On February 22 2019, the Facebook page “What did I just see?” shared a video (linked here) captioned “Bit windy today,” purportedly depicting the failure of a wind turbine during an intense weather event:
The clip quickly spiked to millions of views and over 100,000 shares, and commenters were divided over whether it was authentic footage or simply a computer rendering of wind turbine failure. Users debated over whether the window was open or closed, whether debris appeared inside the curtain, and other aspects of the brief video:
This is real. No pixelation no box edges camera focus is on point. Is what’s best is everybody in here thought it was fake.
Love how the wind is so strong only one turbine is going crazy and after it breaks it falls slowly and gracefully straight down 😂
You can tell it’s fake because the one that breaks spins much faster than the others. Not to mention the actual breaking just looks like terrible CGI. Was this a student project?
A number of opinions were based on inferences about the political (i.e., “green”) implications of the video:
Someone who wants their coal mining job back made this
Anti-wind turbine propaganda!
That’s all the wind coming out of Bernie Sanders mouth
Versions of the same video were shared to Reddit’s r/mildlyinteresting, r/unknownvideos, r/unexpected, and r/CaptainDisillusion. The latter post linked to a since-deleted thread in r/gifs, where the top comment in the thread initially asserted the clip was authentic (before editing their comment to deem it a “plausible scenario”):
I have worked in wind power the last 8 years.
Those of you claiming it’s fake. It’s not. Or at least it’s very accurate.
It’s called an overspeed and that used to happen on these smaller older models. Modern ones have new engineering controls to pitch the blades out and engage brakes and such. You can find a lot of these in YouTube. Maybe a few dozen. But there are tens of thousands of turbines in the world, so all things considered it is a rare event.
When the blade hits the tower they shatter because they’re usually made of fiberglass. And the tower collapsed due to the coke can effect. The blade tips can be moving a few hundred kph so it’s a lot of power.
Edit: it has come to my attention that the cinematography of the shot is what’s suspect. Not the event itself. That may be true. I’m on mobile and 8ts a little harder to see ( or for me to look closely enough apparently.)
It very well may be fake. But this is a very plausible scenario.
So. I hope my well intended knowledge sharing gave you something. As I have learned to look more closely at videos on the internet because apparently you cant trust every thing you see online. Who knew?
The second user was correct. The clip appears to have originated with the Instagram account @yo_dojo, where it was originally shared on February 21 2019 with the caption “DISATER [sic] STRIKES IN BAD AXE.” It was captioned:
#greennewdeal #renewableenergy #3D #cinema4d #otoy #octanerender #disaster #windturbine #adobe #aftereffects #concept #mdcommunity #instaart #cgi #howiseedatworld #motiondesigner #thegraphicspr0ject #maxon #fa_hypnotic #badaxe #turbine #windmill #fuckrenderfam #3drender Shout out to @davidariew for taking a peek and always answering my ridiculous questions 🤙🤙 #cool
Sattler describes himself as “A nerd with Cinema4d / Octane” and a “Freelance 3D artist / motion designer” in his Instagram biography. The clip’s brevity and rendering were indicative of its CGI basis, but both Facebook and Reddit users were unsure of its authenticity when it was decoupled from its source, the artist’s Instagram page.