Captain Disillusion is a YouTube channel created by Latvian filmmaker Alan Melikdjanian. His videos promote critical thinking and are mainly debunkings of viral hoax videos that claim to be video proof of the paranormal, UFOS and other fantastic claims.
Captain Disillusion was created by Alan Melikdjanian in order to debunk video hoaxes on the internet. The videos he addresses generally are videos that use special effects and video manipulation yet present themselves as being completely natural. Melikdjanian has a bachelor's degree in film production from the Miami International University and Design. He then founded his film company, Amelik Entertainment in 2001. He has since directed two films and has worked as both an animator and visual effects editor and sound editor on other films. He has stated that he focuses on videos that have been edited with digital effects because it is the area in which he is most qualified to do so.
Most of the videos begin with Captain Disillusion slumped in the corner of a red room. He refers to his viewers children and usually greets them by saying, "Hey, children, Captain D. Here." Occasionally there will be a sketch with one of his minor characters. Most often, the Captain introduces the video that he is going to debunk or explain. After presenting the video on a screen that he holds (and subsequently throws onto the ground where the viewers hear it shatter), Captain Disillusion explains how the video was faked. He shows how visual effects can be used to manipulate videos to make it seem as if amazing and unbelievable things happen. After the explanation, he hears a noise and announces to the kids that he must go because some dilemma has arisen that he must attend to. An example of this would be "But now I'm afraid it's time for me to go kids. A grade schooler in Illinois can't find her favorite red shoe." He then says his critical thinking catchphrase: "Remember, love with your heart; use your head for everything else," before ending the video with an amusing exit gag. The gags generally have him appear as if he is about to fly away, only for something amusing to happen instead.
Captain Disillusion himself is presented as a superhero type character. He wears a gray track suit and orange jacket. The bottom half of his face is painted silver. On occasion he has been shown without his shirt on and he was silver there as well. In designing the character, he has stated that he really didn't want to cover his entire face in silver because it would have been too much work. Since his show attempts to present the difference between illusion and reality, his viewers can wonder what half of his face is real. In his video "Man on Mars Debunk," he puts his finger on the line between the silver and flesh portions of his face and lifts the skin off his face. Captain Disillusion also wears really thick gloves.
While the majority of the videos show Captain Disillusion only, he has picked up some other characters along the way. The side character who appears most in his videos is Mr. Flare. Mr. Flare is a small light that comes out of a lamp and is also voiced by Melikdjanian. He has an admirer, named Holly who has appeared in several videos. Holly generally appears as a disembodied head surrounded by flashing light and is enamored with Captain Disillusion, though he does not return her affections. He, in fact, finds her intolerable.
In 2016, in his video, "The Undebunkable," a nemesis character named Zeitgeist is introduced. At first, he appears as Captain Disillusion and tries to debunk videos that are actually not faked. After a period of frustration, the orange room begins to shake and Zeitgeist's face turns from silver to purple. As paint falls off the wall, it is revealed that Captain Disillusion was locked in a cell behind the wall. He escapes and restores order to the room while commenting that sometimes videos are real and that viewers should not try to debunk everything, just things that are fake.
The first Captain Disillusion video was posted to YouTube on September 18, 2007. It was called "Penguin Slap Debunk" and in it, he explained the visual effects used in a viral video in which it appears that a penguin is slapping another penguin, knocking it into a hole in the ice. He then tackled many well know viral videos debunking claims of hauntings caught on video, UFOs, the famous "Ms. Ping" video and "Catching Glasses" videos where people appear to throw sunglasses and others catch the glasses perfectly on their face. He reveals how the videos are made using visual effects editing, invisible cuts, playing film backwards and other methods.
Over the years Captain Disillusion has had several well known skeptics guest star in his videos. On June 18, 2009, noted skeptic James Randi appeared in the video "Randi+Pantry Ghost...Debunk?" and helped the Captain when he was unable to debunk the famous "Pantry Ghost" videos from TheYouShow.com. In his video "Tam 6 Special + Reptile Woman Debunk," Captain Disillusion impersonated his own versions of magicians Penn and Teller onscreen. James Randi was able to get Penn Jillette to provide his voice to read the Captain's catchphrase for his Penn styled version of himself. On May 31, 2016, Paul Zaloom appeared as Beakman from "Beakman's World" in a video debunking free energy devices.
Official Website: http://captaindisillusion.com/