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The Wiegman film
Versions from "The Assassination Films" - (VHS)
and "The Assassination Files" - (DVD)
produced by Robert J. Groden

©  February 2006 by Marcel DEHAESELEER

Last Addition
02/10/2006:
Detailed explanations sent by Gary Mack, Curator of The Sixth Floor Museum.

Introduction
What follows demonstrates that the Wiegman film is not an absolute timing reference, regarding the assassination of President Kennedy.

The Wiegman film is often used by today's cyber-researchers as a timing reference concerning the position of people in Dealey Plaza, and the presence, or absence of Abraham Zapruder and Marylin Sitzman on the pedestal.

The Wiegman film version often used in research is available on the DVD "The Assassination Files" produced by Robert J. Groden. An earlier version exists on VHS, labelled "The assassination Films". What follows refers to the contents of the DVD, as I could not access the VHS format.

Robert J. Groden during a speech.
Robert J. Groden  holding the cassette
"The Assassination Films"
.

"The Assassination Files - DVD
Buy via amazon.com

"The Assassination Files" on DVD 

Four frames from the Wiegman Film.

Four frames from the Wiegman Film.


Before going further I would like to quote two lines of the book "Pictures Of The Pain" by Richard B. Trask - page 373

"The Wiegman film sequence of the activity around the shooting scene lasts approximately 36½ seconds.
It is filmed in real time without any breaks in the sequence."
What's wrong with Groden version ?
Regarding the DVD produced by Robert Groden: the duration of the Wiegman film is nearly 30 seconds. A difference of 6 and one-half seconds, exists. Why a 6 and one-half second time disparity? Frame rate? It's not the case!

Actually the answer is: The Groden, 'Wiegman film' version is not complete. The film was extensively edited during the digital post-production process.
I'm convinced that Groden's motivations, in his "customisation" of the Wiegman film were creditable. I think that Groden was motivated to provide the best material he could do.
The final result shows definitively; Robert Groden more a film collector rather than researcher.
List of the artifacts and damages to film.
There is a splice in the film!
Does this splice exist in the original Wiegman film or just on Groden copy? How many frames are missing?
See illustration #1

The film is made of three distinct sections!
There's at least three breaks in the Wiegman film provided by Robert Groden.
See illustration #2

Hereunder an animation showing the break between Sections 1 and 2.
There is obviously an abrupt and impossible camera panning from the Hesters toward the Newman family.
See illustration #3

Special video effect was added! 
Also, to improve the final DVD result-presentation, Groden added a video special effect explained below:

The cross dissolve effect (for linking each film sequence.)
This digital effect, the most often and commonly used effect in post-production, merges the end of a sequence with the beginning of the following. This type of effect, reduces (slightly) the time duration of the film.
See illustration #4

Illustrations and animations

Illustration #1 - The Splice

There is a splice in the film!
Does this splice exist in the original Wiegman film
or just on Groden copy?


Illustration #2 - The three segments (sections)

Click to see Illustration #4


Illustration #3 - The break between Sections 1 and 2
 

From the Hesters to the Newman family

Frame by frame - Slow motion


Illustration #4 - The "Cross dissolve" effect
Break between Sections 2 and 3

 

From Newman family  to Elm St.

Frame by frame - Slow motion



Detailed explanations sent by Gary Mack, Curator of The Sixth Floor Museum
On 7th February, 2006 Gary Mack had the kindness to answer to my questions. Gary confirms that the Groden Version of the Wiegman film is not complete and actually made of three segments, as I had suspected and explained above.
Gary also explains why I am wrong regarding the "cross dissolve" effect.
From: "Gary Mack" <gmack@jfk.org>
To: "Marcel Dehaeseleer\)" <copweb@skynet.be>
Subject: a splice into the Wiegman film
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 21:05:05 -0600


Hello Marcel,

The original, unedited Dave Wiegman film runs 36.5 seconds according to video tapes of the film's first broadcast at about 3pm local time that day.

If Groden's version is short, it's not his fault. That film has been shown many, many times since 1963 and I always see it edited differently. You have to known news film editors and news film editing techniques. The practice in those days was to edit film so blurry or confusing sequences aren't confusing to the audience.

Groden's version is missing a second or two at the very beginning of the film and some more is missing of the Newmans on the ground. There is one splice and maybe two, so more frames are probably missing at those places, too.

Groden owns at least two 16mm prints of the Wiegman film and the one he has on his video is the better image of the two.

As for the "problems" you found, none are significant:

1) The white line splice is, indeed, a splice. Whether the film was edited to remove blurry frames or was simply repaired from having been damaged, is unknown.

2) There is what appears to be another splice a little later. It is a black horizontal line near the bottom of the frame. (Black and white splice lines are quite normal, indicating editing on two different edit blocks that are not properly aligned.)

3) There are three segments to the Wiegman film, for once he filmed the Hesters, he stopped filming and walked toward the street. Then he started again and filmed the Newmans. Then he stopped again and, stepping onto the sidewalk, filmed the oncoming motorcade before panning to his left and catching Cheryl McKinnon dropping to the ground. Wiegman exposed 36.5 seconds of film in Dealey Plaza before jumping into his camera car and riding to Parkland.

4) Your "cross dissolve" is nothing more than ordinary blur artifacts from the film-to-tape transfer process. Different telecine machines create different artifacts, for they must match the 24 frames-per-second rate of 16mm film to the 29.97fps rate of US television. Converting US television to Europe's PAL standard or to France's SECAM standard induces additional anomalies.

5) In short, the blurs in the Wiegman film were present on the original broadcast of the unedited film. The composite "overlay" images you see are not present on the actual film. I have a 16mm 3rd or 4th generation print of the camera original Wiegman film and have examined it many times. The "overlay" is merely an artifact that appears only in some video versions of the film, not on the film itself.

6) You have to realize that a US video frame is actually two images, not one, and they overlap. Sometimes, depending on the video and how it was derived, one of the two fields (images) may not match the adjacent or following field, thus creating a composite. That is what you call an overlay.

Gary Mack

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