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A Preliminary Investigation Report
For analysis of the moving picture sequences of the Pleiadian spacecraft filmed in color in super 8mm format by Eduard Meier we turned to Mr. Jun-Ichi Yaoi of Tokyo, Japan, a world recognized expert in the film and television industry, now working as an officer in Nippon Television Corporation.
In the 18 March sequence Meier filmed the spacecraft circling a large tree in front of a farmhouse. The sky was overcast with a low ceiling, and occasionally light snowflakes fell. The motion of the spacecraft looks suspiciously like it is tethered from above as it appears to circle the tree and then to swing back and forth over the tree, except that on three occasions the spacecraft changes its motion abruptly with no change in the tilt of the vertical axis of the ship. If it was in fact tethered, one would expect the vertical axis to tilt as the tether point above was moved. In another measurement it was found that the tilt angle of the vertical axis in one oscillation sequence was sufficient that the axis crossed within the frame and would have put the tether point within the picture. No tether point source was revealed, in one of the final oscillation sequences the object appeared to pass directly over the top of the tree, and it is clearly seen that the tree was swept over in the direction of the spacecraft, or appeared to follow the spacecraft as it passed. Clearly no model could have produced this effect. When we revisited the scene we found that the tree had died and was cut down.
from UFO Contact from the Pleiades, Copyright 1978-80, 1982 Wendelle C. Stevens
But, to reflect on the statement that's in the film, I also remember seeing a shot on the Super8 reel that showed a UFO circling around a fairly tall tree. According to that shot, we said that we can't conclusively say whether it's real or not, but it seemed impossible to stage that kind of a shot with a miniature (it would have to be hanging on a very tall crane, with wires - but even then the movements would be hard to achieve.) So, yes, in regards to that shot, we mentioned that we could definitely do it today with CG, but at the time these were supposedly shot - it would have been very hard, probably even impossible, to fake this kind of shot.
Volker Engel and Marc Weigert, Uncharted Territory; Academy Award-winners, Special Effects for Independence Day