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#1 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 08:47 AM

When I first started 1st'ing, I was told that I should really avoid rolling out, as you can't check the gate. I found out on my last job(435), in which the 400' rolls were broken down from larger rolls and that the tails and heads of each roll weren't trimmed neatly, more jagged. I found that when you roll out with this that it tears sprockets out and leaves them stuck in the movement. Thus possibly(and did) jamming badly. We still rolled out every time. I've had another DP not care about rolling out and wanting to get every frame possible out of the roll. How bad is it for the film and the camera?
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#2 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:17 AM

Cameras are made to roll out... they have to.

The AC Dept should know how much Film is left and if there is enough for another take. This is extremely important when shooting as you don't want to roll out during an explosion or DiNiro crying... :P But sure.. we roll out all the time.. almost every roll unless we cut and I am told there are 20ft left.. well, then we reload.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:22 AM

I try to roll out when I can, but like David will short end it if I know there's not enough on there for what we need.
In the end, though, Do what those above you want. If the DP doesn't ever want to roll out.. well then... don't, or try not to. Or if they want every possible frame, go for that too!
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#4 K Borowski

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:26 AM

At least when you're shooting 16- or 35mm at normal frame rates, it is perfectly fine.

I don't know why you'd get any torn perfs. with a properly-loaded camera.

One thing you SHOULD watch for, assuming the camera you are working with is anything like mine, is to disengage the motor right after you hear the film detach, or you can pul the lens off and watch for it.

If you have a motor that doesn't have a safety gauge, and a motorized takeup reel, and that takeup rell keeps spinning at the end of the roll, there is the potential to scratch film at the end. Depends on how close to the tail the final shot is there though. It'd have to be quite close. . .
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#5 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:39 AM

The tail of each roll was very jagged and obviously I couldn't do anything about it as it is at the end of the roll, so it tore when we rolled out sometimes and left debris behind. The first time this happened I didn't see any chips so I didn't blow it out resulting in the film not being able to sit properly and jamming hardcore. We rolled out mid-shot everytime but I made it known when we were getting close to end of a roll.

I was told the lab discards something like the last 8'. I marked critical ends on the camera reports.

thanks for the replies.
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#6 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:24 AM

Good work Michael.

Not sure why the ends were (jaggedy).. hmmmm.

Though roll outs can look 'cool'... the last 10ft are usually really dirty.. I am not sure why.. I often trash the remaining 20ft... or save for scratch tests.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:49 AM

Though roll outs can look 'cool'... the last 10ft are usually really dirty.. I am not sure why.. I often trash the remaining 20ft... or save for scratch tests.


That's why I try to always roll out. What if there weren't that protection there?

Reason why beginnings and ends of rolls of film can be dirtier are dust in the air, and bits of fleck deposited in the emulsion (assuming they process the tail first) from incomplete machine cleanup.

You basically get crud stuck in the rollers when you turn most processing machines on every day, and you have to run through some clear Kodak acetate, forget what it's called, basically clear plastic substrate designed to absorb all of said crud.

But it's not perfect. . .
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#8 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:09 AM

That's why I try to always roll out. What if there weren't that protection there?


Yep... it helps to protect during the downloading/ handling process.. and again on the Lab side as well. You are right.. if there are 10 - 20 ft left just roll it out.
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 12:32 PM

I'd be more tempted to not roll out were I shooting with 35, because then I can shoot it in a stills camera, but 16mm "waste" ends are nigh near useless. . .

It doesn't need to be a lot of "tail", I'd say 10 feet is safe. Different labs with different machines and practices, though, will probably each have their own recommendations, so I would be sure to check with your lab to see what they feel is best.
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 03:01 PM

It won't hurt anything, it's just bad form for an AC. You can't check the gate on a rolled out shot so you don't know if you got it cleanly or not. You also then have to take the time to clean any chips of film that tore off when the end went through the movement. Unless you're asked to do otherwise, just reload when there is less than a takes worth of film.
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#11 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 03:54 PM

That's what I thought Chris. Thanks for reaffirming that.
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#12 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 04:23 PM

It won't hurt anything, it's just bad form for an AC.



Chris, are you saying do not roll out?... because this is the first I have heard this having spent 25+ years working in Film...
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#13 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 04:55 PM

I completely second the "do not roll-out" stance. There is no worse offense than losing a take, good or bad, because of your lack of diligence. That is the kind of thing that keeps an AC from getting rehired.

As far as the concern over dirt & scratches on the last 10' or so… You should always roll a few feet of waste through the camera at the end of a roll. Standard practice for eliminating that issue.

David, I think there is an old-school/new-school dichotomy on this and many other topics. Some experienced shooters tend to dismiss these "hard & fast" rules as time- (or film-) wasting obstacles… Personally I prefer the more disciplined approach. Regardless, I'll keep your preferences in mind should we ever meet on-set…
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#14 Chris Keth

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 06:52 PM

Chris, are you saying do not roll out?... because this is the first I have heard this having spent 25+ years working in Film...


Unless I'm told I should always let the camera roll out for some reason, yeah, I try to avoid it. Since you can't ensure the gate was clean and the end of the film was clean and not super scratched, you really need to do another take anyway. Actors usually hate having to cut their performance short because of a roll out. Directors hate getting everyone in the zone and then having to wait a minute to do it over again. It's bad for the ACs because you then have to make sure the body cavity is clean of film chips and the dirt that is at the end bits of every roll.

It's really better for everyone involved to reload before that, rather than wasting the time to do three-quarters of a take when you know you don't have the film to complete it.

I have no problem with going for it if you think you can squeeze a take in such as if you have 180 feet left and the takes have been going 175 feet. What I don't think makes sense is if you've been doing 175 foot takes and you go for another with only 100 feet of film in the camera.

This all assumes I haven't been asked to do otherwise. If production wants me to use every foot of film, I will. It will waste time but at least the loader won't have to short end anything and then add that all up at the end of the day, I guess.

Edited by Chris Keth, 02 April 2009 - 06:54 PM.

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#15 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 06:56 PM

I completely second the "do not roll-out" stance. There is no worse offense than losing a take, good or bad, because of your lack of diligence. That is the kind of thing that keeps an AC from getting rehired.

As far as the concern over dirt & scratches on the last 10' or so… You should always roll a few feet of waste through the camera at the end of a roll. Standard practice for eliminating that issue.

David, I think there is an old-school/new-school dichotomy on this and many other topics. Some experienced shooters tend to dismiss these "hard & fast" rules as time- (or film-) wasting obstacles… Personally I prefer the more disciplined approach. Regardless, I'll keep your preferences in mind should we ever meet on-set…




Rory.. I think you may be reading something into these posts that is not there..

The AC Dept should know how much Film is left and if there is enough for another take. This is extremely important when shooting as you don't want to roll out during an explosion or DiNiro crying... - David Rakoczy


My posts are very clear that it is the AC Depts. responsibility to be sure that a roll out does not occur during a 'take' (see above esp. my first post)... that has been expressed implicitly and that is not acceptable on my shoots for sure!... and that, by the way, is very disciplined...

The question at hand is 'is it bad to roll out.. period'... I say no... we roll out all the time.. the Camera and Film are made for that... as long as the 'roll out' is acceptable to all involved... of course it all depends on what one is shooting..

Did you really get the idea Rory that I run an undisciplined shoot where random roll outs are just a way of life? That could not be farther from the truth.

btw... when I say just roll out the last few feet that is usually done with a Slate covering the Lens...
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#16 David Rakoczy

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 07:10 PM

Unless I'm told I should always let the camera roll out for some reason, yeah, I try to avoid it. Since you can't ensure the gate was clean and the end of the film was clean and not super scratched, you really need to do another take anyway. Actors usually hate having to cut their performance short because of a roll out. Directors hate getting everyone in the zone and then having to wait a minute to do it over again. It's bad for the ACs because you then have to make sure the body cavity is clean of film chips and the dirt that is at the end bits of every roll.

It's really better for everyone involved to reload before that, rather than wasting the time to do three-quarters of a take when you know you don't have the film to complete it.

I have no problem with going for it if you think you can squeeze a take in such as if you have 180 feet left and the takes have been going 175 feet. What I don't think makes sense is if you've been doing 175 foot takes and you go for another with only 100 feet of film in the camera.

This all assumes I haven't been asked to do otherwise. If production wants me to use every foot of film, I will. It will waste time but at least the loader won't have to short end anything and then add that all up at the end of the day, I guess.


I thought I had expressed that (see my first post)... you seem to say 'do not' roll out (ever) if possible.. I find that hard to believe having rolled out hundreds if not thousands of times... doing Episodics, Features, Commercials and Music Videos...

Chris, do you actually tell the Director.. yah, we have one or two takes left on this mag but I want to stop now and break off this roll because rolling out is bad for the camera?

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Just want to check something.. can someone confirm that my posts are indeed in English? :lol:
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#17 K Borowski

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:16 PM

I think my definition (don't know about others') of "rolling out" differs here. After a cut, you check the gate. If it's clean (or not!), at the end of the roll, you roll out. You don't cut the film and let it into the mag without some protective tail at the end. . .

What I'm saying is, that, after a succesful take at the end of a roll, after checking the gate, instead of cutting the rest off, you roll it into the mag, for protection.
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#18 Chris Keth

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:28 AM

Chris, do you actually tell the Director.. yah, we have one or two takes left on this mag but I want to stop now and break off this roll because rolling out is bad for the camera?


I think we're talking about different things. You're talking about pure mechanics, whether the camera cares. I'm talking about whather or not it's right (and the AC's decision) to allow rollouts during scenes. If you'll read my post (which I don't think you did, judging by your kind of snide reply), never once did I say it's bad for the camera. In fact, I said the opposite: that it won't harm the camera one bit. What I'm talking about is wasting everyone's time by shooting the first half of a bunch of shots because doesn't know better than to say "we don't have enough for another one like that."

Let me put it this way: You're shooting some really dramatic scene, lots of preparation with the actors getting into the moment, etc. You're all ready to go. You get halfway into the big tearjerker single, everyone know this is the take, and ROLL OUT. The 1st never said a word about being low on film. You wouldn't be too happy, right?

Edited by Chris Keth, 03 April 2009 - 01:32 AM.

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#19 Chris Keth

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:30 AM

I think my definition (don't know about others') of "rolling out" differs here. After a cut, you check the gate. If it's clean (or not!), at the end of the roll, you roll out. You don't cut the film and let it into the mag without some protective tail at the end. . .

What I'm saying is, that, after a succesful take at the end of a roll, after checking the gate, instead of cutting the rest off, you roll it into the mag, for protection.


BTW, generally you don't roll it back into the mag. If you do it may unfurl in there, being a pain to deal with and possibly scratch the film winding it back tight. I was taught to tear the film loop so you don't mistake it for a fresh mag, leaving the tails outside the mag still, and send it to the loader to be downloaded.
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#20 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:45 AM

As far as rolling out being bad for the camera/magazine, doesn't it depend on the model and vintage of camera and how it has been maintained? I haven't worked a lot with 35mm, but on a recent 35mm short that I shot we had a camera tech on set who was taking apart the Arri 3 mags once a day and cleaning out film chips after we'd used them for high speeds setups. I think he mentioned that the Arri 3 was more prone to film chips than the BL4s we were using for sync sound work, and that rolling out was a no-no (we had to do it a few times anyway). That advice could have been specific to those particular cameras though since they were beaters.
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