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Help, plastic core came off shot 16mm film.


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I've been shooting my first ever short film on 16mm, and things have gone pretty well but I just had a speed bump.

While unloading one of my mags in my changing bag I accidentally pushed the plastic core out, so now my film has no core but it is still wound tight holding its shape. I attempted to try and fit the core back on but was unsuccessful so I resealed it and put it back in the light tight box it came in out of fear of damaging it or it coming undone. Will a development lab still be able to process my film?  

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Hi Elliott, 

I'm guessing you're going to be shipping your film somewhere else for processing.  Film is pretty resilient.  The worst that could happen is that the film in the center of the reel relaxes a little bit and has some room to move around; as a result, any bits of dust or debris that's currently sandwiched between the emulsion and the base could possibly make small scratches if the film moves around as the reel becomes less taught during transport.  If you have to send it to the lab this way, make sure you note that the core is missing before you send it to the lab.  I think lab employees appreciate it when you tell them about darkroom surprises in advance. 🙂

If you have some time to deal with it before you ship the film - If that reel didn't roll out during the middle of a performance (which, if it did, you should mark that roll as having a 'critical end'), you could always trim a tiny bit of film out from the center, and the core should be able to fit in the center of the roll again.  

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Do try to twist the core back in. For success turn it with its slot away from the film end and as parallel to the coil as possible. Search the entry, so to say, gently. Once it holds there you can give it a whack. To ease you can snap off about a foot of film.

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1 hour ago, Daniel Klockenkemper said:

Hi Elliott, 

I'm guessing you're going to be shipping your film somewhere else for processing.  Film is pretty resilient.  The worst that could happen is that the film in the center of the reel relaxes a little bit and has some room to move around; as a result, any bits of dust or debris that's currently sandwiched between the emulsion and the base could possibly make small scratches if the film moves around as the reel becomes less taught during transport.  If you have to send it to the lab this way, make sure you note that the core is missing before you send it to the lab.  I think lab employees appreciate it when you tell them about darkroom surprises in advance. 🙂

If you have some time to deal with it before you ship the film - If that reel didn't roll out during the middle of a performance (which, if it did, you should mark that roll as having a 'critical end'), you could always trim a tiny bit of film out from the center, and the core should be able to fit in the center of the roll again.  

Thanks so much for the advice! 

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On 6/15/2020 at 7:45 AM, Elliott Atkinson said:

I've been shooting my first ever short film on 16mm, and things have gone pretty well but I just had a speed bump.

While unloading one of my mags in my changing bag I accidentally pushed the plastic core out, so now my film has no core but it is still wound tight holding its shape. I attempted to try and fit the core back on but was unsuccessful so I resealed it and put it back in the light tight box it came in out of fear of damaging it or it coming undone. Will a development lab still be able to process my film?  

no problem whatsoever.......don't worry about it......film isn't nearly as 'fragile' as people who dont shoot it think.....core or no core....who cares...send to lab.....as long as wound tight into a rod you won't have problems

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If you can’t get the core back in, I would wrap the black bag around the exposed film firmly before putting it back into the can. So hopefully it won’t unravel too much in transit to the lab.

Also it’s good practice to make a tape label that says ‘No Core’ on the film can so the lab technician knows ahead of time. 

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17 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

If you can’t get the core back in, I would wrap the black bag around the exposed film firmly before putting it back into the can. So hopefully it won’t unravel too much in transit to the lab.

Also it’s good practice to make a tape label that says ‘No Core’ on the film can so the lab technician knows ahead of time. 

I did that, thanks for the advice.

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