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Marta Teixeira P. Simoes

Scratches on developed super 16mm footage

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I just got back some super16 footage from the lab and the scan from one roll is showing scratches on the right side.

I was very surprised by this, since we were using a magazine that caused no problems in previous footage on the same project. 
I can't think of anything out of the ordinary that might have happened during the shooting this day to cause such a big damage.
We shot with an Arri SR3 that was well maintained and maybe no weird noises.
I'm already double checking with the lab if this is really in the negative or if there's any chance that it's due to a malfunction during the scan but would love to get another opinion.
Attached some stills where the scratches are visible.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!




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Is it a rental house camera? Was it an SR3 mag or an SR2 mag modified for S16? Anyone do a scratch test before you took the camera out?

Looks like multiple scratches, shifting position, all on the S16 expanded area.

Was the camera kept clean? Looks like a big piece of something stuck in the gate at the bottom right of every image. 

Did you notice emulsion dust when you removed the mag?

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It is a rental house camera.

It was kept clean - we used compressed air every time the magazine had to be switched, both on the magazine and camera. We didn't do a scratch test, but we have footage from previous days of the same magazine (and camera) with no scratches.

I'm not sure about the emulsion dust, but I'll check with 1st AC.

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A colored scratch would indicate that it’s on the emulsion side, no? Maybe a film chip above the gate caused it? I notice the gate isn’t clean, the sharp edges and odd shape might indicate a film chip. Did you have any torn perfs while loading/unloading? 

For fixing, does anyone do a wet-gate scan these days? 

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I've had this happen before with Fotokem recently on two films, one 16 and 35mm. I believe in my case because I had them build the reels in-lab, one of their rollers damaged the film. Sadly they've been closed since Covid and I haven't been able to get in touch with them to figure out why. I just hope other people haven't had the same issues. 

The Arri Scan has a great infrared filter, which can help remove scratches like this. Many other scanners don't, so you'll see them more often. 

You'll know if its the camera or not, if the scratch is on ALL the rolls you shot (different magazines) or just one. 

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I just heard from the lab. Just like Satsuki mentioned, they confirmed that since it has a colored scratch it's in the emulsion.

I think the director already found a way to disguise it, hopefully the footage will not be lost!

Thank you all for the insights, it's been helpful.


Edited by Marta Teixeira P. Simoes

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