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Respooling short end to 100 ft spool


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#1 james donovan

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:43 AM

So I am about to buy a 34 meter short end 400 ft reel. 7201 50d. I want to respool it to a 100 ft spool to fit in my bolex. Can i do this sort of thing in a bathroom?

And what would the procedure be? respool it to a new spool and then rewind it back to another ?
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#2 Ian Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:11 AM

So I am about to buy a 34 meter short end 400 ft reel. 7201 50d. I want to respool it to a 100 ft spool to fit in my bolex. Can i do this sort of thing in a bathroom?


Depends whether your bathroom is totally dark or not! ;)

My bathroom doesn't have any windows, but does 'leak' light around the edge of the door. I wait until night, then turn off all other lights in the flat before retreating into the bathroom, closing the door and respooling film.



And what would the procedure be? respool it to a new spool and then rewind it back to another ?


Yes. :)

Just make sure you finally wind the film on the spool in the right direction, with the perfs on the correct side of the spool.
ie. With the spool sitting horizontally and the perfs on the 'bottom', the emulsion should be facing inwards and the film should come off the spool at the bottom towards the left (or off the top towards the right). "____O"

You'll either need a set of rewinds and a split reel to spool the film off the core, or else some other home-brewed equivalent.
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#3 chris descor

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:42 AM

how do you know you've spooled exactly or around 100ft ?
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#4 james donovan

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 07:49 AM

how do you know you've spooled exactly or around 100ft ?



I think the film would fill up the spool so you cant get any more on...

Thanks Ian! Now I have the chance of getting some 7201 short end that is about 9 months old....which I would have to respool...Or there is some 50 D EXR film 100 ft that has been refrigerated...Considering I am on a micro budget...which would you go for...? They are both around 3-4 UK pounds.(or thats how much i will pay for them)

If i go with the EXR i dont have the headache of respooling but its probably 15 years out of date...

If I go with short end I have got to contend with respooling...

What would you do? Decisions, decisions...
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#5 Ian Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 07:55 AM

how do you know you've spooled exactly or around 100ft ?



Generally I've done it by feel, sometimes it works out to be a bit under 100ft, sometimes a little over.

If you've already got a commercial 100ft spool of film, then you can feel how much below the edge of the side cheeks that is, then aim to replicate it yourself.

If you want to be precise; then it is possible to calculate the correct diameter for 100ft of film, then make a gauge to check if you've wound enough on or not.
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#6 Ian Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 08:20 AM

...Thanks Ian! Now I have the chance of getting some 7201 short end that is about 9 months old....which I would have to respool...Or there is some 50 D EXR film 100 ft that has been refrigerated...Considering I am on a micro budget...which would you go for...? They are both around 3-4 UK pounds.(or thats how much i will pay for them)

If i go with the EXR i dont have the headache of respooling but its probably 15 years out of date...

If I go with short end I have got to contend with respooling...

What would you do? Decisions, decisions...



Personally, faced with your choice I'd probably buy both - 100ft of film for £4 is dirt cheap, if the 7201 short end is more than 100ft, then it works out to even better value! Buy it whilst you can.

As to which one to use, that's a harder choice. Even stored in a fridge, the EXR is still 15 years old. You'd probably want to rate that perhaps a stop slower to try and rise above any natural age fog. The 7201 is probably in better condition (assuming it's been kept cool). But if the 7201 is a short-end or recan, then there's always the remote risk the film has been exposed to light and totally fogged! The standard response is to get a clip-test done on the film before using it, but in the past I've not really had labs falling over themselves to help me when I've tried enquiring about getting it done.


What are you planning to film?
How important for you is it to get good results?

Personally I'm only shooting 'home movie' type projects, so if I get naff (or no) results then I haven't got to worry about reshooting. So far I've not a had problem, so the cost saving of using old stock and respooing myself has been significant.

Ultimately, only you can make the decision. If you've got access to suitable facilities respooling in the dark isn't difficult, you just need to be organised about what you're doing.
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#7 james donovan

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:10 AM

Personally, faced with your choice I'd probably buy both - 100ft of film for £4 is dirt cheap, if the 7201 short end is more than 100ft, then it works out to even better value! Buy it whilst you can.

As to which one to use, that's a harder choice. Even stored in a fridge, the EXR is still 15 years old. You'd probably want to rate that perhaps a stop slower to try and rise above any natural age fog. The 7201 is probably in better condition (assuming it's been kept cool). But if the 7201 is a short-end or recan, then there's always the remote risk the film has been exposed to light and totally fogged! The standard response is to get a clip-test done on the film before using it, but in the past I've not really had labs falling over themselves to help me when I've tried enquiring about getting it done.


What are you planning to film?
How important for you is it to get good results?

Personally I'm only shooting 'home movie' type projects, so if I get naff (or no) results then I haven't got to worry about reshooting. So far I've not a had problem, so the cost saving of using old stock and respooing myself has been significant.

Ultimately, only you can make the decision. If you've got access to suitable facilities respooling in the dark isn't difficult, you just need to be organised about what you're doing.


I am filming a personal project but I still care about getting results. Unfortunately I cant care £30 pounds for new stock and all of the processing costs etc. Think I might buy both and shoot both...Could stretch to that possibly...


Looked on your vimeo and your EXR looked lovely...the reds and the greens were really really deep. Do you think that its alot to do with the telecine grading or is it a attribute of the stock itself - the rich colour and all....?
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#8 Simon Wyss

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:12 AM

From the physical point of view you can fill the hundred foot spool until about 1/16" under flange edge. Go as long as you can lace up the camera in darkness.

From the nominal standpoint you have the right to exactly 4000 frames in a row to be cleanly developed uncut. A lab is allowed to splice leader to that. Of course, most labs won't do so but deliver a length of around 108 ft. Some manufacturers supply 110 or 115 ft of raw material. One manufacturer has too short lengths like 104.5 ft. I dare not mentioning the company's name.
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#9 Ian Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:01 AM

I am filming a personal project but I still care about getting results. Unfortunately I cant care £30 pounds for new stock and all of the processing costs etc.


Well of course I care about getting results as well - I don't enjoy wasting money! But if I get my fingers burnt from using old stock then it isn't quite as disasterous as needing to reshoot something before a deadline, or for a paying client! ;)


Think I might buy both and shoot both...Could stretch to that possibly...


Don't forget that EXR and 50D have different looks, so you might struggle to seamlessly intercut between the two in the same project. Also, if you're going to have to push the boat out to afford £8 for 200ft of film, then I'd consider early on the cost of subsequent lab work. I haven't found any labs in the UK prepared to handle quantities less than about 400ft, so by the time you've added VAT and carriage you'd need to be budgetting at around £120-£130 to get your results back.


Looked on your vimeo and your EXR looked lovely...the reds and the greens were really really deep. Do you think that its alot to do with the telecine grading or is it a attribute of the stock itself - the rich colour and all....?



Not really sure to be honest. From what I've read, the EXR stocks were higher contrast than the modern Vision/2/3 series. Add to that the fact that I overexposed it slightly to compensate for fogging (2/3 stop), which will also tend to increase saturation a bit.
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#10 james donovan

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:00 PM

You'll either need a set of rewinds and a split reel to spool the film off the core, or else some other home-brewed equivalent.



Ok so I won the auction...might leave the EXR...I have plenty of 100 ft daylight spools..but i reread your post about having a split reel. How does the 400ft reel look like? Is it like a big version of the 100 ft? can i do the maneuver with 2 100 ft spools because its only 34 metres on the core...thanks for the help
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#11 Ian Cooper

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 02:35 AM

Ok so I won the auction...might leave the EXR...I have plenty of 100 ft daylight spools..but i reread your post about having a split reel. How does the 400ft reel look like? Is it like a big version of the 100 ft? can i do the maneuver with 2 100 ft spools because its only 34 metres on the core...thanks for the help


First of all, 34 metres is only 111.5ft - that will easily fit on just one 100ft spool. A commercial 100ft load of film will actually contain an extra 10 or 20ft of film to allow for some to get fogged whilst you load it in daylight anyway. If you're filling your own spools, then you can get even more than that on with the sides of the spool still protecting it from the light.




The 400ft cans of film don't come on a spool, it's just on a core. ie. there's a central hub, but then the rest of the film is just wound around that with no side support at all. That's the reason why it's essential not to open or handle the film in light - because it will all get fogged! The only film you can safely handle in the light is a "100ft Daylight Load". Any other film you buy is almost guaranteed to be on a core.


The core of film is fairly robust, the friction between the film means it doesn't instantly collapse in a big mess infront of you, but if you tried spooling off with no form of side support at all (not even on one side), then chances are you'll end up with a tangled mess! The split reel is simply a film spool that breaks in two down the middle, you can then put the core of film in the middle and join the reel back together again to support the sides.

However, if you haven't got one, then it isn't essential - there are other ways of doing the same thing on a budget...

When I first started, I enquired about the cost of a split reel and was left choking on the price, a set of new rewinds (needed to wind the film from one spool to the other) aren't the cheapest things in the world either. If you were going to respool large quantities of film, or do it on a frequent basis, then it'd be worth getting the right tools for the job. In my case I just do 400ft or so every now and again.


Rather than perform the procedure vertically, I do it horizontally! That means I only need to provide support for the core of film on one side, and don't need a split-reel! ;) I have a length of wood that I cleaned up and painted with gloss paint, to prevent dust, dirt and splinters from the timber contaminating the film. Fixed in the wood are two metal pins, just the right diameter for a 100ft spool to slip over the top. At the bottom of the pins are a couple of washers (to prevent the spools rubbing on the wood, wearing the paint off and generating dust). For the core of film I have a circular disc of metal of large enough diameter to provide support (could be any rigid material though) with an adapter that's the right diameter to push in the centre of the film core (I think 1" OD rings a bell).

In use, (and in the dark) the core of film goes on one side (left in my case) and an empty 100ft spool on the other. I always work with the perfs at the 'bottom'. I thread the film into the spool, then wind it with my finger until the level of the film is a small step below the edge of the sides. Whilst doing this I'll apply a little pressure with my other hand to the core of film to provide some tension (don't touch the emulsion side of the film!).

I've now got a full 100ft spool of film that's wound as if it's just passed through a camera (ie. the wrong way!). I now put the core of film back in its tin again, then transfer the full 100ft spool to the left and put another empty spool on the right. This time I double check the perfs are at the bottom, then I wind the takeup spool in an anti-clockwise direction. This means when the film has transferred over it's orientated correctly for loading into the camera. Pop the full spool of film back in its can, then turn the lights on - simples! :) ...alternatively, (with the lights still off) get the core of film out and do the whole thing again. If you're respooling a full 400ft can of film, then the last spool will probably hold noticabley less than 100ft - that's because you won't have been too precise on all the previous ones! Lol.


It probably sounds quite complicated how I've written it, in practice there's nothing difficult. You just have to make sure everything is as clean and dust free as possible, and be methodical about how you work so you're not left fumbling in the dark trying to find things, or find you've forgotten what stage you're up to! Personally I always return the core of film back into its can if I'm not actually using it, the last thing I want to do is forget I'd left it sitting on the side when I turn the lights back on! :angry: Lol
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#12 Tanya Bell

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 04:02 PM

So I am about to buy a 34 meter short end 400 ft reel. 7201 50d. I want to respool it to a 100 ft spool to fit in my bolex. Can i do this sort of thing in a bathroom?

And what would the procedure be? respool it to a new spool and then rewind it back to another ?


From memory (!!) yes, but you can use a darkbag...
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#13 Tanya Bell

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 04:04 PM

oh, obviously, check the emulsion is facing the right way when you're done!! :-)
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