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The Hunt For Skinwalker - Twin Towers Footage Analysis.

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+88 more 
posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:14 AM
I'd like to begin this thread by thanking Jeremy Corbell for giving his go-ahead for me posting this thread and analysing a portion of footage featured in his new documentary. The Hunt For Skinwalker is available on iTunes, Vimeo and Amazon. In this analysis I will be looking closely at a small segment of footage, taken from a security camera monitor that shows what appear to be two towers appearing on the Ranch.

It goes without saying that I consider this use of footage to be fair use, and whilst Jeremy has given his permission, if any other rights holders feel unhappy about this post, the Mods should edit and or remove as they see fit.

Background To The Footage

The footage is comprised of around 80 usable frames of security camera footage shot in 2004 on the Skinwalker Ranch. It appears to be late evening (we'll return to this later). So far, there has been little to no official commentary on the footage. Questions arise such as "what is happening", "is that really appearing?" and more. I first discovered the footage in one of the trailers for the documentary and decided to figure out what was going on.

Questions That Need To Be Answered

Before we can understand what we are viewing, we must understand:

- What is the provenance of the footage?
- How was it recorded?
- What do we know about the location and environment at that time?
- What role could recording the footage of a security camera monitor have?

In terms of provenance, Jeremy has made it clear that the footage is genuine, shot at the time, on security cameras on the property.

Figuring out what the towers are has to begin with an understanding of the footage so we can attempt to exclude technical reasons for the towers appearing.

Ultimately though people want to know:
- Is this a hoax via compositing technology?
- Is something really appearing?
- If something is appearing, is it really there or an optical illusion?
- If an illusion what could be causing it? Atmospherics? Camera error?

Technical: Understanding The Footage

When I approached this footage, I brought a number of assumptions to the table:

- It is a recording of a computer monitor playing back an analogue security tape
- The frame rate is unlikely to be that of domestic US analogue TV (60 fields per second)
- HD is unlikely in 2004 - it is likely SD
- Digital cameras did exist in 2004, but it seems more likely to be footage from a legacy analogue system

With the above in mind, I decided to have a look at the footage to determine the details

Analogue Source

We can tell that the footage was acquired by an analogue system, with a title character generator to add the time and date over the top, due to the breaking of the lines of the numbers


Next up, we can that along sharp, high contrast images, we get a halo effect.This is where a dark edge, will have an artificially bright line next to it that is lighter. The best example of this is to look at the pole nearest the camera (about two thirds down the frame, just off centre) This is usually the result of a sensor, digital sharpening or analogue recording.

Analogue systems typically display cross talk (interference) between lines of resolution. This system does not display cross talk between lines, so we can say with some certainty it was not filmed on a low end format such as VHS, or VHS C. More likely, it is filmed on high quality hardware that cuts down cross talk or a format like SVhs that largely eliminates it.

Interlacing. Before HD TV and progressive (full frame) displays, video would be displayed in alternating lines. The first 'frame' would show all the even lines, and a fraction of a second later (1/60th) the second set of fields would show, this time the odd ones. This technology allows old style television to give a higher resolution to still image areas, and smoother motion to things like sports.

It was also took advantage of a phenomena of CRT (tube) style televisions. The phosphor would glow longer than time the field was displayed for, meaning that fields one and two would merge into each other, creating a full frame!

Why is this important? Footage of the time would have been interlaced and we can clearly see that the monitor on which the footage is playing back demonstrates the diminishes brightness of every odd line.

At the very least we can now say:
- The footage was filmed on a analogue device (even if the storage was Digital)
- The camera sensor is most likely CCD not CMOS
- The footage, or at least the display device is NTSC interlaced
- The recording format either profilers cross talk or records in a way that reduces it (for instance Beta, sVHS)

Why Record Off A Monitor?

One of the things I can't say about the footage is how many frames per second the actual footage is shot at.

Firstly, the Vimeo edition of The Hunt For SkinWalker runs at 23.97 progressive 1080p frames per second. Nothing abnormal there. However, it does mean that this footage has been conformed (changed) to run at 23.97 frames per second.

The original frame rate may have been 60fps interlaced, or 30fps progressive. However, I'd suggest for a security camera, tape length is an issue. No one wants to change tape every few hours. Therefore I'd like to propose a frame rate of 30 frames per minute.

Why record the footage off a monitor?

I can think of two reasons:
- You don't have a device to digitise analogue footage
- You are not giving permission to take the tape away

This leads to two options. Either the footage is being played back digitally off a computer, or from an analogue tape machine. Seeing, however, that we see this footage on a CRT style NTSC security monitor or TV, it does not make sense for this file to be digital unless there is a reason to hide some small detail.

+11 more 
posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:14 AM
Technical Anomalies Of The Footage

One could argue that the footage being filmed off the monitor rather than digitised into the NLE (editor) is strange, but I think the above explanation is sufficient.

Now, let's look at the main anomalies of the footage, apart from the tower.

No Second Display In Time Code

Checking other examples of footage in the documentary, we can clearly see an Hours: Minutes: Seconds arrangement. We don't have one here, the seconds are missing.

Why would seconds be missing here and not elsewhere?

The best reason I can think of is that the tape is a long play mode like the 30 frames per minute mode I mentioned before

Problems: Length of Footage

Let's assume that along with the 80ish frames of clear video, we also have 10 frames of fade in to start with. That leaves us with 90 frames of video. We can see the darkened scanlines so we don't need to worry about interlaced fields in this case.

If we assume standard NTSC playback of 30 frames per second, then we are left with three seconds of footage, when shot.
If we assume some sort of Long Play recording for security cameras then we are looking at 3 minutes of footage

Wait, How Can We Have 3 Minutes Of Footage but no minutes change and there are no seconds?

There are a few possible answers as to why there is no minute counter, but no minutes change.

1) The footage was shot at 30 frames per minute and comprised less than a minute of footage. The new frames were created digitally by a process called Optical Flow. The footage is now degraded
2. The footage was shot at 30 frames per second and the second display was tuned off

Track This! Problems

Remember when you would get a VHS tape from Blockbuster? How the old tapes would playback with the image bouncing up and down.

This is due to tracking problems, which come about as a tape ages and stretches. This is why you have to play about with the tracking.

A close examination of still areas displays NO image bounce or weave.

The options here are that either the footage was recorded digitally (unlikely with the analogue time code generator), or it was shot on a very high quality format or was optically stabilised in a computer package.

Each option presents problems.

Why would you digitise analogue footage, then stabilise it, and output it back out via an analogue monitor, to then film that monitor digitally? In my mind you wouldn’t do that.

Still, we should be open to the possibility that we are watching a piece of footage that may have had both its stability and frame rate digitally altered before then being filmed on an analogue monitor.

The alternative is a high quality analogue format - this will become important later.

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posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:15 AM
Part 2 - Footage Analysis

Now that we understand as much as we can about the nature of the camera, the recording process and playback, what can we say about the footage?

Firstly, the image is ‘noisy’ . Can we say if this noise is coming from the footage or the analogue display device?

This is quite easy. Analogue video does not record color in Red, Green, Blue format. Instead it records it in black and white for compatibility with very old BW Tv’s then stares two color channels Chrominance Blue and Chrominance Red.

The brightness (Y) can be used in combination with cR and cB to recreate a color image.

Therefore, noise by the recording device will exist in all three channels.

Playback and viewing device noise will not.

As you can see below, the noise exists largely in the Y (bw) space. cR and Cb are noise free almost. We can view this as being the results of
BW footage but also the signal modulator in the analogue monitor.

De Noising The Footage

Any attempt to remove noise from footage will always remove valuable data as well. However because the footage is stable, the camera is static and there are no interlace artefacts, we can use the still areas to generate a ’noise’ pattern over time.

We can then look at the noise pattens, and see that it has both a wave pattern, and a downward motion. I will caution that this pattern is similar to white noise footage that can be found on a Stock Footage site and added to digital footage.

Ignoring that possibility for now, the ability to easily isolate the noise, allows us to remove it from the entire image with as little data loss as possible.

Again though I’ll point out, we are losing image fidelity for perceived clarity.

What Can We See?

The noise free video shows a VERY stable image, where pixels do not move position, unusual for analogue footage, and do not display much brightness variation (typically less than 1%).

Within this very stable, clean footage, we have the emergence of the twin towers.

We also have a third issues and fourth item emerging that I will come to in Part 3.

Are The Towers Really ‘In Camera?’

I alluded to this earlier, but this type of camera setup, displayed halo effects around objects with dark edges against bright backgrounds and vice versa. We see the same with the poll nearest the camera. A dark edge, with white haloing.

The towers footage displays this effect as it reaches a ‘materialised’ state. This is something almost anyone hoaxing digital footage would forget. There is a remote possibility that the effect is being generated by the TV having brightness turned up, but to balance it with the other haloing elements in the shot would be hard.

Therefore if the haloing is the result of TV sharpness settings, the footage would be an elaborate hoax.

At this point, I’d prefer to assume it a results of the CCD sensor / analogue recording combo.

Which means the twin towers are occurring within the footage and on camera, not a special effect.

Camera Recorded Towers Appearing

Now that we can be fairly sure that an analogue security camera system recorded two towers appearing in the footage and we can be fairly sure it is not a digital effect, what could be the cause.

Option 1: An internal reflection within the lenses

Camera lenses are complex objects, not just a single piece of ground glass. This can occasionally result in reflections within the lens array causing illusions. Typically though, these are caused by high brightness reflections overwhelming the image.

The towers are dark, so we can likely say this is not the result of lens abbarations.

Option 2: Atmospheric Inversion

Could we be looking at an atmospheric lensing effect - a mirage in effect? This is where we come to part 3.

+1 more 
posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:17 AM
Part Three: Unexplained Footage Elements

As we’ve already looked at, there are a number of strange things about the nature of the footage.

The unusual stability of the analogue footage
The appearance of the towers
The lack of second counter

We can also say that the towers are happening ‘out there’ in the landscape being recorded - not within the camera mechanism and the chance of compositing digitally is low.

If we zoom in on a single area, we can see that the footage is very stable. Pixels do not move position due to tracking issues, and brightness barely varies.

Look how stable this footage is:

Except in a radius around the towers!

Look closer at the area around the towers, extended about the height of the towers in any direction!

Please excuse the low quality of the above. The footage I have is much clearer and the warping effect is unmistakable. Beyond Jeremy, I won’t be sharing this footage.

Where in the GIF you can see blocks of color moving, in the original footage, you see the actual image moving, as if in heat haze.

We see a warping effect, like a wave pattern is distorting the light reaching the camera!

This is very strange and does not effect the footage as a whole. Only a radius of about the full height of the towers extending to the right and below the towers themselves.

What could this be?

Option 1) A large heat source, like a trash can with a flame, under the camera lens to the right hand side causing hot air to rise in this area of the frame only and generate heat haze

Option 2) A very restricted temperature inversion causing a mirage that creates the illusion of the towers to appear

Option 3) Some sort of moving heat source emerging from the towers, that has no visible wavelength presence.

Option 4: Some unknown form of optical warp.

Heat Based Anomaly

the above is gif, and you should be able to a circular wire type object moving around. I'm fairly sure it is 'there' not an artefact. It's own appearance matches the fade in of the towers.

Along with the slight heat haze, there is another anomaly, a small circular object just beginning to appear in the lower right of the display. Could this be an internal reflection? A results of de noising ? All is possible.

Preliminary Conclusions

I can see two possible scenarios for the footage

1. Digital Hoax. HD footage is taken and a scan line effect is added. Time code is added without minutes. Towers are composited but somehow the halo effect is added to the footage. Footage is then played back, possibly with a white noise pattern to an analogue CRT and recorded.

I consider this very unlikely. The footage appear as if it is analogue, the signatures of an analogue system recording a real world event are present. The small details would have to be accounted for. Why miss off the seconds counter, it wold be so easy to add.

2. The towers appearing, the heat haze, and the small circular anomaly are all occurring in camera. The appear in a localised area. It could be suggested that the footage shows a localised ares of heat moving from the appearing towers, fallowing the edge of the mesa, and passing off camera right.

More footage would easily cleat this up. Analysing the appearance of the towers will also help. I’ll be presenting my findings on this at a later date.

I’ll also point out that much of my analysis could be proven or disproven by concrete evidence on the recording system, frame rate, playback situation - but without this data I felt it necessary to validate.

I hope this technical and rather dry analysis is of use.
edit on 21-9-2018 by ctj83 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:19 AM
Next week, I'll be looking at the appearance of the towers themselves, specifically looking at pixels movements so we can say if the towers appear via a liner transparency effect, a log one, or something else... I'll also add any analysis people think is missing.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:25 AM
S+F, damn good analysis and straight up CREEPY.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:25 AM
Just to add, I bought my copy off Vimeo and used it for this post, of course having access to the original footage not on a monitor would help immensely. It's also important to remember that it sure is easier to say what this isn't, rather than what it is.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:37 AM
Very good post mate

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 06:52 AM
dust devil?

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:02 AM
a reply to: ctj83

One small addition. Check the sunset time for Utah, and compare with the timecode on the camera...

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:05 AM
a reply to: Lunarstorm

Looks way to stable and solid to me for that.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:05 AM
a reply to: Lunarstorm

Looks way to stable and solid to me for that.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:17 AM
a reply to: ctj83

I'm going to throw my hat into the ring.

I loaded the .gif into Gimp, and went thru it frame by frame- still am.

What I have noticed at frame 0, or 1 , or whatever you want to call it (Gimp calls it background)- you can see the towers. They seem to be shrouded in fog or a low hanging cloud, and as the frames progress, the fog lifts or dissipates, and there are the things a lot clearer. I also notice the 'base', which doesn't appear like the rest of the building- but it does seem to blur in and out, like fog is rolling over it.

The base doesn't seem to appear, and is not affected like the taller portions.

I'd like to see daytime footage of the place, digital camera, nice resolution. At this point, *I* want to go to this place WITH a digital camera, and take pics.

I think it's fog/ low hanging clouds.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:18 AM
What chance it's a mirage?

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:19 AM
Where is Skinwalker Ranch, that I may have a look on Google maps?

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:20 AM
a reply to: wylekat

I agree on all counts, except if you watch the documentary, you'll see that there are no towers present there. So the fog would be revealing something not actually there.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:22 AM
a reply to: wylekat


is roughly where the security camera is.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:22 AM
a reply to: mirageman

I wonder that, too- but the base of the closest tower makes me wonder a bit. I guess it could also be part of it, and got there first. As we don't have the before and after footage, it'll be hard to say.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:24 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Perfectly possible, although I can't find a similar structure near by. The presence of heat haze does suggest some sort of weather effect.

The problem is, if we go by the camera timecode, things should have been dark.

posted on Sep, 21 2018 @ 07:25 AM
a reply to: wylekat

You can see that one of the towers connects to a structure on the ground - as if it's almost part of it. From what one user mentioned here, it is camper van.

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