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Cleaning 'Heeled-Over' dirt


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#1 Nick Mulder

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:15 AM

Hi,

I've been doing some home-processing of B&W reversal film (Plus-X 7276) and have been pretty rough with it mostly as it has been for test purposes, but lately some of the footage has come out so nicely (time-contraction/ramping stuff with my new lenses!) that I've been thinking I should learn to take better care of it ...

I can keep scratches and dust to a minimum but what is bothering me is in the drying process my film is getting 'splotches' where the water is drying up to a point and collecting whatever gunk as it goes leaving an area of condensed dry um, well, crap that is visible on projection... I am using a drying agent and have tried all sorts of concentrations but keep getting more or less the same results.

The gunk usually collects on the base side of the film and I'm not sure if thats because of the way I am drying the film or because of different surface tensions from base to emulsion etc... If I have the patience I can clean it off with a q-tip and isopropyl alchohol, but this can leave scratches and takes time time time.

If I were to get a telecine done one day would sending the footage off to be soaked and ultrasonically cleaned be effective ? or is the frame by frame isopropyl just as effective ?

Better still, does anybody have suggestions to avoid these spots in the first place ? I was thinking of drying the film lying sideways so the gunk would collect around the sprockets and out of frame, but this will be logistically awkward to say the least - what is the gunk most likely to caused by ? I thought our clean-green NZ water was pretty fresh...

Perhaps 'gunk' isn't the best descriptive word, its like a thin thin dry crust up to about 3mm in diameter (most are smaller) ... The edge is the hardest to clean, one wipe with some alcohol will clean the centre except the edge that will remain, this is where I have scratched the base by pushing harder... grrr

Any suggestions ?

cheers as always,
nick
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 08:27 PM

I've been doing some home-processing of B&W reversal film (Plus-X 7276) and have been pretty rough with it mostly as it has been for test purposes, but lately some of the footage has come out so nicely (time-contraction/ramping stuff with my new lenses!) that I've been thinking I should learn to take better care of it ...

I can keep scratches and dust to a minimum but what is bothering me is in the drying process my film is getting 'splotches' where the water is drying up to a point and collecting whatever gunk as it goes leaving an area of condensed dry um, well, crap that is visible on projection... I am using a drying agent and have tried all sorts of concentrations but keep getting more or less the same results.

I have been trying to get my courage up to try home processing movie film, so I can't offer advice from experience...

In still photography, one would dip the film for 30 seconds in "Photo-Flo" as the last step. This is an agent that makes the water run off the film better. Then before hanging to dry the film it is given a gentle "swep" with a sponge or one of the tools that look like two oposing windshield wiper blades, paterson in the UK makes one of the better ones. Goal is to have no water spots showing.

Photoflo normaly comes as Photoflo 200, 200 parts water to one part photoflo, typicaly you actually use one capful in a litre of water.

Edited by Charles MacDonald, 30 January 2007 - 08:28 PM.

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#3 David Venhaus

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 09:27 PM

I would recommend using distilled water in that last step, as mention above^^. Any water drops left of the film should then evaporate cleanly with out leaving a residue.
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#4 Nick Mulder

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 11:47 PM

I do use photo-flo in the final wash (a brand variation thereof) - but I dont squeegee or sponge for fear of scratches. I might give it a go on some non-essential footage.

I was thinking of trying a distilled water final rinse and maybe mixing in some meths or isopropyl also for slightly faster evaporation ...

I'd be interested to know how is film dried in proper labs also.
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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 12:25 AM

I do use photo-flo in the final wash (a brand variation thereof) - but I dont squeegee or sponge for fear of scratches. I might give it a go on some non-essential footage.

I was thinking of trying a distilled water final rinse and maybe mixing in some meths or isopropyl also for slightly faster evaporation ...

I'd be interested to know how is film dried in proper labs also.


Fear the drying marks instead of the scratches. Fine scratches in the emulsion don't even show up. Only deep ones from very rough handling or abrasions will be visible in prints or transfers. Drying marks on the other hand can be PERMANENT and WILL show up in prints and transfers. Trust me, I've learned this the hard way. Squeegee your film and use photo flo and distilled water, if not with all chemicals, then at least for the final Photo-flo rinse.

Also, the squeegee isn't what is causing scratches, the dust that accumulates on it is. Prevent this by storing squeegees in a bucket filled to the brim with a photoflo solution or water, with a lid over it to prevent dust from landing in the liquid.

This is all advise from what I've learned in still photography (commercial) as well, but this is all directly applicable to MP, especially with B&W stocks that are, essentially, the same thing as the Plus-X and Tri-X emulsions used by still photographers.

~Karl
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Paralinx LLC

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The Slider

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

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Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Willys Widgets