October 14, 2003|
Springs Media, Inc.
ABC News/Peter Jennings Reporting:
The Kennedy Assassination - Beyond Conspiracy
125 West End Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10023-6387
RE: EVALUATION OF THE ANIMATION OF THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION CREATED BY DALE MYERS
Thank you for engaging the services of Z-Axis Corporation to evaluate the accuracy of the animated recreations of the assassination of John F. Kennedy produced by Mr. Dale Myers. The evaluations addressed in this letter were performed by Alan Treibitz and Gary Freed. Z-Axis' principle business is producing computer-generated animations of events, processes and concepts for major litigations in the United States and Europe.
We have created animations in many notable cases including work for the prosecution in the Oklahoma City Bombing trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. We have also been involved in most of the major air crash litigations in the United States over the past 15 years including the crash of USAir 427 in Pittsburgh, the crash of American 965 in Cali, Colombia and the crash of Korean Air 801 in Guam. Recently, we produced numerous complex animations for Eolas and the University of California in their $521 million patent verdict against Microsoft.
Although our work is commonly associated with a particular advocacy position in a case, it must always pass extreme scrutiny to be admitted into evidence in court. We also routinely scrutinize the work of our opposition to verify its accuracy. At your request, we are acting as independent experts to assess Mr. Myers' work. We adopt no position about or interpretation of the results.
As CEO and co-founder of the company, Mr. Treibitz has worked for Z-Axis more than 20 years. Mr. Freed is a senior producer and has been at Z-Axis for nearly 20 years.
We met with Mr. Myers on October 9, 2003 and found him to be extremely cooperative with our inquiries. He answered all of our questions fully and shared all of the materials we felt necessary to understand his methodologies and techniques. It was not within the scope of our inquiry to attempt to recreate his work. However, through our experience, we have a thorough and detailed understanding of what is necessary to create a fair and accurate portrayal of such an event using computer graphic tools available today.
Our investigation focused on determining whether Myers' work recreated the events to a reasonable degree of accuracy. We established four primary questions:
To assess the construction of the computer model of Dealey Plaza, we examined the site drawings used by Myers along with his explanation and documentation of the measurements he took personally at the site and used to make minor corrections to the drawings. The methods he used to create the computer model of the scene are the same as would be done by anyone in the industry. We made random spot checks of certain distances and angles to assure ourselves that the model was reasonably accurate. It is clear to us that Mr. Myers has created a model which has a sufficiently high degree of accuracy to portray this event without prejudice.
The methods he used to match the path of the limousine to the Zapruder and other film and photographic sources were sophisticated and accurate. He was successful in synchronizing several different film sources taking into account the locations of each person filming and the different speeds of each camera so he could build a master time sequence. Using animation keyframes to register the vehicle position to the film sources every ½ second for most of the vehicle path was appropriate given the speed and path of the vehicle. His selection of spline interpolation to create the motion between the keyframes is, in our opinion, the correct choice for this type of recreation. During the critical timeframes in which shots occurred that hit the President, only Zapruder's camera was recording the event. For this part of the animation, Mr. Myers refined the registration of the limousine path as well as the visible landmarks to match each frame of the film. This method allowed him to account for Zapruder's hand-held camera motion and it results in a high degree of accuracy.
In a similar fashion, the animation of the body and head positions of both Kennedy and Connally were registered to the Zapruder film every ½ second until the critical times during which they were registered at every film frame. His method of examining the film evidence and matching the position manually is the only way to do this. There are aspects of the film such as motion blur and small image size that make absolute precision impossible. However, we examined every frame of his animation during the critical times and found that Mr. Myers did an excellent job of matching those positions.
Once the computer models of the limousine and the head and body positions were animated to match the time sequence of the existing films, any instant in time could be selected and the scene viewed from any point of view with absolute geometric integrity. This also allows for the entire animation to be viewed from any desired position. For example, the animation could be seen from the sniper's nest, from an eyewitness' point of view or from hypothetical points of view.
Mr. Myers set his computer animated model to the time when the first bullet struck President Kennedy. He was then able to change the point of view and look at this instant in a realistic fashion from any possible position within the computer model. He used a straight line to represent the potential bullet trajectory. Using a straight line was a reasonable assumption given the speed and relatively short distance the bullet could have traveled. By aligning the trajectory of the bullet with the known entry and exit wounds, he was able to project the trajectory back to the location from which the bullet was fired. Taking into account that the locations of the wounds could only be ascertained within a certain range from autopsy information, the possible bullet trajectory is constrained by a cone that encompasses all possible locations from which the shot could have come. Mr. Myers' techniques for establishing this cone were well thought out and accurately created.
With the second bullet, Mr. Myers used his computer model to investigate whether a bullet could have come from a direction other than from behind the limousine. Again, using measured wound locations, he was able to successfully establish a trajectory cone that encompasses all possible positions from which a shot could have come if it were not from behind the limousine. The methods he used to establish the time, location of the vehicle, the head and body positions, the entry and exit wound positions, and the possible range of bullet trajectories were sound and logical.
In summary, Mr. Myers has taken a comprehensive and reasoned approach to animating this event and has successfully incorporated many diverse visual records into a unified and consistent recreation. We believe that the thoroughness and detail incorporated into his work is well beyond that required to present a fair and accurate depiction.
/s/ Alan Treibitz, CEO
/s/ Gary L. Freed, Senior Producer
Published by Oak Cliff Press, Inc., P.O. Box 608, Milford, MI 48381-0608