On July 15, 2022, the official TikTok channel for ESPN reposted a video that appeared to show a UPS driver scanning a package and then dunking a basketball over a car. ESPN captioned the video, “Delivery guy jumped over a CAR 😳🔥 (via @Chris Ashley) #delivery #basketball #upsdriver.” The original video was posted the day before by TikTok creator @chrisashley.
The Dunk Video
We found the TikTok user from which the video originated, Chris Ashley. According to Ashley’s account description, this and other videos on the creator’s profile were a clever mix of comedy and visual effects. The account’s bio read, “making comedy videos with a lil vfx,” meaning visual effects.
On the video, TikTok users commented that they found it funny the “UPS driver” made the motion of scanning the package with a tool that didn’t seem to be a real scanner. They thought it looked like a mobile phone with a calculator application running.
We also noticed that his shadow that appeared on the ground before the dunk did not appear on top of the car when he supposedly jumped over it. This indicated that the dunk may have been recorded in a separate shot without the car present in the driveway. That footage of the dunk and a separate shot of the car pulling into the driveway may have been blended together with visual effects software.
We reached out to Ashley to learn about the software he used and the methods he employed to make the dunk look real. We also asked about the item that was used to “scan” the package. This story will be updated if we receive a response.
One video, however, surprised us when we learned it used no visual effects whatsoever. It was a genuine clip of a bear chasing a man through the woods, captured with a drone.
We initially believed that this clip was, at least, partially or completely fake. However, we received evidence from Dima Smirnov, the video’s source, that showed the bear truly was running after the man. The bear’s name was Tom and had been trained since birth. Smirnov referred to Tom as being “like a pet.”