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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Does the uncanny valley apply to live action video as well?

znigelz writes: As video recording instrumentation increases the fidelity of videos, does live action suffer from the same effect that we describe as the uncanny valley for robotics and animation. Normally, when we watch a video online and think it is fake it is because an action in the video is thought to be impossible or extremely rare. Usually, artifacts are very apparent in the video that give it away as a fake or modified recording.

In the following video, a pack of dolphins chase a boat of tuna fisherman, who are trying their hand at an independent and modern version of deadliest catch, except without the danger.


The reason I find this instance of a particular video to be interesting (beyond the inherent awesome nature of the video itself) is because of the amount of people online who swear the video is fake. The person who published the video, Mark Peters, has been defending the authenticity of video. I've got to admit, even I thought it looked fake for a moment, but then I climbed out of the valley and watched the video a few times repeatedly.

The action in the video is not a rare occurrence. If you spend enough time on the ocean in certain places in the world, you will inevitably come across a pod of dolphins who will chase your boat for five minutes until they become bored, tired, or get to their desired destination.

The video is unquestionably real. I feel for the guy who posted the video. He is just another person who is suffering from his audience falling into the zombie trap that is the uncanny valley. He did an amazing job recording the video. He must have spent a lot of time making sure all of the settings and the focus were perfect for the environment. Then he lucked into some awesome footage.

There does not seem to be much info on the wikipedia article for the uncanny valley. The listed referenced papers are all focused on robotics and animation, and do not discuss the application of the concept to the live action medium.

The closest application I could find was in the following article which applies the uncanny valley to how cartoons and animations distort our perception of reality.


Is the fallaciousness seen in the video the effect of animation distorting our reality as described in the paper? Or is it just the normal zombification from the effect described in the standard uncanny valley model?

Will light fields suffer from this same effect? I don't get this fallacious feeling from the increased level of detail from stereoscopy of live action video. Do you think the video is fake? I don't. I have a certain level of credibility with respect to the field of computer graphics. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. I really don't care at his point if it is real or fake.

Disclaimer: I have no association with the people who made this video, the camera manufacturer, or any of the researchers in the papers I mentioned. My research is in a completely different field. I just think it is real, and the guy who filmed it deserves some cred for some awesome film making without questioning the credibility of the video. In any other situation, questioning credibility is generally a good thing.

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