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back to article New York Times uses palpably fake pic to illustrate Syrian warfare

The New York Times has used an obviously faked image with a strong resemblance to videogame visuals to illustrate the conflict in Syria, an eagle eyed Reg reader has pointed out. The story 'Ordering More Airstrikes, Syria Calls French Recognition of Rebels 'Immoral' ' carries a picture of a fighter holding a gun and firing …

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Anonymous Coward

HDR

Dunno - under closer inspection I can't see any obvious CGI artefacts.

That sort of lighting and contrast could be achieved with HDR photography - but very difficult to achieve with such a 'dynamic' scene on a short exposure

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Anonymous Coward

Propaganda!

I have swallowed enough of it during the first half of my life so now I can smell it from the distance of one kilometer or more, even with unfavorable wind blowing.

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Facepalm

Looks alright to me...

...the gun thing for a start; you'd never see it held so oddly in a game - there's normally only a few generic position animations for the opposition / other players. Plus I don't think I've ever seen graphics that 'realistic' looking either (looking at the original here btw.).

You need to stay in more!

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Re: Looks alright to me...

I'd agree looks perfectly real to me.

The rebels often hold their machine guns around corners like that especially when there's a camera around - whereas in games they don't.

Here is also a picture of the guy earlier:

http://www.france24.com/en/files/imagecache/aef_ct_wire_image_lightbox/images/afp/photo_1352889692742-1-0.jpg?1352920650

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CNS
Stop

I'm surprised no one at the NYT reads The Register as the presumably fake photo is still being posted.

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Anonymous Coward

Here is the embedded data:

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Resolution Unit : inches

X Resolution : 392

Y Resolution : 392

XMP Toolkit : Image::ExifTool 8.50

Rights : This photograph is protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Licensing requests should be sent to photosales@nytimes.com.

Marked : True

Web Statement : true

Profile CMM Type : Lino

Profile Version : 2.1.0

Profile Class : Display Device Profile

Color Space Data : RGB

Profile Connection Space : XYZ

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Device Model : sRGB

Device Attributes : Reflective, Glossy, Positive, Color

Rendering Intent : Perceptual

Connection Space Illuminant : 0.9642 1 0.82491

Profile Creator : HP

Profile ID : 0

Profile Copyright : Copyright (c) 1998 Hewlett-Packard Company

Profile Description : sRGB IEC61966-2.1

Media White Point : 0.95045 1 1.08905

Media Black Point : 0 0 0

Red Matrix Column : 0.43607 0.22249 0.01392

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Device Model Desc : IEC 61966-2.1 Default RGB colour space - sRGB

Viewing Cond Desc : Reference Viewing Condition in IEC61966-2.1

Viewing Cond Illuminant : 19.6445 20.3718 16.8089

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Luminance : 76.03647 80 87.12462

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Technology : Cathode Ray Tube Display

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Real?

IMO that photo is real. I can understand people thinking its a screenshot from a video game due to the typical wide angle frame that FPS shooters use, not to mention the shooters pose appears somewhat unnatural. Also the apparent lighting upon first glance, especially on the person themselves, appears to be artificial. However taking a close look at the photo, even at its relatively low resolution reveals that the lighting is simply an illusion as a result of the combat gear he's wearing.

As far as loosing control the belt fed machine gun is concerned, it's quite obvious that a shot has just been fired due the case ejection, but this is just one frame. We simply don't know what happened after.

Everything else in the photo looks like its a real photo as well

Nope, it's not a fake as far as I can see.

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Happy

Re: Real?

Hey, I've got a crowbar. I'll help you get your tongue out of your cheek.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Real?

I'll say it's "real" as much as a photo. A setup still IMO. I think we could probably deduce the movie it's from with enough thinking. Anon because it's rude to give negative criticism. :P

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Silver badge

Re: Real?

I agree, looking at the photographers site and comparing this photo with some the others there it definitely seems plausible that and has a similar look. I will say that it does have a feel of a flipped photo as I assume the rifle is a PKM and while it's possible the belt runs over to the top side to feed it looks more like the belt is feeding from the lower side and the two shells have clearly ejected upward toward what would be the right side of the weapon; this is opposite the standard for a belt fed Russian firearm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Real?

If the shells come out of the left hand side you're going to get burnt pretty quick.

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Silver badge

Re: Real?

"If the shells come out of the left hand side you're going to get burnt pretty quick."

I'd only get burned if I was standing in the fire. Seriously, I don't know why most if not all Russian belt fed guns feed from the right and eject to the left but they do. They also equip them with a bipod or tripod so perhaps if you ask the designer he will say, "you're holding it wrong".

Note for the other thread, how about a "I don't know why it is, but it is" icon.

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Re: Real?

Eddy Ito is right, the belt feeds from the right see http://world.guns.ru/machine/rus/kalashnikov-pk-pkm-e.html

And the guy's left hand does look like the thumb is 'inside' the butt stock, so I'd say it's a PKM with the front bipod folded. Whether he's actually firing at anyone is another question entirely.

And how many journalists sell their photos to Getty without touching them up/adjusting colour balance/applying a filter? Real but shopped if you want my 2p.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Real?

Probably RPD, not PKM.

http://www.hungariae.com/img/DegRPD.jpg

http://images.gunstar.co.uk/Gun-Images/RPD-RPD-A96516.jpg

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Silver badge

Re: Real?

"The RPD is belt fed from the left."

Oh yeah, nice catch. I'm still sticking to it being a PKM and the image reversed given the RPD ejects shells downward and not to the right.

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Bronze badge
Headmaster

Dear Reg.

As far as my eyes can tell, this is a photo. 100% photographic, with possibly some touching up and cut and paste. Ok, that's not 100% photographic. But I can confirm it's not a game scene. Why? Hair. The guy has real hair, which is unheard of in a game. Well, you can render it, but it's more fuzzy than the reflection I get when I wake up in the morning and have been sleeping with my head on the vandergraph generator again.

The scene was probably entirely setup. Perhaps for a film or just a clipart (it is Getty images after all).

If my deduction is right, can you swing a reply my way? I'd also be happy to vet any images for you in the future. I've got an eye like a hawk... ahem, vulture. ;)

PS, list is:

Hair shows real "fuzz".

Arms show real "skin + tattoo" (lighting too realistic for 3d, at least anything currently game sourced)

Background could be 3D, but I'd say no due to no repeat of "texture" on the ground.

Fire shows no repeats either or any clipping from "billboard" effects. So either setup with a pro pyrotechnic or a cut from another photo.

The gun. There is so much wrong there, I can only imagine it's from a fans attempt to imitate "Rambo".

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Anonymous Coward

Also, anyone who as seen actual tires burn will tell you, there is a LOT of energy in those things. No need for an accelerant for the rubber to start burning that strong once it gets going.

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Silver badge

yep

Tire fires can burn for months if you have enough tires and seem almost as easy to put out as a coal mine fire.

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WTF?

Re: yep

Wow totally off topic but a 6k yo coal fire. Ok tire fires are very tough to put out but many coal mine fires are impossible to put out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Mountain

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FAIL

Re: yep

That fire predates Judaism even. Ok history lesson over.

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Pretty sure that's 'real' - whatever that means when the Free Syrian Army is staging things for the press - just juiced in Lightroom/bracketed in the camera to give it an HDR look. CGI gets more naturalistic; photography gets more processed; they were bound to cross at some point.

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Anonymous Coward

It is faked, but not from a FPS

I agree that the photo has a feeling of fakeness, but does not look coming from an FPS. I agree that it is too detailed to come from a game.

The image seems to have different lighting levels for the fire, the person and the background. The soldier looks to be in motion but there is no blurring, which means that the exposure speed is short, which needs a lot of lighting to look good. In contrast, the street appears in shadows.

Zooming on the bottom right of the fire I see something that could be brushing, fuzzy areas where fire and street background merge.

My opinion: PhotoShop, yes, from an FPS, not.

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Re: It is faked, but not from a FPS

Good guess. I am impressed by the photographic quality but troubled by the lack of reflection from the flames on the gun and the person.

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Go

Looks pretty real to me - try expanding the image to fill your whole screen.

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Stop

The question isn't so much "is it real", but rather "how soon before all conflict photos are fake?" My bet is not too long.

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Boffin

tires burn with very high energy

Solid rocket fuel is polybutadiene with an oxidizer additive such as aluminum oxide. Polybutadiene == tire rubber.

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Looks real to me. Use CTRL-+ to zoom in on the picture.

Possibly had its colours tweaked.. but seems fine otherwise.

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Silver badge

Libyan Rebels

The abiding image for me of the recent Libyan conflict was guys dressed in disco gear firing guns in a similar fashion to the man here. They were more likely to kill a goat in a field a mile away than any of Ghadafi's henchmen, but it was just for show.

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WTF?

not fake

It's real. You guys have been playing to many games on your computers.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems real, actually

You can see three pictures in a row of the same group here:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/14/world/meast/syria-civil-war/?hpt=hp_t3

Adding to the picture found by DaLo: http://www.france24.com/en/files/imagecache/aef_ct_wire_image_lightbox/images/afp/photo_1352889692742-1-0.jpg?1352920650

A quick Google of Javier Manzano does show he is in Syria at the moment.

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Unhappy

I guess this is one of those landmark days: 14th November 2012 - a 'The Register' journalist (is that the right term?) thought a real photograph must have been a computer graphics fake. It will go down in herstory, fact and fiction finally blur into one and other even in El Reg. I am bereft........

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