How to analyze UFO videos

This document can help you analyze videos of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) by extracting (cropping and enhancing) closeups from interesting video frames that you select. For example, if you find either a YouTube or Facebook UFO video that you think might be authentic, you can use open-source software to copy one or more video frames and then extract closeups from them.

Note: Various procedures in this document require:
  • RowVid or Anilyzer (utilities that let you view YouTube videos frame-by-frame)
  • VLC (a media player that lets you download Facebook videos and view them frame-by-frame)
  • GIMP (image editor)
However, you can use other software tools and alter your procedures accordingly.

Most UFO videos are either hoaxes or natural phenomena. However, a few seem authentic. For example, the article, UFO recorded during flight over Rio de Janeiro, contains an intriguing video. Figure 1 is a UFO closeup that I've extracted (cropped and enhanced) from a single frame in the Rio video.
Figure 1 - Is this an object of unknown origin or an elaborate hoax?
My first UFO-video analysis
As I watched the Rio video for the first time, its UFO seemed to be spinning, tumbling, or changing shape, but I couldn't see its actions precisely. After watching the video a few more times, I wanted to get a closer look so that I might better understand the UFO. I decided to extract UFO closeups from a few frames in the video. I've published many of these images in a slide show: Closeups of a UFO over Rio de Janeiro. The closeups are pixelated (grainy), but more detailed than the video. Compare Figures 2 and 3.
Figure 2 - This original video frame shows the UFO as a small object.
Figure 3 - This extracted closeup shows a UFO with multiple features.
Copying UFO video frames
You can copy video frames from either YouTube or Facebook.

Copying YouTube video frames - To copy YouTube video frames, you can make screenshots of one or more frames. To copy a specific frame, do the following:
  1. Start playing a YouTube UFO video, pause it, and then copy its URL. Note: Play the video directly from the YouTube website. If you have accessed the video through a third-party website, click on the YouTube icon (tooltip: Watch on www.youtube.com) to watch the video directly through YouTube.
  2. Open a new browser tab, and do either of the following:
    • Go to RowVid.com, paste the URL into the ENTER VIDEO URL OR ID field, and click WATCH VIDEO.
    • Go to Anilyzer.com, paste the URL in the ENTER VIDEO URL field, select YouTube, and then click WATCH VIDEO.
  3. Click Settings (the gear icon), click Quality, and then select the highest possible quality; preferably 1080p.
  4. During an interesting interval, click 0.25 for the slowest video speed.
  5. Click either the forward or back arrow button to stop the video at a specific frame, and then continue clicking these buttons until you find a frame you wish to copy.
  6. Click the icon at the lower right corner of YouTube, select Full screen, press Print Screen to display a Save Screenshot dialog, and then click Save to copy the screenshot of the frame (as shown in Figure 4) to your desktop or working folder.
    Figure 4 - Screenshot of an interesting frame in a YouTube video.
  7. Click the icon at the lower right corner of YouTube, and then click Exit full screen.
  8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for each frame you wish to copy.
Copying Facebook video frames - To copy Facebook video frames, you can download the Facebook video as an MP4 file, and then copy one or more of its frames.

Downloading a video from Facebook - To download a video from Facebook, do the following:
  1. Go to the web page that contains an embedded Facebook video, such as UFO recorded during flight over Rio de Janeiro, select the video, and then start playing it. Note: I recommend practicing with this Rio video; it contains many frames worth analyzing.
  2. Pause the video, right-click on it to display a menu, and then click Show Video URL to display it.
  3. Click on the URL to highlight it, and then press Ctrl + C to copy it.
  4. Open a new browser tab, select the address field, paste the URL, such as https://www.facebook.com/RodrigoAndradeOficial/videos/999375636766239/, into the address field.
  5. Replace the 'www' with an 'm' to change the URL, such as to https://m.facebook.com/RodrigoAndradeOficial/videos/999375636766239/, and then go to that URL to display the video launch window.
  6. Start the video, right-click on it, and then click Save Video As to display its dialog.
  7. Rename the video, such as ufo_rio.mp4, and then save it to your desktop or a working folder.
Copying frames from a Facebook video - To copy one or more frames from a Facebook video, do the following:
  1. Download a Facebook UFO video as an MP4 file according to the section above.
  2. Open the MP4 video with a VLC media player, start the video, and then pause it at any frame that shows a good view of the UFO.
  3. Click Tools, and then click Effects and Filters to display a dialog.
  4. Click Video Effects, select Sharpen, and then adjust the Sigma level until you see a clear image. IMPORTANT: This step is vital for the best possible image resolution.
  5. Toggle the play-and-pause button to find an interesting video segment, and then, as shown in Figure 5, click the Frame by frame icon repeatedly until you find the exact frame you want to copy.
    Figure 5 - An interesting frame in a Facebook video.
    1. Click Take a snapshot (camera icon) to save your copied frame image (vlcsnap screenshot) in your Pictures folder.
    2. Move your copied frame image, to your desktop or a working folder.
    3. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for each frame you wish to copy. 
    Extracting UFO closeups
    After copying frames from either a YouTube or Facebook video, you can extract UFO closeups. To extract a UFO closeup, do the following:
    1. Use GIMP to open any UFO video frame that you have copied, use the drop-down menu (at the bottom of the window) to set the zoom to 800%, and then use the scroll bars to center the image.
    2. Click Tools, click Transform Tools, and then click Crop to enable the Crop tool (a cross-hair pointer that you move with your mouse), and then use that Crop tool to draw a box around the UFO image.
    3. Press Enter to crop the new image.
    4. Click Image, click Scale Image to display its dialog, and then set Image Size-Width to approximately 400 px (the Height should automatically be proportional, such as 392 px), 
    5. Set the Interpolation field to either Sinc (Lanczos3) or Cubic, and then click Scale to resize the image. Note: Sinc (Lanczos3) interpolation generally works slightly better than Cubic.
    6. Click Colors, click Brightness-Contrast to display its dialog, adjust Brightness and Contrast as necessary, and then click OK.
    7. Click File, click Export As to display its dialog, rename the image, and then click Export to save the UFO closeup, such as shown in either Figure 6 or 7.
    Figure 6 - UFO closeup from a YouTube video.

    Figure 7 - UFO closeup from a Facebook video.
    (Along with Figures 1 and 3, this is another 

    closeup of the UFO in the Rio video.)


    1. Thanks so much, it is a good thing to have people working on abstract phenomena that are clear headed and not prone to hysterics.

    2. Nice work here!