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arjun kumar

Is all 35mm sensative to light?

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I am going to shoot a feature film (in India) in a couple of weeks but am not sure what film stock to use. I looked on youtube and saw that most camera people load the magazine with film in darkness because the light shouldnt touch the film. Up until now, I have only shot on HD. I want to work with film which doesnt have this "light" problem. Any solutions?

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All film must be loaded in darkness as all film is light sensitive. It's how it records.

The exception is film on a day-light spool, such as accepted by certain 16mm cameras. Even then, the film is light sensitive, but itis protected by it's layers and spool so a minimum amount of it is exposed on loading.

Film stocks are normally chosen for their speed vs how you're attempting to create your look and a myriad of other reasons...

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All film must be loaded in darkness as all film is light sensitive.

 

This bears repeating!

 

You need to load rolls of film in a darkroom or changing bag, in TOTAL darkness. The only exception is the short metal daylight spools but even those can get fogged if you're not careful, and generally you only see them used in 16mm for an Arri-S or Bolex, for a short internal load.

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I am going to shoot a feature film (in India) in a couple of weeks but am not sure what film stock to use. I looked on youtube and saw that most camera people load the magazine with film in darkness because the light shouldnt touch the film. Up until now, I have only shot on HD. I want to work with film which doesnt have this "light" problem. Any solutions?

 

Hi Arjun,

 

what role will you fullfill on that production? Is it going to be a professional show or are you doing this for yourself? Because I, for one, would never ever even attempt to shoot a feature in a format I am not totally comfortable in. And judging from your question you are not too familiar with film.

 

Cheers, Dave

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All film must be loaded in darkness as all film is light sensitive. It's how it records.

The exception is film on a day-light spool, such as accepted by certain 16mm cameras. Even then, the film is light sensitive, but itis protected by it's layers and spool so a minimum amount of it is exposed on loading.

Film stocks are normally chosen for their speed vs how you're attempting to create your look and a myriad of other reasons...

 

Out of curiosity, what about Aaton A minima cartridges, are they sealed units like Super8 cartridges?

 

(Super8 is of course also film that comes in light sealed cartridges)

 

love

 

Freya

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Out of curiosity, what about Aaton A minima cartridges, are they sealed units like Super8 cartridges?

 

(Super8 is of course also film that comes in light sealed cartridges)

 

love

 

Freya

 

Although I haven't handled them myself, I understand they are 200ft daylight spools similar in concept to "standard" 100ft daylight spools ...except the A-Minima spools are specific to the Aaton and not compatible with 'normal' Kodak 200ft spools as used in the likes of the Beaulieu R16 200ft magazine.

 

The A-Minima spool consist of two removable plastic flanges which clip onto a central core, designed specifically for the camera (according to the A-Minima user manual). About 5ft of film gets fogged whilst loading the film and about 2ft whilst unloading it. The other subtly is that the A-Minima loads are 'inside out' compared to more usual film spools, in that the emulsion is wound facing outwards rather than inwards.

 

 

 

Regarding the OP, video tapes record picture information as a variation in magnetic data - and as such shouldn't be exposed to strong magnetic fields as they will corrupt the data. Film records the image as variations in light levels, and in the same way should be protected from exposure to light (until processed). The tricky part with motion picture film is that inside the can (and light proof plasic bag) it is supplied as raw unprotected film, unlike in a stills camera where the sensitive film is contained within a light-tight cartridge or wrapped around a spool and protected with light-blocking paper.

 

The process of transferring the coil of sensitive film from the can to the camera magazine has to be carried out in total darkness else the film will be ruined. Once the film is loaded in the magazine only a small section of it is exposed to light at any one time, which means the magazines can be clipped on and off the camera in daylight. Obviously unloading the film from the magazine and returning it to the film can also needs to be carried out in total darkness as well! How easy it is to load the magazine in total darkness varies according to the design of magazine, some being a lot easier than others ...says he who's never loaded a magazine in his life! Lol :lol:

Edited by Ian Cooper

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Out of curiosity, what about Aaton A minima cartridges, are they sealed units like Super8 cartridges?

They are not cartridges. They are plastic daylight spools made of two halves that snap together. The same care needs to be taken as with metal daylight spools, but extra caution should be exercised because the spools are flexible, so the potential for light leak is greater.

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you might load already developed film, it is not sensitive to light anymore.

another advantage is that you will surely end up with SOMETHING on it!

 

to answer your question in all seriousness, all film has this "light problem", thats how film works.

Edited by Alex Haspel

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A-Minima daylight spools work just as good as regular 100' metal spools, as long as one doesn't bend the sides in or out.

As much as I like Aaton, those A-Minima cams are a pain to load. I wouldn't recommend anyone shooting a longer project on that camera unless there is someone who has loaded the mags before avaiable for loading. Nice camera, just a pain to deal with when loading it. But then I would recommend anyone shooting a long project on a format or equipment they haven't worked with before, as Dave Auner suggests . . .

Edited by Saul Rodgar

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Arjun, are you really a DP as your avatar says? Or is one of our members pranking us here?

 

Because seriously and with no offense at all, and as said above based on your question, you shouldn't go anywhere near film at this point. You have too much to learn about film before you can even consider using it.

 

Which means Ian's post above is going to be WAY over your head, and a waste of bandwidth.

Edited by Ira Ratner

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There is something about film loading that brings out extremist puritan in people

 

If what you are doing involves unwinding the film so that the emulsion surface is directly opened to whatever environment you are handling it in, then most definitely yes, this has to be done in total pitch, absolute darkness. Such situations include processing, winding unprocessed film onto different spools etc.

 

But if you are simply taking a spool of film out of its can and loading it into a magazine, a tiny amount of light leakage into the room is never going to be an issue. But I've had people insist on sitting in the mag changing room for 20 minutes beforehand, just so they can see if there are any pinpoints of light peeping through. Others make a big show of removing their wristwatches in case the luminous dial fogged the film!

 

As far as I'm concerned, you are more likely to accidentally expose stock to light using a change bag than a well-constructed darkroom, but nobody is aware of this fact, simply because of the massive overkill involved. If you really want to go over the top, you can use your change bag in the darkroom!

 

But on the other hand, I have seen one idiot using a change bag out in the open in broad daylight! A sensible rule is to find the most subdued lighting you can to use the change bag in, but not all people on film sets are sensible, not by a long shot...

 

As IRa says, if you have to ask a question like that, maybe you should stick to videotape.

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But if you are simply taking a spool of film out of its can and loading it into a magazine, a tiny amount of light leakage into the room is never going to be an issue.

 

Remember film comes on spools and cores -- daylight spools allow some handling in light (hence their name), but film on cores does not, not even a little light, and certainly not in the time it takes to load a magazine.

 

Remember that a film frame is only exposed for 1/48th of a second at 24 fps, so it doesn't take much time to expose film... Sure, a roll briefly exposed to light is likely to only be edge-fogged since the core was not unwound, but that doesn't make it an acceptable practice.

 

High-speed stocks are so sensitive that they have shorter warehousing times because they start to collect too many hits from natural radiation, etc.

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Remember film comes on spools and cores -- daylight spools allow some handling in light (hence their name), but film on cores does not, not even a little light, and certainly not in the time it takes to load a magazine.

 

Remember that a film frame is only exposed for 1/48th of a second at 24 fps, so it doesn't take much time to expose film... Sure, a roll briefly exposed to light is likely to only be edge-fogged since the core was not unwound, but that doesn't make it an acceptable practice.

 

High-speed stocks are so sensitive that they have shorter warehousing times because they start to collect too many hits from natural radiation, etc.

 

I'm not saying you should load without a change bag under normal lighting, but some people can be complete pains in the arse by wanting to go ludicrously over the top. If there's still enough light to see by, then yes, that's probably too much. Although, when I've shot test rolls on cameras being serviced, I just used to load in the darkroom I normally used for doing PC board negatives. After 15 minutes you could actually see well enough in there to walk around, and I never saw any sign of film fogging, even right at the edges. Since I was only doing steady tests and the like I didn't really care overmuch, but I really think that this is one of those refractory notions that have grown up from people concocting stories to cover their results of their own ineptitude. Or it's an easy way for people to show the production company that they're on the ball.

 

The idea that a minute pinprick of light that you can only just see after 15 minutes in the dark ("see" not "see by") is going to fog film tightly wound on its roll is ridiculous, but some people seem firmly convinced that it can.

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I'm not one to laugh at "noobs", but this one made me chuckle.

 

Just goes to show ya the ignorance arising as we move deeper and deeper into the digital age.

 

My 60 year old father, who is not a photographer/filmmaker by any means, understands the principles of celluloid and SLR still cameras (to my recent surprise). For his generation it's basically all second nature, just as pointing and shooting with a palmcorder would be for the latest generation.

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A couple of years ago I had young visitors to my home. I'm not living there anymore. We had an old wall telephone there from 1931. It's got a dial and it is black. When the youngsters wanted to use my phone they plugged the finger into the round holes, in the succession of the number to be composed, and waited for a connection. They had no idea of turning the disc. I stood there left with a mixture of feelings between amusement and fear.

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Well it does have an Aaton Penelope loading demonstration (in french).. and an SRII if I recall. So it can be useful.

 

I fired a loader because he couldn't do the job worth poop, even though his resume said he had experience loading that camera. Turns out what he meant by "experience" is that he watched a video (possibly on youtube) demo of how to load it. :angry:

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Damn Chris. That certainly sucks! You'd think the guy'd've at least made it over to a rental house after getting the gig to get himself up to speed on it. Looking at the demo I saw online, didn't look incredibly complicated... but at the same time I'd not want to dick a production on it....

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Damn Chris. That certainly sucks! You'd think the guy'd've at least made it over to a rental house after getting the gig to get himself up to speed on it. Looking at the demo I saw online, didn't look incredibly complicated... but at the same time I'd not want to dick a production on it....

 

Well, I learned my lesson and now take the problem not as his inexperience but rather in my failure to ask the right questions or find a loader someone I know could vouch for.

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I fired a loader because he couldn't do the job worth poop, even though his resume said he had experience loading that camera. Turns out what he meant by "experience" is that he watched a video (possibly on youtube) demo of how to load it. :angry:

 

NICE!

 

Then again, in my experience ("200 foot 16mm cameras" being the exception to the rule) if you've seen one you've seen 'em all.

 

I can probably learn to load a camera proficiently (except for maybe a Technicolor) with a thorough read-through of the manual and 5 minutes in the light :-)

 

Some people, though, doy, a few cards short of a full deck. Like the loader that loaded the film emulsion-in for the 1-camera shot of a real house burning down, or the guy that got burned here because of some loader who re-canned shot film. :blink:

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A couple of years ago I had young visitors to my home. I'm not living there anymore. We had an old wall telephone there from 1931. It's got a dial and it is black. When the youngsters wanted to use my phone they plugged the finger into the round holes, in the succession of the number to be composed, and waited for a connection. They had no idea of turning the disc. I stood there left with a mixture of feelings between amusement and fear.

 

Holy crap.

 

That had to be a real interesting moment. And when you think about it...

 

My boys are 17 and 12, and if I stuck a Princess phone in front of them, I don't think they would know what to do either.

 

But for those of you in my age group (50), when the Princess came out, it was the coolest thing ever and the best invention since sliced bread.

 

For girls, of course, because the phone companies, or Ma Bell, weren't idiots:

 

They knew that it was women/teenage girls who yacked on the phone for hours on end, and styled a phone just for them.

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Damn Chris. That certainly sucks! You'd think the guy'd've at least made it over to a rental house after getting the gig to get himself up to speed on it. Looking at the demo I saw online, didn't look incredibly complicated... but at the same time I'd not want to dick a production on it....

This seems to be a "guy thing".

 

In my experience anyway, female assistants faced with a piece of equipment they've never used before will make time to come in a day or so before and ask if they can have a play with it, get someone to show them the peculiarities of it, get the names and phone numbers of people who they can call if they have trouble and so on.

 

"Boys" will typically turn up ten minutes before closing time looking like they've just got out of bed, wanting a quick "run through".

 

Not everybody is like that of course, but many places have a "on set" service policy of either:

 

A. If it's actually faulty, we're not likley to be able to fix it in the drafty old warehouse you're probably shooting in or:

B. We're not here to teach you how to do your job.

 

(Obviously if it's a totally new device that nobody has used before, then allowances will be made, but you're still expected to make time to get up to speed beforehand)

 

If it's "A", and we have a spare available you can come in and get it, otherwise, that's what insurance is for. (Unless you are either a very good customer, its a very big job, the tech is amenable to a free lunch, or it's on something really cool like the set of Star Wars III :lol: )

 

Needless to say, "B" most often turns out to be the problem.

 

The most common allegation I used to encounter was "Batteries that don't hold charge"

Which almost invariably translates to: "The camera assistant forgot to charge them".

 

It's got a dial and it is black. When the youngsters wanted to use my phone they plugged the finger into the round holes, in the succession of the number to be composed, and waited for a connection. They had no idea of turning the disc.

You would be amazed at how many assistants would return Video assist decks because they didn't know you have to press "Rec" and "Play" at the same time to start recording.

 

I think the best one I ever encountered was the person who managed to scam a complete SRII S-16 package for insurance cost only, so that they could make a trailer for a film on the usual basis that if and when they they were able to secure financing, they would come back to us for a full rental package for the whole film.

 

They actually had a Sony Video-8 9" combo, and on that there's a little red lever you have to slide sideways to start recording. They came back complaining that it didn't work, all that they could get on playback was these "weird white blobs".

 

I immediately tried it out and it worked perfectly. Then when my test playback ended, there was suddenly an underwater picture of a platypus on the screen!

 

Turned out the last person to use the recorder was doing a wildlife doco on the platypus, and the white blobs were from a video tap on a camera in an underwater housing, where light was coming down the optical viewfinder!

 

They were just pressing on the red lever to try to get it to record...

 

(A very common repair on those was re-fitting the red lever after the assistant had pushed it through the front panel in a vain attempt to get it to record!)

 

The normal rental charge would have been $300 so the insurance was only $30, and would you believe they actually wanted a refund!

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the only film (that i know of) that compensates (sort of) for this sensitivity to light when loading is 35mm film used in photographic cameras for taking pictures (its same kind of film, but how its kept in "cassettes" differs; im not sure how 35mm film for cinema cameras is "packaged" up).. u can load that 35mm film in the day because you are given a length of "extra" film before you actually can take photos but ITS IMPOSSIBLE FOR FILM TO NOT BE SENSITIVE TO LIGHT OTHERWISE IT DEFEATS ITS OWN PURPOSE.. IT HAS TO BE SENSITIVE TO LIGHT IN ORDER TO RECORD AN IMAGE.. THE EMULSION PARTICLES (GRAINS OF SILVER) ARE WHAT "BURN" WHEN LIGHT HITS THEM LIKE HOW PIXELS ON A CAMERA CAPTURE LIGHT TOO.. ONLY THIS IS PHYSICAL AND NOT ELECRONIC, THINK OF FILM AS BEING A STRIP OF PIXELS.. IF U EXPOSE THAT FILM WITH HUNDREDS OF PIXELS ON IT, ITS DONE, ITS OVER, IT CANT BE REUSED, RIGHT? THEREFORE FILM CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE EXPOSED TO LIGHT PREMATURELY IF YOU INTEND ON USING IT TO CREATE AN IMAGE/PHOTOGRAPH OR RECORD ANY FORM OF LIGHT WITH IT

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