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Door height

Started by Scarfwearer, Nov 25, 2016, 09:09 am

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Nov 25, 2016, 09:09 am Last Edit: Nov 25, 2016, 09:23 am by Scarfwearer
This picture is worrying me:

myphoto (25).jpg

According to IMDB (The Internet Movie Database), Jon Pertwee was 6'2 1/2 inches tall or 74.5 inches. He's wearing boots that have at least an inch of heel. The heels appear to be perched on the 1/2 inch door sill directly in the doorway. So the top of his head should be at least at the 76 inch mark from the bottom of the posts. His hair doubtless is not entirely smooth to the top of his head, though I can only guess how much of a bouffant he has going there. The clover leaves hang down from the header by about an inch.
If those doors are 78 inches (6 foot 6 inches), his hair should be brushing the clover leaves.
Measuring props by comparing them with people standing nearby is notoriously difficult, but this picture is pretty well optimal for that, and the obvious difference here is hardly fractions of an inch.
People exaggerate their height, they slouch, they're actually taller first thing in the morning because our spines compress a little during the day, and separate again when we sleep. I'm allowing for the big hair and the boots. But the gap here looks like 4 inches, which is hard to account for.

I wouldn't make a bet on just a single image, but there are very few that really provide a good metric.

I really hope I'm missing something here (for a number of reasons).


tony farrell

Nov 25, 2016, 03:17 pm #1 Last Edit: Nov 25, 2016, 05:55 pm by Tony Farrell
Perhaps I can help you out a bit here Crispin?

I remember we (by which I mean Tardis Builders) had a very similar conversation some four - maybe even five - years ago; as I remember it, the upshot of the conversation was that you posted a picture of yourself by your Tardis and invited people to judge your height from the picture. I don't have the time to trawl back through the various threads but - again as I remember it - you wrote that you stand at six feet one-and-a-half inches tall. Apologies if I'm mis-representing your words, but I think that you concluded that judging the height of a person from a photograph was fraught with difficulties and that you therefore doubted the validity of such an exercise. (Again, I'm paraphrasing and I apologise if this mis-represents what you were saying.)

Now, as you said above (and - if my memory is correct - previously) people rarely stand up perfectly straight and Jon Pertwee's height might not be correctly stated on IMDB. It's also true - as you say - that throughout the course of the day, everybody actually shrinks - if you're stood up for any length of time, the spine actually compresses by slightly more than half inch. So, by the time you go to bed, you're actually shorter than when you got up! (So, if you want to know your true height and weight, any medical you have should be carried out in the morning after you've done your ablutions! And, if you think how you're made to stand when the nurse measures your height, you'll remember how un-natural this feels.)

So, with those caveats in mind, let's turn to the picture. The first thing to say is that Jon isn't stood perfectly straight - he's actually looking very slightly down and is slightly leaning towards the phone panel. At the very least, his pose is going to knock an inch off his height - in truth, probably an inch-and-a-half if not an inch and three quarters.

Now, you mentioned the heels of his boots. I've a very similar pair of boots and the heels on mine are only 0.875". Only an eighth of an inch difference - but cumulatively, these differences add up. I'd estimate that - because of his pose (and including his heels) - Jon is standing at not more than six foot two inches in this picture and probably less than that.

Now we turn to where he's actually stood. Only his toes are in front of that little threshold strip. The arches of his feet are over the threshold strip and his left heel is definitely behind the strip. So, his legs, torso and head are actually inside the Tardis with only the tip of his nose being directly beneath the cloverleaf door stops.

When I was taught art, the 'classical' way of representing a person's face/head was and is stated that the bottom of the eyes are at the half-way point. This means that the top of Jon's head is approximately an inch below the top of his slightly bouffant hair-do. So, there's an inch there that can potentially mislead the viewer as well.

So, because of his pose and because of where is is stood in relation to the Tardis threshold, I don't think you're correct to say that his hair should be touching the cloverleaf door stops at all.

Taking into account the caveats which (if memory serves) we both seem to agree on, I have added a couple of perspective lines to the picture which I hope illustrate Mr Pertwee's height in relation to the doors. (The yellow line is the top of his head - the red line is where the yellow one would meet the doors.)

myphoto (25).jpg

If he were to stand up straight, and for the reasons I've tried to explain, we should add in excess of an inch to this position; that would mean that the top of his head would be level with the top of the window panel recess. This - in turn - would mean that the Tardis' doorway is six feet six inches (78") tall.

Does that help?



It does. Thanks Tony! :)
And my apologies if we've been over this one before. It's been a while.



I didn't read Tony's whole thing (sorry Tony), so apologies if he already covered this, but I have two things to say:  

First, look at his feet and at the door sill.  It looks to me like the inside of the TARDIS is lower than the door sill.  Pertwee's heels are clearly on the inside of the TARDIS and it looks like he's got his weight on his heels.  In fact I'd argue that you should take an inch off his height for footwear instead of adding it, because it looks like his arches are at the high point of the door sill while the balls of his feet are lower and his heels are even lower still.  

Second, and judging from the red and yellow lines, I suspect Tony provided a more involved analysis of this, the camera position is crucial to the effect of height.  Actually I think you mentioned it as well and I agree, I can't explain how the camera angle would create this illusion, but I suspect that's a bit of what is happening here.  

In closing, there's been a lot of research done on how tall the doors are and I wouldn't let myself get bogged down by one photo that forces you to rejigger all your build calculations.  I mean, unless that photo is of a tape measure held up against the side of the TARDIS.  ;)  

True, asking "how come..." has lead to some very interesting discoveries here, but sometimes the simplest answer is the best.  
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.