Based on a tip from assmissile on the powerboatblog.com site, we have learned that parts of the notorious Windsurfing attack-ad created by the Bush for President campaign, have been premeditatively forged through high-tech digital electronic means.
To back up a little, the fraudulent advertisement purports to show Kerry windsurfing on some unnamed large body of water. The theme of the ad ostensibly works to sway the viewer into believing that "Kerry tilts in any direction the wind blows", an extension of the flip-flopping tag given to Kerry by his opponents. The clip further accentuates the flip-flopping by showing him sailing in one direction and then clearly in the opposite direction, repeated several times.
Given the point the Bush ad-men apparently tried to convey, they unfortunately relied on high-tech, yet crude and amateurish, forgery techniques to create the video. As a case in point, look carefully at the following two frames snapped from the ad:
The first frame, which we call "flip", shows Kerry skillfully sailing in one direction. The second frame, "flop" shows Kerry elegantly keeping the exact same form while traveling in the opposite direction. On first glance, many people know that this can happen through a technique called tacking; which cleverly enables the seasoned sailor to travel upwind. However, upon further reflection, the populace who has watched enough Flintstone cartoons during their childhood and early adulthood, will recognize some sleight-of-hand performed on the video mixing board.
Hollywood rears it's ugly head when we take one of those clips and flip the image orientation using GIMP:
How odd that the two images appear identical apart from the ad narrative text superimposed on the frames. The odds that one of these two images is a forgery approaches 100%, if we statistically consider that the odds of all the landmarks coincidentally lining up in the field of view, at the exact same locations but in the opposite sense, is vanishingly small. Much like the DNA or fingerprints of any two people matching is vanishingly small.
And here is an animated GIF of the two images superimposed:
So what we have here is a forgery, frequently defined as "the false making or material alteration of or addition to a written instrument for the purpose of deceit and fraud". The fact that this was a digital deception does not make it any less a forgery. And in a strange political twist, the analogy of flip-flopping no longer holds water; Kerry obviously is sailing in one direction, clear in his ideology and true to his character.
The psychology behind the technical deception
Ordinarily, the average person can't tell the difference between a real and forged mirror image, due to the lack of extra visual cues.
Case in point, consider the following images:
Next, consider the following two images with a strong visual contextualization:
Psychologically, the average person would have been immediately yanked out of their inadvertant hypnosis if the video ad had contained strong visual cues, such as the name of the passenger boat passing by. Or if the writing on Kerry's shirt had been more visible. Unfortunately, the quality of the video was poor enough, blurred enough, or altered enough to prevent the fraud from immediately being exposed.