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Checking The Gate


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#1 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:24 PM

Hi all,

I have a shoot coming up in Edmonton, Alberta in the dead of winter. It will probably be snowing heavily outside. I'm curious if there is a proper procedure for checking the gate when you are deep in the wilderness and far from a safe warm dry place to check? Is there even one?? ha.

Furthermore, for a newbie like me, if any of you could offer some nice tips on how you prefer to check the gate, just in general, that would be great. I typically just take off the lens and mag and scrape around with one of those skinny wooden stick things if I see anything in the gate. I've only ever worked with the SR3 before and this shoot will be with the 35-III. We're not cropping to 1.85 so I know its important to keep all those hairs out of the frame area. I'm a bit worried if I will have to be checking more or doing anything special.

Thanks very much and sorry for the rather ignorant question,

Evan
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:32 PM

Pull the lens, inch the shutter open, and look. Yes, it's a pain with big zooms. But going from the inside, anything in the aperture can fall out when you take the film out. It'll look fine until dailies tomorrow.

You don't want to take the camera into a warm place if you can avoid it. That's how you get condensation making everything wet. Have the grips rig an umbrella or flag over camera to keep direct snowfall out of it.





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#3 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 07:11 PM

Actually, you don't have to take the zoom off. Zoom all the way in, open the aperture all the way and you can 'see' down the lens with a flashlight if the gate is clean or not.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 02:17 AM

Actually, you don't have to take the zoom off. Zoom all the way in, open the aperture all the way and you can 'see' down the lens with a flashlight if the gate is clean or not.


I would definitely do this if you're on a zoom. If not, just grab your camera cover and get under it to check the gate.
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#5 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:54 PM

Also remember to be liberal with the canned air when changing mags to reduce the possibility of leaving hairs in the gate. Rolling out increases the chances of leaving film chips or hairs in the gate/movement.

Also, there's no such thing as a stupid question. ;)
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#6 Robin Herinckx

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:41 PM

A tip one of my former teachers gave me is to turn the gate away from the wind, to avoid dust etc. to be blown inside the camera. It might sound obvious, but it's still something to keep in mind.
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#7 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 05:36 PM

Great advice, thanks everybody!

Correct me if I'm wrong then, but, is it proper procedure to only take off the lens (if not using a zoom) when checking the gate? Would it make more sense to take off the mag as well, as to spray some canned air through the camera (as you could with an SR3).

Thanks
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#8 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 06:24 PM

Well, you CAN take the zoom off to check it but, it's a hassle, takes more time, and is not necessary. Primes are smaller and can be taken off much quicker and wide primes can't magnify the gate enough to check it. Although you can look through the lens on lenses tighter than 40mm.

When you check the gate your main goal is to see if it is dirty or clean. If it's clean you say 'Good Gate!' and move on, you don't spray air in the gate. If it's dirty then you call out 'Gate's dirty" or something similar to let the AD know that they need to go again. You then clean the gate with an orange stick or canned air. I've never taken a mag off to clean a gate or check it. By taking the mag off you have a greater chance of removing a hair that could be in the gate, so you'd never know if it was there and would think it was clean.
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#9 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:20 AM

By taking the mag off you have a greater chance of removing a hair that could be in the gate, so you'd never know if it was there and would think it was clean.


Yet you wouldn't believe how many times I've seen even good camera assistants here in Europe removing the gate (and less frequently the mag) or pulling film out of it to check for hair. It's never made sense to me, the other methods may take a longer time (speaking of seconds, really) and they are WAY more effective and fail-proof.
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