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Tyler Purcell

Film base scratch question

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Trying to figure out why everything I'm getting back from fotokem has these weird scratch marks on the base. It's clearly not a camera issue as the marks aren't consistent with camera problems. Also, I have film from different shoots, different day's of processing and different storage/emulsions with the same issue (same camera however). I haven't transferred any of this, but seeing as this issue does show up on older film that has been transferred, I assume it's ok even though some of the film is crystal clear?

 

(Right above that big white streak which is my reading lamp reflection)

film_base_scratch.jpg

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Looks a bit like the film has been pulled tight on the spool, eg. cinch marks.

 

Yea, however... it would have needed to be created at the lab? My camera has a clutch on the takeup and I always put the film in very carefully. I also make it a habit to look at the emulsion before putting it on the back of the camera and between loads and it's always fine.

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Yes, I'd think it very unlikely to happen in camera so I'd say you are right.

 

I just hope it doesn't show up on the scans! EEK!!!! :scared:

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I think it might be okay, but don't quote me, and I'm no expert with scanning (yet). Keep us posted to see how you get on with the scans.

Edited by Jon O'Brien

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Hard to tell for sure, but those look pretty light. A diffuse light scanner should render them invisible. Or a wet-gate with collimated light. But I've seen worse base scratches vanish on our ScanStation due to the diffuse light.

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Hard to tell for sure, but those look pretty light. A diffuse light scanner should render them invisible. Or a wet-gate with collimated light. But I've seen worse base scratches vanish on our ScanStation due to the diffuse light.

 

Thanks Perry, good to know.

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I think it might be okay, but don't quote me, and I'm no expert with scanning (yet). Keep us posted to see how you get on with the scans.

 

Thanks Jon, I will!

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You should have a discussion with Fotokem. I have had a long running problem with a 'stickiness' issue with them. In a looping system the film just will not slip against itself until I treat it with a solvent. Fotokem have never given me any satisfactory answer and "we have never had this problem before" just isn't helpful. It seems that your 'cinch' marks are another lab issue. But don't expect any resolution...

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You should have a discussion with Fotokem. I have had a long running problem with a 'stickiness' issue with them. In a looping system the film just will not slip against itself until I treat it with a solvent. Fotokem have never given me any satisfactory answer and "we have never had this problem before" just isn't helpful. It seems that your 'cinch' marks are another lab issue. But don't expect any resolution...

Yeeep... I do think it's a lab issue and no they won't do anything about it. Also, every roll I get back from them seems to be poorly washed, it wrinkles and smells like chemicals.

 

Roger Deakins said it best... the old film workflow is gone. Nobody on the west coast does lab work like it use to be done.

 

Also...

 

I tore my camera apart last night and looked at every surface, most importantly the loop guides top and bottom of the magazine, as the scratches are patterned along with each frame. I couldn't find anything wrong and I have a habit of making tight loops, so the film should never touch the loop guides anyway.

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Yeeep... I do think it's a lab issue and no they won't do anything about it. Also, every roll I get back from them seems to be poorly washed, it wrinkles and smells like chemicals.

 

The final rinse contains a formaldelyde preservative which isn't supposed to be washed off, so it should smell a bit of that. What it shouldn't smell of is fixer.

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The final rinse contains a formaldelyde preservative which isn't supposed to be washed off, so it should smell a bit of that. What it shouldn't smell of is fixer.

 

Sure, it's just... it smells more then normal. For instance, if I send a roll to Fotokem and they throw it on a 35mm line, it smells fine. On the 16mm line, it smells like chemicals. I don't remember what fixer smells like anymore, it's been years since I've been in a dark room. :(

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Even back in the 'good old days' film was a slightly imperfect medium. I can remember some new prints of major films had occasional defects on them even back in the early 80's when the film workflow was at its peak. Part of the charm and at least it informs the audience what medium they're watching.

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I have a habit of making tight loops, so the film should never touch the loop guides anyway.

 

No, it shouldn’t, but the mass of film in intermittent motion is so small that you can afford to have loops of the best size. You relieve the camera of mechanical strain and give the film more play. One perf more in both loops makes a significant difference. If anxious, you can run a closed welded loop of a thin polyester stock together with the raw stock, depending on the camera model. I have done that with Paillard-Bolex H-16s, it also dampens the claw noise. Be sure to set the auxiliary stock loops one perf smaller than the taking film’s.

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Sure, it's just... it smells more then normal. For instance, if I send a roll to Fotokem and they throw it on a 35mm line, it smells fine. On the 16mm line, it smells like chemicals. I don't remember what fixer smells like anymore, it's been years since I've been in a dark room. :(

Fixer has an acidic smell. Stabiliser is more soapy.

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