Did Donald Trump Record His Latest Twitter Video in Front of a Green Screen?

You decide.

Screenshot/White House

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I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time today staring at this video of Donald Trump pretending that nobody knows he’s 74 years old. Never mind the totally insane content of the video—we at Mother Jones are obsessed with whether this was filmed before a green screen. What to make of the trees in the back right that seem to sway on loop? What about the orangish fleck that flutters away at 0:36?

None of us can be sure. But here are some attempts at solving the mystery:

“Let’s just say if I wanted to give something like this a fake background, I would use a depth-of-field blur exactly like that. But the biggest reason I think it’s fake is the trees move like they’re on a loop.” —Adam Vieyra, creative director

“Trust in our public institutions has been so degraded that it’s not completely out of bounds to wonder if the White House is releasing manipulated videos of the president to prove he’s in good health. Four years ago, if you’d told me these are the conspiracy theories we’d be entertaining, I would’ve laughed in your face.” —Nathalie Baptiste, reporter

“I don’t think it’s a green screen because their video team is really quite amateurish in a lot of technical ways. I don’t see them pulling off such a perfect chroma key. And also the lens blur/drop-off looks normal if they’re shooting with a mid–focal range lens, ND filters, and a semi-open aperture.” —Mark Helenowski, digital producer

“If they can fake a moon-landing, they can definitely fake an infomercial for seniors. Just kidding! I don’t think they faked this—you can see his hair moving with the breeze.” —Tim Murphy, senior reporter

Still, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who’s usually pretty conspiracy theory–averse, tweeted:

 And Christopher Orr, the Atlantic’s film critic, wrote:

Update 6:09 p.m. ET: Orr has relented.

Green screen or no green screen? You be the judge.

This post was brought to you by the Mother Jones Daily newsletter, which hits inboxes every weekday and is written by Ben Dreyfuss and Abigail Weinberg, and regularly features guest contributions by our much smarter colleagues. Sign up for it here.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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