Photo Forensics: Is The JFK Zapruder Film Faked?

Hany Farid via Fourandsix Technologies

Abraham Zapruder's Bell & Howell Zoomatic movi...

Abraham Zapruder’s Bell & Howell Zoomatic movie camera, in the collection of the US National Archives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the years there has been a handful of images that many individuals, organizations, and media outlets have asked me to analyze. One of these is the so called Zapruder film which captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Since its release, there has been much speculation as to the authenticity of this video. Here I will describe a forensic analysis applied to one aspect of the Zapruder film that, as with the Lee Harvey Oswald photo, debunks certain claims of manipulation. (WARNING: some of the images and descriptions are graphic.)

Abraham Zapruder captured the most complete documentation of the assassination of JFK. After its public release in 1975, challenges to the authenticity of the Zapruder film began to surface.  The Zapruder film has been analyzed for evidence to support alternate theories of who and how many people were involved in the assassination. For example, it has been argued that on frame 317 (and neighboring frames) what appears to be a shadow on the back of JFK’s head is the result of tampering, purportedly to conceal evidence of a shot exiting through the rear of JFK’s head. This shot could only have come from a second shooter, as Oswald was positioned behind JFK.

Frame 317 of the Zapruder film (right: a magnified view of
JFK and the questioned shadow on the back side of his head.)

In order to determine if the lighting and shadows in this scene are physically plausible I constructed a 3-D model of the sun’s location and the relevant scene geometry.

JFK was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963 at 18:30 (UTC) in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, TX. It is an easy matter to determine the relative position of the light at this time and place. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration solar calculator, the sun’s azimuth and elevation at this location and date was 181.91 and 37 degrees, respectively.

We next need to know the angle between people and objects in the scene and the sun. At the time of his assassination, JFK’s car was traveling on Elm St. … (keep reading):  Photo Forensics Software | Fourandsix Technologies – Blog – The JFK Zapruder Film.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: