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Breaking Down Large Rolls of Unexposed Film


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#1 Hal Smith

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 09:59 AM

Any advice or tricks on breaking down 1,000 foot rolls of 5285? I got a heckuva deal on some recans/long ends and need to break them down to 400/200 foot rolls. I've got access to a good darkroom and own a pair rewinds with tightwinds on them. Obviously I'll need to get some 400' cans and bags but there's got to be some tricks I don't know about.
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 10:52 PM

Any advice or tricks on breaking down 1,000 foot rolls of 5285?

1) remember to wind and then rewind to keep the same end out, or your footage numbers will be backwards.
Other than that I have only played with 16mm so there are proably some traps excluive to the big guys.
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#3 Bob Hayes

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 03:33 PM

I used to rewind 16mm to make daylight loads. I used a coupe of 16mm cameras in a dark bathroom. It worked surprisingly well. The lab freaked out because the edge numbers were on the wrong side. Besides that it was fine.
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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 07:02 PM

Assuming you are winding tight, you can measure the diameter of the reel with a caliper or something until you get it just right, or the number of turns. If you'd like I can see if I can find better, more exact info.

Oh, and, of course, the nice thing about a 1,000-foot roll, even if you get angry at it and sping several turns onto the floor, you've still got hundreds and hundreds of feet left :-)

100-footers you have to be nicer to.
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#5 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:57 PM

Assuming you are winding tight, you can measure the diameter of the reel with a caliper or something until you get it just right, or the number of turns.

AH yes, to do a 100ft roll on a 16mm daylight spool takes something like 41-2 turns of your average rewind, and you can feel that the film is a bit below the flange of the daylight spool.

YOu can probaly use a chart to get a good idea of the size of say a 400 ft load. A bit of rough masking tape on some smooth cardboard (or on the rewind itself) would give you a tactile guide to when your roll was full. I did this once when I foolishly bought a 400 ft roll of 5222 to use in my still camera, and had to break it to 200 ft to fit my Alden 200 Loader. In that case I made a winder out of a Kitchen sink cutout, and used masking tape to mark the point where the roll would fit in the loader. I wound off 200 ft and put the rest away, then put the roll in the bulk loader. once I used it I put the rest of the roll in the bulk loader. (20 years later I have still not used it all, but have a clearer understanding of why you don't really want to use movie film for stills.)
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#6 Simon Wyss

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:11 AM

there's got to be some tricks I don't know about.

We use footage counters in the darkroom to cut exact portions. The numbers within the counters themselves are painted with Rucolux, a so called safety lacquer. Before switching off the lights we flash them.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:26 AM

We use footage counters in the darkroom to cut exact portions.


That's cheating! :-p
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#8 Simon Wyss

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:46 AM

I'd rather say it's eating (from bulk). :)
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#9 John Gorski

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 01:23 PM

I wound 40,000 feet down to two 400' and one 200' for a feature that got a special deal from Fuji. Most of the feature was hand-held, so the need to convert. The trick for us was to roll 600' across (we measured with a frame counter on proper camera cores), can and bag the remaining 400'. Roll back another 400', can and bag. Then we took a few feet and twin checked, placing back in the original can, processed to assure no fogging. Then rolled back the final 200', cut a piece off the front that would get exposed to light, processed for scratch test. We figured that part was handled the most and if we did anything to damage the film, it would show here. When we canned the rolls we labeled with the lot number etc. from the original roll. It was a lot of work, but worked great. All the safety checks we built in became unnecessary.

If you count real well in the dark, you can do this.
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#10 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:13 AM

Don't go too fast to avoid static discharge on the film. It's cool to watch it happen but looks bad in dailies. Don't twist the film either or you'll end up with your emulsion facing out and the image will appear red and underexposed.
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:56 AM

Thanks Charles, Bob, Simon, John, Tom, and Karl (See, I do talk to you directly) for sharing your experience and tips. You've all been a great help in helping me to think this through.
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