russia, they got most of the guy, but it was too hard to remove the arms and legs. (How obvious would this have been to ordinary TV viewers in Russia watching at the time?) Well this is why magicians can do what they do, because they can distract us. so viewers would focus on something else and ignore the background. (This kind of doctoring has been for a long time. You have examples of photo doctoring going as far as back Abraham Lincoln.) We tend to think as tampering as an artifact of the digital age, but that's not true. The photo of Lincoln is nearly iconic, a very strong pose. In reality, it's just his head the body of a different senator. The urban legend is that Lincoln had bad posture. (Do you find this to be overt propaganda?) It's all about trying to tell a story and being selective to what is put out to the public. Eventually the public will start distrusting everything that's released.

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