Yesterday morning, New York and New Jersey residents had the felgercarb scared out of them when F16 fighter jets and a 747 painted up like Air Force One buzzed lower Manhattan and New Jersey’s Goldman Sachs Tower (the state’s tallest building). The planes flew at low altitude, rattling windows, stopping traffic and panicking thousands who spontaneously began evacuating their homes, offices and bowels. Was it another terrorist attack? No, thank god. A plane in distress? Nope. A training exercise intended to safeguard American soil? Wrong again! The reason for the flyover that struck fear into the heart of a city still on edge was a photo op. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the armed forces sailed these planes dangerously close to occupied buildings – without issuing an advance warning - so they could snap a couple of cool publicity pictures. Not only was this stunt thoughtless and cruel, it was totally unnecessary – haven’t the US government heard of CGI yet?
If you wanted pictures of Air Force One and some F16s flying over NY, why not just pick up the phone and call Hollywood? I hear the governor has a few ties with people who make special effects movies. I’m sure they would have helped you out. When most people want images of something impossible, or just too expensive to do for real, they turn to the magic of visual effects. You guys didn’t think a movie like Independence Day used real UFOs, did you?
See this picture on the left? Sure, that’s a real-live picture of NYC, but the giant UFO is a model. It’s fake. Yes, I know, it’s casting a shadow over the city, I’m sure that confuses you – but trust me, those FX guys have a whole slew of tricks up their sleeves to make you believe what you’re looking at is the real deal. For example: that shadow is just painted over the top of the picture! Yes, I’m serious. The artist even curved the shadow so it looks like it’s been cast by a curved object, just like the UFO. Yeah, crazy, I know.
No, it doesn’t have to be something outlandish like spaceships if you’re thinking of giving the FX people a call. I mean think about it – if they can put a giant UFO over New York, just imagine how easy it would have been to fake a few planes cruising over the city? They can do planes like nobody’s business. And just in case you don’t believe me, here’s another picture from a movie – a movie called Air Force One:
Yes, I swear to god that’s not a picture of the real Air Force One, it’s a special effect shot from a movie starring Harrison Ford. Yes, I know you spent a whole lot of time painting a 747 to look like the real Air Force One, but how could you have known that all you needed to do was paint a model airplane and used special effects? Hey, come on, stop kicking yourself; Washington is a million miles away from Hollywood.
What’s that? Well, actually, no, it’s not cheaper to use real planes. Yes, some of those special effects movies do cost a few hundred million dollars, but trust me, that’s not because of the eye candy; that money is all wrapped up in the stars’ salaries and a lot of first-class tickets to Canada. Especially now, with computers, you can do FX really cheap! That’s right, the same computers you use to erase people’s identities and put your old math teacher on the no-fly list can be used to create UFOs and airplanes and anything else you can dream up. In fact, I used one to create this picture:
Yup, that’s Sachs Tower in the background, the same building you flew past yesterday! I know, that’s not Air Force One, but it is Colonial One, from the TV series Battlestar Galactica (I hear your commander-in-chief really likes that show). I figured if I showed you a computer-generated 747 flying in front of the building, you’d think I was trying to fool you with a snapshot from Monday morning so I thought I’d give you something a little snazzier – you know, something a little more special-effectsy to make the point.
And guess what? I whipped that image up in just about an hour. See? I bet for less than the cost of the fuel you spent on that little stunt yesterday I could have computer-generated all the pictures you needed – all without a single Hail Mary or evacuated building. Hell, for a few extra bucks I would have even thrown in some HD video.
I hear that after the way New York reacted to your photo shoot you might have to cancel your plans to do the same thing in Washington. Hey, if you need some pictures of passenger jets diving at the Capital, dude, call me.