I wrote the following response to a URL that was posted to the ApolloHoax Yahoo mailing list.
The URL is http://www.moontruth.com/
Amusing, and almost certain staged -- by which I mean, staged in order to appear to be a "blooper" from the Apollo 11 EVA. I believe this was shot recently, by the conspiracy theorists themselves, or perhaps as a prank.
Let's examine the author's claims.
"The attention to detail is staggering."
No, not to anyone who has studied Apollo equipment and video footage. In the first one or two seconds the astute viewer should notice the first blunder -- the camera is hand-held! It was well published that the television camera for Apollo 11 would be mounted on the MESA (equipment pallet). The real Apollo 11 footage is rock-solid, as such a mount would suggest. Why would a NASA conspirator make such an obvious mistake?
Second, the suit in question is not inflated.
Third, the swinging light boom falls on cue, right in the most historically significant portion of the script. That the boom would fall *at all* is surprising. Riggers are much more careful than that. (They're liable if their equipment falls and hurts someone.) They're *entire job* is to secure lighting assemblies and other structures against just such a failure.
Fourth, the astronaut reacts strangely. If we are to believe this clip, something happened on the set that was not expected. People react reflexively to the unexpected. The actor playing the astronaut doesn't whirl around to see what happened to his key light -- i.e., to see if it's about to fall on him. He leisurely turns around as if he knew the light was going to fall all along.
Fifth, the astronaut's drop to the surface is clearly in full earth gravity. The legitimate Apollo 11 footage has drops consistent with 1/6 G. Two grips rush in to help lift the astronaut back up to the ladder, implying it would be difficult or impossible for him to do it on his own. However, in the legitimate Apollo 11 footage we see both Armstrong and Aldrin leap almost effortlessly back up to the lowest rung of the ladder.
Sixth, the lighting design on the boom is clearly inconsistent with the lighting inferred from the video, film, and Hasselblad photography. The lighting rig in question would have cast three separate shadows and produced three distinct gradations of shade. This would have been apparent in the legitimate films and video, whereas the legitimate record is unquestionably lit using a single, very distant, point light source.
Seventh, the framing and camera angle is wrong. The horizon was slanted in the legitimate Apollo 11 footage because of the angle of the camera mount on the MESA. The camera itself was tilted to one side. And so the astronauts in that footage appear slanted, consistent with the horizon. In this footage the astronaut stands upright (relative to the frame), and so do the grips and production assistants that run into the frame. And the lighting boom becomes plumb parallel to the frame. The horizon is slanted in this footage because the set piece is built slanted. Clearly the producers of this video didn't understand what they were seeing in the legitimate Apollo 11 footage.
"The intention is clearly to fool viewers into believing that it is genuine."
Correct, but not as the author suggests. I believe the intent is to fool viewers into believing they're seeing actual "behind the scenes" footage of faking the Apollo landings, when in fact they're seeing something manufactured as a prank, or by conspiracy theorists themselves.
"But we do know that the original non-digital footage was destroyed ..."
How unfortunate. Now we must take the conspiracy theorists' word for it that this footage is genuine. Does this sound familiar? The standard pattern for conspiracy theorists is to make farfetched, astounding claims and then to give farfetched, outlandish excuses for why their evidence cannot be verified by third parties. Yet strangely these are the same people who say we must question everything and not take things for granted, or trust people who say they're telling the truth. Conspiracy theorists argue for more disclosure and better accountability in their leaders, yet they are the worst offenders when it comes to providing that same level of accountability themselves.
" ... certain (dangerous) people are very angry that this clip has leaked."
Cloak and dagger: the hallmark of a successful conspiracy theory. The most common excuse given why evidence cannot be verified or corroborated is that the publishers would be in very grave danger if they revealed their sources. Of course the danger is pure presupposition -- entirely circular. This footage is presented as an attempt to argue that the moon landings were hoaxed. The presupposition of danger rests on that proposition being assumed true -- consummate begging of the question.
The question now is why the "dangerous" source of this material allows it to be viewed by anyone on the Internet, downloaded, and passed around for free. Why hasn't the author met with an unfortunate accident? Why hasn't the web server been hacked or sabotaged? Clearly the real owner of this video clip wants it spread far and wide.
This is a classic conspiracy argument. The opponents to the conspiracy theory are always characterized as "dangerous" and subversive when it serves as an excuse for why more information can't be disclosed, or actual people interviewed and questioned. But apparently these all-powerful forces are completely inept when it comes to keeping self-proclaimed whistle-blowers from publishing books and videos containing the allegedly damning evidence.
"Our source is well placed to vouch for the authenticity of the footage ..."
Forgive us if we don't take your word for it. If we can't know the name of the source and his connection to those who produced the video, we cannot judge its authenticity. And given the extraordinary implications of the video, we cannot simply assume it to be genuine. The unwillingness of a proponent to reveal his source artificially creates an ambiguity -- a vacuum of information which works, in this case, in the conspiracist's favor.
It's always the case that the climate is just lenient enough to allow the conspiracy theorist to publish "damning" evidence -- and even charge money for it -- but so restrictive that the sources can't be revealed to third parties.
"[The source] had links with the makers of 2 recent documentaries, one for the BBC and one for CNN about the moonlanding conspiracies."
So far the only "documentaries" produced on the subject have been attempts at preaching the conspiracy theory. So it appears this author is saying his source for the video is (fanfare, please) ... the conspiracy theorists.
Am I the only one who finds it suspicious that this one-of-a-kind, too-good-to-be-true evidence can be traced no farther back than people who have a financial vested interest in promulgating the hoax theory, and who happen to have access to video production facilities? Doesn't that say an awful lot about where this mysterious footage probably originated?
"We cannot possibly reveal his identity, and probably never will be able to."
Of course not. That would allow us to question him and draw our own conclusions about his credibility. The author clearly wants us simply to accept his claims without question. We've already dealt with the fallacy of anonymous authority above.
"The footage has been buried for over 30 years."
There's no evidence of that. It's either been known -- at least to somebody -- for at least 30 years, or it's been discovered recently and therefore we don't know just how old it is.
"All the original stock, except this cut, was destroyed."
There's no evidence that any other similar footage exists, much less what its disposition may be. The author is very good at spinning a tale, but not very good at providing evidence to back up the claim. All he has is a few seconds of video, and a nice story to tell about it.
"We ... approached almost every large TV network owner to sell the rights. Without exception they were interested and offered to buy it. ... Then, also without exception they changed their minds and started to try to find out who we were. At that point we stopped dealing with them."
Two words: "Alien Autopsy". Remember when Fox aired their shocking footage? It took the world by storm and was cited as irrefutable evidence of alien visitation. Then the sky fell. The pranksters who produced it owned up to it and showed how they did it. Fox had bought a huge white elephant, bought into it, and suffered the consequences. Not that Fox cares too much about whether the stuff it airs is strictly true, but other networks do.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. People who are going to put their credibility on the line -- not to mention their financial success -- by airing a controversial video want to know they're making a reasonably good investment. They aren't going to air a few seconds of video that implies Apollo was faked, and then have a bunch of college students from Wisconsin admit they made the whole thing up. It's perfectly legitimate to want to know who's selling the video and where it came from before signing the check and agreeing to air it.
"It was made in 1965, judging by the camera it was shot on - an Ikegami Tube Camera."
That's an unsupported inference.
We'll take the author's word on the camera that was used. It is obviously a vidicon-based camera, judging from the smearing that the swinging light boom leaves behind. But vidicon cameras were manufactured well into the 1980s and widely available. I'd like to know how the author was able to determine the precise model and date of the camera just by looking at the video that was produced. There's no reason to conclude the footage was shot in 1965. It might just as easily have been shot last week with a camera made in 1965. Vidicon-based video cameras in good working condition are not hard to come by.
The willingness of the author to jump to an unsupported conclusion makes it less likely we can trust him to interpret other elements of evidence that pertain to this claim. And remember, we can't interview the participants ourselves, or see any of the evidence that establishes the video's authenticity. We're limited to taking the author's word for it, and our author seems to like overextending his evidence.
"We have evidence that the footage was shot outside the US - possibly in Europe, by a foreign crew."
Where is this evidence? The pile of evidence this author claims to have, compared to the evidence he is willing to produce, is astounding. Why does the author conclude it's being shot by a European crew? The voices in the video are speaking colloquial American English.
Besides, let's accept for the sake of argument that this film was shot in Europe back in 1965 with the intent of passing it off as Apollo 11 EVA footage. Remember, the political aim of the Apollo program was to prove America's technical prowess to the world. If you're going to shoot a pro-USA hoax video, it's best not to do it in another country, using a foreign crew. What assurances do you have that they'll be loyal to your cause? The story presented here just isn't plausible.
"They [NASA] have refused to comment."
Which is the standard procedure for NASA regarding claims of this type. There is simply nothing here to address. The strength of the author's claim relies upon his being able to prove all the things he says about this video, and to show it's not a recent forgery, as is likely the case.
"But we have recently heard that they are stepping up efforts on a huge PR campaign to convince us all that the Apollo moonlandings all took place."
Now the author can't make up his mind. At first it's suspicious that NASA hasn't responded. Now it's suspicious that NASA is making a substantive response. There's the standard tautological reasoning that precludes a meaningful test of the hypothesis. If NASA says nothing, they're hiding something. If NASA says something, it's to hide something.
And to be more accurate, the (now aborted) campaign was not to assure us that Apollo succeeded, but to point out that the counterarguments -- that NASA faked it all -- lack appropriate scientific and logical grounding. That's not exactly the same thing.
In conclusion, we're presented with a video that has all the indications of something prepared by someone who didn't know a whole lot about Apollo video, and linked back to the conspiracy theorists themselves. It's riddled with errors and, frankly, just too conveniently good to be true. And the accompanying discussion is the same old story we've been told for 25 years: I can't given you any evidence in support of my claims, but I assure you they're true.
JRKeller also wrote a response which added several very good points. I'm not violating copyright by posting my review here, but I would be by posting his so I'll let him decide whether to cross-post, summarize, or whatever.