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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Scratching Prints 911! (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Scratching Prints 911!
Christain Van Norden
Film Handler

Posts: 2
From: Plant City, FL
Registered: Aug 2008


 - posted 08-16-2008 03:26 PM      Profile for Christain Van Norden   Email Christain Van Norden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey Everyone, I am a booth manager for my theater and since we opened (over a month ago) we have scratched almost every print to roll through our projectors. Now, I have never before in my life seen nor dealt with scratched prints. The issue has been getting slightly better but it's still there. I am completely out of ideas of how the can be scratching almost every print, most of which being vertical scratches and the occasional horitzonals (which I believe can only come from the platters) I have searched high and low for a solution and what could possibly be causing this but I cannot seem to find any. I check film paths about 56,995 times a day and only seem to find the scratches after it's too late and the damage is done. I don't want to have to use film guard 4 or 5 times to every print rather than just solve the issue firsthand. does anyone have and ideas or experience with this issue and what I could do to solve it? My job is on the line here and I have to fix this asap. thank you very much..

christian

(btw, we use century projector heads and cristie a3s)

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12112
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-16-2008 04:32 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If your cinema is only a month old I would bet the film is "dragging" across something somewhere.

Check for a stopped roller, or maybe a platter paying out too slowly causing the film to drag on the guide posts.

Check loop size in the projectors. If lower loop is too big, the film could be slapping against the projector housing.

Maybe the make up table roller is set too low, causing the film to drag across the edge of the platter on build-up.

I would just go over the film path VERY closely with film loaded, and make sure the image area is never touching anything. Do the same thing when film is being built up.

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Aaron Mehocic
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 804
From: New Castle, PA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-16-2008 06:23 PM      Profile for Aaron Mehocic   Email Aaron Mehocic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Or you have plaster dust and other construction debrie lying throughout the booth. I've opened many new builds and found those who cleaned up before opening were usually the ones with the lesser troubles.

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Thomas Pitt
Master Film Handler

Posts: 255
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
Registered: May 2007


 - posted 08-16-2008 06:38 PM      Profile for Thomas Pitt   Email Thomas Pitt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What I would do is make up a test loop and run it through the projector by itself, without going through the platter system at all. Leave it going for several minutes, and then check the loop for scratches. If the loop is scratched, the problem lies in the projector itself. If the test loop is unscratched, the problem lies either in the platter system or the make-up procedure.

If you run the same print again and again without cleaning, does the scratching get worse? Or does it stay the same (implying a problem with make-up)?

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6355
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-16-2008 11:26 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One thing to do, if you haven't already done so, is to require everybody to thread projectors the exact same way.

Every two-bit popcorn jockey who finds his way up to the booth starts thinking his shit doesn't stink and, very soon, gets ideas that he knows everything there is to know about threading projectors. I am sure you are conscientious when you thread but there are bound to be people who are not. It only takes one or two idiots to screw up and ruin things for everybody.

Making an explicit threading policy gives you two things:

1) It allows you to debug film path problems easier because you don't have to "decode" some other person's "improved" threading technique before you can solve the real problem.

2) It gives you a tool to discipline those who don't do a good job.

If laying down the law like that doesn't work you can get Medieval on their asses. Assign projectors to each operator. Nobody but the assigned person or a manager is to touch the projector. Every shift, go around and check prints. If a print gets scratched or if there are new scratches on a print, the operator in charge of that projector gets written up.

Other than that, keep doing what you have been doing. If you have to get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight and follow the film through its entire film path then so be it.
I've had to do that many times!

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Jeremy M Smith
Film Handler

Posts: 48
From: Taupo New Zealand
Registered: Aug 2008


 - posted 08-17-2008 02:50 AM      Profile for Jeremy M Smith   Email Jeremy M Smith   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IS your projectors second hand or brand new and model

[ 08-17-2008, 09:14 PM: Message edited by: Jeremy M Smith ]

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Brian Guckian
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 594
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 08-17-2008 04:38 PM      Profile for Brian Guckian   Email Brian Guckian   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Christain Van Norden
I have searched high and low for a solution and what could possibly be causing this but I cannot seem to find any.
Doesn't your theatre have a resident tech you can call upon for help? Why has this been going on for over a month?

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Ian Leach
Film Handler

Posts: 7
From: Winter Park FL
Registered: Sep 2005


 - posted 08-18-2008 06:49 PM      Profile for Ian Leach   Email Ian Leach   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Check along the entire film path for excessive (purple) emulsion dust or tiny curly-q shavings piling up. This will lead you to your culprit. Whenever a scratch happens, part of the film is left behind.

What color are the scratches on screen? This could help you narrow it down. If it is a green, yellow, or white scratch something is dragging on the emulsion side of the film. Black scratches are usually on the base(shiny) side.

How much training did your crew have before building up prints? Might be as simple as coaching your staff on the proper way to inspect the film. I once had someone who seemed to think the film was virtually indestructible, as long as he was wearing cotton gloves.

Hope some of this helps!

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6355
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-18-2008 10:51 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Something I just thought of... Log books!

If you're not using log books you should be. It doesn't have to be super complicated. Just get a spiral notebook from Wal-Mart. It shouldn't cost you more than $1.99. You might already have one laying around, even.

Everybody who works in the booth must sign in at the start of his shift and sign out at the end. In between those times, every operator needs to check in at least a certain number of times per shift. (Once at the end of every round of shows.)

Any time there is an anomaly in any projector it must be logged.
If there is a scratch noticed. If an usher calls up for a focus check. If a customer complains that the sound is too loud.
ANYTHING!

If anybody refuses to log their activities in the log book they should meet with increasing levels of disciplinary measures.

Something you'll probably discover pretty quickly: Problems occur on shifts where log entries are sparse. It almost always turns out that the people who are having the most problems in the booth are also the ones who document their activities the least.

Funny how that happens... Isn't it? [Confused]

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Demetris Thoupis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1240
From: Aradippou, Larnaca, Cyprus
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 08-19-2008 06:49 AM      Profile for Demetris Thoupis   Email Demetris Thoupis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When you first run them are they scratched? If so then you might have an issue when making up the film. Do you make up the film on platter reels or reels and then load them on the platter or do you load directly on the platter? Perhaps the rollers between the makeup and the platter are not aligned correctly causing the film to rub on the platter and thus creating scratches.
Demetris

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5116
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-19-2008 09:58 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is really refreshing to see a manager who is actually concerned about print care and presentation. All the guys here have excellent points. I would second Brian's remark -- you really should have a professional tech come in and go over the entire system thoroughly. If you just opened up, you should call the installation company and tell them to get their asses back there as something is seriously wrong. Their install shouldn't be scratching film.

Really, it is not a complicated issue -- either it is the equipment or it is human error. If they come in and verify that it isn't the equipment but it's human error, then they will be able to tell you which human is doing what error to cause the problem.

quote: Randy Stankey
If laying down the law like that doesn't work you can get Medieval on their asses.
Randy, you freakin crack me up! [Big Grin]

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Christain Van Norden
Film Handler

Posts: 2
From: Plant City, FL
Registered: Aug 2008


 - posted 08-20-2008 01:35 PM      Profile for Christain Van Norden   Email Christain Van Norden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow, thanks for all the help. You guys are great, i will defiantly be trying all these things as we still haven't solved the problem. Now we seem to be adding diagonal scratches that consume half of the film. They are just diagonal slashes that pop on and off all over the film throughout it's entirety and nobody has ever even heard of diagonal scratching. has anyone dealt with this issue before? I am beyond livid but feel completely helpless at the same time..

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6355
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-20-2008 01:54 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd say there is about a 95% chance that your diagonal scratches are due to the platter being threaded wrong.

Diagonal scratches are a very common sign of of a misthreaded platter. There may be an adjustment or two that will improve the problem but the majority of diagonal scratches are caused by somebody who threads the platter wrong and doesn't pay attention to his work.

Get a log book going and start documenting all scratches and/or projector problems. Use that information to zero in on one or two employees who are not doing a good job and who aren't improving their work.

If you put just one guy on a 3-day suspension for scratching film I bet your film problems will begin to evaporate in a very short time! [Wink]

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12112
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-20-2008 02:08 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Randy Stankey
I'd say there is about a 95% chance that your diagonal scratches are due to the platter being threaded wrong.
OR, the film is being dragged over the edge of the platter on build-up, due to the roller being positioned too low relative to the platter.

Film dragging on anything = scratches.

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6355
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-20-2008 03:46 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You're right. I was operating under the assumption that the movie had successfully been built up without any damage and that the scratches occurred during one of the runs.

Only booth managers or trusted operators should be allowed to build prints.

Requiring the person who builds a movie to sign his/her name on the tail of the print (on white tape) is a good way to weed out those who can't build without scratching prints.

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