by Martin Shackelford
Martin Shackelford earned his Bachelor's Degree in history from the University of Michigan. He has studied the JFK assassination for over 24 years, specializing in photographic evidence. His research has been used by several authors in the case, and he has authored several journal articles.
Roland Zavada is an expert on 8mm film; not, like Dr. Roderick Ryan, on
35 mm film, though he knew to consult Ryan on 35 mm for these technical
studies; he blows Ryans pronouncements on the 8mm Z film (in Twyman) out
of the water. He performed four studies, which can be characterized as:
STUDY ONE: Technical Information on the Zapruder Camera Original and First
STUDY TWO: Technical Information on 35mm copies of the Nix and Muchmore Films
STUDY THREE: Printing the Zapruder Original and First Generation Copies
STUDY FOUR: Image capture characteristics of the Bell & Howell camera model used by
Mr. Zavada was advised On September 11, 1996 by Jeremy Gunn of the ARRB
that "all input presented to the ARRB will become part of the public
Basic characteristics of the Archives "camera original" and "first generation" Secret Service copies are consistent with authenticity. In the original and each Secret Service first generation copy, the edge identification repeats every 10.5 inches - no place where a segment is missing, unless it is an entire 10.5 inches. Markings indicate that Secret Service Copy #1 is an exact copy of the camera original film, except for the addition of its own processing markings.
The Secret Service copies include characteristics (including a dark line outside the frame area, of a specific width and location) unique to the customized printer at the Jamieson Lab in Dallas, and could have been made on no other printer in the world. The only other 8mm print that Zavada could find which had that characteristic was a 1959 print made by Jamieson on the same machine after the modification was done. The printer was a Bell & Howell 5205 Model J contact printer, customized by the Jamieson staff. The printer could be set to print image only, soundtrack only, or both together. Because it was set to print image only for Secret Service Copy #1 and #2, it didnt copy the sprocket hole area of the second half of the original film (test footage, assassination), except marginally, but did copy the sprocket hole area on the first half of the film (family), which was on the opposite edge. It was felt that using the "both" setting might result in extra light bleed to the image area, since there was no soundtrack to copy.
filter pack was used to make all three first generation copies, but the
exposures were bracketed, one half stop apart. Time-LIFE got the middle
exposure; the darker was Secret Service Copy #1, the lighter was Secret
Service Copy #2.
The home movie portion is not present; it is believed that the home movie original footage was returned to the Zapruder family, but its whereabouts has not been established.
What is present: the test footage showing the Hesters and Marilyn Sitzman; the motorcycle sequence; and the assassination sequence; and the following unexposed film. Processing number 0183.
The film includes yellow leader from Effects Unlimited, Moses Weitzmans lab, to reduce the risk of damage to the original film, from when they made 35mm copies for Time-LIFE.
Markings indicate that the film stock of the original film was manufactured in Rochester, New York (Eastman Kodak) in 1961, the year that the stock, Kodachrome II, was introduced. Markings also show that it was processed at the Kodak Lab in Dallas in November 1963.
Zapruder remained with the film at all times, even in the darkroom; he was originally accompanied by Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels (something only one Kodak employee recalled), but during the initial processing, Sorrels learned of the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and left.
While Zapruders film was being processed, Phil Willis brought in his 35mm slide film for processing. After processing, the Zapruder film was viewed at twice normal speed, with a special inspection projector that could project it without it having to be split, to check for flaws; about 14 employees were present. Zapruder asked if they could view it again. Phil Chamberlain, stunned by what he saw, and afraid of damaging the film, told Zapruder there would be no charge for processing, and handed the processed film back to him. Zapruder asked if they could make copies. Kodak called Jamieson Lab, but Jamieson said they had no duplicating film perforated for 8mm. Kodak gave Zapruder three rolls of duplcating film. Zapruder took them and the original film (as unsplit 16mm film) to Jamieson. Less than an hour later, he was back at Kodak, where the original film and the copies were split and mounted on reels. One of the copies was then viewed at least twice at normal speed (the next day, Sorrels or two FBI agents, depending on the account, brought one of the Secret Service copies back for viewing, and Chamberlain watched it, too; he noted that the duplicates were slightly soft or fuzzy, compared to the original).
Jamieson feels that Zapruder probably kept the original and the best
copy, and gave the other two to the Secret Service. The film was
determined to be a camera original, due to emulsion and other
- 30.5 inches of yellow leader - 2/3 of the way through it are the words
"EFX Start Zapruder Original Film (color)" then the rest of the yellow leader
- a splice
- 8 inches of white leader
- a splice
- an unbroken (except for the two Time-Life splices at 154/157 and 207/212) strip consisting of 6 feet, 3 inches of motorcade footage (beginning with 14 frames of the Hester/Sitzman test footage)
- motorcycle segment
- assassination segment)
- followed by 2 feet, seven inches of unexposed film
- a splice
- 19 feet, 3 inches of black film which flashes to clear
- a splice
- 6 feet, 2 inches of black film
- a splice
- 5 feet, 8 inches of black film
- a splice
- 6 feet, 9 inches of light-strick leader film (this is the "tail" of the film.)
This is the Secret Service copy that was immediately sent to Secret Service headquarters in Washington. This is a vivid color copy of the entire original film: all of the family footage; the Dealey Plaza test footage; motorcycles; assassination; blank. Three frames are completely burned through; 2 frames are partially burned through; and there are many ripped sprocket holes in the assassination segment, presumably due to repeated viewings.
Bracket-printed (Mr. Zavada cautions that the bracket-printing is only an hypothesis) a little dark (1 stop from SS #2). Processing number 0185 or 0187 (the number 0184 was apparently lost when they tested the perforator, as there were no films processed between Zapruders original and his copies that day).
Markings indicate the copy film stock was manufactured in Rochester, New York (Eastman Kodak) in 1963, and processed in Dallas in November 1963. It was provided to Zapruder by the Dallas Kodak Lab, and he took it to Jamieson, where it was used to make the copy. The copy was returned to the Kodak lab, which processed it, split it, and mounted it on a reel.
The copy includes copied markings consistent with the camera original film, except for the addition of its own processing markings. The copy includes characteristics (including a dark line outside the frame area, of a specific width and location) unique to the Jamieson printer, a modified Bell & Howell 5205 Model J, which would thus not appear on copies made with any other printer in the world, as Jamiesons staff had customized it to suit their own specifications. During the entire length of the film, the regular markings appear every 10.5 inches. The film was determined to be a first generation copy, due to emulsion and other characteristics.
-3 feet, 2 inches of white leader with blue letters "Processed by Kodak"
- a splice
- 3 feet of black film turning to clear
- a photographically printed splice (in the camera original film)
- 14 feet more of clear leader, with the number 0183 optically copied
- 32 feet, 7 inches of home movie footage (a woman in blue on the phone; Zapruders grandson standing behind a tree; a baby sitting on a green lawn; Zapruders grandson playing with a shovel.)
- a green chair (60 frames)
- a splice
- 25 feet, 4 inches of black film (apparently a guide for quickly locating the assassination footage)
- a splice
- 10 feet, 27 inches (117 frames of test footage of the Hesters and Marilyn Sitzman
- motorcycle sequence
- assassination sequence
- blank film
- photographically printed splice
- 31 feet of tail with the red letters "Processed by Kodak."
This has not been studied (LMH Company, the Zapruder family firm, has this copy, but negotiations to allow examination of the film for this study failed; the Department of Justice is attempting to add it to the JFK Records Collection, or at least to make it available for comparative study), but was presumably the middle-exposure print, one-half stop from each Secret Service copy (Mr. Zavada cautions that the bracket-printing is only an hypothesis).
It was presumably the best copy of the three, which Zapruder kept for sale. Processing number 0185 or 0187.
This is the copy that was kept in Dallas by Forrest Sorrels, then given to Inspector Thomas Kelley, who loaned it to the FBI for the FBI to make copies. It was then returned to Inspector Kelley, and retained in the Dallas Secret Service office. After being copied (see next entry: the film has timing notches, indicating that it was used as a master for making other copies), this was re-arranged to put the motorcycles / assassination footage at the beginning, for convenient study and repeat showings.
Bracket-printed a little light (Mr. Zavada cautions that the bracket-printing is only a hypothesis); a half stop from the first generation Time-LIFE print. It is a closer density match to the original film than Secret Service #1, and is in vivid color. Processing number 0186. Markings indicate that the copy film stock was manufactured in Rochester, New York (Eastman Kodak) in 1963, and processed in Dallas in November, 1963.
It was provided to Zapruder by the Dallas Kodak Lab, and he took it to Jamieson, where it was used to make the copy. The copy was returned to the Kodak lab, which processed it, split it, and mounted it on a reel.
Some frames are heat-damaged due to single-frame projection for study without the proper light / heat-dampening features in the projector. The copied markings match the camera original film. In the motorcade segment, the markings occur every 10.5 inches; also in the other segments, but the rearrangement disrupted the sequence BETWEEN the segments, which is not germane to alteration claims.
This copy was made on the same printer as Secret Service Copy #1, and includes the same unique characteristics only produced by the customized printer at the Jamieson Lab. The only difference between the two was the printer setting, which made this copy a bit lighter. The film was determined to be a first generation copy, due to emulsion and other characteristics.
- 61 inches of white leader
- a splice
- the last two frames of the motorcycle sequence
- the assassination sequence
- a splice
- 4.5 inches of white leader
- 37 inches of gray, printed, unexposed film
- a splice
- 12 inches of white leader with red letters "Processed by Kodak"
- a splice
- 6 feet, 9 inches of black film turning to clear, with "0186" punched into film
- 60 frames of a green chair
- 117 frame sequence of Sitzman and the Hesters
- all but the last two frames of the motorcycle sequence
- a splice
- 20 feet, 10 inches of black film
- a splice
- 32 feet of Zapruder home movies, apparently backwards (grandson with shovel; baby in grass; grandson behind tree; woman in blue), and optically copied "0183," fades to clear, with a photographically printed splice, more clear
- a splice
- 26 feet of white leader with blue lettering "Processed by Kodak"
- 6 feet, 9 inches of gray, light-struck leader.
A complete copy of Secret Service Copy #2 before that film was rearranged. This was one of the original FBI copies made from the borrowed Secret Service copy. The overall quality was poor, the color faded and washed out.
Second generation copy at best. No home movie footage. Apparently one of the copies studied by the Warren Commission.
Second generation copy at best. No home movie footage. Apparently one of the copies studied by the Warren Commission. Scratched and poor quality.
Neither of these is the Time-LIFE first generation copy, but are copies made by Time-LIFE and given to the Archives.
Time-LIFE #1: Faded and washed-out appearance; appears to be a copy of the camera original now in the Archives; it also begins with 14 frames of the Hester/Sitzman test footage. At best, it is a second-generation copy, made from a copy of the original that was made after it was damaged at LIFE.
-14 frames of Hester/Sitzman test footage
Time-LIFE #2: Also an inferior copy, compared to the Secret Service copies, and no better than a second-generation copy. #1 and #2 may be the same generation.
- 14 frames of Hester/Sitzman test footage
Third generation copy at best; no home movie footage.
Third generation copy at best; no home movie footage.
Made with 1992 copy film from an internegative made with 1991 Eastman Low Contrast Internegative film. The internegative was made from a 35mm copy made at the Weitzman lab prior to 1989; edge information suggests that it, or an earlier copy, was made in 1973. This is a "Grodenscoped" copy with the frame angle adjusted slightly.
NOTE: The Nix film is probably the film mentioned by Phil Chamberlain that was brought in for processing by UPI on Saturday, November 23. On Sunday, the Associated Press brought in a set of 35mm amateur slides for processing. Chamberlain mentions that the lab didnt charge anyone on those three days.
Made with 1993 copy film from an internegative made with 1991 film. The internegative was made from a 35mm copy made at the Weitzman lab prior to 1989. Copied markings from the original film indicate that it was processed in Dallas shortly after the Zapruder film (November 25). It was processed on a different machine than the Nix film, though not necessarily in a different lab (Kodak had more than one machine).
The Muchmore original film was shot with the wrong filter setting, giving the film an orange cast.
This was viewed at Kodak at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 24, by FBI Agent Newsom. One of the Kodak employees mentioned this, but the film itself was not involved in the Zavada study.
Zavada located and interviewed every surviving and locatable member of the Dallas Kodak and Jamieson Lab staffs present on November 22, 1963, examined all available records, including a memoir of the processing written by a Kodak Lab employee (Phil Chamberlain) in 1978, and studied the types of equipment used, as well as patent and manual information on the mechanisms, and film samples processed at the labs, taken with the same model camera, etc. The boss at the Kodak Lab was on vacation that day, so Phil Chamberlain was in charge.
Existing films processed by the lab during the same time period (from employees files and other sources) match the markings on the Zapruder camera original and Secret Service first generation copies.
Mr. Chamberlain recalled Zapruder arrived around 2:30 p.m., and the Kodachrome
film took about an hour to process. Prior to that, Zapruder wasnt sure what he
had gotten on film.
The APERTURE descriptions confirm Anthony Marshs analysis of the sprocket-hole area images, in which he theorized the area that would be exposed by the particular type of aperture. The Zapruder model cameras aperture exposes exactly those areas on the film. The unusual "teardrop" shapes of the two coodinated aperture openings created unusual shapes which, if the film was out-of-focus in places, could cause additional image artifacts outside the main frame area. As the Zapruder film is mostly in focus, this wasnt considered the most likely cause of artifacts.
The SPROCKET TEETH had "shoulders" which helped to avoid undue pressure on the film surface, and minimize damage to sprocket holes.
The ADVANCE MECHANISM was a claw device; cutout areas required for the claw allowed exposures in the intersprocket area. Essentially, a T-shaped area was exposable, the main stalk of the T being the frame area, and the upper bar of the T being the intersprocket area, two sprocket holes, and a little area of film beyond each sprocket hole (it was these little areas that were subject to double exposure, as they could be exposed during exposure of the current frame and during the exposure of an adjacent frame).
The ZOOM LENS mechanism allowed for exposure of virtually the entire intersprocket area at the TELEPHOTO setting, used by Zapruder. The other settings were NORMAL, which allowed for exposure of about half the area, and WIDE ANGLE, which allowed for almost no exposure of the intersprocket area. It was the Wide Angle setting that was used in shooting the family footage.
Theories which assume Zapruder filmed at other than the Telephoto setting are refuted by the optical features of the film itself.
The LENS SPEED for 16 frames per second was 1/35th of a second; for 18 frames per second, 1/40th of a second. The latter is consistent with the Zapruder camera original.
The CAMERA SPEED REGULARITY was good; it could run for 25-60 seconds at a time at a steady rate of speed with one winding, due to a governor feature.
The CAMERA SPEED standard for 8mm had been 16 frames per second, and that was still how they were advertised, but in the late 50s, the engineering standard changed to 18 frames per second, to reduce flicker effects, so that would have been the cameras actual standard running speed. Five cameras of the same model were tested; speeds averaged 17-18 frames per second, which was consistent with the 1963-64 FBI lab, 1967 CBS, and later Bell & Howell tests.
Had Zapruder accidentally pressed the slow motion button, the change in speed would be evidenced as a lighter or darker frame at the point of change.
The ANOMALIES are normal features produced by this model camera, and by other similar models of the period which were tested. These include:
--a darker, shadowy area between the sprocket holes (the shadow of the claw mechanism behind the film as it moved through the camerathe claw would advance the film, then rest behind it during the exposure, then advance it again). This claw shadow was apparent in a film of a gray wall, as the only obvious feature.
--lighter streaks, or "claw flares," in the intersprocket areas between the bar of the "claw shadow" and the main frame area.
--partial double exposures, or "ghost images," just above and below sprocket holes.
Sometimes when the camera began a sequence, the first frame in the sequence came out slightly, but noticeably, lighter than the following frames. This happened three times in the family footage segment of the Zapruder film (but not in a fourth family segment), and at the transition between the Hester / Sitzman test footage and the motorcycle sequence. Frame 133 also appears to be slightly lighter than the following frames, indicated a camera re-start, and not an edit.
Twenty-seven color transparencies, and 25 black and white negatives were taken during the autopsy.
John Stringer used a Linhoff 4x5 camera on a tripod; alternately taking color and black and white images by changing film holders.
The light source was a single strobe light (althought Stringer reported in a 1992 interview that there were two light sources, one on each side of the camera).
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE HEAD:
"Right Posterior Occipito-parietal"
15 and 16: 4x5 black and white transparencies:
The black and white negative film was Kodak Portrait Pan Sheet Film, also manufactured by Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York.
42 and 43: 4x5 color transparencies:
The color film was Kodak Ektachrome Daylight Sheet Film, manufactured by Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, from a batch manufactured on August 25, 1963.
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BRAIN:
Removed and on a plain background.
7 4x5 black and white transparencies:
Ansco Super Hypan film.
7 4x5 color transparencies:
Kodak Ektachrome Daylight Sheet Film, manufactured by Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, from a batch manufactured on July 20, 1963. The color balance differ significantly from the photographs taken at the autopsy, which may reflect a difference in lighting, filter, room color or the development process.
ROLL OF 120 EKTACHROME E3 TRANSPARENCY FILM:
Taken by Floyd Riebe at the request of John Stringer, who forgot to tell the Secret Service. Uncut roll, yellow-orange in color, "flashed" (removed from the camera and exposed to light) intentionally at the autopsy by a Secret Service agent, but subsequently processed. Two or three positive square format images were discerned, apparently present only in the blue sensitive yellow dye layer. The images could be scanned and enhanced [and since have been]. The film was manufactured in the summer or fall of 1963 (complete records no longer exist).
Two 10x12 inch X-rays on Radelin Aluminized film.
The images contained scan lines of the same pitch as TV scan lines.
Comments will be forwarded.
Please email: Clint Bradford