YouTube "Ghost Rider" Was Just An Apparition
How budding auteurs created viral car stunt video
FEBRUARY 16--For a few days at least, Tim Wehage appeared to be the country’s most reckless driver, a 20-year-old knucklehead who climbed out the driver’s window of a Ford Bronco and stood atop its roof as the vehicle sped down a Florida interstate.
Wehage’s dangerous stunt, known as “ghost riding the whip,” was, of course, filmed last month by a buddy driving behind him. The clip was then uploaded to YouTube, where it was discovered last Friday by Gawker and, in short order, went viral thanks to stories on other blogs, local TV stations, and British tabloids.
Nobody, though, thought to ask Wehage, pictured above, and his cohorts if the stunt actually occurred as depicted on the YouTube clip.
As it turns out, the “ghost riding” never happened, it was a green screen-aided creation of Wehage and his friend P.J. Selzer, a 20-year-old film student at the University of Central Florida. Below you’ll find the original 55-second YouTube clip as well as raw video provided to TSG by Selzer.
Selzer’s footage shows that he filmed Wehage driving the car along Interstate 95 in Jupiter. At all times, Wehage is seated behind the wheel of the vehicle, which was going about 40 mph.
Then, with the Bronco parked in his parents’s Jupiter driveway, Selzer videotaped Wehage climbing out of the driver’s window and standing atop the stationary ride. With his father manning the camera, Selzer stood behind Wehage holding up a green sheet. Selzer’s stepmother can be seen holding a fan pointed at Wehage to approximate the wind that would be purportedly blowing through his hair and clothing as he surfed on the roof.
Using editing software, Selzer subsequently merged the two clips into a convincing video that has turned Wehage into a notorious Internet daredevil. Selzer, pictured at left, told TSG that his creation was an homage to a YouTube clip that purportedly shows a driver climbing atop a Volkswagen, where he straps on an electric guitar and plays a Hendrix-style version of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Selzer, who runs 265 Productions with classmate Zack Spear, said that the “riding the whip” video was not an attempt to trick anyone into thinking Wehage had actually risked his life. Wehage noted that the clip, which had been intended for friends and family, was only viewed about 100 times during the first month it was on YouTube.
“I did NOT get on top of a moving vehicle,” Wehage added. (1 page)