The Performance
by
Bruce Cornet, Ph.D.

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Page 2 of 15
Stage or Setting

Date: 29 April 1993

Place: West Searsville Rd. in open field on east side of road and just south of Wilde farm, 2.75 miles NNW of the police station in Montgomery, NY Figure-1, and 3.47 miles W of the police station at Walden, NY.

Time: 8:41 pm (just after sunset) to 10:11 pm.

Number of UFOs: Eight (8) recorded.

Witnesses: Sightings Director (John Jopson) and camera crew (Keith and Steve), Bruce Cornet, Ellen Crystall, Rich Pascarella, and Ralph Pelaez.

Weather condition: Clear, cold, with a high cloud cover; at least five miles visibility.

Equipment and Methods

Because only the photographs and videotape from two cameras are used in this report, only these cameras will be described below.

Camera:
Minolta 35 mm SLR XG-M with Motor Drive 1, operated by an electronic cable shutter control, and mounted on a tripod. Three-bladed external shutter mounted in front of camera, and operated by an electric motor, which is turned on by a pressure sensitive switch (Figure 5). It was designed and built by Bob Wisch. This external shutter was not used during "The Performance."
(Figure 5)
Owner: Bruce Cornet.
Lens: A Multinar Auto Tele Zoom 75-300 mm.
F-stop: 5.6.
Film: Konica ISO 400.

Camcorder: Canon 9mm, hand held.
Owner: Ellen Crystall.

The videotape used in this report is a second generation VHS tape copied by Crystall from her 9mm tape, and given to Bruce Cornet. Crystall and Bruce had a working agreement to share all information and data collected together in the field (see Copyright).

Cornet took time exposures using the bulb setting on his SLR camera, in order to track the movements of the subject lights, and to produce a detailed record of the events as they unfolded. Afterwards he pieced the separate photographs together on 8.5 x 11 inch white cards to produce a complete record of each performance. During most of the events that night the zoom lens was set at maximum magnification (300 mm), but on several shots during "The Performance," he zoomed out in order to capture multiple lights moving in the same frame or field. The subject lights were positioned in the viewfinder such that the photographic record of their movement begins near an edge of the frame and crosses the frame of the shot. He had to estimate when the lights reached another edge of the frame, at which time he closed the shutter and moved the camera to take the next time exposure in sequence. When the lights were distant and moving slowly relative to the observer, he tended to underestimate the time for closing the shutter, which resulted in a 1:1 correspondence between the length of the light trace on the negative and the time interval recorded. But when the lights were close and moving quickly, he tended to close the shutter as the lights exited the frame of the picture. In these cases the time interval recorded is longer than the time represented by the image on the negative. In five instances he opened the shutter just before the lights entered the frame. This happened when he advanced the viewfinder frame ahead of a rapidly moving craft and prematurely opened the shutter. A plus symbol in parentheses (+) is placed next to the times which do not accurately reflect the starting time or ending time on the negative/picture.

Whenever a time exposure was taken, the camera was not touched, but was temporarily locked in place on the tripod and operated using the electronic cable shutter control, so that there would be minimal vibration created from the opening of the shutter. A Timex Indiglo digital watch was used to record the time to the nearest second, which was jotted down in a hand-held notebook for the start and stop of each picture. Only when a craft was close to the camera and/or crossing the frame of the picture quickly was time data not recorded (there are three such pictures for "The Performance"). In these cases the time exposure was usually less than one second, and its approximate time in the sequence was estimated based on the nearest recorded times before and after the shot.

With his right hand Cornet moved, sighted the object through the lens, positioned the frame relative to the object, and locked the camera in position for a time exposure. With his left hand he pushed the button at the end of the cable shutter control and held it engaged for the length of the time exposure. As he did this, with his right hand free, he activated the light on his wrist watch and took a time reading for the start of the picture. If the time exposure was long enough, he had time to jot the starting time down in the notebook, which was also held in his left hand. He held a pen between the fingers of his right hand. The times he recorded are usually accurate within one-two seconds of opening the shutter. When the shutter was closed he took another time reading and recorded it before moving the camera for the next picture. During a very long time exposure, when the subject light was moving very slowly if at all, he took and recorded a compass bearing for the picture using a professional hand-held compass.

Crystall recorded the events on videotape using her Canon 9mm camcorder. She hand held the camcorder, which was set on manual focus. She zoomed in on the distant subject lights so that they filled 5-10% of the video frame. Her hand was not always steady, and she continued to be distracted by conversation with Pascarella, who stood next to her. On several occasions during "The Performance" she lost track of the subject lights in her viewfinder, and had to re-acquire the target. But she captured most of the performances on tape, including the sounds produced by the craft. Some single frames from this video are used in combination with the time exposures to show the actual positioning and intensity of lights on the craft.

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