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Film Counters on film mags


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#1 Luc Allein

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:03 AM

So Im relatively new to the film loading game, and I'm having trouble finding out if these things are reliable or not. Some say yes, some say NEVER trust them. I mean sometimes you're in a hurry and have to flip a mag and make a short end, and you have no camera report to go on but you DO have the film counter. Can you go by this? And if not, what the hell do they have them on there for?? And how could the thing be so innacuarate, it's touching the actual film inside the mag. What do you guys say?
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:14 AM

So Im relatively new to the film loading game, and I'm having trouble finding out if these things are reliable or not. Some say yes, some say NEVER trust them. I mean sometimes you're in a hurry and have to flip a mag and make a short end, and you have no camera report to go on but you DO have the film counter. Can you go by this? And if not, what the hell do they have them on there for?? And how could the thing be so innacuarate, it's touching the actual film inside the mag. What do you guys say?


Hi,

It's only measuring the diameter of the film roll. If 400' & 0' are correct, not much to go wrong IMO.

Stephen
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 12:11 PM

The Aaton XTR & LTR mags are pretty spot on accurate, and they just measure the diameter of the roll as it spools down. Most small 16mm cameras like the Scoopic & Bolex do quite well.

The counter on the SR & SRII's mags that I've used have never been accurate. Luckily, with the SR3 & 4 it's a digital counter on the camera body...so if you get an SR or SRII, it helps to have it modified with a digital counter

:)

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 11 June 2007 - 12:12 PM.

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#4 Luc Allein

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 02:02 PM

So the Arri's are fairly accurate, but what about Panavision mags? I work with those the most. The loader on the job that I just worked on (as a camera PA but helped load quite a bit) said "never ever EVER go by film counters..." But I'd never heard that stressed so strenuously.
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#5 Simon Miya

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 02:26 PM

They are certainly accurate enough to decide whether a short end is long enough to keep or not. Wait until you get the report to decide the precise length of the short end - put the canned SE aside with all the other information filled out, including which roll it came from (ie "A23 SE"), and then finish the label as soon as you get your hands on the report.

I've always found them pretty accurate, but I still cross check them against the reports before deciding on a final number for the SE length. This accuracy varies from mag to mag, and it's always a good idea to cover your ass. ;)
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#6 Ralph Keyser

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 03:23 PM

The Panavision counters seem about as accurate as the mechanical Arri or Aaton counters. A lot depends on where the magazine came from and how hard it's been abused. From that point of view, I might even trust a Panavision mag a little more. It doesn't take a lot, however to be off by 20 or 30 feet, so a good camera report is better than the counter on the mag. If you don't have one of those, then the counter on the mag is probably better than your guess, unless your crytsal ball is better than mine :)
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 05:11 PM

Yes but don't expect it to be more accurate than plus or minus 25 feet or so. They're not usually marked in enough increments to be extremely accurate.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 05:36 PM

Yes but don't expect it to be more accurate than plus or minus 25 feet or so. They're not usually marked in enough increments to be extremely accurate.


Has anyone run into extra large 35mm cores on short end rolls, I think from the fact that the short end came from a 2000' roll? This can throw you off when you get near the end of a roll. It's been a long time since I shot short ends but I seem to recall running into this problem now and then.
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 07:23 PM

Has anyone run into extra large 35mm cores on short end rolls, I think from the fact that the short end came from a 2000' roll? This can throw you off when you get near the end of a roll. It's been a long time since I shot short ends but I seem to recall running into this problem now and then.

Yes, you can feel the big core when you load it. You have to subtract something, IIRC about 60 ft. You can put an empty big core in the mag and get the exact number. Write "Big core -60 ft" or whatever on a piece of tape, and put it on the mag near the gauge.

I figure those roller arm mag gauges are sort of like the gas gauge in a car. Not a high precision device, but plenty good enough to know whether to stop at the next gas station or the next take. ;-)



-- J.S.
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#10 daria gupalo

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 09:15 PM

Some older mags, like SR-3 mags, 435 (don't get me wrong - relatively old) do really measure just the diameter of the roll left on your feed side... But..

Moviecam SL, Moviecam Compact, Arricam Studio and Arricam Lite and even Arriflex 535 mag counters work a bit different. They read the puls of the turning shutter and thus get the reading of the film left - one turn of a shutter - one frame, right? so... As soon as the electronic system and correspondence with the mags are fine - you have a pretty accurate reading.

Though, don't forget, even factory presets on a 1000 footer mag will be 990 (to give you 10 feet for a bad load, "safety" film on the take-up roller and so on... so :rolleyes: well, you figure that out...


good luck
d
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 10:23 PM

All true, Daria.

Could you change your display name to your full first and last name, please? It's a rule on this forum.
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#12 daria gupalo

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 11:06 PM

All true, Daria.

Could you change your display name to your full first and last name, please? It's a rule on this forum.



sorry :rolleyes: did not know the rules....
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