Drone Mystery Terminated?

The mystery over the origin of the ‘CARET UFO Drone’ photos has taken another interesting turn, with the mid-season finale of the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (a spin-off of the successful Terminator movie franchise) featuring images of both the craft and the strange font/language used on them (and in the CARET schematics). Emps has more at Cabinet of Wonders, including video from the episode showing the craft (at the end of the clip).

So, were the drones a Terminator viral marketing campaign gone wrong? Or is it a viral marketing plan that is still growing, leading up to the release next year of the next instalment in the movie franchise, Terminator 4 (starring Christian Bale as John Connor)? Or…have the Terminator folks just cashed in on an already widespread meme? Where does this leave the Alienware computer models which used the font? So many questions…but are they really worth pursuing? Perhaps it’s time to let this thing die.

Previously on TDG:

  1. What will Whitley say?
    If it turns out to be a viral, I wonder what Whitley has to say about this, asa a year ago he said:

    Gliding straight toward the house at what must have been a low altitude was a very complex object that must have been very similar to the ‘drones’ that were photographed by a number of people last summer.

    My immediate thought was that it was a drone. I could not see any of the upper structures that are visible in some of the pictures, but only the body of the thing as it glided toward me. It was not far away at all, maybe just a few hundred feet.

    As I got out of bed, I said to Anne, “there’s a drone outside the window.” We both got up. As I crossed the room to the windows, I grabbed my cellphone in hope of taking a picture. But when we looked out, we could see only the low, rushing clouds.

    Of course, there is some wiggle room for him as it isn’t yet clear if they lifted the imagery or developed it. The timing may be critical.

    This emerged in Summer 2007.

    The writer’s strike was from 5th November 2007 – 12th February 2008.

    Did it throw off the timing and ruin its use as an advert? The graphics and text are impressive and show someone was able to devote time and resources to it – not impossible for a small group of amateurs these days but it is the bread and butter of TV special effects teams.

    There is plenty of detective work that could be done, looking at the small online videos it appears the TV series makes heavy use of the drones and the scripts and it would be interesting to see if they have made original material or just used the Caret imagery.

    My main worry is that just about anything odd without an immediate explanation gets called a possible viral and it has already been suggested the Caret drones were a viral for the X-Files 2 film. However, this looks pretty solid – all we need is for someone to own up. Then we’ll see what Whitley has to say about it.

    1. One possibility
      One possibility is that one or several of the CG artists involved in the production of the Terminator series released the drone videos to the Internet as a personal joke.

      Maybe they were ‘sample shots’ or pre-production work, or maybe done just for kicks by the artists without proper authorization from the studio; the reason why I think this it’s because the drone pics were seen by a really small fraction of the Internet users, way to low a demographic to be commercially profitable—then again, those pics would be really cheap to any professional studio, specially if they already invested in the modeling of the machines for the TV production work.

      I would say this though: The drone photos look more ‘realistic’ than the Terminator video segment. But that may be because of the dramatic use of lighting in the clip in contrast with the ‘dull’ ordinary backgrounds in the (in)famous drone pics of 2007.

      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

    2. Caret
      Definitely not for X-Files 2, that was total conjecture by a few people before the film was released when no one knew anything about it. Now we do know what X-Files 2 is about, and the drones don’t fit the themes of the film (no aliens and UFOs in this one!). And FOX isn’t subtle enough. 😉

      Another viral option was for a new Halo game (a strategy version is coming out soon), but I can’t recall if anyone looked into that further. I think the drones could be a viral campaign that fizzled, or was delayed for some reason (the writer’s strike as Emps mentioned). Heck, it could be a viral created by Whitley for all we know.

      There was the cool music video posted on TDG that made use of the Caret documents and drones brilliantly, proving it can easily be CGI’ed. Whitley said the drones/caret documents can’t be faked, they’re too good, but the music video disproves this. And I’ve seen what film-maker friends can accomplish on their home macbooks, they put film studios to shame. The Caret documents aren’t that hard to photoshop either.

      I’m 99.9% certain the drones are fake (I always leave 0.01% room for being pleasantly surprised). The Caret documents are definitely fake, no doubt about it. My guess is a viral campaign for Halo, Terminator, or AlienWare. The alien script appearing in the Terminator tv series is surely a big neon sign the drones are fake.

    3. Whitley, if it turns out to be viral
      I thought the same thing when I saw this. I’m sure he’ll have a “perfectly valid” explanation for it all. Still it gave me a big grin just thinking of his wide eyes when he sees the story. Wheee!

      That being said, it really could be that the show decided to use the mythology in their show although my guess is what has been said already, that likely it was a viral stunt thrown out there and we may be seeing the culmination of the stunt right now.

    4. Off the hook, for now
      Looks like Whitley is off the hook, for now. The exec producer has said they just lifted it and you’d better believe the lawyers have things nailed down or someone might have just hit gold!! I’ve updated with information and thoughts.

      Looks like the mystery continues, although I am unsure how long I can give even half a toss.

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