The Nix film and Itek
Excuse me for budding in on this thread, as I have no expertise at all on any photo evidence, and don't really have an opinion, but I've recently been asked to view a first generation still of one frame of the Nix film that purports to show a gunman.
I'd like to hear Jack White's opinion on this, because I understand he's also seen this early generation blow up photo.
In the meantime, I've found it interesting that the Nix film has been so rare, and that the original Orville Nix film is missing.
And the HSCA narrative at the beginning of Volume VI explains that they originally wanted to get an independent photo enhancement and analysis of the photos and films, but they couldn't find any such company that didn't rely on government contracts.
There's also Ray Martel's statement to me that when he worked at Itek and they reviewed a film of the assassination, and could see flash and smoke from possible rifle shot, they weren't talking about the Zapruder film but the Nix film. (See below Ray Martel)
And it doesn't seem like they are talking about the same images that Duncan and others have been discussing here, or am I just confused?
It would also be interesting to know if the scanning and computer enhancement they describe having done in 1978 can be done better with more sophisticated equipment today.
The Orville Nix film - Original Missing: http://www.john-f-ke...illenixfilm.htm
The Sixth Floor: http://www.jfk.org/g...-film-interview
Jones Harris 5, New York researcher Jones Harris found in the Nix film what he thought was the image of a second gunman on the grassy knoll. Eventually UPI arranged for computer enhancement by the Itek Corporation, which reported in 1967 that the "man" was the shadow pattern of leaves and branches on the wall of the pergola.
Richard Sprague – The Taking of America IIIhttp://www.ratical.o...oA/ToAchp9.htmlhttp://184.108.40.206...h...=clnk&gl=us
Since June 1967, CBS has remained editorially silent on the subject of the JFK assassination. The photographic evidence of conspiracy in their possession remains locked up and suppressed. The Craven sequence -- film footage by the CBS photographer (who had been in the parade's camera car # 1) of a car driving out of the Elm Street extension (left-to right in front of the Texas School Book Depository) within 20 seconds of the assassination -- was seen by the author and Jones Harris in New York, but was cut out of the film where it appeared prior to the time the author and Richter began searching for it. There is little question that CBS is an accessory after the fact. http://220.127.116.11...h...=clnk&gl=us
United Press International
Of all the fifteen major news organizations included herein, UPI has come closest to really pursuing the truth about the JFK assassination. Yet they, too, have suppressed evidence, have not had the courage of their convictions in analyzing conspiratorial evidence, and by default have become accessories after the fact.
Two different departments at UPI became involved in the photographic evidence of the JFK assassination. The regular photo news service department, which receives wire photos and negatives from many sources all over the world, accumulated a large collection of basic evidence both from UPI photographers and by purchasing wire service photos from newspapers, Black Star, AP and other sources. This department has made all of its photographs available to anyone at reasonable prices ($1.50 to $3.00 per print).
UPI photographer Frank Cancellare was in the motorcade and snapped several important photographs. In addition, five other photographs at UPI, taken by three unknown photographers, are significant. All of these were purchased by the author from UPI.
The other department has not been as cooperative. Within the news department at UPI, Burt Reinhardt and Rees Schonfeld have varied in their attitude and performance. UPI news purchased the commercial rights to two very important films shortly after the assassination. These were color movies taken by Orville Nix and Marie Muchmore (private citizens). Both show the fatal shot striking the President, and both show evidence of conspiracy. In the Nix film, certain frames (when enlarged) show one of the assassins on the grassy knoll with a rifle. Both movies show a puff of smoke generated by another one of the men involved in the assassination.
UPI, under the direction of Burt Reinhardt, did several things with the Nix and Muchmore films. They produced a book, "Four Days," including several color frames from the movies. They made a composite movie in 35mm from the original 8mm movies. The composite used the technique of repeating a frame several times to give the appearance of slow motion or stop action during key sections of the films. Reinhardt, Schonfeld and Mr. Fox, a UPI writer, made the composite movie available to researchers at their projection studio in New York in 1964 and 1965.
Fox and Schonfeld wrote an article for Esquire in 1965 which portrayed the Nix film as proving the conspiracy theories about assassins on the grassy knoll to be false. This was deemed necessary by UPI management because a New York researcher and a photographic expert, after seeing the Nix film at UPI, claimed it showed an assassin with a rifle standing on the hood of a car parked behind the knoll.
The research team had used a few frames from the film in color transparencies and enlarged them in black and white to show the gunman.
In 1964, UPI gave the Warren Commission copies of both the Nix and Muchmore films for analysis. The films were later turned over to the National Archives under a special agreement between UPI and the Archives. This agreement reminds one of the agreements between the Archives and the Kennedy family on the autopsy materials, and the obscure one between Life magazine, the Commission, the Secret Service and the Archives on the Zapruder film.
The UPI agreement prevents anyone from obtaining copies of the Nix and Muchmore films or slides of individual frames for any purpose. The agreement is just as illegal as the other two, yet it has been just as effective in suppressing the basic evidence of conspiracy.
In 1967, UPI, apparently still not sure they would not be attacked by researchers on what the Nix film revealed, employed Itek Corporation to analyze the film. (At least it would appear on the surface that UPI did the hiring.) ItekCorporation, a major defense contractor, did an excellent job of obscuring the truth. In an apparently highly scientific analysis using computer-based image enhancement, they "proved" that not only was there no gunman on the grassy knoll, but there was no person on the knoll at all during the shooting.
The final Itek report was made public and highly publicized by UPI. It looked as though the UPI earlier claim of no gunman had been scientifically substantiated. As a by-product, Itek got some great publicity for their commercially available photo-computer image enhancement system.
What the public did not know was that UPI gave Itek only 35mm enlarged black and white copies of selected frames from the Nix film. The great amount of detail is lost in going from 8mm color to 35mm black and white. And UPI gave Itek carefully chosen frames from the Nix film that did not show the gunman on the knoll.
UPI and Itek defined "the grassy knoll" in a very limited and carefully chosen way so as to exclude five people (in addition to the fatal-shot gunman) on the knoll who appear in the Nix filmas well as in every other photograph and movie taken of the knoll at the time the shots were fired. In addition, man No. 2, who had ducked down behind the stone wall during the Nix film, could not be detected by Itek because they only had theNix film.
Three men standing on the steps of the knoll, and two men behind the picket fence, were completely ignored or overlooked.
The author began to contact Schonfeld and Reinhardt in early 1967, viewed the two films both at UPI and in the Archives, and requested copies of the original 8mm color films or color copies of individual frames. The response to the requests were negative for more than four years. During this time, however, the author, a New York researcher, and a photographic specialist, enlarged in color the correct frames from the Nix film. The enlargements clearly show the gunman, not on top of a car but in front of a car, with his rifle poised. He is standing on a pedestal protruding from the eight-sided cupola behind the stone wall on the knoll. The car is parked behind the cupola and can be seen in several other photographs and movies.
Unfortunately, UPI's agreement with the researcher prevents making public the color enlargements. UPI has consistently suppressed this evidence. In 1971, they offered to make the film available for a very large sum of money, but they have never agreed that it shows anyone on the knoll and they will not make copies available for research.
The UPI editorial position (in articles, the book Four Days, letters and news releases) has supported the Warren Commission through the years. The major difference between UPI and Life or CBS is that no drastic reversal of management policy took place at UPI.
HSCA Vol. V. p. 130 http://www.maryferre...p;relPageId=132
3. THE NIX FILM
(307) The final photographic source relating to the grassy knoll retaining wall is the Nix motion picture film. Several frames coinciding with the fatal head shot frames of the Zapruder film were selected for scanning and input into the computer. The scanning was performed at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory; the scanned data was then sent to the Aerospace Corp. for enhancement by the computer. The mode of enhancement was an edge and detail sharpening process that has the effect of making the photograph appear more in focus. (107) Fig. IV-11 ) (JFK exhibit F-161) shows both original and enhanced images of the Nix film centered around the region of the retaining wall.
FIGURE IV-11 – Retaining wall image (Nix film) Top: Enhanced. Bottom: Unenhanced.
(308) The enhanced Nix film shows an object that can be construed as having a shape similar to that of a person. It is also possible to interpret this object as being of the same general shape as the person identified at the wall in the Willis No. 5 photograph. Nevertheless, the person in the Willis photograph displayed distinct flesh tones in the computer display image. No such pattern of flesh tones is visible in the ehnhanced (or original) Nix frames.
(309) The Panel could not conclude that the object near the retaining wall in the Nix film was the same as the person visible in the Willis No. 5 photograph. This image was not identified by the Panel as a human being. It was more likely the result of a pattern of light and shadows cast on an object in the background behind the retaining wall by the nearby trees.
(310) The area of the retaining wall image in the Nix frames was also examined for the presence of a flash of light or a puff of smoke from a discharged rifle, which some bystanders claimed to have seen. No evidence of either was found.
(311) The Panel also examined another controversial aspect of the Nix film. As Nix panned his camera from right to left following the motion of the Presidential limousine, the background of the grassy knoll came into view. In it, beyond the retaining wall and running along the crest of the knoll, is a region of deep shadow that is broken by patches of light. For a number of frames there appears to be a brightly lit object whose shape some have interpreted to be that of a man sighting a rifle towards the Presidential limousine. The right “arm” of this object is rigidly extended outward from the “body,” with the left “arm” tucked in more tightly, as if supporting a rifle stock. There is, between and above these arms, a shape that looks like a “head.” That object has been interpreted to be a rifleman in the classic military posture for firing a rifle. (108)
(312) Magnification of the classic gunman object showed it to be indistinct and blurry. It was decided to process these images by computer techniques that would bring the image more “into focus” by making its features sharper. Computer enhancement work was carried out at both the Aerospace Corp. and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. (109)
(313) It was recognized that the limitation on improving the images would be the noise in the frames. Since several frames showed the region in question, it was decided to apply a “frame-averaging” technique. This process involves registering the frames and then adding them together to reduce noise, then enhancing the resulting product. This technique can greatly improve the quality of an enhancement. (110) Aerospace applied an enhancement process to the individual frames identical to the one applied to the Nix film for the person-at-the-retaining-wall image (see fig. IV-12, JFK exhibit F-163); (111) Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory applied a more sophisticated technique known as MAP restoration (112)
FIGURE IV-12. – Classic gunman image (Nix film) Top: Unenhanced, Bottom: Enhanced.
(314 FIGURE IV-13 ) ( JFK exhibit F-162) shows the original and enhanced version of one Nix frame as produced at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory; the original is shown at the top, the enhanced version a the bottom. A total of eight frames were registered, added and enhanced to produced the lower image. Eight frames, considered to have the least blur or noise, were selected.
FIGURE IV-13. – Classic gunman image (Nix film) Top: Unenhanced. Bottom: ;Enhanced.
(315) After examining the enhanced image, the Panel concludes that the so-called classic gunman object was not a gunman. First, there is no evidence of human flesh tones in the “head” and “hands”; whereas the people in the Nix film have distinct flesh tones, the object here is almost uniformly white. Second, the white tones are identical in appearance with the white tones of the light regions of the shadow patterns cast on the wall of the structure behind the retaining wall by the sunlight filtering through the nearby trees. Third, in the enhanced image, the shadow pattern above and to the right of the object is seen to be connected to the object itself.
(316) The Panel concludes that the most probable explanation is that the image is a chance pattern of sunlight on the structure behind the retaining wall. The Panel’s conclusion was strengthened by an observation at the Aerospace Corp. that in one frame the “right arm” of the object disappears, only to reappear in the next frame. Such behavior would be virtually impossible for a person, but is conceivable for tree branches casting a shadow pattern on the wall.(317) The Panel also examined the classic gunman object for evidence of a flash of light or puff of smoke. The enhance any phenomena as transient as these, the frames were differenced, that is registered frames were subtracted from each other sequentially in time. This technique makes transient phenomena highly visible. (113) No evidence of any flash or smoke was found.
(318) The Panel also reviewed a previous report by the Itek Corp. (
114) Itek measured the relative displacement of the classic gunman in successive frames of the Nix film as the camera panned from right to left. The extent to which an object shifts in successive frames can be used to calculate the distance from camera to object by applying the basic principles of photogrammetry. Itek calculated the distance from the camera to the object in this way and found that the calculations placed the object very near shelter 3 of Pergola 2 in Dealey Plaza. (115) Further study by Itek of the ground elevation in relation to the retaining wall showed a line of fire toward Dealey Plaza would require that a rifle near this structure by 9 feet above the ground. Itek concluded that the classic gunman object was a pattern of light and shadow on shelter 3. The Panel agrees with these conclusions.
Ray Martell at Itek - Is he confusing the Itek study of the Zapruder film for CBS with this study of the Nix film? - BK
Ray Martell worked at ITEK, where the Zapruder film was analyzed. Martell got a hold of me and talked with me on the telephone about his work there. He said that while he didn’t personally work on the film, he knew those who did and they told him that there was some sign of gunsmoke from the grassy knoll.
“There was evidence of a smoke-like presence at the time the Zapruder film was taken,” Martell said.
“I was there (ITEC) in 1963-65, so it must have happened then. Their home office was in Lexington, Massachusetts, but the buildings I worked in were in Burlington, the next town over, the 128th Aerospace….back in the 1960s. Prior to ITEC I worked for Sylvania and afterward I went to the American Institute of Research.”
“Microdensitromity, is an analysis of the pictils”
“The word around the engineering department that they had deduced that there was evidence of smoke that could be attributed to a gunshot, that would be the assumption. I believe that it was localized, within a particular locality set up on an x-y coordinate system. They go in and very carefully move their apperatures and very accurately measure light intensity. Today they have various computer techniques. ITEC was in competition with Perk and Elmer down in Connecticut. It was a very high tech company, the U2 cameras, surveillance cameras, early days of telescopes for surveillance systems from space.”
EGIS projec –
“I was with the Army Security Agency, Ft. Devons, Mass., a training center that has now moved to I think Texas. NSA was basically a holding company. The NSA had three military collectors, Naval Security Service, Army Security Agency and Air Force Security Service. Each of these was a collection agency, each for their own area of interest, and all of their intelligence was funneled back to the National Security Agency. That’s the way it was back in the 1960s. After that the CIA and FBI got into the intelligence collection business and then you had the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency. Now in the last 30 years they’ve developed and you have something like 35 intelligence collection agencies that spend their time falling over each other, obstfuscating whatever is out there. But in the early day there was the NSA, which was a national holding agency, which was separate from the CIA and FBI. It was strictly a national collection agency for the collection of communications intelligence. It is now at Ft. Meade, where they moved in the 1950s, but before that they were in D.C. Arlington Hall Station in Arlington, Virginia, the HQ seat of the Army Security Agency. In those days nobody was suppose to even know of the existence of this, none of my family knew, we just worked for the Army.”
“What it looks like now, I don’t know except that it’s an organizational mess.”
“A lot of countries did not have the technology to do this, though Germany, Great Britan, they did it, but certainly won’t admit they did this.”
“There’s a branch within the security service, COMSEC, Communications Security, there was COMINT, Communications Intelligence, responsible for gathering information from whatever sources they were monitoring. Communications Security was designed to protect the cover of what they were doing, and they did monitor our own stuff. The reason for that was to determine if they were using procedures, to identify whether the lines were being tapped, if there were evesdropper, etc.
Edited by William Kelly, 22 September 2009 - 03:38 AM.