Watch as handball expert Trine Jensen vanishes on live television. She’s standing around for a while and then she’s not there. Ninja skills? Magic? Aliens?
At first I thought this might be the answer: investigator of the weird have known for years that it is possible in live video to remove and add things (including people) with software. Here’s a more recent non-secret version:
This German software is all about diminished reality – removing objects from the visual field. We’ve seen something similar for photos (we’re reminded of Photoshop’s content-aware fill), but this software can neatly delete any object from live, full-motion video.
The effect is achieved by an image synthesizer that reduces the image quality, removes the object, and then increases the image quality back up. This all happens within 40 milliseconds, fast enough that the viewer doesn’t notice any delay. As the camera moves, the system maintains the illusion through tracking algorithms and guesswork. It does seem to be thwarted by reflections though; a cell phone removed from a bathroom counter is still visible in the mirror.
Currently the software only runs on Windows, but the Technische Universität team is planning to develop it for Android in the near future, where it will likely be available for free. See the seemingly magical software in action below.
Here’s a video showing it working:
Below is an example of removing people from videos. If the movement is dramatic, you may only see a vague ghostly shadow of the person. (Watch for those type of ghost shadows in videos.)
This technology was not mentioned at other sites I found about the vanishing girl, perhaps because there is a better and simpler explanation.
It looks spooky, but it’s not down to paranormal activity.
The show confirmed to the Huffington Post that the man being interviewed was Denmark’s national women’s handball head coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen, and the woman who appears to vanish was handball expert Trine Jensen.
Sam Haysom at Mashable had the most plausible non-editing explanation.
You can watch the full interview clip on TV2, complete with some excitable confusion from the Danish anchors who are just as baffled by the woman’s disappearance as the rest of us.
So what the hell is going on, exactly?
Well the whole thing is pretty seamless, but there is one small clue.
If you look closely, you can see the blonde woman’s blue jeans in the gap between the woman’s arm and her body.
Basically the whole thing is just a freaky coincidence, where the blonde woman walks off shot at the exact moment the woman pushing the trolley walks past.
No disappearance, then, sadly — just a Jason Bourne-style stealth escape. Still pretty damn cool, though.
The vanishing woman had this comment:
“My own belief is that I’m fast like a ninja. But it’s more probable that I was just lucky,” Nielsen told TV2. “It’s a fun clip, and I would even laugh if I saw it happen to someone else,” she said of the video.
There is a pretty good video from Dany Plouffe showing her jeans behind the woman who is leaving.
She does seem to be turning to go, and those do look like her jeans behind the woman, but the speed with which she would have had to run off screen after just standing there for a while makes that explanation seem unlikely.
Then again, unlikely things happen every day.