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CGI tornado misrepresented as typhoon ‘Mawar’


A computer generated imagery (CGI) simulation video was falsely passed off as showing a tornado during the landfall of super typhoon Mawar in Guam. The original clip was taken from a video posted on TikTok in 2020 and labeled with the caption “#aftereffects.”


On May 24, three days before the typhoon (Philippine name: Betty) entered the Philippine area of responsibility, TikTok user MER VLOG posted the misleading video showing a tornado descending from the clouds, with superimposed text:

Ingant (sic) sa super typhoon mawar (Stay safe from super typhoon Mawar)

Doubling down, the video’s caption reads:

typhoon mawar update

The original clip was posted by a visual effects YouTube channel named Orphicframer on Dec. 2, 2018. It was titled “Tornado in Jersey, Channel Islands (CGI simulation),” fully disclosing the edited nature of the clip.


Orphicframer on May 3, 2020 crossposted the video onto its TikTok account, where it became viral, gaining over 52.7 million views and 4.5 million likes.


Eight days later, it posted a follow-up video in response to netizens’ confusion, breaking down the process of digitally inserting the tornado into the video.


Using a video shot by the coastline in Jersey, Channel Islands, visual effect techniques such as motion tracking, particle physics and compositing were employed to create the tornado seen in the video.


MER VLOG posted the video the same day Mawar made landfall in Guam, reported to be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the U.S. territory since 2002. No deaths or major injuries were reported.


The typhoon affected mostly northern Luzon.


MER VLOG’s post has garnered over 732,500 views, 9,195 likes and 1,633 shares. (JB)


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