I never once loaded an Aaton or SR mag take up side in a bag.. totally no need.. its about 3/4 feet of film.. thats the whole point of the design.. esp Aaton.. no sprockets on the load side.. easy.. .. never heard of needing to do that in a dark place.. ?
Why are you so negative against practices that work perfectly fine, don't effect time/schedule and are an added safety measure. I shoot on film every week and these are the tricks/tips that I have found to work very well and VERY safe. There wasn't a single piece of dirt on the last 16mm promo I shot for a high-end fashion clothing line few weeks ago. Every frame was perfect for every single load. It was so perfect, the director complained and said he thought S16 would be dirty generally no matter what. I have a thing for dirt because it can be avoided through good practices.
Here are the reasons why I always thread the XTR magazines in the bag.
- When you put the magazine on the camera, you immediately get a picture. This may not sound like anything, but when you're shooting documentary and commercial work like I do, you rush and grab magazines, throw them on and keep shooting. You sometimes don't have the forethought to pre-roll the magazine past the spot of exposed film. Yes, you loose around 6 frames no matter what, but that's A LOT BETTER then over a second worth of loss. Ya never know what you're gonna get IN that second.
- The changing bag is THE CLEANEST PLACE ON A FILM SET. You will never find a cleaner place to load a magazine on set. I blow my mags out before I put them in the bag and that's the only time they ever see the light of day, when they're empty and getting prepped for re-loading. This keeps the possibility of contaimation down to a minimal. Even if you're a super fast loader, that door is open for quite a while.
- The XTR latches are weak sauce. It's VERY easy to swipe them with your finger and open up the supply side when loading the take up side. I haven't had the latch fully open, but got very close a few times because of where it's positioned. If you pull a magazine out of bag already loaded, then you don't even get near those latches, you put tape on them and then you're secure. The older LTR magazines don't have this problem, it was introduced with the magnetic drive magazines which use a rubber gromit to hold the lever in place instead of a bunch of plastic shims. Evidently the shim design didn't work, though it locked A LOT better.
- The order of operations is A LOT cleaner. One magazine to one can of film, goes in the bag, comes out of the bag as a single unit. The moment you pull a magazine out of a bag and separate it from the can, then you forget to label stuff and you wind up upside down very quickly. It's far better to pull out a finished magazine, put the labels on it and the can as the next step and then move onto the next magazine. There is far less room for error, especially if you're in a hurry, which seems to always be the case on film sets.
- Finally, I pay attention to loading a lot more when I do it in the bag. I can do it just as fast as outside of the bag, but I also make less mistakes. I got use to loading this way because it's how I've always loaded my Bolex cameras. I never want even the slightest potnetial of light leaks on my film. I want it to come out of the camera perfectly, so I always carry around a little changing bag with my Bolex for loading to this day.
Overkill? yes... but it does make for a better image with less chance of contamination.