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Analysis of the Tim Dinsdale Film
Since it's taking on the 23rd of April 1960, the film taken by Tim Dinsdale of a dark object moving across the Loch at Foyers then turning left and moving parallel to the far shore, has become the basis of most peoples beliefs in the Loch Ness Monster. In 1965 the film was sent to the Joint Air Reconnaissance Centre (JARIC) who studied the film and sent a report to Tim Dinsdale and members of the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau and in their eyes this was another boost for the film as the report did not condemn the film but substantiated it.
After watching the film several times and being told how different the object is to the marker boat sent out as a marker for size and speed, it became obvious the boat could not be used as a comparison for several reasons.
The first being the marker boat was sent out much later under obviously much brighter conditions, this can be seen by anyone who watches the film.The second reason being that the marker boat was white whereas the object and most small boats seen on the Loch are brown.
It was then that I decided to study the JARIC report to find out exactly what they had said to substantiate the film and was surprised to find nothing. In fact if anyone studies the report with an open mind it actually points to the object being filmed as a small fishing boat filmed under bad light conditions.
Before we look at the JARIC report mention should be made of the inconsistency of the length and time of the film.
In Tim's book he gives us lengths of 50ft, 20ft to 30ft and then a time of 4 minutes. None of these can be correct unless the film has been cut which leaves us to ask what has been cut from the film.50ft of 16mm cine film runs for 83 seconds. I have never seen more than 60 seconds of this film. The same can be said for his 20ft to 30ft of film, this would give a maximum of 50 seconds of film time and the 4 minutes of film is just impossible. First JARIC tell us that the material examined was the original 16mm film and that no copies have been made. We must remember that Tim sent them the film with the instructions that it was not for projection under any circumstances so JARIC never even run the film. The report goes on to tell us that between frames 700 to 1700, assuming the track is parallel to the far shore, the speed of the object is 10mph, then the distance travelled in this time would be 630ft. Between frames 700 to 1700 is 42 seconds of filming but no mention is made of the winding times of the 16mm Bolex camera. The camera runs at 24 frames per second and runs for around 20 seconds between winding which takes 12 seconds.This adds 24 seconds to the filming time which makes it 6.5mph. The same speed that Dinsdale recorded for the marker boat. The only speed they give as being correct is between frames 1 to 384 with the object travelling almost entirely away from the camera. They give a speed of 10mph. This after they tell you the difficulty of near horizontal photography, especially the measurements in depth view.
Next they state that between frames 816 and 1440, with the object travelling approximately parallel to the far shore, they suggest the mean speed of 7mph but because of the difficulty of near horizontal photography the speed is likely to be as high as 10mph. We can, after these statements, safely say that JARIC could not work the speed of the object out without taking into account the winding times.
One of the main reasons the film is accepted is the way the object submerges. This of course cannot be done by a surface vessel. But, JARIC point out that under certain conditions of light reflectivity and aspect angle etc, object may not be visible on the photography. They go on to say that the boat was sent out the same morning and the light conditions were probably similar.This of course can be seen on the film not to be true. Their measurements for the object are again very interesting.
A frame from Tim Dinsdale's Film
The object has a width of five and a half feet with a length of between twelve and sixteen feet. This is very close to the marker boat which was fourteen feet long with a width of five feet two inches. It is then explained how non planing hulled boats of 16ft could not reach speeds of 10mph, but non of their speeds are as high as this. In fact with the winding times added, these speeds are between six and a half and seven miles per hour. Which a 16ft boat fitted with a 5hp Seagull engine can reach. So the report does not point to the object being the monster but nothing more exciting than a local fishing boat. I do not for one minute think that Tim Dinsdale took part in a kind of hoax or tried to fool anyone. The only mistake he made was not to recognise the boat he looked at for only 5 seconds through his binoculars. After this time he only saw the object through the lens of his Bolex camera.
After proving to myself on paper that the Dinsdale film could be a boat, the next step was to go out and get evidence for my theory. I contacted Dick Raynor who kindly offered to loan me a 16 mm cine camera and help me with the filming.The black and white film had to be ordered from Edinburgh as it is now specialist film.
Next we needed a 5hp Seagull outboard engine from the 1960s. After talking to Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness Project, he offered to lend me a Seagull 5hp engine and his help in re-creating the film.A 14 foot wooden boat was hired and we met at temple pier on the 25 May 1998. I should explain for those who have not been to the loch that the area at Foyers where the original film was taken is now overrun with mature trees and the view of the loch is very restricted so we decided to do the filming just out of Urquhart Bay, and for this reason we met at 6.00 pm.
Another frame from the film
When the engine was fitted to the boat it was towed out to the filming area by Deepscan the project work boat while Dick and myself moved to the laybys at the corner of the bay. With Adrian piloting the boat we sent it out across the loch. With the use of an ex army range finder we recorded the distance of the boat as we shot 20 second bursts of film. We also took 35 mm still pictures and both cameras were fitted with 135 mm lenses, the same as Dinsdale used. We refilmed the boat again in July for a BBC programme about lake monsters and this has been shown on UK Horizons, a satellite television channel.The 16mm film is still being worked on but you can see from the 35mm stills that a small wooden boat can look exactly like the object Dinsdale filmed back in 1960.The JARIC report does not back Tim Dinsdales story, but does point to it being a 15 foot boat. The only evidence for the film being a monster is Mr Dinsdales eyewitness account. I believe that on his first visit to the loch Mr Dinsdale saw an object in the water he did not recognise instantly for what it was and because the film, when developed, did not show an easily recognisable object, this film that has been given as the evidence for the last 39 years, really only shows that it is just an ordinary object filmed under bad light conditions.
Other frames of Tim Dinsdale's films. Please click on thumbnails to view larger picture.
Legend of Nessie - Ultimate and Official Loch Ness Monster Site - The Evidence