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Recommended methofd for cleaning follow-focus disks


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#1 James Malamatinas

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:05 AM

Just wondering what people use to get marks of follow focus disks? I occasionally find it really tough to get some marks off, or even when they do come off they leave smears over the disk.

Does anyone have a fool-proof, quick way of cleaning the disks?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:00 AM

Panchro cleaner. And/or Rubbing alcohol if it's a dry erase marker. If someone did sharpie on it, I learned a trick where you write over the sharpie with a dry erase and then it comes right off.
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#3 David Bowsky

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:07 AM

Oooh.

Gonna try that trick for clearing sharpie marks next time I run into a dirty disk, thanks.

Pancro or ROR work great. I tend to keep a piece of scrap microfiber just for cleaning marks. Also a fan of the vis-a-vis overhead markers. Nice fine points and they erase cleanly.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:10 AM

Yeah David. I didn't know it either till my 1AC Lani out in Albuquerque on my last short showed me-- nice little trick for when someone forgets the difference between sharpie and dry erase... not naming names here.....
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#5 Evan Luzi

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 01:03 PM

Definitely use Pancro or some other alcohol solution like Adrian said.

Sharpie trick is awesome and doesn't just work on the FF disc but also on the slate. It's very handy to write things like the Date on the slate that you don't want to erase until the end of the day. Also good to write everything else if you can't find your dry erase and are pinched for time.

Proof that it works:
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#6 Tom Jensen

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 05:17 PM

Just wondering what people use to get marks of follow focus disks? I occasionally find it really tough to get some marks off, or even when they do come off they leave smears over the disk.

Does anyone have a fool-proof, quick way of cleaning the disks?


Acetone. On that note, I never used them. Too much room for error. Mark the lens. If your follow focus comes loose during a shot, you are screwed. I shouldn't say never because I have used them from time to time when necessary but as a general rule, I avoided them. A stabillo pencil was always my best friend. That or exostet (sp) tape.
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#7 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:39 AM

I'm with Tom on this one. I feel that it's a terrible habit to use the discs at all. Your reaction time is affected when your head is moving and your eyes are shifting to too many places other than looking down the "center line" from the film plane, straight across the lens (thus the numbers on the lens) to the actors or whatever your subject is that you're focusing on. I try to keep my head in one position, looking only at the actor and the numbers on the lens without marking the lens at all. If you already know the distance, what does a mark help out with when you have precise footage engravings on the lens? It just takes some practice. Keep it stupid simple. The discs cause much room for error if the gear slips on the lens or if the disc becomes unseated, etc. Good luck!

G
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#8 Tom Jensen

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 01:32 AM

Well since you agree with me, I will agree with you as well. I did forget to mention the actual marks on the barrel. They are extremely useful. Sometimes you have to mark the lens when you eye focus or the distances are between numbers. I marked it just in case I forgot the distance. You made a great point about having to move your eyes and head.
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#9 James Malamatinas

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 06:26 AM

Thanks for the replies, I had Panchro in my floor bag but hadn't tried it to clean the disks. Worked brilliantly!

Very useful tip about slating and the permanent marker too - until now I have used tape to write information that is going to be on the slate all day but I think using permanent is much cleaner and saves tape.

I love all these little tricks you can pick up to make your life easier, cheers guys!
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#10 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 10:50 PM

You have to be careful with acetone, as it will eat the plastic if you use too much or leave it on too long.

A 1st that I worked with removed the disks completely, and said that he never used them, and would rather not lose them. Lens marks definitely seem to be more accurate. Also, indexing via finger position helps a lot too...
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#11 Jon Schweigart

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:24 PM

Somebody Sharpied my slate and I used Acetone to get it off. I DO NOT recommend doing this. It took a while to come off and my slate began to peel a little. I now have some small wrinkles in the plastic. I wish I would have known that trick but I'm sure it'll happen again somewhere.
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#12 Tom Jensen

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:50 PM

I wouldn't use acetone on a slate either. On the rental discs? Sure.
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#13 Joshua Lassing

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 03:04 PM

In my opinion generally, if lighter cleaners (Pancro, Windex, Alcohol, Kimtech Wet-Wipes) will STILL not remove the mark, obviously more drastic approaches are needed. A few shows ago my 1st accidentally pulled out his sharpie, instead of the dry-erase while remarking; and WHAM, permanent mark. In between takes it was already dry, and... well; that's never a great feeling. I ended up using this product called: 'GOOF OFF' for real hardcore stains. I applied a drop of this to a lens tissue, and it came right off after two or three hard scrubs. It's an intense removing agent, but if you can always water it down, too. I always keep it in my aks - chemical/cleaning box, for odd situations like that. I'd be curious to hear of more solutions other than goof off. I wouldn't use the fully potent cleaner on an expensive don earl or timecode slate..... I'd water it down first, you'll smell the stuff and see what I'm saying.


http://www.goofoffstainremover.com


Happy cleaning!
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#14 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 02:50 AM

The Sharpie trick can backfire on you though, as the sharpie ink can dry on the Dry-erase tip and cause it to not work properly...acts as if the dry erase pen is running out. So I'd have a cheap expo or some dry erase pen you don't care about on hand for erasing Sharpie. Don't waste your Marks-a-Lot or Kleenslate
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#15 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:19 PM

  Pancro is great for cleaning the disks as stated previously. It's also great for cleaning slates, I'm not a fan of carrying lighter fluid in my AC kit or using it to clean stuff.

Also as stated before you really shouldn't use the focus disks for marks unless you dof is decent or you don't have time to tape up the lenses or the lenses don't allow it(mk1-2 super speeds). The best way to do it is to get chart tape put it around the lens and put a layer of J-lar over the chart tape so the staedler will wipe off easier. Although I have seen a new Arri light weight follow focus that has hard stops for two focus marks that had very little play in it. But the amount of play in the wheel will vary from follow focus unit to follow focus unit.

Edited by Michael Kubaszak, 16 August 2011 - 06:20 PM.

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#16 Tom Jensen

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:59 PM

Michael,
There is always time left for you to become a fan of lighter fluid. It works great. i highly recommend it for lenses.
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#17 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 09:55 PM

Ha! I heard a story(an old focus puller's tale) that a 1st got a set of primes at prep that had an oily residue all over the front element and used lighter fluid on the lens, lit it and the oily residue was burned off.

Disclaimer* I do not recommend nor condone said activity above.
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#18 Tom Jensen

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 02:25 PM

Ha! I heard a story(an old focus puller's tale) that a 1st got a set of primes at prep that had an oily residue all over the front element and used lighter fluid on the lens, lit it and the oily residue was burned off.

Disclaimer* I do not recommend nor condone said activity above.


It might have worked. Not sure if I would do that. When using any wet chemical on a lens, one of the key things to remember is to not use too much liquid. I normally don't spray or drop anything onto the element itself but onto a Kemwipe first. I don't want anything dribbling down the glass and into the retaining ring or into the barrel. I'd think that to get the lighter fluid to ignite, you'd have to have a small puddle. When I first started rebuilding lenses, I was shocked when the guy training me whipped out a torch. Now I don't hesitate to use fire on a lens. It's glass, that's how it was made so it can get hot. But heat works great for loosening stubborn screws. It also works for expanding lens barrels to accept elements.
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#19 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:17 PM

....... Now I don't hesitate to use fire on a lens. It's glass, that's how it was made so it can get hot. .....


I know this is getting off topic, but it's too interesting, have to ask. Are the coatings such as on the Zeiss superspeeds affected by the heat? How are the coatings put on in the first place?

Cheers
Gregg.
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#20 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 10:32 PM

Worked with a very experienced AC a couple weeks ago, who saw a pond, dipped his FF disc in it, and that seemed to work good enough for him :)
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