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Creature Suit Analysis - Part 7 - Neck seams


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gigantor

Bill, while I have nothing substantive to add to this thread, I just want to thank you for your time and effort on this. I'm learning a lot!

Thanks again.

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bipedalist
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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.

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

Thanks,

Bill

Fantastic Bill, as we have come to expect from your work. Hope this leads to bigger and better roles for you in the study of this animal

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  • 3 months later...
Bill

Reviewing the Thread

Repeating portions of my Review introduction from the Part One notes, I feel a review and evaluation of this thread may be of value.

So I decided that I would post an appraisal of each note set, re-reading the original, seeing if I would change anything, based on the comments and discussions, and offering the readers a fresh look at what I feel are the most relevent issues and ideas. Each group of summary notes will be different, but this brief introduction will be repeated first.

Creature Suit Analysis Part 7 Neck seams

The original post of this thread included five charts, and because of my unfamiliarity with the exact method of integrating images or diagrams with text in a post, the forum operational software formatted the original post in a form which made it particularly difficult to read, requiring readers to scroll sideways for each line, and formatted the chart placement in reverse order. With the kind assistance of one of the forum members and an administrator, I did finally figure out the exact procedure to correctly format a text posting with images or diagrams interspersed, and so I thought with this thread review, I would combine the review with a reposting of the original notes and charts, formatted properly.

To distinguish between original notes and review additions, I have decided her to put the review notes in BOLD type, since they are the smaller text volume. So in the notes that follow, when you see lines in bold print, those are the new added notes.

Thread Review:

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.

"In review, I have now had several months to study the film in greater detail, frame by frame, and the film grain issue and resolution do suggest that the usual seams of a costume may not be distinguishable. What may still be distinguishable whould be folds of furcloth or seams which cause the fur to ruffle or lose the smooth grooming effect by the motions of a person wearing such a costume."

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.

"In reviewing the three above concerns, I believe they all still stand as correct and of real significance to the issue of suit vs real creature. Nothing I have learned about the film since the original posting has changed my appraisals or concerns in this regard. And I have read extensive notes, postings and arguments by people advocating a suit, and explaining elaborate senarios of how the proposed suit came to exist, but these arguments have not weakened or undermined my basic concerns."

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.

" Reviewing these basics of seams, I remain confident everything described is correct. I should note simply that there may be other ways to assemble the seam, and other artists making suits may use other assemblies. But if another assembly is argued for "Patty", the proponant should explain in some detail exactly how it is accomplished, so it's potential rigidity can be appraised by all interested readers."

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.

"In review, I would continue to believe that the film is clear enough to say with confidence that this above type of neck split is not in the film."

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.

"In review, some of the subsequent posts by others in the forum asked about the prospect of leaving the head disconnected, as described above, so in the thread, there is more discussion of this option."

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.

"In review" I have studied the film in greater detail, but found nothing to suggest the above notes are incorrect. And contributions of thought by others have not altered the basic conclusions I have offered."

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

"Final review summary: The neck issues noted above, plus those in Section 8 - Neck hackles, remain among my highest concern about the film. While more experimentation of actual fabricated body suits and neck blends, photographed in circumstances similar to the original filming (as described in Notes, Part 11) would greatly assist us in this analysis, I continue to believe that the issues of the neck area are among the strongest aspects of the body casting doubt on a suit being used in the film, and thus are the areas deserving most additional study and analysis in future efforts."

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Guest Remember November

Bill, we should be paying you for this knowledge!

Question:

where would you guess the neck seam is on this suit?

gorrsuit.jpg

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Bill

RN:

My guess would be either the red or blue line diagrammed below.

But seeing the suit in motion on video would make it easier to nail down the seam more precisely.

Bill

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Guest Remember November
RN:

My guess would be either the red or blue line diagrammed below.

But seeing the suit in motion on video would make it easier to nail down the seam more precisely.

Bill

looking at it at this view helps me see how you came to your conclusion. thanks.

hate.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Skeptical Greg

Bill,

While your presentation contains a lot of information and excellent illustrations of how neck seems might be rendered,

you haven't offered any actual samples of the film being examined, in order illustrate your conclusion that no evidence

of seams are visible in the film .

Some of the clearest samples of the film are cibachrome prints that were made .

Here is an example ..

Pattywalk2a.jpg

We see a definite dividing line and difference in texture where the shoulders meet the neck ..

We see it also in the MK Davis enhanced frames ..

mk1.gif

mk2.gif

As the head turns we can see the appearance of what could be interpreted as a bulge; much like your suit characteristic

illustrated above..

You can view the complete sequence here ..

http://www.bigfootencounters.com/files/mk_davis_pgf.gif

The shots posted by Remember November appear do demonstrate a much higher quality of neck seam rendering than

what we see in the PGF ..

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Bill- What if someone took a standard 1960ish Gorilla suit, and trimmed the long hair to a desired shorter length, but left certain sections of it long to cover any costume seams? Would that account for your belief that the hair is too short to cover seams, and yet allow for longer hair to cover any seams, and this longer hair might not show up on the poor film quality. But maybe showing up in the Cibachrome image shown above?

Edited by Drew
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Bill

Drew:

"Bill- What if someone took a standard 1960ish Gorilla suit, and trimmed the long hair to a desired shorter length, but left certain sections of it long to cover any costume seams? Would that account for your belief that the hair is too short to cover seams, and yet allow for longer hair to cover any seams, and this longer hair might not show up on the poor film quality. But maybe showing up in the Cibachrome image shown above? "

On the "what if", the problem of answering it is that the skill of the person cutting the hair is a factor in how good it would look and how well it would hide a seam, so since that is a variable we can only speculate on, the conclusion is as speculative as the variable one chooses to base the conclusion on. In other words, if we say the haircutter is great, maybe the seam will hide perfectly, and if the haircutter isn't great, maybe the seam will show.

So we can only go back to generalizations.

First, you need to consider that there are varied types of seams and connections of costume pieces. Some are attached, some are not (head masks were often not actually attached to the body suit section). You may not see the actual seam itself, so much as you may see changes in the hair patterns (and any shadows these changing hair patterns made) as the person wearing the suit moves about (especially moving the head).

Then you need to consider that if a closure seam does securely attach two suit pieces, that closure apparatus is bulky and more rigid than the suit fur material by itself. So in motion, there is a difference in any folding or shifting of the regular suit fur as compared to the fur areas where a rigid closure seam is.

These are indicators of a seam being present under the fur.

There is a simple sliding scale where longer hair hides these things better, and shorter hair does not, but we can't just divide it into "short hair" and "long hair" in a black/white analysis. It's a full greyscale of varying degrees.

As I have stated elsewhere, now that I have had four months to become more familair with analysis activities of the PG Film, and seen frame sequences mysefl over and over, I think a study is needed to reference or callibrate exactly how much fur/suit construction information can be extracted from the film at its existing resolution, and that would bring new data to the table to help resolve the questions you posed. Hopefully that study can be done in the future.

Bill

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