You've probably seen the viral video above, of an eagle snatching up a kid if for a brief period of time. It turned out that the video was a hoax. But did you know that the four Canadian students who created the hoax video, the goal of their assignment was to get 100,000 YouTube views? "They got nearly 42 million instead" and an A on their assignment.
We hear an appropriately startled "Oh, shit!" and the cameraman sprints over, the grass speeding past as the lens points down. The little boy is crying. He's wearing a bright red hat with big googly eyes, and his face is that emotionless expression small humans get when they just don't have an appropriate response to what's gone on. The boy is alright, and the horror you felt gives way to relief. Thirty-five seconds in, the video replays the moment in slow motion because that's what happens at the end of every dunk on SportsCenter. The screen fades to black.
And then you copy the video URL, go to your Facebook account, and paste it in the status box, add a "what the fuck!" or something equally trite, and share.
You've just done precisely what Professor Robin Tremblay wanted you to do.
Tremblay is a lecturer at Centre NAD, a technology university in Montreal, where he's been teaching a video-effects class since 1992. In October, he challenged his students -- as he did the previous two semesters -- to make a viral hoax video. If it got more than 100,000 views, then congratulations, you got an A.
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