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North Korea Is Now Faking Video Footage, Apparently [Update]

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For years now, we’ve seen bad North Korean Photoshops. Now, according to Reuters, experts say the hermit kingdom is faking video clips.

Late last week, North Korean television released footage of the alleged rocket launch from December, which was supposed to show off the country’s ability to fire ballistic missiles from subs. The footage is bunk, it seems.


1/12 - 8:05 Update: You can read the more analysis right here of the footage.

According to senior researcher Melissa Hanham at the California-based Middlebury Institute’s James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, “The rocket ejected, began to light, and then failed catastrophically.” The think tank’s analysis shows two frames where the rocket is engulfed by flames and begins to break apart. Hanham points out that North Korea used “heavy video editing to cover this fact.”


North Korea is reportedly using simplistic editing techniques to crop and reverse old footage of an earlier submarine-launched ballistic missile as well as a Scud missile launch.

“They used different camera angles and editing to make it appear that the launch was several continuous launches, but played side by side you can see that it is the same event,” Hanham said.

The South Korean government also deemed the footage fake, with the country’s Defense Ministry telling Yonhap News, “We consider the video published by North Korea of a SLBM launch fabricated.”

Over the years, North Korean propaganda has used Photoshop to varying degrees of success. Recently, the country’s ‘shop abilities have gotten better, and if this analysis is correct, then North Korea’s next goal should be to improve its video manipulation. That, and ease up on the lens flare.

Top image: KCNA

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter@Brian_Ashcraft.


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