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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » 35mm Film Shrink-Ruler & Film Shrinkage (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: 35mm Film Shrink-Ruler & Film Shrinkage
Jerry Axelsson
Film Handler

Posts: 87
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: May 2005


 - posted 02-11-2017 09:37 AM      Profile for Jerry Axelsson   Email Jerry Axelsson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello film enthusiasts,

A friend of mine which has a professional mechanical shop just made me a few nice shrink-rulers for 35mm film.
They look like this.
What kind of measurement device do you use out there?

How shrunken prints do you still screen out there?
(and on which projectors?)
I test material which is shrunk 0.6% and do not run material which is shrunk over 0.8%

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6764
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 02-11-2017 01:59 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How tolerant a projector mechanism is to shrunken stock essentially comes down to two factors: the sprocket teeth, and how much gate pressure it needs.

The Norelcos in use at our two main houses have sprocket teeth designed to be compatible with CS perforations and the ability to hold a steady picture with very low gate tension (thanks to the unique gate band arrangement), with the result that they can cope with KS ones that are significantly shrunk.

We recently played a print that its owner reported was shrunk up to 1.5% in some sections (I couldn't check this myself, because we don't have a shrinkage gauge), without the machine even sounding higher pitched than usual while running. Some other projectors I've used, however (e.g. Cinemeccanica Vic 5) would cause perforation damage to even sightly shrunk stock with enough gate tension applied to keep the picture steady. In fact, given that the newest acetate release prints are now getting on for two decades old, I wouldn't want to risk running anything pre-polyester on one unless it's been in atmospheric controlled storage all its life and therefore is almost unshrunk.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5130
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-11-2017 02:57 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fox (CS) sprockets seem to be a lot more tolerant. We have prints that are more than 40 years old and run like butter in our XLs -- steady picture with normal pressure and if anything, occasionally you hear a little singing on the hold back sprocket in the soundhead. I don't have a shrinkage gauge either (would like to get one tho), but for these old acetates, it's not a question of have they shrunk, but how much.

Didn't LaVezze at one point offer sprockets that were designed to cause less wear on the hole structure VKS -- i.e., "very kind to sprockets"? Would they be even better than CS for shrunken prints?

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Jerry Axelsson
Film Handler

Posts: 87
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: May 2005


 - posted 02-11-2017 03:24 PM      Profile for Jerry Axelsson   Email Jerry Axelsson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, we run Kinoton FP-38E Premiere and FP-30D:s of a later
manufacture. Shrunken film up to 0.7% will work decent, but more
than that makes the film "climb over" the bottom feeding sprocket.
We ran a 1955 Tech print the other day which climed over 4 times during a reel.
This "eats up" the bottom loop which forces you to stop and reload.

We also have Kinoton FP-75E machines. They seem to cope with slightly better with shrunken film over 0.7%
The film feels more like it is kept in vice in this machine. The most likely outcome is that the sprockets will give way before film forces you to shut down the projector. If there would be a need for shrink rulers I can ask my friend if there is an option to make a few.

Regarding FOX sprockets, I agree that they usually behave quite unproblematic.
Have screened Ben Hur, Close Encounters, The Deep, Woodstock. All 4-track mag. Ran nice....

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 839
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 02-12-2017 03:54 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Indeed, depending on how nice your friend is, you could likely sell a few of those units. Looks quite nice.

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Donald Brown
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Lincoln, DE
Registered: Sep 2009


 - posted 02-12-2017 09:09 PM      Profile for Donald Brown   Email Donald Brown   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
During the time that I have been operating outdoor theatres, one of my fondest recollections dates back to the late '80s and early '90s, when a friend of mine, who was a film collector, would visit. After the venue had closed for the night and all of the patrons had departed, we would run off reels of old drive-in advertising and intermission material.
While much of this stock was worn, warped, and shrunken, the only machine that provided any difficulty handling it was a Simplex Five Star sound head. The drum tension roller did not have a keeper, and the film frequently escaped from the intended path.

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Simon Wyss
Film Handler

Posts: 70
From: Basel, BS, Switzerland
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 02-13-2017 04:05 AM      Profile for Simon Wyss   Email Simon Wyss   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, LaVezzi made those VKF sprocket rollers, very kind to film. They had made plastic sprocket rollers, too, cheap exchangeables.

I’d say that 8 per mille shrinkage seems to be a limit with most sprocket drums (0.8 per cent). There the film begins to mount. I measure with a piece of clear polyester stock on the print. Counting from two hole pairs together to the next hole pairs in coincidence I have the shrinkage at once. If it is, say, hole pairs number 142, I have 0.7 per cent.

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Paul Gordon
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 574
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted 02-13-2017 03:40 PM      Profile for Paul Gordon   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Gordon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
KL Archival also makes shrinkage gauges along with optical printer gates and lots of other modified film gear. I even hear he is making turn tables for all disc formats.

http://www.canadianfilm.com/KL/Shrinkage-Info.01.html

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1519
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006


 - posted 02-13-2017 03:56 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only time I ever had a trouble with film shrinkage was
running a 1950's re-print of a 1930's flick which had shrunk
laterally a bit. It had an old VD track, and to make matters
worse, it had been printed from a shrunken negative, which
put an image of the sprocket holes right at the edge of the
sound-track area, much closer than they should have been.

Had no sprocket trouble when running the print, but I had
to re-adjust the (Century) sound reader to avoid picking
up the printed sprockets, and causing motor-boating.

(The only other choice was to run a blu-ray- - but tickets were sold
for a FILM and that's what people coming expected to see- - so I was
willing to go through the hassle of adjusting things for just one show.)

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5130
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-15-2017 09:31 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I ran (what I wsa told) was the one surviving IBT, 4chn mag print of PORGY AND BESS (reduction from the TODD-AO negs) back in 2003 or 4. I believe it came from the UCLA. At that time, two reels were badly vinegar-ed to the point that I had to have a second projectionist in the booth to thread up the next reel so I could continually refocus on the principal actors & action as the film was malformed badly enough that it couldn't be in focus across the whole frame. But for all the warpage, the print never went off the sprocket rollers, which has to say something about how well Fox sprockets deal with print shrinkage and warpage. Even the "good" reels that stayed in focus were badly warped enough that at times you could see the soundtracks & sprocket hole edges sneaking into the image area. But DAMN that Technicolor color was sumptuously rich; and of course the mag soundtrack made for a great presentation. Too bad the Gershwins prevented it from being seen in public venues for so many years. They only allowed it to be shown by special permission.

A year later, we wanted to play it again and found out that they had shipped it to France for an engagement and they claimed the print was deemed vinegar "junk." Hard to hear that about a print that is the only extant IBT mag version. I bet I could have nursed more screenings out of it had they let us book it.

There were always stupid legal issues about that title; it was blocked from being screened to the public for decades because the Gershwin family didn't like it -- the old, "If we don't like it, YOU can't see it" syndrome. The only way they relented for us was because we were an arthouse connected with a performing arts center connected to a university, not to mention, one of our theatres was named The George Gershwin Theatre. They also put an unusually high rental price on it so as to discourage even those "special screenings" from happening. You also had to have a "scholarly discussion" after the screening. They did relent to a public screening a while ago at the Ziegfeld a few years back. I don't think it was 70mm though as those prints are said to no longer exist. My understanding was that our screening was the first time it had been screened in like a decade.

I heard there were some fairly good bootleg DVDs floating around for awhile, the claim being that they were made from an EK print. I wonder if Columbia has a DCP available or it the estate still is as touchy about it now as they were when the Gershwins were still alive. Perhaps the estate is now more interested in how much $$$ it can earn....hopefully they would be happy to book it to anyone who would play it, but, oh wait, they don't have a print! And who knows what juvenile censorship provisions the Gershwins may have been written into the legal flotsam & jettsam in order to extend this shortsighted nonsense into perpetuity.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1804
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 02-15-2017 10:03 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Ziegfeld screening was 35mm IB Tech Mag Stereo. Some of the reels were clearly warped and could not hold focus, but the rest was stunning.

I never did understand what Greshwin's problem with the film was.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5130
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-15-2017 09:20 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I will bet the Ziegfeld screening was the same UCLA print that we ran. From what the UCLA curator told us, that was the only extant 35mm IBTech mag print.

Much of the withholding problem of this title originally stems from the Gershwins being unhappy with the less than stellar critical reviews it garnered at its few roadshow opening engagements. In addition they were unnerved by the unhappy response it received by prominent Black leaders and I think possibly the NAACP was also pretty vocal about the portrayal of Blacks as prostitutes, gamblers, nare-do-wells, pimps and gamblers, not to mention the undercurrent themes of violence and corruption that run throughout and finally the very uncomfortable and disturbing image of a Black man on his knees -- a symbol of degradation not easily missed.

Many of the Black actors who Goldwyn wanted to cast would not sign on. Harry Belafonte said the part was demeaning and strongly resisted and wouldn't be persuaded even by his agent. He only begrudgingly OKed it because he was afraid he would be shunned by other producers for other parts.

But the nail in the coffin was that Sammy Davis Jr happen to wind up at a party with the Gershwins (Ira and his wife) attended. Davis who was eager to get a part in the film was trying to schmooze Goldwyn, but was such a vulgar potty mouth that Ira's wife demanded that Goldwyn promise up and down that no way was Davis to be hired even as an extra in the film. Goldwyn promised her but eventually hired him anyway. The Gershwins were no fans from then on. The family also didn't like Previn's arrangements which were more orchestral than the jazz styling that was uniquely Gershwin's.

Plus the title has been in legal limbo with the two Gershwin estates fighting over ownership rights. The estates never fully settled the legal differences along with MGM, Samuel Goldwyn, Columbia, even Warners and Turner may have at one time or another had their hooks in the rights. It's still a legal labyrinth, so with all the bickering, that means that there will probably never be any restoration work done on it and now, even if some distributor HAD the rights, there's no print to book!

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2025
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 02-15-2017 11:28 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow! There's some film history right there. You should write this on Wikipedia. Maybe you have. Excellent.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5130
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-17-2017 11:37 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Most of this is well known trivia about the film. At our screening, we had a very fascinating pre-screening discussion about P&B with film historian Foster Hirsch (Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King), a friend who I invite to speak at many of our classic screenings (when we were still running film). He recounted these and a lot more juicy tidbits which I wish I could remember.

quote: Simon Wyss
Counting from two hole pairs together to the next hole pairs in coincidence I have the shrinkage at once. If it is, say, hole pairs number 142, I have 0.7 per cent.
Thanks Simon, good to know, although I am with Buck on this...I sure would like to purchase one of those spiffy guages if your friend as an interest in selling a few -- they are very sexy indeed.

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Jerry Axelsson
Film Handler

Posts: 87
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: May 2005


 - posted 02-17-2017 12:43 PM      Profile for Jerry Axelsson   Email Jerry Axelsson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I will speak with my friend and see if he is up for making a few more shrink-rulers.

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