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Towner Film


John Dolva
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I've taken the plunge. I've decided to trust an image hosting site for now and have uploaded high res versions of images posted here.

The full Towner panorama sequence here is at : http://files.photojerk.com/yanndee/towner.jpg

Some interesting things I've noted for suggested research:

# The entrance to TSBD appears to have a figure where Bill is supposed to be.

# The camera used took 16fps. So : any 16 images here easily percieved by the repeated Limo features (white rim, wind screen etc can be counted and by measuring a known dimension on Limo, the speed at this point can be derived to great accuracy. (see below for estimate*)

# The turning circle has been in question. I theorise that it is possible here to project the limo position onto the road surface and referencing it to other fixed points and thus determining path of travel.

( an estimate : http://files.photojerk.com/yanndee/Dorman_frame_0407.jpg )

# The location of the person filming can be accurately determined by noting that the side of the TSBD appears to be almost exactly side on and the side of the records building at the start almost exactly head on. The second image isolates and enhances the prson in the Dorman film who appears tp be the photographer. I had previously thought this girl was crying. I appear to be wrong, Jack has noted that this is the daughter of Mr Towner (amateur photographer?) who stands next to her in the Dorman film? In some ways this is one of the best films of the motorcade, she pans evenly with not much tilt or jiggle. ( http://files.photojerk.com/yanndee/townerfilmer.jpg )

# The Towner film has overall some excellent features for study. Almost all frames are steady and minimally blurred. As the camera pans across the scene the aspect or attack of the lens changes smoothly frame to frame. This allows a study of such distortions as occur from frame to frame. Thes alteration of dimensions are considerable frame to frame indicating just a slight shift in the aspect of the lens introduces considerable dimensional distortions. In order to preserve registry in this panorama, I've here resized all frames to average out such distortions.

# The total number of witnesses on this corner can be counted with a great degree of accuracy. It strikes me that there were a hell of a lot more witnesses than one might imagine from documentation. I count about 225 in just this area. Of course there were more behind these people and in the windows of the buildings, plus all those on the side of the camera, perhaps 400 along the length of this sequence alone?

# There is a character leaning out of a window in the first floor who if maintained this pose would have been able to provide some unique accoustical evidence.

# There is a frame where towards the end of this sequence a bright light appears in the trees for just that single frame. This of course may be nothing, say a bird landing or taking off momentarily revealing a patch of sky.

# The Limousine APPEARS to have a couple of jerky direction changes in the latter part of the sequence. This is inconclusive as the distortion of the images due to the lens attack is most pronounced in this area and proper registry is difficult. The closer to having the distortions averaged out, the less this 'direction change' appears to be.

________________________________________________________________

* Estimate of speed in front of TSBD

(refer to : http://files.photojerk.com/yanndee/townerspeed1.jpg )

The limousine travels across the width of the side window in five and a quarter frames.

The side window is 3.4 feet wide.

At 16 frames per second this is 40.8 inches in 0.33 seconds.

This is 3.39 yards in one second. Or : 6.93 mph. (or 11.16 kph)

This could be used to extrapolate speed throughout the disputed Zapruder film. In other words if the speed is 6.9 mph at the beginning of the Zfilm, then one may calculate the number of frames covered by the limousine in order to travel the width of the window, which is approcimately the width of the top of the door on Kennedys side. Then knowing that the speed at this point was about 7 mph one could confirm frame rate and carry this through across the film.

An earlier attempt at calculating the Limousine speed using a single blurred photo about 2 limousine lengths behind this point in the turn onto Elm as per method in 'speed of the Limousine' topic arrived at a speed of 3.5 mph. This does not necessarily mean this other method using single photos is of no value, but there are still unresolved issues with it as can be seen by reading the posts, perhaps the fact that its almost exactly half indicates where I went wrong at that time. This more correct speed could be used to understand what those issues may be.

Edited by John Dolva
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Jack, Thank You very much.

Much appreciated, John

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Further on this. I received a message from Gary, kindly furnishing this information.

Hello John, Unlike Jack White, I notice several problems with your analysis of the Towner film. To begin, it's unfortunate that you only used Groden's poor-quality copy of the film. The camera original film appears in the Discovery Channel's Unsolved History program "Death In Dealey Plaza" and it is much clearer and brighter than Groden's. Towner's camera, apparently manufactured by Bell & Howell, almost certainly did not run at 16fps. B&H had switched to the new 18fps standard by that time. Also, while supervising the film to tape transfer of the camera original film several years ago, we found that 20fps appeared more natural in earlier parts of the reel (the motorcade was at the very end). The point is that one cannot make a camera speed assumption based on older model Bell & Howell cameras. The turning circle of the limo has never been in question, except by the crackpots who ignore logic and other photo evidence such as the Dorman and Hughes films and photos like those by Betzner and Willis. Yes, the Dorman film shows Tina Towner with the family movie camera and, to her left, Jim Towner with his still camera. There are several people visible in the second floor windows (the first floor was behind the facade and, presumably, no one was watching through those tiny openings). The "light" in the trees is merely some of the damage the film has suffered over the years. There are little nicks in the emulsion in places that would look, to the untrained eye, like a light. It's impossible to accurately determine the speed of objects in the Towner film since her camera was never tested; therefore, one cannot use it to learn anything about the speed of the Zapruder film. Gary Mack

I am sure Jack noticed problems, however I think he was referring to the overall effort. Unfortunately the images I use are only those that are available to me. The important thing here is the techniques. I believe there is a lot of information to be had from the various photos and films as yet untapped. The denying of quality data to researchers is to my mind inexcusible. Contrary to copyright considerations it should be regarded as public property. The refusal to use the internet with its fast delivery that makes it possible to download and distribute digitised copies is indefensible (IMO). However, it is how it is. What I hope to show more than anything with this is some methods I think are useful, whether it is witha poor quality set of data or not is less important. Should good quality stuff become available, I would repeat it on that. Or someone who might be inspired to develop these skills themselves can do it just as easily.

Edited by John Dolva
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Gary's remarks are pointless in regard to John's study.

His study is what it is, nothing more.

Yes, I had one problem with the study...but not worth debating.

The film lasts several seconds. Each spectator is pictured only

AT THE TIME THE CAMERA IS POINTED THAT WAY. The montage

does not show what happened to any particular person during

the OTHER SECONDS...so it is NOT A TRUE MONTAGE of the crowd

but a series of split second stills. By the end of the montage,

the people at the beginning would be in entirely different locations.

But it would seem to offer A GOOD COUNT ON THE NUMBER

OF SPECTATORS, since it is doubtful that any were photographed

in more than one location. To be a true montage, all images

would have to be at the same instant. But it is good for what

it is.

Jack

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A note from Gary,

John wrote: I am sure Jack noticed problems, however I think he was referring to the overall effort. Unfortunately the images I use are only those that are available to me. The important thing here is the techniques. I believe there is a lot of information to be had from the various photos and films as yet untapped. The denying of quality data to researchers is to my mind inexcusible. Contrary to copyright considerations it should be regarded as public property. The refusal to use the internet with its fast delivery that makes it possible to download and distribute digitised copies is indefensible (IMO). However, it is how it is. What I hope to show more than anything with this is some methods I think are useful, whether it is witha poor quality set of data or not is less important. Should good quality stuff become available, I would repeat it on that. Or someone who might be inspired to develop these skills themselves can do it just as easily.

Gary : No one has "denied" you quality data, John. Groden's poor quality copy of the Tina Towner film - initially made without her knowledge or permission - is his fault, not hers. She has made her film available to several tv and video productions over the years, and I listed just one of the sources in my note to you. Anyone is free to record or purchase those broadcasts and use the images for their personal study. Gary Mack

Thank you, Gary. I had no idea about that. Could you zip me a copy please? Or point me to a source where I could down load or arrange for one to be sent to me? I don't get History Channel here and find that vhs and all the transfer issues to digital format degrades quality to where I don't know if it's worth it. But , thank you, this is the sort of information one needs.

(I feel a slight need here to re-emphasise as well that this topic and many others I do around digital imaging is about techniques first, so if anyone is inspired through it and does have quality material, it's possible that important contributions may be made.)

Edited by John Dolva
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John, I referred you to a Discovery Channel program, not a History Channel show. Do you get Discovery? The camera original Towner, Hughes and Dorman films appear in Death In Dealey Plaza, one of three programs in their Unsolved History series. The Discovery Channel shows it all over the world and will broadcast it for several more years. If you'd rather not wait until the next airing, you can order the dvd from the Discovery Channel store: http://tinyurl.com/8nnzp. Gary Mack

Ahh, that's wonderful, thank you Gary. (forum is good) I'll order one. No discovery here either. Well, what I mean is not in my house anyway. I'll see if someone else around here does. Come to think of it I might be able to talk the local library into getting a copy. thanks again.

Jack : Yes, I had one problem with the study...but not worth debating.

The film lasts several seconds. Each spectator is pictured only

AT THE TIME THE CAMERA IS POINTED THAT WAY. The montage

does not show what happened to any particular person during

the OTHER SECONDS...so it is NOT A TRUE MONTAGE of the crowd

but a series of split second stills. By the end of the montage,

the people at the beginning would be in entirely different locations.

But it would seem to offer A GOOD COUNT ON THE NUMBER

OF SPECTATORS, since it is doubtful that any were photographed

in more than one location. To be a true montage, all images

would have to be at the same instant. But it is good for what

it is.

Jack

Yes, I agree. One idea I have (might get around to it) is to with the montage (much better word than panorama) as background bring each frame forward in turn and snapshotting each ( I think it was 150 odd frames) and then stringing the snaps together into a movie. So the frames travel across the screen as the limo travelled across the sweep at the time.

One thing that I like about these extended montages is kind of getting a feel for what it was like being there, something that a static movie screen can't capture in the same way. (A way of simulating this is to open the full from link above and zooming it to full screen and then scrolling across from right to left.)

I wonder who owns the camera today, and whether an exact frame rate could be got?

Edited by John Dolva
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Just to bring things up to date, a note from Gary:

John, The Towner camera is owned by the former Tina Towner and it is on exhibit at The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. She used it for many years, so there's no way to know if the camera operates now the way it did that day in 1963. Gary Mack

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A section of the Dorman film close to the start of the Towner film has 17.75 frames covering 167.5inches.

so 4. 65 yards over 17.75 frames.

If one ASSUMES a frame rate of 16 this equates to 4.2 yards in one second, or 8.6 mph.

If one ASSUMES a frame rate of 18 this equates to 4.7 yards in one second, or 9.6 mph.

this appears to correlate well with the speed derived from a Towner frame rate of 16.

Is the frame rate (manufactured specs and measured) of Dormans camera known?

Where is Dormans camera today?

Edit:: a refining sets the frame rate at closer to 17 frames per wheelbase. This means a speed closer to 8.9 mph at 16 frames per second, and 10.1 at 18 frames per second. a full sized enhanced pic of the section at : http://files.photojerk.com/yanndee/dormanspeed1.jpg

(as can be seen, the location of the Limo at this point is easily stamped using the traffic lights as reference.)

Also one can see that as the Limousine is approaching the corner it does swing off to the right, possibly widening the diameter of the turn by perhaps a couple of feet, This may have been noted by a witness and the statement then misinterpreted as a wide swing around the corner while in fact it is minimal but noticable.

Edited by John Dolva
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A section of the Dorman film close to the start of the Towner film has 17.75 frames covering 167.5inches.

so 4. 65 yards over 17.75 frames.

If one ASSUMES a frame rate of 16 this equates to 4.2 yards in one second, or 8.6 mph.

If one ASSUMES a frame rate of 18 this equates to 4.7 yards in one second, or 9.6 mph.

this appears to correlate well with the speed derived from a Towner frame rate of 16.

Is the frame rate (manufactured specs and measured) of Dormans camera known?

Where is Dormans camera today?

Edit:: a refining sets the frame rate at closer to 17 frames per wheelbase. This means a speed closer to 8.9 mph at 16 frames per second, and 10.1 at 18 frames per second. a full sized enhanced pic of the section at : http://files.photojerk.com/yanndee/dormanspeed1.jpg

(as can be seen, the location of the Limo at this point is easily stamped using the traffic lights as reference.)

Also one can see that as the Limousine is approaching the corner it does swing off to the right, possibly widening the diameter of the turn by perhaps a couple of feet, This may have been noted by a witness and the statement then misinterpreted as a wide swing around the corner while in fact it is minimal but noticable.

from Gary: John, The Dorman camera, which was found and donated to The Sixth Floor Museum two years ago, was a Kodak Brownie that was geared for 16fps. When I supervised the transfer of the camera original film to tape many years ago, we found that a film speed of 18fps was obviously too fast, whereas 16fps yielded human movement in the family scenes that was very natural looking. According to clear copies of the Dorman and Hughes films, the JFK limo actually drifted slightly to the left (the west) as it turned. The Towner and Dorman films show that it turned directly into the middle lane of Elm Street. Gary Mack .

OK, Gary, thank you again. So the speed just as the Towner film part of the Motorcade starts on Houston is around 9mph. For simplicity's sake for now I'll use 9 mph as a base for comparing the two.

I'll recheck the drift over a longer stretch. Thanks again.

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I've recalculated the towner speed using 8.9 as the speed of the Limousine just as the Towner film takes over from the Dorman film. This gives a frame rate of 31 fps for the dorman film. Checking this at the point closest to Towner gives a Limo speed at start of Elm of 9.98 mph.

I am guessing but I wouldn't be surprised that Towners camera the was running at 2 x 16 or 32 fps. With error margin it's probably reasonable to say that along Houston and the Towner part of the Elm route the Limo was travelling at a steady 10 plus or minus one mph. So the next step is to bring that down to the z film and cross check with the earlier Muchmore film study and to bring bell and nix films/cameras into it.

"33 frames over 4.65 yards when the limo is travelling at 8.9mph.

8.9 x 1760 yards in 60 x 60 seconds : 4.35 yards in one second.

33 frames in 1.07 seconds 30.9 frames per second. The camera is rated at 16 and 48 fps. It would appear it ran at 31 fps when Tina took her film. I wonder if it was stepped also at 32? 16, 32, 48

6 1/3 frames over 3.4 feet or 1.13 yards. which is 29.5 frames for 4.65 yards. if frame rate is 31 frames per second. then when the limo is closest to Tina it is 4.88 yards in one second. This is one mile in 360.7 seconds, and this is 9.98 miles in one hour!"

EDIT :: If one takes the driver as the best witness as to speed then "William Greer, operator of the Presidential limousine, estimated the car's speed at the time of the first shot as 12 to 15 miles per hour." This to me seems quite reasonable as at the turn the speed was about 10 and then he picked up a bit over the distamnce to the first shot where the speed was probably in the lower of his estimate range.

Knowing there fore already the frame rate calculations and FBI estimates, it's probably correct to accept the z camera as stated and related speeds etc.

Edited by John Dolva
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from Gary: John, The Dorman camera, which was found and donated to The Sixth Floor Museum two years ago, was a Kodak Brownie that was geared for 16fps. When I supervised the transfer of the camera original film to tape many years ago, we found that a film speed of 18fps was obviously too fast, whereas 16fps yielded human movement in the family scenes that was very natural looking. According to clear copies of the Dorman and Hughes films, the JFK limo actually drifted slightly to the left (the west) as it turned. The Towner and Dorman films show that it turned directly into the middle lane of Elm Street. Gary Mack .

.

I've rechecked this and while it is correct that before the turn there is a drift to the left (west), when looking also at the Hughes film, after the turn onto hughes st, in approaching elm corner there is a drift to the right first. It's not important really except insofar as dealing with reports of a wide swing around the corner. What I'm suggesting is that this drift can be seen by a careful witness as a 'wide turn', starting earlier with the drift right and then drift left and then the turn proper. So witness correct, interpretation wrong.

Edited by John Dolva
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from Gary : John, There was no wide turn. The limo turned from almost the exact center of Houston into the middle lane of the three-lane-wide Elm Street. The sole witness claim of a wide turn said the car almost hit the north curb of Elm! Obviously, that never happened. Again it appears that you are using substandard images for your studies. That's surprising, since very good material has been available to the general public - at least in the US - for many years. Gary Mack

just keeping folks up to date.

Gary, give me a few days and I'll put together something to show what I mean. It's not a reference to any car hitting the kerb. I wasn't aware that that was involved in the witness statement.

I've been at this maybe 3/4 of a year now and all my source material is what people have been kindly posting on the net. I often become aware that better stuff is available. At the moment I have to take what I can get. I'm grateful for links or contacts to places for getting better material.

I think I'm beginning to understand something here now. Because good stuff is available over there, you guys are automatically assuming it is over here. Well, maybe it is? For a newcomer to it's not that easy to figure all that out. No matter, a lot can be done with what I have and in time I hope to get more stuff.

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just to labor this minor point a bit more. I'm not proposing this as a counter to a wide turn that hit the street curbing, it seems to me this is obviously not supported by much other evidence. I made an assumption based on a lack of knowlege re this curb hitting report.

As the image shows, by extending street markings etc to vanishing point one can see a drift to right prior to the turn. I'm just suggesting that this is the beginning or preperation for the turn that started as a wide swing and as it got more into it tightened into the turn proper. (Like I said, a minor point, with, as far as I can see, not much significance either way.)

Edited by John Dolva
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