English, Fake News

This video of an eagle diving close to a swimmer is digitally altered


A social media post shares a video clip where an eagle swoops closer to a person swimming in a water body. The post description reads, ‘Sometimes you’re watched over & looked after without even realizing how blessed & fortunate you are…We need to feel gratitude for every day that seems just ‘normal,‘. Let’s fact-check if the video is real or not through this article.

Claim Visuals of an eagle diving dangerously close to a swimmer before it flies away.

Fact:  This is a digitally created video. The portion of the eagle is a stock green screen clip of an eagle flying. A few parts of the video contain a green screen spill on the edges of the eagle’s body. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.

We performed a reverse image search on Yandex using a few screenshots from the video. This led us to a YouTube post from November 2022 containing the same video with a different audio track. Titled ‘Eagle attack man,’ this video was uploaded by a YouTube channel named ‘PakForecaster.’There was nothing written about the incident or the video in the description. A clearer version of the video is available here.

In the comments under the viral post, a few social media users have expressed that the video looks fake or that it might be produced using VFX. Taking this as a hint, we inspected the footage closely and found green screen spill and smudges on the edges of the eagle’s body (behind its wings when the water appears in the background). Simply put, a green screen is used in the background of a subject (which is in the foreground) that is being captured on video to later use a technique called chroma keying in video editing software to remove the green background and make it transparent. Another video or an image can be used to fill that transparent area (layer). Green screen spill refers to ‘…the coloured light that reflects back onto your subject from the green screen. When a green screen is brightly lit, the light can reflect that colour back onto your subject, casting unwanted green light. This can cause an issue in the keying stage.’ (read here and here)

We looked for eagle flying stock green screen footage and found the same in a YouTube video. You can find the similarities between the viral clip and this green screen footage in the following side-by-side comparison. The viral video is created using this green screen stock video and some other video clip of a person swimming in waters. We could not, however, find the clip of the swimmer.

To sum up, this video of an eagle diving closer to a swimmer is digitally edited.


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