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Is it live DUST, or is it Memorex?


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#1 Terry Mester

Terry Mester
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Posted 10 September 2008 - 09:27 PM

Is it live DUST, or is it Memorex?

You have to be old enough and have lived in North America to get the pun of that title. ;)
We of course have all observed what appears to be dust on our Films. The dust appears to be in the Image, and so we assume that the dust was on the Film in the original Cartridge. Well, think again! When recently reviewing a Reel manually in my Editor, and coming to dusty Frames, I took a look at the Film Gate, and noticed debris on the Film which looked like mineral deposits. If the Film developer didn't use Distilled Water for their solutions, this is to be expected. Upon wiping away the debris, the dust spots disappeared, and the Image itself was pure!

I want to advise you how to safely remove such debris without scratching the Film. I was going to post the dusting tip below in a future Thread, but I'll include it here. As mentioned below, the easiest way to clean the Film is to load it in your Projector directly between the two Spools, and then manually turn it as you clean it. However, for debris you'll need to use a wet Paper Towel to gently wipe it, and remove the debris without scratching the Film. After successfully removing any debris, use a dry Paper Towel to dry it by just dabbing the Film -- don't wipe it with Paper Towel which is abrasive. This will leave behind Paper Towel fibers on the Film. Once the Film is completely air dried -- you can wave your hand to speed up the drying, then wipe the Film with soft Cotton Cheese Cloth or equivalent soft Cloth to remove any fibers. You can blow it off with your mouth as well. You can only do the foot or so of Film between the Spools at a time, and so it will take a while to do 50 feet. However, you'll only need to remove such debris deposits this one time. You could perhaps do it while watching TV. You'll be pleasantly surprised to find out how much of what you thought was dust on the Image was actually not. If you order Telecine as part of a developing package, then you're out of luck. You may wish to order Telecine after the fact so that you can clean the Films first. If the developer were to use Distilled Water, the problem of mineral deposits would at least be eliminated. I don't know about other debris in the Developer Solutions, but the final rinse could at least be done with Distilled Water.

Wiping Dust off the Film
An easy method I use to dust off my Film Reels is to directly use the two Spools on the Projector. While manually winding the Film Reel with one hand, use your other hand to gently apply a soft cloth over both sides of the Film. 100% pure Cotton Cheese Cloth will not cause abrasions on the Film, and it is sturdy and will not leave behind tiny threads from the Cloth. I don't recommend trying this with the Projector Rewind running as it runs too fast which could cause abrasions.

Keeping Dust off the Film
The Fan in the Projector is intended to draw in air through the Light Bulb Housing to keep it from overheating and burning out prematurely. Unfortunately it also draws in air through the Film Gate, and this of course will cause dust to form on your Films. A very easy way to thwart this problem is to just apply plastic Saran Wrap to the outer edges of the Film Gate -- except of course where the Film enters on top. Make sure not to cover over any vent holes for the Light Housing. You will find this technique to be extremely effective.
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