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Creature Suit Analysis - Part 7 - Neck seams


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Creature Suit Analysis Part 7 Neck seams

As I have stated in several of my previous notes and/or posts in various threads, the head/neck/torso fur pattern of the figure in the PG film continues to be a concern for me, and a subject of continuing study.

But I haven't seen every frame of the film yet, and not many frames at their highest resolution and enhanced form. So I thought I would share with all concerned both what I'm looking for, as well as explaining the dynamics of suit neck seams so others can inspect the footage as well, and verify for themselves if they think any seams are apparent.

No doubt you've all heard about a body suit and a head mask, and where they join or blend is the neck seam. What you may not know though is exactly where all the various seam positions potentially are, and what are the clues or indications you may be seeing one.

So in this ongoing series of notes to give you all the knowledge to make your own studies and know what to look for when you do, I've put together these notes as well as accompanying charts showing how suits are designed (with respect to neck seams) and show as well the problems with keeping them looking natural. Finally, given the PG film figure does a rather dramatic head turn (the "look back" sequence) and there is a good section of footage of the back of the neck after that head turn, it represents an excellent point of inspection. If the film represents a human in a suit, that head turn, and the condition of the fur after the turn, presents one of the most challenging aspects of a suit for the artists who made it and are working it during filming to hide the flaws I have diagrammed.

The reason I focus on the neck seam is a threefold concern:

1. It is one seam that simply must exist on the figure (if the figure is a suited human), and it is located in an area that virtually guarantees it is on the film. And the sometimes argued poor quality of the image, which is occasionally stated as not sharp enough for us to resolve details on the figure anatomy, is in fact sufficiently sharp to show flaws in a neck seam if such flaws did exist in the filming of a human in a suit.

2. The head turn ("look back") and the subsequent footage from the back showing the neck after the turn is quite literally a "worst case senario" for trying to keep a neck seam from showing (for a hoax), while being a "best case senario" for settling a "suit vs real" debate.

3. The neck seam is an overlap seam, and it's design is not only non-stretch, but even very poor at the simple bending or folding of furcloth alone. Thus the seam area, for all practical purposes, is a nearly rigid section.

The first chart diagrams the architecture of an overlap seam, so you can appreciate why it is so thick and rigid. I suspect most people think they know what a seam is, and think it is simply two cloth or furcloth sections joined together, perhaps by sewing. A closure seam (one opened and closed to get the human into and out of the suit) is more involved. And to create an appearance of fur naturally flowing over a closure seam to hide the underlying architecture, the process is actually more complicated than generally thought, and that complexity must be factored into any discussion of "suit vs real".

I have also made a set of four charts showing the various ways a neck seam can be set up, and I've illustrated the suit design elements, and then created an illustrated sample of what kind of flaws may be expected, thus giving you a diagram of what kind of flaws you may want to look for in any examination fo the film you may do yourself.

Beginning with the seam chart (File Name: "Neck Seams Chart One")

Section A shows the individual components, with the body fur section to the left and the overlapping neck fur section to the right. On the left, you see the furcloth itself (brown), the cloth gusset (a fabric like muslin, in Yellow), the glue holding the furcloth to the gusset (red), and one side of a velcro strip (Let's say the fuzz, colored Blue) which may be glued or sewn onto the gusset strip.

On the neck fur section, we have also the furcloth itself (brown), a cloth gusset (yellow) that the hook side of the velcro (Blue) is sewn onto, and then the glue (Red) which then attaches the gusset and velcro to the underside of the furcloth.

Section B now shows the sides fully assembled and then joined so the velcro (Blue) sections mate and the neck fur overlaps the body fur. But there's a space in the overlap, because the neck fur sits higher than the body fur, and that space can kick up some unwanted highlights and shadows that make the space apparent on film. If it's done this way, you will see the seam, even on the poor quality image of the PG film. It will be a line of artificially (unnaturally) consistant thickness.

Section C shows how that space is corrected. On the Left, the body fur side, a sheet of high density foam (Grey, same thickness as the velcro sections when mated) is glued (Red) to the underside of the furcloth, and then also glued (Red) to the cloth gusset (Yellow).

Section D now shows the two sections with the Velcro mated, and because the sheet of foam has raised up the body fur to the same level as the neck fur on top of the velcro, the two hair sections now butt together with a flawless smoothness. You have a perfect seam, except:

Section E shows what happens if you now lay the fur section down on a firm body padding or the human actor's body. You have an unsightly "bump" where the seam components are, and that bump will look exactly like what it is, a line along the path of the seam. It will not be mistaken for anything natural or organic in the body of the supposed "creature" the suit is intended to depict.

Section F shows two solutions to this "bump" of the seam material thickness. Equal thickness may be added with thin sheet foam (purple) to the furcloth as well, so the fur has the smoothest lay across the body shape. If padding is used to expand the anatomy beyond the real actor's anatomy, then the padding (Orange) may have a groove the seam components sit in, so the furcloth has a smooth outer contour.

As a point of reference, in case somebody is curious, the seam velcro may be 3/4" wide to 1" wide. Narrower is less reliable, wider is unnecessary.

Why is this seam architecture important? Simply because once you understand the actual components of a seam such as this fur overlap design, it becomes easier to understand how rigid and unresponsive this seam is to bending, shifting or even flexing. As much as I have stated repeatedly that only rigid furcloth was available in 1967 when the PG film was made, and that rigid furcloth could only bend, not stretch, now you may appreciate that in the seam areas, even the furcloth's capacity to bend has been greatly restricted by all the components of the seaming process. And that restricted lack of motion is most readily apparent on short, dense fur, which is why almost every Hollywood suit tends to be made with longer, shaggy hair. The natural dynamic of long shaggy hair fluttering in the wind at least gives one simulation of natural motion, and masks the fact that the underlying structure isn't moving in any way even remotely natural or organic.

Now that you understand what goes into making an overlap seam for furcloth, perhaps you can appreciate that in making a suit, we had better choose wisely where we put the seam, because that seam area will be nearly rigid, unresponsive to almost any movement or even bending. Furcloth used in a suit responds to the body movement by the classical physic principle of taking the line of least resistance, and a seam, by nature of it's many stiff components, represents an area of most resistance to motion or flexibility. So it becomes now imperitive that we choose our neck seam position wisely, because in the wrong place, it will be painfully obvious for it's rigidity and resistance to movement, on a neck which must move very extensively and naturally.

The four suit design charts show the following suit designs:

1. Standard Neck Split

2. Humped Straight Neck Split

3. Humped Diagonal Split

4. Hood and Face Split.

Each is detailed below, and I have referenced the four charts which are labeled with the same design designation.

1. Standard Neck Split - The standard neck split is the oldest, and most common amateurish design used today. It works for an upright head and neck that rise above the shoulders, and works on the principle of a simple rotating cylinder (the neck). It cannot be used with any kind of humped back, or a head than hangs low and forward of the shoulders, especially if the chin is below the shoulder mass (the deltoid muscle area).

Generally, in amateurish circumstances, the head mask is not secured to the body suit at all. This gives the greatest freedon of movement for the person inside. But regardless of how well the fur is groomed to flow from head.neck into the body fur, as soon as the person begins moving the head (on any axis, especially on several) the neck hair starts to disconnect from the body fur and either twist or bend outward. Once it does so, it tends to hold that disconnected pattern until brushed out by a grooming assistant. In the chart, I have copied just the hair pattern, without the body, and placed it beside the source illustration, to allow you to see the hair pattern more clearly.

In professional circumstances where a grooming assistant is working with the human in the suit, the head mask meay be secured to the body suit with snaps, velcro, or similar sewing closure devices, so the mask's base of the neck doesn't disconnect from the body suit. But this connection results in the neck fur buckling into waves of twisted folds whenever the head turns even slightly, and especially when the head turns extensively. The connection also restricts the head from tilting down very much.

The film itself provides uncontrovertable evidence this type is not being used in the film, because of the hump on the film figure. If there is testimony of a person claiming to have worn a suit for this film and described a standard neck split for putting on the head mask, the film itself emphatically contridict's any such claim.

2. Humped Straight Neck Split - Given the film shows a figure with a humped back (the area of the trapezius muscles) and a low forward head, I have included a sample of how a head mask might be built to include a straight split across the hump area.

The essential design flaw assuring this technique will fail is the fact that the neck now being rotated is no longer a cynlinder. It has the projected mass of the hump on both sides of the neck, making the width far greater than the front-to-back neck measurement. And once this head turns significantly (such as the apparent 45 degree turn seen in the film), these sections of the hump attached to the neck will now stick outward away from the body, the right side to the rear and the left side forward. Both will be apparent as completely unnatural deformations of anatomy.

Given there is no evidence of such in the head turn footage, this technique can be discounted as not relevent to the film.

3. Humped Diagonal Split - The humped diagonal split takes the body suit portion and carries it all the way up the back of the neck to where the hump finally blends into the base of the skull, and the split goes down a forward diagonal to under the chin. This insures that the back/neck hump has a continuous natural anatomical shape.

There are two variants of this possible, one where the head is in fact not attached to the neck hump, just nestled into the space beside it, and the other where a standard neck overlap seam rigidly connects the headpiece to the neck section along this diagonal.

The first variant offers excellent head mobility, but soon becomes painfully obvious as a fake when the head moves away from the neck hump and produces a gap between the two masses (head and hump). This gap will be glaringly apparent when it occurs. And any movement or turning of the head tends to cause the hair along the seam to be brushed or contorted to an irregular pattern easily seen as unnatural. In the chart, I have copied just the hair pattern, without the body, and placed it beside the source illustration, to allow you to see the hair pattern more clearly. So generally, in professional situations, the head is secured to the neck hump.

The problem with this design (head secured to neck) is that you restrict the head turn almost completely. The securing of the seam closure devices (snaps, velcro, etc.) requires a solid base to glue or sew these closure devices, and so between the closures themselves and the backing which they are mounted on, that structure becomes very rigid, non-stretchable and not particularly condisive even to bending or folding. If the mime can turn the head, the furcloth below the seam will twist and ripple in buckled waves around the neck. The effect is very obvious.

A second intriguing result occurs if the mime wearing this forces the head to turn significently. As the neck furcloth twists, it actually forces the head mask downward. Each fiber of the furcloth base, going straight up the cloth from shoulder anchor point to the high neck seam, these fibers are of fixed length. They do not stretch. So moving them to one side means then must tilt downward diagonally, their original height reduced. This reduction of height forces the mask dowm toward the body. If the suit and mask were a snug fit to begin with, this downward pull may be intolerable. If you turn the head 45 degrees to one side (about what we see in the film), the circumferential travel of any point on the neck seam may be 1/8th of the whole neck circumference, which may be estimated at 20" to 24" So the point on the neck may be shifting 2 1/2" to 3" sideways. On a 45 degree angle, that should shorten the height to about 0.714 of it's original height. So a section of the neck 6" high from shoulder to seam point should shorten to about 4 1/4". You are now shoving the mask 1 3/4" tighter down than a normal fit.

Suffice to say, varying neck designs have varying heights, but the general principle applies. Twisting the head mask under these conditions pulls the mask downward to the body suit in a way that the mime inside may not be able to tolerate or endure.

4. Hood and Face Split. - This split works wonderfully for stretch fur cloth available today, but such was not available in 1967. The rigid furcloth could still be tailored into such a hood, and the larger expanse of pure cloth (with no stiffening of seam components) makes movement easier. But it also creates a larger area subject to the folding of the cloth as the head turns, and should make the result even more conspicuous.

The chart shows three possible fold configurations, as examples. Suffice to say, other variations are possible. But the general principle is consistant. As the head turns 45 degrees, the point of the seam directly in front of the human ear will shift 2 1/2" to 3" backward. The seam around the head will stay securely aligned with the mime's head, and the secure attachment points around the base of the hood will not move at all compared to the body.

So the furcloth will stay fixed at one point while moving back 2 1/2" to 3" toward the other point, and it must fold or buckle somewhere that we can see it, from the film angle on the face and neck.

In all my inspection of the film, thus far, I have yet to see any folding or buckling which is consistant with any of these diagrammed alternatives of a suit in motion.

Conclusion:

I share this information with all here in the forum because I haven't seen every frame of the PG film, in high resolution or enhanced, and others apparently have. So I invite anyone here so interested to take this understanding of the neck seam problem and do their own inspection of the film, preferrably in motion, because any folding or buckling will reveal itself better in motion, and a suspicious glare or shadow is less likely the result of a film artifact in one frame.

Personally, I have not found anything in all the frames and film I've seen that shows any artificial folding, buckling, or other distortion of the fur around the neck and upper back torso. And with rigid furcloth, the option of the time, some significent and descernable folding or buckling should have occured in this film during or after the look back sequence.

I continue to study the issue myself, but thus far, I haven't found anything that I personally would call an artificial furcloth neck. I see a range of motion of the head/neck/torso back more consistant with the fur of a live specimen.

As always, I welcome comments, criticiques, and contributions. If my facts, designs or the physics principles I describe are in error, I welcome corrections.

Bill

Followup to the original post:

For some reason, on my computer, this port is very wide, scrolling sideways annoyingly. Hope you all don't see it that way on your computers. Not sure what went wrong here.

If one of the kind Forum administrators can help me format it back to a more common scroll down type formatting, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,

Bill

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Bill,

Not sure if you're familiar but here's the NASI/Glickman report, in which, among many other things, Glickman (using better images and better tools than most) found no evidence of seams in the film subject.

Edge detection algorithms were run on key frames,

including frame 352, with the hope that if the subject

was a person wearing a costume, that a seam or interface

in the costume would be detected [Gonzalez 1987]. No

seams or interfaces were detected.

You should know this report is often criticized and even dismissed (even by pro-bigfooters) because Glickman erred by using a bad equation (formula for long bodied monkeys rather than stocky apes) to estimate the figure's mass and got the huge number of 1957 lbs. Many of us also suspect his height estimate is high because of the assumptions he had to make about the position of the reference figure Hodgson. But, in my opinion, the report is profound overall.

Apeman

Edited by counselor
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Excellent post, as have been all of them.Thanks for these.

I too am seeing this in a very wide window. It is annoying but not enough to disuade my reading. Looking forward to reading the inevitable input...good clarity on the situational aspects too. Thanks again.

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Guest StacyInMI

This is fantastic work Bill, and the pictures you've included really help illustrate your points. This has been my favorite part of your analysis so far. :)

(fwiw, it's all fitting normally on my screen...)

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Excellent stuff again Bill. The details you are going into are amazing. It takes a good while to digest all the points you are making (I mean that in a good way).

This is the most telling point you make:

Personally, I have not found anything in all the frames and film I've seen that shows any artificial folding, buckling, or other distortion of the fur around the neck and upper back torso. And with rigid furcloth, the option of the time, some significent and descernable folding or buckling should have occured in this film during or after the look back sequence.

.............in conjuction with this:

And the sometimes argued poor quality of the image, which is occasionally stated as not sharp enough for us to resolve details on the figure anatomy, is in fact sufficiently sharp to show flaws in a neck seam if such flaws did exist in the filming of a human in a suit.

I tend to agree with you. I have never felt the footage is so blurry and out of focus enough to hide the tell tale fake signs which would have been present in such as suit back in those days...........as some people claim the footage is. It's certainly not a blobsquatch.

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Guest bac5665

For what its worth, I have not seen anything like what you describe in any images I've looked at, including the H-Res frames from the Monsterquest episode. That said, I've not been looking for many of those details specifically, but some parts of your descriptions sound like they would stand out it they were there.

But I do have a question. Could the mask have been designed so as to buckle on the far side of the creature? My point is it sounds like it would be possible, if still incredibly difficult for someone to have planned out the specific shots and then hide the seams on the side of Patty not on film. I don't think thats what happend, based on my readings of these posts, but it sounds remotely possible.

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Guest Killain

Bill, for purposes of argument, is there another option, in which the head material would tuck under a rigid neck/shoulder section, allowing head movement without bunching or hair disturbance? I know that it would be a difficult proposition, but for the sake of people who might offer that as a possible alternative, you can address it if it has merit.

K

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Guest Hominid,WA
But I do have a question. Could the mask have been designed so as to buckle on the far side of the creature? My point is it sounds like it would be possible, if still incredibly difficult for someone to have planned out the specific shots and then hide the seams on the side of Patty not on film. I don't think thats what happend, based on my readings of these posts, but it sounds remotely possible.

You know, that's a very good question. I'd like to hear Bill's response on this.

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Apeman:

I'd only herd mention of the report from Glickman, but I'll look into it further.

Dogu4

I did send a PM to one of the administrators, hoping they have a way to re-format the post, but no reply yet.

StacyInMI

Thank you. Glad to hear you're seeing it formatted normally. I'm still not, on my computer. Curious.

Lyndon

What I'm discussing is indeed rather detailed, and subtle to most, which is why I think it has been overlooked previously. Hopefully this will clear up some issues for all concerned, and equip interested people with the knowldge to make their one appraisals of the film and the suit claims.

bac5665

Interesting question about designing the mask/neck to buckle only on the far side. In designing both suits and skin for robotic creatures like dinosaurs, we do apply a tremendous consideration to trying to engineer where fur or artificial skin folds and buckles.

I personally cannot imagine a design where the visible side of the neck would not buckle in the turn. The rigidity of the furcloth, to bend but not elongate or contract, or even shift on it's bias (the diagonal across a weave) would require some folding or buckling between any designated fixed point (such as on the mask, at the human ear) and the near shoulder attachment point. The best you might hope for is a complete flattening across the forward plane, and a wide ballooning out at the 90 degree point around the neck, but that won't happen if there's a solid human inside.

So I would be of the opinion that no engineering could transmit all the buckling to the far side of the face invisable to the camera. I would welcome other opinions from people who may also have expertise in this issue, though, to be fair.

Killian & Hominid

The head material tucking under a rigid neck/shoulder is my option #3 (the Humped Diagonal Split Chart 4 of 5)

If you don't press the non-connected head backward against the neck piece, there is an obvious gap. If you do press the head against the neck section, any head movement causes the head hair to be brushed by the friction of the neck section rubbing, and because the split is diagonal, the turn back toward looking straight ahead will reveal all the fur that got tucked in during the first part of the turn (to camera). As the head turns back to body forward, all the head hair brushed into disarray wil be evident.

So I believe that section of the notes did consider what you are asking.

But basically, if you have a apparent seamless connection between the loose head and the outer neck shell, that connection, when the head is moved, brushes the hair into disarray. If the head is far enough from the neck so there is no rubbing of hair, a gap will be obvious. And if the head hair tucks inside the neck, the entire hair flow from head to neck to torso in the back will have an obvious disconnect, because the top rim of the neck will have a very conspicuous "end" to the fur, where it tapers down to the base cloth structure. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, so to speak.

And the mime, wearing the suit, probably has no way to see or monitor what his head motion is doing, so he can't try to find that perfect fine line middleground hoping neither effect is too obvious.

And on the many frames with a clear back shot after the turn, with bright daylight shining down on them, you'd see some of these flaws. They would be glaring.

Bill

Actually, for clarity, the head tucking into the neck shell is one of two variants of my diagrammed "Humped Diagonal Split. Chart 4 of 5.

I reference both a head not connected to the neck, and a variant where the head is connected to the neck. Your question was to the first variant I mentioned.

Bill

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You have extended quite an effort here and seem to have kept your common sense head about you. Very nice work. I think this material should reside somewhere it cannot be adulterated or lost.

One question I have is can this fur material cloth be used in strips like with Ace bandages and wrapped around an actor with the overlapping fur combed over any visible seams?

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damndirtyape

Not sure if it shows the same way on other computers, but on mine, all my notes have been moved up and pinned to the top of the forum in a section above general topics and threads. Seems some administrators have shared your thoughts. Just want to say I'm pleased I can make a contribution that applies common sense plus some subject expertise to help sort out the rumors and hype from more reliable facts and circumstances.

On your question, with non-stretch fur, each wrap around a irregular cylindrical shape (like a human appendage or torso) causes big gaps if you let the furcloth base wrap the flattest way, and if you force the cloth to wrap so each new wrap around the body/limb shingles perfectly over the lower wrapped part, you will get very ugy and obvious buckles of the fur. The Ace bandage wraps around well because of it's elasticity, and the fur cloth doesn't have that advantage.

Plus, once the human moves, I'd expect sections to pull away from lower sections, revealing the human beneath.

Putting rigid fur on a compound curved anatomy can be done in strips wrapped around (I did it for the gorilla in the photo panel attached to my Introduction post in Generla Discussions, page 2) but each wrap actually was an irregular curve, and custom shaped. And the figure doesn't move.

So while in general terms, your concept has potential, in practice, it creates as many problems as it resolves.

:blink:

Bill

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Guest Killain
You have extended quite an effort here and seem to have kept your common sense head about you. Very nice work. I think this material should reside somewhere it cannot be adulterated or lost.

One question I have is can this fur material cloth be used in strips like with Ace bandages and wrapped around an actor with the overlapping fur combed over any visible seams?

Perhaps the next time I see a television program where Bigfoot is being discussed, tracks analyzed and video displayed, along with Dr. Meldrum and others, Bill Munns should have a spot?

Dan

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Killain (Dan)

Actually, I've already been invited to do a radio interview on Feb 13, through somebody on this forum.

Thank you for your suggestion about Tv, and the obvious vote of confidence the suggestion implies.

Best regards,

Bill

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Perhaps try puting a "return" between each of your thumbnails. That may cause the post to go to normal size.

Obiwan

P. S. Awesome thread by the way. I'm always looking forward to the next installment!

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Perhaps the next time I see a television program where Bigfoot is being discussed, tracks analyzed and video displayed, along with Dr. Meldrum and others, Bill Munns should have a spot?

Dan

I agree. I have mentioned this before. We know that there has been a fair amount of money spent on experiments/analysis when it comes to sasquatch programmes in the past (such as LMS) so I would propose a serious look at somebody like Bill Munns with a serious attempt at a possible P/G footage replication.

Actually, I've already been invited to do a radio interview on Feb 13, through somebody on this forum.

Bill

Hopefully, this might lead to other things. There certainly are people here with 'connections' (yikes, that sounds like the Mafia).

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