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Simple proof that the Zapruder film has been altered.


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In photography there are two potential sources of blur. One is where the camera lens isn't focused, and the other is where object(s) in the photo move relative to the camera's aim during the short period of time the shutter is open. The former is called "defocus blur" and the latter is called "motion blur."

Note that motion blur can be caused by either something in the field of view moving, or by the camera itself moving. If the camera tracks the motion of an object, that object will exhibit little or no blur in the photograph, depending upon how well it is tracked.

It is known that the original Zapruder film was quite sharp. So it doesn't suffer from defocus blur. However, most public domain copies of the film are noticeably blurry. This is due to defocus blur introduced by inferior copying of the film. Fortunately we have access to the John Costella collection of Zapruder frames which are quite sharp. If you look at the limo in frames Z304, Z312, and Z323, where Zapruder is very accurately following the limousine, you will see that there is very little blur. Therefore we know that this copy of the film is in focus. We need only to concern ourselves with motion blur when examining these frames.

Following are two consecutive frames from the John Costella collection:

 

z310.jpg

Z310

 

z311.jpg

Z311

 

Look at frame Z311. The limousine and its occupants, as well as the motorcycle cop, show only a slight amount of blur, which indicates that the camera was following the limo quite well, but not perfectly. In contrast, everything else shows significant motion blur. This is due to the fact that the camera wasn't following them at all.

Now look at frame Z310. In this frame we see very little blur in ANYTHING. There is no significant motion blur at all and this means that the camera was tracking EVERYTHING. (Though not perfectly, given the small amount of blur we do see.)  That's right... the camera was held motionless in order to track the stationary background objects, and at the same time the camera was moving in order to track the limousine! The only way this could occur naturally is if the limousine were moving very slowly or not at all for that single frame. And we all know that didn't happen, and in fact would be impossible.

Therefore, since the significant motion blur disappeared in frame Z310, and since disappearing motion blur is an impossibility, we have no choice but to conclude that the film was altered in a way that introduced this anomaly.

 

ADDENDUM

It must be noted that it doesn't matter whether motion blur was added to Z311 or removed from Z310. Either way it can be easily proved that a human being had to do it. I decided that I would write a proof for both possibilities, one here and the other in the following post, which I reserved for that purpose. So far I haven't had time to write the other proof. (And I have used the reserved #2 post for other purposes.)

As it turns out, as shown by Chris Bristow below, frame Z310 shows the correct amount of motion blur for the given shutter speed of Zapruder's camera. Which means that motion blur was added to Z311 (by humans). I wish I would have written the proof for that case instead.

 

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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Posted (edited)

A critic of my proof, Jeremy Bojczuk, claims that the copying of the Zapruder film may have resulted in the anomaly I pointed out.

This is obviously not the case given that cameras and photographic copy machines of the 1960s were incapable of identifying motion blur. Even if they were capable of doing that, they were incapable of removing it. (They could ADD additional motion blur, but could not do so selectively. Any added motion blur would affect all objects in the frame equally.)

 

BTW, this topic is being discussed over on the ROKC forum:

https://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t2523-peculiarity-of-frame-303

 

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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Sandy, based on my experience with video recording and editing over the past 30+ years, your analysis is simple, elegant and definitive.  Nice work!

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21 hours ago, Steven Kossor said:

Sandy, based on my experience with video recording and editing over the past 30+ years, your analysis is simple, elegant and definitive.  Nice work!

 

Thank you Steven.

 

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I have added the following to my proof. It is in Post #2 of the thread.

A critic of my proof, Jeremy Bojczuk, claims that the copying of the Zapruder film may have resulted in the anomaly I pointed out.

This is obviously not the case given that cameras and photographic copy machines of the 1960s were incapable of identifying motion blur. And even if they were capable of doing that, they were incapable of removing it.

(They could ADD additional motion blur, but could not do so selectively. Any added motion blur would affect all objects in the frame equally.)

 

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Sandy, I notice on the Costella Zapruder film, that background focus such as you cite goes in and out of focus as a recurring phenomenon (blurry --> sharp --> blurry --> sharp), not simply the one instance you cite. I noticed this by quickly starting and stopping the moving film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBJFT-OyDEc

 

Not knowing better, I would just assume as a first reaction some anomaly in the camera or photography or processing of the frames, since it recurs.

How does Zavada explain that? 

You say you are using the Costella Zapruder frames. Do you know if Costella modified those frames from the original?

What does this mean when John Costella writes on his website:

"In 2003 I put together a reference set of all 486 frames of the extant Zapruder film. In 2006 I improved the processing steps and reissued the full set of frames" (http://www.johncostella.com/jfk/). 

What kind of "processing steps" is he talking about? Do those "processing steps" mean the Costella frames differ from or are modified from the unprocessed original?

Would those "processing steps" have affected deblurring, such as the blurring background south of the grassy area beyond (south of) the limousine that is out-of-focus in the original Zapruder due to Zapruder's telephoto being in focus on the limousine?

On a different page Costella tells of his own proprietary development of an "unblurring" program or technique for film frames called "UnBlur: Image deblurring", which he says he developed between 1999 and 2001 (http://johncostella.com/unblur/).

So the question is, is it possible Costella's "processing steps" on the Zapruder frames which he says he carried out in 2006 involved use of his image deblurring program (or some other image processing program)? Could that account for the anomaly you show with the change in blurriness of background figures in the frames?

Have you investigated that, so as to first rule out a mundane explanation for the anomaly before going to conclusion of extraordinary? 

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1 hour ago, Greg Doudna said:

Sandy, I notice on the Costella Zapruder film, that background focus such as you cite goes in and out of focus as a recurring phenomenon (blurry --> sharp --> blurry --> sharp), not simply the one instance you cite. I noticed this by quickly starting and stopping the moving film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBJFT-OyDEc

 

Not knowing better, I would just assume as a first reaction some anomaly in the camera or photography or processing of the frames, since it recurs.

How does Zavada explain that? 

You say you are using the Costella Zapruder frames. Do you know if Costella modified those frames from the original?

What does this mean when John Costella writes on his website:

"In 2003 I put together a reference set of all 486 frames of the extant Zapruder film. In 2006 I improved the processing steps and reissued the full set of frames" (http://www.johncostella.com/jfk/). 

What kind of "processing steps" is he talking about? Do those "processing steps" mean the Costella frames differ from or are modified from the unprocessed original?

Would those "processing steps" have affected deblurring, such as the blurring background south of the grassy area beyond (south of) the limousine that is out-of-focus in the original Zapruder due to Zapruder's telephoto being in focus on the limousine?

On a different page Costella tells of his own proprietary development of an "unblurring" program or technique for film frames called "UnBlur: Image deblurring", which he says he developed between 1999 and 2001 (http://johncostella.com/unblur/).

So the question is, is it possible Costella's "processing steps" on the Zapruder frames which he says he carried out in 2006 involved use of his image deblurring program (or some other image processing program)? Could that account for the anomaly you show with the change in blurriness of background figures in the frames?

Have you investigated that, so as to first rule out a mundane explanation for the anomaly before going to conclusion of extraordinary? 

 

ya might want to check out Dr. John Costella's OWN words on the subject: there's a 10 min interview I did with him during the 2003 Zapruder Film Symposium at Univ. of Minnesota... His entire Z-film presentation is on this YouTube channel site. Back in those days we could only upload in 10 minute segments to YouTube.

And yes, John did correct frames for issues, not sure of all of them at the moment, lens issues, blur, etc if I recall...

 

 

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On 3/8/2022 at 5:21 PM, Greg Doudna said:

Sandy, I notice on the Costella Zapruder film, that background focus such as you cite goes in and out of focus as a recurring phenomenon (blurry --> sharp --> blurry --> sharp), not simply the one instance you cite. I noticed this by quickly starting and stopping the moving film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBJFT-OyDEc

 

Not knowing better, I would just assume as a first reaction some anomaly in the camera or photography or processing of the frames, since it recurs.

How does Zavada explain that? 

You say you are using the Costella Zapruder frames. Do you know if Costella modified those frames from the original?

What does this mean when John Costella writes on his website:

"In 2003 I put together a reference set of all 486 frames of the extant Zapruder film. In 2006 I improved the processing steps and reissued the full set of frames" (http://www.johncostella.com/jfk/). 

What kind of "processing steps" is he talking about? Do those "processing steps" mean the Costella frames differ from or are modified from the unprocessed original?

Would those "processing steps" have affected deblurring, such as the blurring background south of the grassy area beyond (south of) the limousine that is out-of-focus in the original Zapruder due to Zapruder's telephoto being in focus on the limousine?

On a different page Costella tells of his own proprietary development of an "unblurring" program or technique for film frames called "UnBlur: Image deblurring", which he says he developed between 1999 and 2001 (http://johncostella.com/unblur/).

So the question is, is it possible Costella's "processing steps" on the Zapruder frames which he says he carried out in 2006 involved use of his image deblurring program (or some other image processing program)? Could that account for the anomaly you show with the change in blurriness of background figures in the frames?

Have you investigated that, so as to first rule out a mundane explanation for the anomaly before going to conclusion of extraordinary? 

 

Greg,

Well of course the motion blur is going to change each and every time you stop the film. Because the camera is being held by the hand of a mere mortal who is incapable of steadily tracking the motion of the limousine.

What you should do instead is to study each frame and see if the motion blur makes sense or not. Generally speaking, if the camera is following the car, it will exhibit little motion blur while everything else is exhibiting a lot. Conversely, if the camera is stationary, then it is essentially following stationary objects. In that case the stationary objects will exhibit little or no motion blur and the car will exhibit a lot.

I chose to look for simple cases where Zapruder was following the limousine quite well. So I looked for frames with pretty sharp images of the limousine. Physics says that in those cases, the stationary objects will have motion blur. I didn't know how much blur to expect, and so I used Z311 as a reference. I quickly saw the the motion blur on the adjacent frame, Z310, was all but gone. Motion blur can't just disappear.

I later learned from the Jon Costella website that the shutter speed on Zapruder's camera was fixed and that the expected amount of motion blur is significant. Yet we don't see it in Z310.

I  trust that John Costella didn't do anything that would add or remove motion blur. I am confident that if you get a pair of Z310/Z311 frames from any copy of the Z film, it will show the motion blur exactly as we see in John Costella's copies.

In answer to your question, I ALWAYS look for mundane reasons for seeming anomalies before considering possible sinister ones. Only a fool wouldn't do that and I am no fool.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I run onto a couple problems trying to evaluate motion blur. First problem is that motion blur becomes detectable on shiny white objects before it is detectable in images such as faces. That makes motion blur of a soft image like a person different than sharper and brighter images. It means we would not recognize blur on foster as soon or as much as the reflections on the limo's crossbar. In addition dark objects show less blur and any shadow or dark object can have its blur canceled out by a bright object surrounding the shadowed object.
     In frame 310 there is some motion blur measurable in the reflection on the crossbar. (The same reflections Dr Costella uses for his motion blur analysis of frame 232). Comparing frame 312 (Image 5) and frame 310(image 6) shows about 12 pixels of motion blur in frame 310.
  Images 1 thru 4 test for the amount of motion blur seen in Foster. For comparison I used the images of the women on East Elm from around frame 130 something. The women in the center is almost the exact same distance from Z as Foster and so both women are close in size within the frame. The frame used is one of the best focused. Image 2 has 8 pixels of blur added and image 4 has 12 pixels added. I would say Foster's blur in frame 310(image 3) is about 10 pixels when compared to images 2 and 4. So the limo has 12 pixels and Foster 10 pixels for 22 pixels of total blur in frame 310.
 The Groden frames are 1280 pixels wide and when the frame is at 100% magnification it has 96 pixels per inch. If the frame is correct on the screen it shout be 13.3 inches wide. That is 168mm wide, 37pixels per cm, 3.7 pixels per mm. I'm using Metric from here on out.
 The limo advances relative to the background 14mm or 52 pixels from frame 309 to 310. divide by 2 to get the distance traveled during the open shutter and you get 26 pixels. So if the camera tracked the limo perfectly there would be zero blur on the limo and 26 pixels of motion blur seen on Foster. (Using her stationary left leg for the measurement). But the blur on the limo of 12 pixels means we just about split the amount of blur between Miss Foster and the limo. It comes out to 12 limo and 10 foster for a total of 22 pixels blur total. 4 pixels short of 26 we should see. 
I think the 4 pixels are within tolerance. If either of the frames used for comparison, 312 for the limo and 130 something for the foster comp, are not perfectly focused, if they have a small amount of motion blur already, then that takes away from the results of the comparison. 805094654_finalmotionblur310low.thumb.jpg.db7d654733fe210e59afc03d18c21913.jpg

Edited by Chris Bristow
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In pondering how they could have faked the Z film I have a long shot possibility. Since they had possession of Z camera and the limo and were in Dealey plaza for recreations and the survey, they could have re filmed the background to use as part of a recreated version. Maybe if they had the limo there they could also film it moving down Elm.
 This would help in creating a matte of the limo occupants that could be combined with the new limo and background.  It would solve some problems. As an example if the limo stopped so did Z's panning. That would complicate matching the original background to a matte. If the limo just slowed rapidly to 3 mph for maybe 2 seconds before acceleration it would lose 45 feet of travel down Elm. If you tried to correct it by using a matte to make the background move continuously then the limo and the background would have a 45 foot mismatch between background angle and the limos angle.
 The problem with this theory is the only time you could re film the plaza and have both the azimuth and elevation of the Sun match each other would be the weekend of Jan 20th around 10:30am. That is because the 20th is the same number of days after the winter solstice as Nov 22nd is before the solstice. That is the only other time you could match the shadows correctly. Does anyone know the dates the FBI was in the plaza for the survey or recreations?

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4 hours ago, Chris Bristow said:

In pondering how they could have faked the Z film I have a long shot possibility. Since they had possession of Z camera and the limo and were in Dealey plaza for recreations and the survey, they could have re filmed the background to use as part of a recreated version. Maybe if they had the limo there they could also film it moving down Elm.
 This would help in creating a matte of the limo occupants that could be combined with the new limo and background.  It would solve some problems. As an example if the limo stopped so did Z's panning. That would complicate matching the original background to a matte. If the limo just slowed rapidly to 3 mph for maybe 2 seconds before acceleration it would lose 45 feet of travel down Elm. If you tried to correct it by using a matte to make the background move continuously then the limo and the background would have a 45 foot mismatch between background angle and the limos angle.
 The problem with this theory is the only time you could re film the plaza and have both the azimuth and elevation of the Sun match each other would be the weekend of Jan 20th around 10:30am. That is because the 20th is the same number of days after the winter solstice as Nov 22nd is before the solstice. That is the only other time you could match the shadows correctly. Does anyone know the dates the FBI was in the plaza for the survey or recreations?

The FBI and SS had completed their re-enactments using alternate automobiles by early December. The WC pushed for a more honest re-enactment on May 24. There is no evidence the limo ever returned to Dallas. 

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Before formulating my proof (in the OP), what I noticed was that Z310 shows little motion blur on anything whereas Z311 shows a lot of motion blur on stationary objects. I knew that they could not both be right. At first I assumed that Z310 was correct and that motion blur had been added (by humans) to Z311. And that is what I briefly proved in the "The Zfilm, The copies and The Geraldo" thread.

Later I read some John Costella material, where he says that frame Z232 (IIRC) had had motion blur removed from it before it was published by Life Magazine and that this was a mistake that revealed that the Z film had been altered. From that I got the impression that my original assumption was wrong, that motion blur had actually been removed from the film, not added.

At that time I decided to give a more formal proof. And that is what I did in the OP of this thread... I proved that motion blur had been removed from Z310.

It must be noted that it doesn't matter whether motion blur was added to Z311 or removed from Z310. Either way it can be easily proved that a human being had to do it. I decided that I would write a proof for both possibilities. As I said, I did write the "removed motion blur" proof, but I ran out of time for the "added motion blur" proof. So instead I marked post #2 of this thread as "[reserved]" so I could add the proof later when I had time. (In the meantime I have used post #2 for some other reason.)

Since then I have learned from reading more of Costella's material that he knows what the shutter speed of Zapruder's camera is, and not only that, that it is fixed. This means that the expected motion blur can be calculated!

As it turns out, as shown by Chris Bristow above, frame Z310 shows the correct amount of motion blur for the given shutter speed. Which means that motion blur was added to Z311. I wish I would have written the proof for that case instead.

 

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6 hours ago, Chris Bristow said:

I run onto a couple problems trying to evaluate motion blur. First problem is that motion blur becomes detectable on shiny white objects before it is detectable in images such as faces. That makes motion blur of a soft image like a person different than sharper and brighter images. It means we would not recognize blur on foster as soon or as much as the reflections on the limo's crossbar. In addition dark objects show less blur and any shadow or dark object can have its blur canceled out by a bright object surrounding the shadowed object.
     In frame 310 there is some motion blur measurable in the reflection on the crossbar. (The same reflections Dr Costella uses for his motion blur analysis of frame 232). Comparing frame 312 (Image 5) and frame 310(image 6) shows about 12 pixels of motion blur in frame 310.
  Images 1 thru 4 test for the amount of motion blur seen in Foster. For comparison I used the images of the women on East Elm from around frame 130 something. The women in the center is almost the exact same distance from Z as Foster and so both women are close in size within the frame. The frame used is one of the best focused. Image 2 has 8 pixels of blur added and image 4 has 12 pixels added. I would say Foster's blur in frame 310(image 3) is about 10 pixels when compared to images 2 and 4. So the limo has 12 pixels and Foster 10 pixels for 22 pixels of total blur in frame 310.
 The Groden frames are 1280 pixels wide and when the frame is at 100% magnification it has 96 pixels per inch. If the frame is correct on the screen it shout be 13.3 inches wide. That is 168mm wide, 37pixels per cm, 3.7 pixels per mm. I'm using Metric from here on out.
 The limo advances relative to the background 14mm or 52 pixels from frame 309 to 310. divide by 2 to get the distance traveled during the open shutter and you get 26 pixels. So if the camera tracked the limo perfectly there would be zero blur on the limo and 26 pixels of motion blur seen on Foster. (Using her stationary left leg for the measurement). But the blur on the limo of 12 pixels means we just about split the amount of blur between Miss Foster and the limo. It comes out to 12 limo and 10 foster for a total of 22 pixels blur total. 4 pixels short of 26 we should see. 
I think the 4 pixels are within tolerance. If either of the frames used for comparison, 312 for the limo and 130 something for the foster comp, are not perfectly focused, if they have a small amount of motion blur already, then that takes away from the results of the comparison. 805094654_finalmotionblur310low.thumb.jpg.db7d654733fe210e59afc03d18c21913.jpg

Edited 4 hours ago by Chris Bristow

 

Chris,

What I get from your analysis is that the motion blur we see in frame Z310 is what we would expect to see given the known shutter speed of Zapruder's camera. Which, for the record, is fixed.

Earlier, just by comparing the amount of blur of the limo and its passengers to that of the stationary objects in Z310, by eye alone, I could see that they were roughly the same. From this I concluded that the camera must have been following the stationary objects and the limo roughly equally. For example, assuming the limo was traveling 10 MPH, the camera's line of site was moving in that direction at 5 MPH. (Is that obvious? Let me explain: If the line of site of the camera is moving 5 MPH, then it is moving 10 - 5 = 5 MPH relative to the limo, and 5 - 0 = 5 MPH relative to the stationary objects. So therefore both the limo and the stationary objects get the same 5 MPH of motion blur.) This matches pretty closely the conclusions you made in your analysis.

Ultimately what your analysis shows me is that the motion blur in frame Z310 is correct, and that the additional motion blur we see in the stationary objects  of frame Z311 has been added (by humans).

 

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2 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

The FBI and SS had completed their re-enactments using alternate automobiles by early December. The WC pushed for a more honest re-enactment on May 24. There is no evidence the limo ever returned to Dallas. 

Thanks for the info.

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17 hours ago, Chris Bristow said:

Thanks for the info.

This is what you need...https://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Blue-Black-Presidential-Assassination-ebook/dp/B07KRW1B5L

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