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# Altering the Z film

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The problems with using a matte or just cutting frames are many. But I have a possible method to overcome most of the problems of mattes and frame removal by combining them.
The problems with mattes is they place the limo against a background that will be a mis match. The wrong angle to the limo would be easily spotted, the reflection on the trunk would not match(Like Mary Moorman or the paristyles behind her) and neither would the shadows. It could be somewhat fixed with additional mattes but not everything, imo. When you have to make the background pass by faster to simulate speed you add some future frame image to the current frame. If you do make the background move faster you are mixing backgrounds from different frames that would have to have the exact same level of motion blur to mix together. Also if you take a film that has the limo going by people like Foster at 2mph and modify it to 8 mph the relative motion blur between the limo and background will be off.
Removing frames can help some but it cannot be used for the slowing down phase. Slowing the limo by half is easy but you can't slow it by 1/4 for a gradual deceleration. As an example: Say you took one of every 4 frames out to slow it by 1/4, it would not work. The limo would still go it's normal speed for frames 1,2,3 and if you cut the 4th out it would suddenly double its speed for one frame when it jumped from frame 3 to frame 5. Then it would slow down again for frames 5,6,7.

I have been looking at mixing some matte work with frame removal and there is a way to minimize the problems. The top part of the chart tracks the hypothetical limo as it slows though 13 frames. it slow from 8 to 2 mph over 13 frames. That means is travels 1/2 inch less distance every frame as it slows. 8" then 7.5", them 7" etc. That is the 1st row figures. The 2nd row keeps a running tally of how many inches the limo progresses from 1 to 13. In box 13 it shows the limo traveled 57".
Below all that is another set of 13 frames. This set shows how far the limo would travel if it never slowed and continued at 8 mph or 8" per frame(approx). The next row down is again a running tally of distance traveled. Notice box 13 above shows 57" of travel and the box below shows 96" travel. The slowing limo travels 39 " less and that is what needs to be made up in order to alter the limo speed back to 8 mph.
Looking at the bottom set frames 1-4 are marked "Background matte size. Those 1st frames can be altered by  shifting the background 1/2, 1.5 and 3 inches respectively. That neutralizes the deceleration and increases the speed back to 8 mph with the matte mismatch being only 3 inches. Now for the next frame no matte is needed. Frame 5 in the bottom section(The alteration attempt) would have advanced the limo 32.5 inches down the road. Well in the top set frame 6 has also advanced the limo 32.0" down the road. To fix frame 5 in the lower set we only need to replace it with frame 6 from the upper set. Frame 6 from above is not from a matte so the background and limo are back in their true positions. The matte induced mis match would continue to increase if continued and the problems would get worse. But using the hypothetical original frames that showed a limo stop fixes the matte problems. Frames 8, 10 and 13 from above would also be used.
Once we use frame 13 from above we are using frames in which the limo travels 2 mph from frame to frame. If, as in this scenario the limo proceeded at 2 mph for a couple seconds than the frames after 13 will all represent 2 mph speed. So all you have to do then is take out 3 out of every 4 frames from the top and use them for the frames after frame 8 below. when you take out 3 out of every 4 you always have 3 frames removed between each one. So unlike taking every 4th frame, taking 3 out of 4 makes each frame 3 frames from the last so the limo does  not jump around like it would taking one out of 4.
This stuff is a nightmare to try and visualize but I hope it is clear enough to get the point across. I have not puzzled out the acceleration back to normal speed yet, but this method would only require matting 3 frames and removing 4 frames for the deceleration part. The frame removal would only require two consecutive frames to be removed and two more single frames.

Edited by Chris Bristow

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One thing I forgot to mention is a possible trick to help with a matte process. If you took the frames and magnified them slightly to simulate more zooming effect you would would have a little extra background image that does not appear in the frame. You could use that for the extra background needed for the matte. That fixes the problem of the extra background having to match in motion blur because the extra background is from the same frame and will always be a perfect match. You would only need to increase the zoom by one or two degrees to get the 3 inches of background needed for the first 3 frames of the deceleration.

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This is fascinating Chris.  Do you think, using the method you've described, it would have been an easier thing to pull off if the Z film was being taken at 48 fps?

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11 hours ago, Paul Bacon said:

This is fascinating Chris.  Do you think, using the method you've described, it would have been an easier thing to pull off if the Z film was being taken at 48 fps?

If you had 48 fps to work with it would tighten the timing up a lot. In my graphic frame 8 from above is used to replace frame 6 below, but there is a 2 inch difference between them. I thought that may be small enough to go unnoticed but maybe not. But if you had 48 fps to work with that 2" difference could be cut down to about .8 seconds difference.

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On 4/12/2022 at 2:03 AM, Chris Bristow said:

The problems with using a matte or just cutting frames are many. But I have a possible method to overcome most of the problems of mattes and frame removal by combining them.
The problems with mattes is they place the limo against a background that will be a mis match. The wrong angle to the limo would be easily spotted, the reflection on the trunk would not match(Like Mary Moorman or the paristyles behind her) and neither would the shadows. It could be somewhat fixed with additional mattes but not everything, imo.

[...]

tremendous amount of work you've done here. I commend you. I took the liberty to highlight a section above. Here is another possible, quite simple solution to the above. Another camera on the pedestal. Or, the Zap camera shooting an additional piece of footage immediately after the lead car drove down Elm Street. Why then? There was nothing on Elm Street except asphalt for 10-15 seconds... (makes no difference what's on the curbs or grass, unless the limo ends up there, then all bets are off for editing a film). An empty Elm Street, same kind of camera (B&H), same film stock, same lighting, same iris opening, same film speed, very same angle to the street... but, zoom out some to be comfortable and not make a mistake. Do a pan down Elm Street only from curb to curb with a little breathing room. You've had the lead car go through, you know roughly what the limo speed will be (so you know how to pan down the street and how fast). Plenty of loaded film... When the pan is complete snap back to the top of Elm Street, zoom all the way in (full tight), roll film, and pick up the lead car turn onto Elm Street, hold and follow the limo down Elm... the rest as they say, "take care of it in post!"

There is one thing left... some material(s) are going to extend over the south curb... thats where artistry comes in...

Edited by David G. Healy
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22 hours ago, Paul Bacon said:

This is fascinating Chris.  Do you think, using the method you've described, it would have been an easier thing to pull off if the Z film was being taken at 48 fps?

I just realized that if it was filmed at 48 fps the open shutter time would be about 40% of what we see in the film. But the motion blur in the film is consistent with 18 fps.

Edited by Chris Bristow
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8 hours ago, David G. Healy said:

tremendous amount of work you've done here. I commend you. I took the liberty to highlight a section above. Here is another possible, quite simple solution to the above. Another camera on the pedestal. Or, the Zap camera shooting an additional piece of footage immediately after the lead car drove down Elm Street. Why then? There was nothing on Elm Street except asphalt for 10-15 seconds... (makes no difference what's on the curbs or grass, unless the limo ends up there, then all bets are off for editing a film). An empty Elm Street, same kind of camera (B&H), same film stock, same lighting, same iris opening, same film speed, very same angle to the street... but, zoom out some to be comfortable and not make a mistake. Do a pan down Elm Street only from curb to curb with a little breathing room. You've had the lead car go through, you know roughly what the limo speed will be (so you know how to pan down the street and how fast). Plenty of loaded film... When the pan is complete snap back to the top of Elm Street, zoom all the way in (full tight), roll film, and pick up the lead car turn onto Elm Street, hold and follow the limo down Elm... the rest as they say, "take care of it in post!"

There is one thing left... some material(s) are going to extend over the south curb... thats where artistry comes in...

Z filming extra footage is an interesting thought. A second camera has been mentioned somewhere but if it was only one foot away from Z's camera it would have a very different line of sight. The wall behind the Stemmons would appear off by more than 2 feet. Maybe mixing the two would work depending on where they meet. One additional problem with a matte is the curb appears almost level across the frame around 312 but constantly changed as he panned down Elm. That would be another mis match to be addressed.
I had considered that if you re filmed the background on the weekend of 1/20/64 around roughly 10:30am the azimuth and elevation would match 11/22 at 12:30.

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1 hour ago, Chris Bristow said:

But the motion blur in the film is consistent with 18 fps.

I understand.  Thank you.

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7 hours ago, Chris Bristow said:

I just realized that if it was filmed at 48 fps the open shutter time would be about 40% of what we see in the film. But the motion blur in the film is consistent with 18 fps.

What shutter speed are you using?

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8 hours ago, Chris Bristow said:

Z filming extra footage is an interesting thought. A second camera has been mentioned somewhere but if it was only one foot away from Z's camera it would have a very different line of sight. The wall behind the Stemmons would appear off by more than 2 feet. Maybe mixing the two would work depending on where they meet. One additional problem with a matte is the curb appears almost level across the frame around 312 but constantly changed as he panned down Elm. That would be another mis match to be addressed.
I had considered that if you re filmed the background on the weekend of 1/20/64 around roughly 10:30am the azimuth and elevation would match 11/22 at 12:30.

re the above: if, there was NO second camera on the pedestal, then might I advance something obvious, Zapruder shot a pan down Elm St. from the pedestal himself, 15-20 seconds before the limo arrived in Dealey Plaza...

the curb down Elm? So? That issue (?) will be covered for the most part by a layer above it, ie., original asphalt footage of the motorcade going down Elm St.

and, separate matte artists from a physical film matte black/white overlay of film frame(s). Same for glass artists. A glass artist adds to whats within the confines of a frame, the only restriction is the outer edges of the glass itself, its all art for them. Matte artist adds or deletes components and structures the frame to appear natural with frame-to-frame continuity.

Here's the main problem Z-alteration advocates face, we/they have no idea what version of Z-film they are reviewing, disassembling, re-altering. Assumptions are being made, best case film scenario(s) based on what?

There's a damn good reason as to why nearly no-one can get authentication and verification of Zapruder film prints they are working with. "The in-camera original Zapruder Film is at NARA or the 6th Floor Museum, we taxpayers paid \$16 million bucks for that piece of celluloid and derive no benefits and/or no access, PERIOD. And with out THAT, Z-film researchers are just making noise, sometimes very loud noise as we did in 2001-2005/6/7... In fact, most of us on the possible alteration side of things were invited here by John Simkin in 2004... the debates are over, books written, the bells and whistles fading -- but the Kennedy Assassination itself lingers like a very dark cloud... as such we can only dig deeper in search of resolution...

Over the years I have learned there are those that have access close to first day 3 Z-film dupes #0185,6,7 of the "alleged" Zapruder Film #0183. Find #0184. Lest we're stuck with: as Gary Mack so eloquently told me well before his passing, "the in-camera original Zapruder Film will never, EVER appear in a court of law again." He's probably correct... that leaves the original 3 Jamisen film dupes... and maybe, maybe that old camera original isn't just sitting at the bottom of a landfill someplace...

Have a good one, pssst! The *other* Chris, Chris Davidson, did the math on the Z-film and covered a lot of bases, hell of an asset... and understand Adobe After Effects, that software literally, nearly wiped out the "optical film houses" in NYC, Hollywood, Chicago, San Francisco and the rest of America. Prior to Adobe ownership it was called COSA After Effects, it mimicked aerial image printing. bi-pack, and the entire film special effects film printing medium in 1993/4, learn how to use it and you'll have access to the entire, Hollywood film special effects secrets...  nothing is IMPOSSIBLE...

here's a simple defining statement of AAE: "After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation..." Wikipedia

Edited by David G. Healy
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6 hours ago, Chris Davidson said:

What shutter speed are you using?

I use 1/40th sec. I think  it is a little less but close enough. The relative blur between foreground and background is consistent with the limo moving  around 9mph at frame 312. If the frame rate increases to 48 fps the dist the limo traveled would be reduced by 2.5 times and so would the motion blur. As I imagine this the distance the limo travels could be adjusted by frame removal. So we could get the limo to move at 9 mph but that would not change the motion blur recorded in each single frame which would still be related to the 48 fps rate.

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Different for the slow-motion setting:

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5 hours ago, David G. Healy said:

re the above: if, there was NO second camera on the pedestal, then might I advance something obvious, Zapruder shot a pan down Elm St. from the pedestal himself, 15-20 seconds before the limo arrived in Dealey Plaza...

the curb down Elm? So? That issue (?) will be covered for the most part by a layer above it, ie., original asphalt footage of the motorcade going down Elm St.

and, separate matte artists from a physical film matte black/white overlay of film frame(s). Same for glass artists. A glass artist adds to whats within the confines of a frame, the only restriction is the outer edges of the glass itself, its all art for them. Matte artist adds or deletes components and structures the frame to appear natural with frame-to-frame continuity.

Here's the main problem Z-alteration advocates face, we/they have no idea what version of Z-film they are reviewing, disassembling, re-altering. Assumptions are being made, best case film scenario(s) based on what?

There's a damn good reason as to why nearly no-one can get authentication and verification of Zapruder film prints they are working with. "The in-camera original Zapruder Film is at NARA or the 6th Floor Museum, we taxpayers paid \$16 million bucks for that piece of celluloid and derive no benefits and/or no access, PERIOD. And with out THAT, Z-film researchers are just making noise, sometimes very loud noise as we did in 2001-2005/6/7... In fact, most of us on the possible alteration side of things were invited here by John Simkin in 2004... the debates are over, books written, the bells and whistles fading -- but the Kennedy Assassination itself lingers like a very dark cloud... as such we can only dig deeper in search of resolution...

Over the years I have learned there are those that have access close to first day 3 Z-film dupes #0185,6,7 of the "alleged" Zapruder Film #0183. Find #0184. Lest we're stuck with: as Gary Mack so eloquently told me well before his passing, "the in-camera original Zapruder Film will never, EVER appear in a court of law again." He's probably correct... that leaves the original 3 Jamisen film dupes... and maybe, maybe that old camera original isn't just sitting at the bottom of a landfill someplace...

Have a good one, pssst! The *other* Chris, Chris Davidson, did the math on the Z-film and covered a lot of bases, hell of an asset... and understand Adobe After Effects, that software literally, nearly wiped out the "optical film houses" in NYC, Hollywood, Chicago, San Francisco and the rest of America. Prior to Adobe ownership it was called COSA After Effects, it mimicked aerial image printing. bi-pack, and the entire film special effects film printing medium in 1993/4, learn how to use it and you'll have access to the entire, Hollywood film special effects secrets...  nothing is IMPOSSIBLE...

here's a simple defining statement of AAE: "After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation..." Wikipedia

Yes you mentioned the additional panning by Z and it is an interesting possibility.
"the curb down Elm? So? That issue (?) will be covered for the most part by a layer above it, ie., original asphalt footage of the motorcade going down Elm St."
I don't know if I get you on this. I mentioned before that the angle of the curb to Z increases as they move down Elm. Looking again I see it changes a lot right after 312 when the curb is nearly perpendicular to Z but much less from frame 350 on. So it is less of a problem than I thought.
Not knowing what may have been altered and how much leaves us guessing. Like just how much did the limo slow, how long did it last and how quickly did it decelerate. I thought it would be interesting to make an 8mm film of a vehicle mimicking the limo stop, then take that 8mm film and see if the stop can be removed, what it would take and how real might it look. It may reveal the problems and possibly the type of artifacts the process may leave.

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36 minutes ago, Chris Davidson said:

Different for the slow-motion setting:

Oh thank you! So the shutter speed is just short of 3 times longer in the 'run' setting. We should see 3 times the motion blur at 1/35th  between background and foreground than the 1/100th slow motion. The overall film supports the 18.6 fps. The limo would have to be going almost 3 times as fast as the 'official' record to achieve the motion blur between foreground and background.
Frame 232 has half the blur as pointed out by John Costella. Is that an artifact of a different frame rate? If it is there still has to be another film that produced the 18.6 fps version. I want to lean towards a simpler explanation that does not require two films if possible.

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David G. Healy writes:

Quote

Here's the main problem Z-alteration advocates face, we/they have no idea what version of Z-film they are reviewing, disassembling, re-altering.

That isn't the main problem you face. Anyone who claims that the film was altered faces two much more fundamental problems: actually proving that it was altered, and working out a plausible reason why it might have been altered. After about 30 years of trying, not much progress seems to have been made with either task.

Maybe the Zapruder film really was altered. Even though home movies don't routinely get altered, you can't rule it out in principle. But if it was, you'd think that after three decades of searching, someone would have discovered actual, genuine proof of alteration that would convince any reasonable, intelligent, open-minded member of the public. By now, we should expect to possess at least one example of, say, a discrepancy between the Zapruder film and some other image that would survive some basic questioning, such as:

• Can we rule out all straightforward alternative explanations (you've got your measurements wrong, the discrepancy is due to the parallax effect, you're looking at a poor-quality copy, etc)?
• What specific alteration might have caused this particular discrepancy?
• Was it possible for the film to have been altered in this way with the time and materials that were available?
• What plausible reason might there have been for altering the film in this way?

As far as I can tell, three decades of work has produced nothing stronger than vague suggestions that this or that bit of the film doesn't look quite right. Mary Moorman was standing in the street. An unidentified woman's clothes sort of look the wrong colour. A car in the motorcade sort of looks back to front. A spectator's leg sort of looks too long. A witness said X, but the film shows Y.

It's amateurish stuff. This sort of weak speculation doesn't even approach the required level of proof. I understand that this is just a game, and that it keeps people happy indoors who might otherwise have to be out in the wilds looking for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, but it's a poor substitute for proper research that might actually get the JFK assassination case reopened.

For the benefit of anyone who thinks that Zapruder film speculation isn't just a game, here are one or two things to consider:

• Do you think your strongest item of evidence for alteration would convince a reasonable, open-minded member of the public?
• If so, send that evidence to the alternative media. There are several media outlets that would be sympathetic to your claim; the ones that gave good reviews to the recent Stone-DiEugenio documentary, for example. And let us know what happens.
• If you don't think your evidence is strong enough to share with the media, could you give us a rough idea of how many more decades we'll have to wait before any actual proof finally arrives?

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