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#1 Austin Schmidt

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 10:00 AM

I am experiencing the worst situation in my career right now. Yesterday was spent color timing a short film. We shot 19,000 ft of film. 3,000 ft. into the timing session we started vertical smearing (it appears as though the shutter is misstimed) It begins on the second take of a shot. The camera was mounted to a fisher 11, no lens was changed, the camera wasn't moved. However, after the mag was changed the streaking begins and stays for the rest of the 16,000 ft. We were shooting 3-perf on a 535B and rented the camera from one of the most reputable rental houses in Manhattan. Because we were in Tenessee and were not able to do dailys we didn't notice the problem until yesterday when viewing the footage. In essence, a lot of money was lost and more importantly, a lot of love, passion and time. Below are two pics of the footage. There are alot of questions surrounding the incident. I am assuming something like this may have happened to a few of you and you might be able to answer some of them.
1. What legal actions (if any) can be taken to reacquire the production loss (not referring to production insurance)?
2.What might have caused the shutter malfunction since the camera was not moved or bumped and the lens was never changed?
3. Is there anything that can be done to fix the image? (doubtful, but I promised the director I would ask)
4. Is this in fact a misstimed shutter problem?

Edited by A.Schmidt, 14 July 2005 - 10:02 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 10:53 AM

Well, I've never seen a mistimed shutter smear highlights in both directions simultaneously -- it somehow would have to open too early and close too early. But certainly that's what it looks like.

The best you can hope for from the rental house is a free rental to compensate.

Otherwise, it's an insurance claim.
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#3 James Mann

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 11:27 AM

I saw something like this a few months ago. Although it is hard to say if it is the same thing with out watching your footage.

At the time, I described it as "ghosting" and it was the most evident around the highlights.

We were shooting S16 on an Aaton XTR at 60fps and it was the first mag of the show. It ran noisy and neither myself nor my assistant thought much about it. It just so happened that we shot that whole roll at 60fps and when we changed mags and started a new scene at 24fps it ran quietly and that was that.

Later on in the day, that same mag came up and it ran a little noisy and by this time we knew better so we didn't use it.

In the end, it was one of two problems: Either there was a bad loop. Or there was something going on with the pull down mechanism (and perhaps some moving parts of the mag that weren't jiving). So essentailly the ghosting was a type of double exposure because each frame wasn't being fully advanced.

We saw the same effect again later running at 24fps on that noisy mag before we decided to swap it and reload the film into another mag.

But since you used a few different mags and your loader definately had it right at some point, maybe it was something in your camera. Or the heat. Or humidity.
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#4 Sam Wells

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:00 PM

Perhaps you're pulling down 3 perf but the shutter is timed for 4 perf ?

Is the 535B an electronic shutter like 435ES ?

-Sam
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#5 Austin Schmidt

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:05 PM

When the camera was changed to 3perf, the shutter was changed as well by the technician. Again, the images looked fine for the first 3,000 ft. Does anyone have images they can post where the shutter timing was off, purposely or not?

Edited by A.Schmidt, 14 July 2005 - 12:07 PM.

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#6 Mike Williamson

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:35 PM

If you're looking for mistimed shutter effects, look at David Slade's work online at RSA Films. If you go to www.rsafilms.com, look under "directors", then "RSA", you'll find his short film "Do Geese See God" which has some mistimed shutter effects in the middle. Also if you check under "Black Dog", you can look at his music videos, specifically "Hyper Music" for the band Muse.

Sorry to hear about your situation, it's a shame to have so many people put in a lot of hard work and end up with a compromised result. Good luck with it, let us know what the problem was once you get it figured out.
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#7 Sam Wells

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:59 PM

When the camera was changed to 3perf, the shutter was changed as well by the technician.  Again, the images looked fine for the first 3,000 ft.  Does anyone have images they can post where the shutter timing was off, purposely or not?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well it happened 3000 ft in, I don't know what caused it. Did someone go into the service menu ?

-Sam
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#8 Sam Wells

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 01:02 PM

-- it somehow would have to open too early and close too early. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yup.

-Sam
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 01:03 PM

Geez I feel your pain, it looks like some nice imagery too.

I've had great shots die as a result of a camera issue as well, nothing to this extent though. If I have a great shot lined up and I'm far from home I'll shoot it with two different mags and a 3CDD video camera, just to be damn sure I come home with some thing.

Of course that isn't practical doing a narrative film.

No matter what the technical outcome is discovered to be, fact is that at the end of the day the film is still ruined, finding out what went wrong won't change that.

This is a really sad story, sorry to hear about it.

R,
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#10 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 02:27 PM

though i'm not familiar with the film path in a 535B, i've seen this telltale phenomena in a cheaper camera (krasnogorsk-3) and it was caused by the K-3 losing the loops, both before and after the film gate. with the K-3, it would seem that the added tension on both ends causes a lag in time as the frame pulls in and pulls away from the gate, thus causing specular streaks both up and down. i also think i remember seeing other footage (from the same batch of faulty, err... i mean "delicate" K-3s) who had only top or bottom streaking, which i assume meant they only lost one loop.

though with the K-3 loop loss footage, there was noticeable vertical jitter (yours doesn't seem to), and the streaking was not nearly as uniform. actually the K-3 vertical streaking had a very interesting organic look to it. best of luck, dude.

hope this helps,
jaan
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#11 Jerry Murrel

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 03:05 PM

Well, I've never seen a mistimed shutter smear highlights in both directions simultaneously -- it somehow would have to open too early and close too early.  But certainly that's what it looks like.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


David,

What can we ACs do in prep to make certain that the disaster which
happened to Austin doesn't occur on one of our films? I typically do the
magazine scratch test, but I don't believe that would have helped here.
Is there an electronic device to test the shutter, or should one merely
expose a few hundred feet of film? (Again, in Austin's case, he shot
3000 feet before the problem occured.)

I really feel bad for Austin - his footage looks great except for the
streaks. Hopefully this post will generate some ideas on how to prevent
this from happening again.

-Jerry Murrel
AC, Los Angeles
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#12 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 06:18 PM

I'm sorry to hear about this miss - I feel for you guys.

The 535 can be a tricky camera sometimes - If you advance the movement when the "movement" is open, you can sometimes have trouble closing it gain. This is a safety measure as to line up the rest of the mechanics of the shutter to the movement - it will only lock and allow you to close when the movement is in the right position. Therefore one should never inch the 535 with the movement in the open position.

I'm guessing, but maye this particular camera allowed the moevement to close without properly locking up?

But what's more likely is that the loop locks or guards were left open and the loop therefore changed as the camera ran - the double streaking would suggest something like that. This would have produced a higher or abnormal running noice, but since it is a rather silent camera that might not be easyily detectable. It is however strange that the same problem would prevail over so many rolls - surely a loop mistake like that would have gone by the next mag change?
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