4 December 2023

Misleading: This video uses green screen; it does not show ‘Chinese military suits’

A five-year-old “invisibility cloak” video was falsely linked to some “new technologies” allegedly developed in China or Japan, but it actually shows a simple chroma key post-production effect.

A Twitter video posted on Feb. 28 shows a woman appearing to become invisible in an office upon wrapping herself with a fabric that looks entirely transparent in the clip.

The user wrote, “Chinese social networks report the arrival of the first thousand invisible military suits to the People’s Liberation Army of China,” although there is “no official confirmation.”

The tweet picked up over 10,000 retweets and likes at the time of writing.

Annie Lab also found other posts on Weibo and Twitter resharing the same video but claiming it showcases an invisibility cloak created in Japan instead.

None of these claims is true. The video was made with a simple green screen and post-production editing.

Anyone can easily find a slew of clips that explain how to make this effect on YouTube with keywords like “invisibility cloak” and “green screen tricks.”

We also made a video to show how easy it is to make an “invisibility cloak,” applying the chroma key effect with the use of a green blanket and mimicking the clip in question.

We used the Zoom application’s virtual background function for this video.

Finding original video

A reverse image search result indicated the video once went viral in 2018. We noticed the three simplified Chinese characters “短视频” (short videos) on a green sign hanging from the office ceiling in the video and decided to search Chinese social media platforms.

We first found the same video on Weibo uploaded in July 2018. It had a Douyin ID watermark.

We then traced the original video to a Douyin clip published on July 19, 2018.

Screenshot of the original video from Douyin showing a woman’s lower body “vanishing” in plain sight.
Screenshots of various visual tricks videos posted by the same Douyin account.

This Douyin account seems to belong to a Beijing-based creator who also posted many videos related to anime and figurines on the platform.

Annie Lab found these three videos that show the same woman demonstrating various post-production visual tricks in the same office.

This video has also been investigated by Snopes.