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Bill

PGF: The Provenance Issue

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Bill

The Provenance Issue

 

Over the years, I’ve seen the issue of provenance raised numerous times, and quite often recently as well. Never having seen anything I would regard as a comprehensive evaluation of how the provenance issue impacts the PGF, I thought it might be a worthy endeavor to consider. And if I am incorrect in the prior remark, and someone has in fact done a comprehensive evaluation of the provenance issue, I would greatly appreciate a link to where I can read it. But I will respectfully ask that no one offer any vague assurance that it’s been covered in such and such a thread, because that’s really not the same as a singular comprehensive evaluation. 

 

Anyways, I am looking into the issue and as I begin in earnest, I would welcome any forum members who would like to offer their ideas, opinions, and relevant information on the topic.

 

To begin, provenance has a general meaning (documentation of origin) but as it applies to law (as “chain of custody”), general science, archaeology and paleontology specifically, art appraisal, book and manuscript appraisal, and computer data studies, each endeavor uses the provenance concept for specific goals, and utilizes specific procedures. The underlying question is which of these goals and procedures are in fact relevant to the PGF issues. For example, art appraisal provenance concerns itself with trying to validate that a specific named artist did in fact paint the picture, and the painting was not done by a more recent and unknown “forger”, because identity of the artist impacts the painting’s current commercial value. That concept does not appear to be a concern with the PGF because Roger Patterson was not a famous filmmaker and there is suspicion some unknown filmmaker shot the PGF instead. Patterson’s name, or lack thereof, does not impact upon the commercial value of any copy of the film available in the marketplace for purchase.

 

I think the systematic way this issue can be evaluated is to examine every field or endeavor where provenance is an integral part of the analysis of objects or evidence, to see exactly what the provenance intends to authenticate or invalidate, and how it does so. Then these procedural goals may be compared to the PGF analysis, to determine if the rules and procedures of that field are applicable to PGF analysis.

 

Once a methodology is determined to be relevant, then the procedural process can actually be applied to the PGF evidence, to see how the provenance element actually impacts upon the controversies of the PGF.

 

So I invite ideas, suggestions, or discussion on this specific question (with optimistic hope the discussion will not wander off topic.) 

 

Bill

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MIB

I was going to ask what you meant, specifically, by provenance.   You beat me to it.

 

Well ... one thing I would ask, and I think you would be as expert on the matter as anyone alive, is whether the existing copies are consistent or if there are signs of tampering with some of the later "copies".   If they are consistent it should say something about the timeline and about who had possession when.    A guess.   Could maybe also derive something about relative ages of copies as some might have flaws from continued copying that others do not.  I don't know if that is useful for your purpose or not.

 

MIB

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Bill

MIB:

 

I've done fairly extensive studies on the various PGF copies, (having examined nearly 20 in various forms) and I have developed a genealogy of sorts which connects the copies by copy process and other traits (like all PAC copies start at frame #3, not frame #1).

 

This copy genealogy does factor in variances of copies based on their copy process, but there's nothing suspicious about these variances. They are simply a direct result of the process. For example, a contact printed copy has the frame line separating frames intact on the copy, as it is on the original source film, while optically printed copies do not have that frame separation line from the original, because the optical printer has it's own aperture on the camera side of the printer, which masks the original source frame separation line and creates a new one on the copy being printed. So if you want to look for splicing on the original (to see if it was tampered with before copying), only a contact printed copy has the data you need to make that analysis.

 

The massacre theory (somebody was shooting bigfoots while Patterson filmed) was based on one copy having a speck of white in one frame that was mistaken for a gunshot muzzle flash. So that would be a flaw specific to that one copy which was misconstrued.

 

The genealogy issue would be within the general concept of provenance, yes, because it traces copies (as evidence) to the camera original, and that helps rule out questions of tampering with the images we analyze.

 

In a way, having 16mm film from a hand held camera, and an operator who moved about, those facts essentially defeat almost any claim of tampering because the ways to alter the image required a locked down camera, and ideally pin registration at the film gate, which Roger's camera did not have. This analysis of how film can be tampered with, and what circumstances are necessary to successfully do so, is definitely a part of movie film copy provenance. And in this respect, the PGF has already been extensively analyzed on that specific issue.

 

http://www2.isu.edu/rhi/pdf/ANALYSIS INTEGRITY OF THE PATTERSON-GIMLIN FILM IMAGE_final.pdf

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hiflier

This is very strange because I had never come across that .pdf.............until LAST NIGHT! I was doing research and just happened to stumble upon it. Truth. In going through it I did see where splices with tape lines in the frames could be detected and how along with that the splices one could find at the frame edges between individual frames. It was very informative- and long- and It's hard for me to believe that you just posted the link. Very strange indeed, Bill.

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Bill

Coincidences do happen.

 

 I've never seen any form of challenge or rebuttal since its publication. So I would say it is enduring the test of time, thus far.

 

Bill

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hiflier

Coincidence? It would certainly appear so. I think in my case I ran across the .pdf because I've been so narrowly focused on different aspects of the PGF.

 

As far as the .pdf itself enduring the test of time? That appears to certainly be true as well.

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