Published : 6th April 2008
Hi folks, I desperately seek advice.
I've been working on a German 2x90 min TV-movie in Venice the last 2,5 months. Only on 5 of 43 days of shooting I had an OK from the lab. Approx. 50% of our exposed negative had some kind of light on the roll. Fortunately it was mostly out of frame, or the framing was modified just very little in telecine.
A few parameters:
The problem mostly occurred as a thin, red exposure on the image-side of the negative, mostly sharp edged. When a little stronger-so that it affected the framing- it also occurred on the perf-side. But we also had light passing through to middle of the frame, we had red and blue flashes, there was even one test-roll that I shot with exposed perf-holes on the next layer of the roll.
During the shoot we used 5 different Arri 16SR3 from 2 different rentals, we changed the stock, changed the lab, used 21 different mags, I changed the videotransmitter (?!), I was even forced to change the lens-set although it was quite obvious that it was not coming from the equipment. We checked the changing tent and -bag, I shot about 500m 16mm neg as tests, I taped the little windows in the mags that are used to expose the time code, I checked the ArriGlow, I covered the camera, etc.
The rushes were usually sent by air cargo but have also been sent by car from Venice to Hamburg (1300km). No difference. One test-roll was even taken by an actor through hand luggage-x-ray - no effect whatsoever. Even a guy from the insurance company turned up on set to check the situation.
The shoot is over. I've been working on German 16mm TV-movies like this for some 9 years now but I've never had anything as bad as this before and I would like to research this problem for everyone to know.
Any thought or weird sounding question is welcome
Jan Meckel, BVK
1. AC from Hamburg, Germany
>>The problem mostly occurred as a thin, red exposure on the image->>side of the negative, mostly sharp edged. When a little stronger-so that >>it affected the framing- it also occurred on the perf side.
I'll assume you were shooting super 16. Did this "thin, red" (line?) go outside of the frame as well as inside the frame? Was it horizontal or vertical? If it was vertical (running parallel with the edge of the film) was it continuous or intermittent?
When you saw this were you looking at the actual negative or the image on a telecine? Did it always occur on the same side of the frame and then sometimes on both sides? Hopefully the answers might narrow down the problem.
First Assistant Camera
What a nightmare it is.
There seem to me different problems, therefore different causes independent form one another and to a different degree. It could be from scratch to direct light exposure, fogging to mag improperly handled etc. The information needs to be more precise.
Jan Meckel wrote:
class="style9">>>The problem mostly occurred as a thin, red exposure on the image->>side of the negative, mostly sharp edged.
class="style9"> >>But we also had light passing through to middle of the frame, we had >>red and blue flashes, there was even one test-roll that I shot with >>exposed perf-holes on the next layer of the roll.
Red and blue have different causes. Before exposing, after processing, before telecine during telecine etc... as well as exposed perf holes on the next layer from middle of the frame exposure and so on.
From the information you and your clapper loader have you should be able to know if there is a certain pattern appearing. How many rolls have each problem? You need to compare your stock supply information with your rental checklist and your lab-report.
What occurred on which roll, what mag what stock etc...
Use a computer for that purpose, Excel will make it easier.
I am afraid if you want to find out what went wrong that you need to do quite some analysing.
You definitely will then need to talk to the stock supplier, lab and even camera rental. But that is usually production that takes care of because of insurance and it becomes difficult.
Assistant Caméra - Camera Assistant - Kamera Assistent
BVK- European based
Munich +491608036889 - London +447910034443
class="style9">>> During the shoot we used 5 different Arri 16SR3 from 2 different >>rentals, we changed the stock, changed the lab, used 21 different >>mags, I changed the videotransmitter (?!), I was even forced to >>change the lens-set although it was quite obvious that it was not >>coming from the equipment.
>>We checked the changing tent and -bag,
But you did not change the tent/bag.
This, IMHO, is the weakest point of the investigation.
class="style9">-Jan Meckel, BVK
-Approx. 50% of our exposed negative had some kind of light on the roll.
Sorry to hear about that. It seems you changed out everything but the processing lab. Scary thought.
Brooks Institute of Photography
When there is fogging or perceived light leak on exposed neg, it is a good idea to send the film to the lab, or manufacturer for examination.
A few years ago, I was focus pulling on a feature. One day, at the end of the days shoot, the camera crew were called to a meeting - apparently a roll of film had been fogged. The loader was petrified at the thought. We were shown VHS rushes of the previous day's shoot. The image was mostly fine, but had phases where it was noticeably grainy, with murky shadow (with lower contrast and a blue colour cast).
These phases became more frequent towards the end of the roll. I thought that this may be due x-ray, or some other strong radiation. The film was sent to Kodak for examination and they confirmed radiation to be the cause. Insurance paid for a re-shoot and Kodak pulled the entire batch out of circulation, which involved replacing the stock on some other productions using the same batch of film. If memory serves me right, the stock was 5293 (but I'm not 100% sure, this was about 6 years ago).
European based Cameraman / Assistant
0041 78 644 89 13
0044 7966 185 638
Also a thought is, was the loader wearing a watch with a flashlight or a illuminating alarm of some sort. I know its rather farfetched but still a concern.