If you've spent any time on the Internet today, you've no doubt seen this rather crazy video depicting a golden eagle descending from the Canadian sky to snatch a small child off the ground:
The video was posted online last night and quickly went viral, garnering more than 2.7 million YouTube views and counting, and drawing mentions in major media outlets on both sides of the border. By mid-morning, however, people were already growing skeptical of the clip, and for good reason. As Gawker points out, there are a handful of clues, including the fact that the clip is the uploader's only video, and that if you slow it down you can spot a few glitches in the CGI.
By this afternoon, the pranksters came forward to take a bow:
The "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid" video, uploaded to YouTube on the evening of December 18, was made by Normand Archambault, Loïc Mireault and Félix Marquis-Poulin, students at Centre NAD, in the production simulation workshop class of the Bachelors degree in 3D Animation and Digital Design.
The video shows a royal eagle snatching a young kid while he plays under the watch of his dad. The eagle then drops the kid a few feet away. Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards.
The workshop appears to actually specialize in creating hoaxes, so it's probably a safe bet that the video's creators have earned themselves an "A":
The production simulation workshop class, offered in fifth semester, aims to produce creative projects according to industry production and quality standards while developing team work skills. Hoaxes produced in this class have already garnered attention, amongst others a video of a penguin having escaped the Montreal Biodôme.
So there you have it. It was fun while it lasted.
In the meantime, here's that aforementioned penguin video, which judging by its current viewer count never quite hit it big in the same way as the eagle project: