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Scratches and mysterious mark on my film?


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#1 Joe Riggs

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 09:08 AM

I'm trying to ascertain what happend, why, and how to avoid it in the future. I guess scratch and camera tests would be a start, any help is greatly appreciated.

The scratches, are present throughout the whole roll, the number of scratches will change, and they turn blue at times, but they are generally in the same area. You can also see the mysterious mark in the upper part of the frame.

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A clearer shot of the mysterious mark, it doesn't move and is present in all the footage. It is a bit more diffcult to diagnosis, in fact my teacher shot some film with the same camera and the same black spot was present, he said he doesn't think it's a hair in the gate or dust because it does not habe the behavioral charcateristics of it. He thinks it may be somehting with the lens.

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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 09:37 AM

My first impression is that it's chemical. Like something happened in the processing. I've never seen a scratch move back and forth across the image like that before when the rest of the image was rock steady. What kind of camera was this shot with? Was it a 100 ft internal load or was it a 400 ft magazine. Could be something flopping around inside the magazine, but again, at first look, it looks chemical to me, like something that happened in processing or final wash.

Best,
-Tim
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 10:17 AM

Chasing scratches is a nightmare. You probably don't need a lot of guessing from us. But, it kind of looks like a bad squeegee in the processor since there appears to be a mix of cutting and wet pressure damage. The digital files aren't really enough for a good determination. Consider getting a microscope off of Ebay. I've got one of those types you use in high school for slides. Assuming the lenses are good enough, you can do a lot of analysis. The lens will adjust finely enough to determine what emulsion layers the damage is in or if it is on the back side. You have to figure out where the damage is and what was a "likely" cause. For example, is the mark at the top film damage or light blockage in the camera's gate. If it is blockage only, but in the path of the scratches, that would point to something hung in the gate that blocked light and scratched the emulsion surface. See what I mean? A $20-30 investment in a microscope can change this guessing into actual evidence leading to a possible solution.

What you can control is your camera. Test, test, test. Do you have a a lot of mags? Did you keep records of what rolls went through what mags? Load the camera short and long (little loops, then big loops) and shoot a notes-slate to indicate what you are testing for each and every test.

Here's the style of microscope that I have. Mine's about 60 years old. It looks just like the new ones except it has changeable instead of a zoom lens. I guess they've made them the same way for a hundred years: http://cgi.ebay.com/...s...93:2|294:50
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 10:46 AM

Load a very short lightstruck short end, and run maybe 3-5 ft of it through the camera. Stop, take the lens off, inch open, and "X" mark the aperture. Open the camera and mark both feed and takeup sides right where they go out of/in to the mag. Carefully unthread, and look with the microscope. If the scratch is from the camera, this'll get you a clue on where in the camera it's happening.

I agree, though, that it does have a chemical look to it, and may be the lab. Scratches that wander from side to side are sometimes caused by hard particles -- like sand -- rolling side to side on the bottom edge of the aperture.




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#5 Tim Carroll

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 01:23 PM

Scratches that wander from side to side are sometimes caused by hard particles -- like sand -- rolling side to side on the bottom edge of the aperture.


That one I've not seen before. Good to know.

Best,
-Tim
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#6 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 02:31 PM

The yellow lines are definitely a pressure mark (chemistry is always splotches or streaks) it could be a squeege (although most labs have gone away from squeeges in ECN in fact out of our Five processors at Cinelab only the B+W reversal machine has a set of Squeeges anymore) but it could also be too long of a loop with the film rubbing just enough in the mag.

The black thing is a piece of dirt in the gate.

-Rob-
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#7 Joe Riggs

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:21 PM

What kind of camera was this shot with? Was it a 100 ft internal load or was it a 400 ft magazine.


The camera was the CP16 R or A - can't recall, but it was the Super 16 one. 400ft magazine.

For example, is the mark at the top film damage or light blockage in the camera's gate. If it is blockage only, but in the path of the scratches, that would point to something hung in the gate that blocked light and scratched the emulsion surface.


We shot two 400ft rolls of Fuji 500d stock. The scratches are only present on one roll, while the mark is on both. Furthermore, the roll shot by my teacher with the same camera/lens displayed the mark but no scratches. While I must do some tests with the camera to be sure, based on the aforementioned info I think the scratches did not result from the mark.

The rolls were processed at Fotokem.

I will be investing in a microscope to hopefully determine what happened.

Thanks

Edited by Joe Riggs, 10 April 2009 - 07:26 PM.

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#8 Dominic Case

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 09:50 PM

I'm with Robert & Paul. Almost certainly in the processing machine. The colour suggests that the top dye layer (yellow ) of the neg has either been scratched right off, or desensitised (pressure sometimes does that). I think it would be early in the process as there is no sign of debris (rough edges) to the scratch, so it has had time to heal over. A microscope would reveal more detail - a healed-over scratch doesn't look like a scratch, just like a blue line - but your lab ought to be able to solve that.
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#9 Joe Riggs

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 06:27 AM

A little update, the black mark was a piece of foam in the gate. Moreover, my buddy dropped off the film at Fotokem, and their reply was:

"The scratch(s) begin right at the head of that second roll number one, and continue throughout that roll. Then the roll after that is scratch-free.

This is an indication that the problem originated in camera. When we process the film, we splice all of the rolls together into one 2000' roll. So the machine doesn't know where one camera roll begins and ends. Any scratches from the developer would scratch the entire 2000', or if there were some foreign object in the machine, it would start and end at random, but again, this scratch affected one complete roll and only one roll.

Anyway, my conclusion is that either the emulsion pile" (I think they are referring to the black mark) "or a film chip lodged in the gate created the scratches, or the material that scratched out of the film created the pile. If you zoom out on the following roll (#2), you can see the pile is still there, but there is also a hair in the gate on the lower left side of frame. It may be that one of the pieces from the pile moved to the other side of the aperture when you changed rolls. "

I'm naive about processing but based on others remarks, I'm not really satisfied with this answer. Are there more insightful questions I could ask Fotokem, that would better reveal if this was caused by the processing?
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 09:03 AM

If you would have done a simple scratch test, which you can process yourself in Dektol and Rapid Fixer you can steal from just about any school darkroom, you could take it out and show it to them as proof that you aren't as fault.

This is what I find frustrating about the notion that "people don't have money for tests". To be honest, this'll be difficult to fix without reshooting. A digital fix will probably cost more.

As for hair in the gate, you should be checking for that after every good take. So the footage is already compromised in that regard.

Even if it were the lab's fault they are, rightfully, hesitant to compensate you because the footage suffers from other problems anyway.

I definitely buy their explanation though.

If you knew about processors, you'd see the logic in what they are saying: Why would a scratch stop and end just on your roll?

Even if it did only affect part of a 2,000-foot (610m) batch, it wouldn't stop and end on your one roll of film exactly?


If you still think it is the lab's fault you can shoot a test again with the same camera and mag, not cleaning or changing anything and shoot a test. Otherwise, you'll have to accept what the lab says because you can't produce results to the contrary.

Please don't take this as criticism. I've made the same mistakes and learned this the hard way when I started out too. You have to learn to test and retest everything with film, eliminate all variables. Think like Sherlock Holmes and scientists utilizing the scientific method. Test each variable individually to ensure all of the things you control are up to spec.'s.

You can even take it a step further, go to the lab, ask to tour their facilities and run test film there from a proven camera to check THEIR equipment out too, before taking any important work.

This is especially important with pushing, pulling, bleach bypass, and any custom processing you want to have done too, as these non-standard processes don't have definable acceptable results and will vary from one laboratory to another.

If you really want to be meticulous, test each lab with an identical test clip from the same camera, and then have someone plug the numbers into a densitometer to read who has the cleanest process. But one step at a time. You need to get your camera checked out first to make sure this doesn't bite you again. AND ALWAYS ALWAYS CHECK THE GATE!

Edited by Karl Borowski, 12 June 2009 - 09:05 AM.

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#11 Patrick Neary

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 09:25 AM

If you would have done a simple scratch test, which you can process yourself in Dektol and Rapid Fixer you can steal from just about any school darkroom, you could take it out and show it to them as proof that you aren't as fault.


Hi-

You don't develop a scratch test, you just run a length of film, pull the take-up side film out and look at it. Adding a development step is unnecessary and adds one more variable to the test which you don't want.
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