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Post JFK Assassination Air Force One Flight Deck Enhancement Process

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Post JFK Assassination Air Force One Flight Deck Enhancement Process  A lot of people have been asking how I restored the Air Force One radio transmissions from November 22 1963, right after JFK was shot. Below I have outlined my process with brief explanations about each.

I used a software program from Adobe Audition for this entire process.

I identified the points in each version of the tape recordings, the LBJ version and the General Clifton version, for edit points before altering the recordings for enhancement.

I began the restoration process by sampling the tape hiss present on the entire recording and reducing with Adobe noise reduction. Next I went section by section and reduced the radio transmission noise which varied from conversation to conversation.

Then I applied equalization and compression filtering to help bring out the conversations. This was also done section by section since each conversation varied in speaking frequencies.  Adobe CS6 has a great tool, the FFT equalization which is very easy to use.

Audio restoration and enhancement is a process. I refer to it as peeling an onion; one layer at a time. If something does not sound right, I go back a step and try a different process. That’s the beauty of digital audio restoration and enhancement.

I am still working on the restoration as time permits and will update the videos posted here. I am hearing more and more of the conversations using critical listening and additional enhancement. Considering how primitive the technology was back then I am very impressed with the sound quality of these recordings. By the way, the General Clifton version is much better sounding and longer then the LBJ version.

Below, you can watch the story on “The Lead” with Jake Tapper on CNN:.

Post JFK Assassination Air Force One Flight Deck Enhanced Recordings

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Post JFK Assassination Air Force One Flight Deck Enhanced Recordings

Primeau Forensics was originally contacted by Bill Kelly, a researcher for the JFK Assassination in connection with Duquesne University. He asked Audio Forensic Expert Ed Primeau to assemble and enhance the original Air Force One radio transmissions. It was at that time that Ed Primeau realized just how special this case would be, examining the events that were recorded the day JFK was assassinated 50 years ago.

Audio Enhancement

At the end of this post is a fully enhanced digital audio file available for listening and downloading of the government conversation that occurred at the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However, the Announcer at the beginning of the recording  is the poorest quality of the entire 2:01:59.

The enhanced work products are a combination merged from two physical copies in existence. The first copy was released by the government and referred to as the ‘LBJ tapes’ in the early 1970’s. In addition, another longer copy surfaced in a private auction in Philadelphia  2011. This longer copy was found in the belongings of the late General Clifton. Thanks to Bill Kelly, a veteran JFK researcher, Primeau Forensics has combined the contents of both recordings and fully restored them.

In this enhanced recording, you will hear conversations from Air Force One over the Pacific Ocean as they abort a trip to Japan and turn around, mid-air, to return to the mainland after learning about the assassination of the President of the United States. In addition, these recorded conversations between Ground Command, the White House and Air Force One include code names such as ‘Duplex,’ ‘Digest,’ ‘Volunteer,’ ‘Liberty,’ ‘Witness,’ ‘Crown,’ ‘Baker,’ ‘Watchman,’ and ‘Tiger.’

During the call they make arrangements to transport John F. Kennedy’s body, his widow, President Johnson and the other 40 people safely back to Washington DC. The carefully coordinated and strategically executed planning is heard in this recording. The decisions about media coordination on the ground at the White House, the postmortem autopsy to be performed by law and President Johnson’s conversation with JFK’s mother, Rose Kennedy can also be heard.

To learn more about the enhancement processes Ed Primeau applied, please Click HERE.

Video Exhibit

The quality of technology back then was very poor which weighs heavy on understanding the dialogue of the radio transmissions even after audio enhancement. It was at this time that Primeau had an idea. He decided to create a video which displays the transcript on screen while the dialogue from the radio transmission plays.

After that, Primeau recorded authentic footage from a private jet cockpit via a pilot who is a good friend of Primeau’s. This footage enhances the experience of listening to the flight deck recordings with a closed caption type text add on.

For instance, this perspective is often applied to audio evidence that doesn’t have video content to immerse the viewer into the experience in which the recordings were originally created. The videos are available for viewing through the links below:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

It may take a while to get your ears acclimated to this early, mobile technology. Primeau Forensics has carefully removed unnecessary radio static and squeals to accommodate better listening. Above all, it is recommended that you use a combination of speakers and headphones to best listen to these recordings.

Listen to the Clarified Audio Track HERE:

Download Recordings Here!

Download Transcript Here!

50th Anniversary Symposium

Passing the Torch-An International Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be happening October 17-19 2013 in Pittsburgh. http://www.duq.edu/events/jfk

For more information on the conference contact:

Deborah G. Jozwiak

320 Fisher Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Email: wechtinstitute@duq.edu
Phone: 412-396-1330
Fax: 412-396-1331

Authentication of New JFK Audio recordings from Air Force One

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Authentication of New JFK Audio recordings from Air Force One  I have been asked by an anonymous organization to authenticate the air traffic recordings from Air Force One originally recorded on November 22, 1963. The recordings were released to the public January of this year.

This organization wants to know as much about the recordings as possible from a forensic perspective. One of the questions being asked is, “Are the recordings authentic?”
When an audio forensic expert is asked to review and authenticate any audio recording, it is best practice to always begin the investigation with an unbiased perspective. One of the first activities is to listen completely to the recordings, noting any anomalies or other significant observations.

The second step is to view the sound wave formation and visually inspect the wave for any abnormal electronic characteristics like reverse polarity or a variance in noise floor. A complete description of the recordings and their history can be viewed below and is exact from Wikimedia.

Description from Wikimedia:

The Raab Collection has donated an original audio tape recording to the National Archives that includes taped conversations on President Kennedy’s official airplane, “Air Force One”, during its flight following his assassination on November 22, 1963. The conversations were between pilots and other individuals on the flight and various individuals in Washington DC on the flight back from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base. It is two hours and 22 minutes long.

The Raab Collection recently discovered two ¼” open reel audio tapes containing identical excerpts from the Air Force One flight on Nov. 22, 1963 among the papers and other memorabilia of Army General Chester “Ted” Clifton, Jr.. General Clifton served as senior military aide to President John F. Kennedy, and had received the tapes from the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). The original audio tape recording is described as “Radio Traffic involving AF-1 in flight from Dallas, Texas to Andrews AFB on November 22, 1963”.

The conversations were captured by the WHCA, which routed all phone calls and radio traffic. The tape also includes communication between the WHCA and a second aircraft of the Presidential fleet, known as 86972 (by its tail number), which was en route to Tokyo at the time of the assassination with members of the President’s cabinet.

The recording includes references to new code names and incidents. Among them are a private conversation by head of the Secret Service Jerry Behn about the disposition of the President’s body; an expanded conversation about how to remove the body from the plane and where to take it; an urgent effort by an aide to Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay to reach General Clifton; and attempts to locate various Congressmen from Texas.

The National Archives Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library has a different version of the recording, and is approximately 40 minutes shorter.

[audio:http://WWW.AUDIOFORENSICEXPERT.COM/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/GPO-NARA-JFK-ASSASSINATION-AUDIO-1_clarified.mp3|titles=PO-NARA-JFK-ASSASSINATION-AUDIO-1] [audio:http://WWW.AUDIOFORENSICEXPERT.COM/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/GPO-NARA-JFK-ASSASSINATION-AUDIO-2_clarified.mp3|titles=PO-NARA-JFK-ASSASSINATION-AUDIO-2]

photo credit: John F Kennedy man on the moon via photopin (license)