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Researching the famous Patterson bigfoot film


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#1 Bill Munns

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 09:54 PM

Introducing myself to this forum and my research:

I've been working in the film industry for about 40 years, primarily as a makeup effects "creature guy", and about a year and a half ago, I decided to take a fresh look at the famous 1967 Patterson/Gimlin Bigfoot film, to see if I could bring some of my knowledge on creature masks and suits to the debate of whether the subject (sometimes called Patterson's creature, or "Patty" ) is something real or just a guy in an ape suit.

But as I immersed myself in the analysis of the film, I felt that building a digital model of the film site may help clear up some issues, and having 12 years now working with 3D visualization software, I felt I had a good background to attempt this. But in trying to build the digital model, I began to see discrepancies with the general report that the Patterson film was taken with a Kodak K-100 single lens camera with the standard 25mm Ektar lens on it. My analysis indicated a wider angle lens was necessary to replicate the filming, and the only wider angle lens made by Kodak (and having the appropriate viewfinder companion lens) was the 15mm Ektar. So I tested building the digital site model using the 15mm lens specification, and it assembled quite splendidly, and very accurately, in terms of locating seven distinct camera positions and matching them in the digital model so the digital model renderings overlay the actual film frames exceptionally well.

This work has expanded greatly my camera/lens research, and that led me to this fine forum. So now allow me to explain the current line of my research, with the hope that forum members can help solve this most curious and famous filming mystery from 1967.

My digital model of the Bluff Creek filming site solves exceptionally well if a 15mm lens Horizontal angle of view (37.8 degrees) is put into the digital camera. If that is so (that a 15mm lens was the actual lens Patterson used filming that day), and using a classic lens optics formula, based on size of Patterson's creature in the film frame and an estimated distance of subject from camera, it calculates "Patty" to be about 7' 4" tall. Now, for the record, this finding is currently receiving a highly contentious debate on whether or not it is correct. But this debate, taking place on other forums, has at least inspired me to take a much more thorough analysis of the cameras used both for the original filming, and a subsequent filming attempt to recreate the filming circumstances. It is my hope, in this forum, to keep all discussions on the camera and lens issues of this research.

On a website I set up for this report analysis ( www.themunnsreport.com ) , there is a camera aperture and film genealogy section of the report, a 9.8 Mb PDF document for download File name - TMR Release 1A, from the link which says "Release 1A The Film Genealogy PDF (10 MB)". You can navigate to the page to view/download it by going to the "Log of Material Release" link direct from the opening home page of the site. The direct page URL would be:

http://www.themunnsr...mr_site_003.htm

In my research of this material, I discovered the camera identification marks each 16mm camera maker machined into their aperture plates to make the distinctive shape on film that allows for identifying 16mm film cameras. And I have seen the chart in this forum on the various camera makes and models, from a 1947 American Cinematographer Handbook and Reference Guide publication. The same entity published a 1956 version of the handbook, but I have not seen it yet so I do not know if there is an updated camera identification chart in that edition. And I have an ASC Manual, 1966 Second Edition, but it does not have any camera identification marks material.

I have done some filming tests with both a Kodak K-100 single lens camera, and documented it's camera aperture identification signature shape, and as well filmed with a K-100 three lens turret model, and found it has a distinctively modified camera aperture identification shape. Both are illustrated in the Genealogy release PDF document.

I am currently trying to make a positive I.D. on a second camera that was used in 1968 by John Green to film a man named Jim McClarin walking through the same Bluff Creek location, essentially trying to replicate Patterson's original filming, and the camera aperture identification shape on this camera I cannot identify. I scanned some 4K full frame (plus sprocket area) stills from this camera original film courtesy of John Green himself, last February, and the aperture shape I mistook for Ultra 16mm because it extended well into the sprocket area on one side. In my PDF document, page 7, this is shown as "Example #3".

Also, Example #4 immediately below on the same PDF page is some other footage Roger Patterson took as part of his intended documentary film in 1967, and I cannot yet identify that camera either, except to say it definitely is not the K-100 Roger later used that year for his famous filming at Bluff Creek. Might be a Bolex, but I don't know.

There are many discrepancies or issues in this research where I sorely need the knowledge of others who know 16mm film cameras and lenses, as well as basic optics theory, and so I am joining this forum with hopes some of you may want to contribute your knowledge to this endeavor. I realize this post is rather long, and has quite a few questions and issues. Hopefully this one thread can accommodate them all. So I am finishing here with a brief summary of questions I am trying to solve, or topics I hope to learn more about, all photographic in nature.

1. I would welcome any photo scans from other users of the K-100 camera (both single lens and turret type) so I can verify that the camera identification marks are indeed standardized (so all K-100 single lens camera make the single side curved notch, while all K-100 turret types have both the curved notch by the sprocket hole, plus the funny extra curves on the other corners). So actual scans of camera original film showing the full film width, sprockets and all, would help me verify the consistency of the camera identification marks.

2. Help identifying the camera identification marks of the camera used by John Green (my example #3 in my PDF) would be most welcomed, because I have one report that this camera was a 16mm K50 Keystone magazine type camera (not sure if it was the Mayfair version, or if the Mayfair is the only version. The description I have does not include the word "Mayfair, so I don't know). So identifying this camera by it's aperture identification shape is a high priority for my research now. Once this camera is identified, I need to determine its lens mounting type and lens options. Based on the camera identification chart from 1947, it does not resemble the Keystone shape shown, but does have some common resemblances to a few of the B&H cameras, in the funny way it notches around the sprocket holes. About the only thing i can say with confidence in the Example #3 camera is a 50' magazine type.

3. The issue of Roger's K-100 camera currently revolves around whether a 15mm or a 25mm lens was on it that day, based on the assumption anything in between would not have a matching viewfinder lens, and so it sort of makes me think nobody would outfit the camera with something like a "C" Mount 20mm if the viewfinder lens was either 15mm or 25mm, and a person would be guessing what they were filming. But in mechanical practice, any C Mount lens can be put on the K-100, as I'm sure many of you know. So this third question is, can anyone offer a logical explanation for a cameraman putting a C mount lens on his K-100 that did not have a corresponding viewfinder lens of same focal length? In other words, while this is possible, in practice, is there any reason a person would do so intentionally?

4. Another point of discussion is how good the Ektar lenses were, how close to spec their true effective focal lengths were. Some people have suggested that the 25mm lens might actually be off spec and effectively a 23mm working focal length, and I wonder how a company like Kodak, it's very name and reputation made on photographic quality, would ever market a lens so far off spec, but this idea has been suggested. The only 25mm I tested so far was less than 2% off spec, a 22.65 degree horizontal viewing angle, instead of ASC Manual 23.0 degrees spec for a 25mm lens. The discrepancy may also be that the K-100 aperture is slightly different in dimension than the ASC standard generic "full frame" aperture spec of 0.402" x 0.292".

So if anyone knows about the quality of the 25mm and 15mm Ektar lenses as far as how close to spec they are in real working focal length, I'd welcome the info.

There are other camera/lens related issues I hope to bring up as my research continues, and thank you for any information you can contribute. I would like to add this thread is not for any discussion of whether the Patterson's Creature is real or a hoax, because I can assure you, from my experience in two other forums where this is debated, the debates ( and many of the people who participate there) really get ugly and uncivil. I would welcome forum moderators to review this thread and lend their participation to insure this discussion stays purely on photographic issues and maintains a friendly and factual demeanor. I will certainly do my part toward that goal.

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post, and I welcome any thoughts, ideas, information and insight, you would care to contribute.

Bill Munns
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#2 Patrick Neary

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 09:28 PM

>So this third question is, can anyone offer a logical explanation for a cameraman putting a C mount lens on his K-100 that did not have a corresponding viewfinder lens of same focal length? In other words, while this is possible, in practice, is there any reason a person would do so intentionally?<

What a fun post, I'll take a first swipe!

This question is like asking why did you wear mismatching socks on a particular day? A camera store may have plopped a 20mm lens on the camera because it was sitting there at the time. The guy who shot the film was most decidedly not a cinematographer by any stretch, so how would he even know, or care?

>There are other camera/lens related issues I hope to bring up as my research continues<

One thing you might think about, if you haven't already, is that issues of theoretical lens and film sharpness are all going to go out the window when you're talking about an amateur who's shooting while running with a camera, especially when you don't even know where the focus on the lens was set.

Set your still camera at 1/30 (roughly 16fps) or 1/60 (about 24fps) and run down the street full tilt taking pictures, with the focus set at 3', or 6', and with a big greasy thumbprint on the front of the lens, and 2 days worth of trail dust, and see how many are sharp. The answer will be none of them.

I hope others bite on this, it's a fun subject!
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#3 Tom Jensen

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 10:58 PM

and I thought I had a lot of time on my hands.
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#4 Bill Munns

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 11:00 PM

Patrick:

Thank you for your comments.

One of the general assumptions of Roger Patterson is that he was an amateur as a cameraman, but he had been working on a documentary for quite awhile before taking his famous footage, and I've seen and scanned some of his other footage. He was reasonably proficient as a cinematographer, working with several camera types, good exposures, clear focus, and good composition, in general.

The reason his famous film is often thought of as being grainy, overexposed, or out of focus, is more in the copying than the original he filmed. Most people have only seen a second ( or third) generation copy, of an optically printed zoom in from a first generation contact print, and in the printing, apparently exposure was balanced to try and lighten the subject figure, which is nearly black, and that lightening up the figure gives a washed out look to the environment. When Patterson is running, or trying to get stable footing, yes, the film is shaky, but once he plants himself on the ground, the footage is actually as sharp in focus as one might get.

I've scanned a copy of the footage at 4K, and seen the finest frame enlargements for the source camera master, and a first generation contact print, at 4k (done by others), and there are many parts of the film, individual frames, that are as sharp as anything 16mm film and cameras can produce, excellent exposure, and superb focus (not surprizing in that he was probably filming at F8 and had a depth of field of about 8' to infintiy, and everything in the film is more than 20' away).

Let me just say there is a lot more to this curious film than meets the eye at first look. And I am hoping, with this research, to clear up some misconceptions about it.

Bill
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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:22 AM

Please let us know if it is really Big Foot. And if he's available for interviews.
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#6 Bill Munns

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 07:50 PM

I thank all who have looked in on this topic.

I am attaching the image information on the camera I am currently trying to identify. It is reported to be a Keystone K-50 magazine camera, but the aperture shape as shown does not correspond to the identification marks of the only Keystone camera diagram I have found so far.

The image scanned was camera original, as certified by the man who took the film 41 years ago, double perf (which I believe is necesary for magazine loads).

The notch shape around the upper left perf clearly appears to be a machined aperture plate indicator, not just full frame extending into the sprocket area, as seen on the bottom left, or the right side edges.

So any help or advice identifying this camera would be appreciated.

Apparently my new status limits the image attachment options at this point, so one image has been posted.

Bill


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#7 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:41 PM

I am attaching the image information on the camera I am currently trying to identify. It is reported to be a Keystone K-50 magazine camera, but the aperture shape as shown does not correspond to the identification marks of the only Keystone camera diagram I have found so far.

The outline of the frame may have been reduced by the mask in the magazine as well as the camera.

The largest page of diagrams for camera identification I have seen is in a phamplet cammed "the Camera technicians handbook" but I cannot lay my hands on my copy at the moment. These are many editions of that publication so don't give up if you can't find something in one version. I do suspect taht the practicw of making the frame shape different probably faded after a while.
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#8 Bill Munns

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:46 PM

Charles:

"The outline of the frame may have been reduced by the mask in the magazine as well as the camera."

I do have a Cine Kodak magazine 16 camera i purchased for my research, but I don't have an actual magazine to put in it, but from the camera, it appears that the combination of camera aperture plate and the magazine together form the film gate, and assuming that is so, then only the camera structure is in front of the film, and would impact on the exposure pattern formed on the film.

Not having a magazine, i can't tell what you mean by the "mask in the magazine" but it seems all magzine structure would be behind the film, and thus would not mask the exposure pattern.

Bill
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#9 Patrick Neary

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:53 AM

>So identifying this camera by it's aperture identification shape is a high priority for my research now. Once this camera is identified, I need to determine its lens mounting type and lens options.<

So I'm kind of curious why this is so important-

Almost any circa-1960-70's 16mm camera available to amateurs would have been c-mount, taking any number of a vast array of c-mount lenses. The only exceptions I can think of are the cine-kodak special and the magazine cine kodak, which had funky mounts ("S"?)

Also, my K100 turret has the same rounded notch in the gate, and I've seen left-over single-lens mount front plates for sale, so Kodak either made a single to turret conversion kit, or did the conversion as a service, it would be very easy to go back and forth.

I think what Charles is talking about re: the 16mm magazines is that the small cartridges had a square window that acted as a sort of gate, the film was enclosed in the cart, and there was another small vertical opening that the camera pulldown claw reached through to grab the perfs . It's been a long time since I had one of those but they usually had a small window that could be opened or closed (they slid open when inserted into the camera) to reveal one frame of film.

Somewhere out there there is/was a cine-kodak forum with some very knowledgeable dudes.
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#10 Bill Munns

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 03:58 PM

Patrick:

"So I'm kind of curious why this is so important-" (Your question in reference to my goal of identifying the camera which took the frame shown above in this thread)

The main goal is a forensic analysis of the filming site, including a 3D computer model of the location, and identifying camera positions for all the known filming examples.

To accomplish same, identifying the camera used for the film frame above may help determine the lens options, as well as clear up discrepancies between recollections of the make of camera used and mechanical certainty of camera ID.

Why this all is worthy of discussion is that there are some major optical and position discrepancies (between the original film camera and this recreation filming camera) which need to be cleared up. If that is done, the classic lens optics formula (subject's image height, divided by lens focal length, equals actual subject height divided by distance from subject to camera) may allow us to solve for the original film subject's height, and that height may be well outside human norm.

So I feel it is a question well deserving of a factual answer determined by the science of optics and technology of cinematography.

Bill
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#11 Charlie Peich

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 04:53 PM

Charles:



Not having a magazine, i can't tell what you mean by the "mask in the magazine" but it seems all magzine structure would be behind the film, and thus would not mask the exposure pattern.

Bill


Kodak magazine without film and with film. Shows the "mask"
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Mag showing mask shape
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Sprocket holes aligned properly, hidden behind mask.
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Light tight cover in place
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The mask was cut slightly larger than camera aperture. There was a larger cut on the perf side to allow
recording the camera's i.d. mark.

That should give an idea how the Kodak mags work.

Charlie

(playing with scanner)
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#12 Bill Munns

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 05:21 PM

Charlie:

Thank you. The images are very helpful

Bill
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#13 Bill Munns

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 07:01 PM

Charlie:

I am presuming the magazines shown are in your possession. Any chance you could take a micrometer and measure out a vertical and horizontal measurement for reference.

I tried scaling one of the images up and using a 0.300" perf to perf dimension (bottom of perf to bottom of next perf) and then scaled a width, and got a width perf to perf inside dimension that seemed a bit wider than ASC film stock spec chart. So i couldn't scale the image up reliably to compare with my film frame scan photo.

It would seem to me the wide notch area is intended to allow for a camera identification mark in the actual camera aperture to show through. This is a presumption for the moment. I don't know that for a fact, but it seems logical.

Anyway, if it isn't imposing to ask the measurements of the magazine window opening, I thank you in advance for providing same.

Bill
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#14 Tom Jensen

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:57 PM

It's an awful lot of work to figure out what we already know, it's a hoax. Didn't a friend of Patterson admit he put on the suit? Doesn't the "Bigfoot" really look like a man in an ape suit? It does to me.
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#15 Bill Munns

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 11:04 PM

Tom:

It is not my intention to debate that here. I respect that each person is entitled to their opinion of what's in the film.

In the matter of this effort of mine, I am confident it is a worthy matter to investigate further.

Bill
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#16 Charlie Peich

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 09:30 AM

Charlie:

I am presuming the magazines shown are in your possession. Any chance you could take a micrometer and measure out a vertical and horizontal measurement for reference.
Bill



Bill, I sent you a message about the measurements. I don't have the micrometer to get the accurate measurements.

I was looking at the pile of carts I have and I discovered that the Ansco Corp. also made these carts. The opening is slightly different than the Kodak cart.
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Ansco cart on top, Kodak on bottom.
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Ansco cart with film aligned properly. Notice you can see the corners of the perfs in the opening.
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This may make i.d.ing the cart/camera a bit more difficult. ?

Charlie
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#17 Bill Munns

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:05 PM

Because of Charlie's fine contribution, above, it seems that I've discovered something quite unexpected. I have a Cine Kodak magazine camera myself, and I pulled the aperture plate out to spec it with a micrometer, and the height measured out at 0.320", even though 16mm pulldown is 0.300". So that suggested the vertical masking of the exposure comes from the magazine's aperture plate, which as best I can tell from Charlie's images, is slightly under 0.300" (looking like the ASC spec of 0.292" for image frame height).

But the magazine aperture is way too wide, probably allowing for for the camera identification marks to show through.

So it would appear that the image on film is defined vertically by the magazine aperture, while being defined on the horizontal by the camera's aperture plate. If so, it's a truly curious design concept. And his posting of a kodak cartridge as compared to an Ansco cartridge does support the film frame I'm trying to ID as being a Kodak film.

Now, i still need to see a Keystone K-50 camera aperture plate, to see it's camera identification mark shape in the plate, and if by chance, anybody here has such a camera, and could post a photo of the camera aperture plate in close up, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you.

Bill
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#18 Tom Jensen

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:25 PM

Tom:

It is not my intention to debate that here. I respect that each person is entitled to their opinion of what's in the film.

In the matter of this effort of mine, I am confident it is a worthy matter to investigate further.

Bill


Hoax.
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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 08:57 AM

Bill, I am not going to comment on my feelings on all of this, although I a similarly amazed that 16mm Bigfoot Footage accords a 4K scan but major Hollywood motion pictures, shot on 35mm can only afford 2K.

I think you are over-analyzing the situation. There is a reason the footage is shaky and out of focus, to hide the obvious.

One recommendation though, as the United States is in the minority 5% of the world using non-metrics, it'd help a great deal of forum readers if you gave an approximate metric equivalent of decimal inch measurements you are using.

At the same time though, it's not a 25mm lens, it's a 1-inch lens :-p

Anyway, isn't the standard 16mm frame size an even 10mm by 7.5mm? (~0.394"x0.295")


But, yeah, as a makeup man, you really ought to realize what this is. . . does Richard Gere need to spell it out with his fingers on a car window in capital letters for you?

And, as far as apertures in cameras go, a hoaxer can fake the footage, he can surely enlarge or alter an aperture too. I file down apertures all the time, so measuring one proves nothing.

Your extensive research is just adding credibility to something that doesn't deserve any. This isn't the Zapruder film after all. . .
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#20 Chris Millar

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 09:11 AM

Bill, I am not going to comment on my feelings on all of this


Well then ... dont (!?)
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