Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum

my profile | my password | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » "Enhanced" Cue Mark Rant

Author Topic: "Enhanced" Cue Mark Rant
Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 04-05-2019 02:24 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yesterday I was doing a couple of press screenings of 35mm films that will be
part of an upcoming film festival later this month.

One was a fairly recent archival print of an older title, which was in excellent
shape- - Except for the fact that some Bozo had decided to "enhance" the
perfectly visible (and large) lab cues by hand-scribing ugly blotches into them.

This kind of crap always pisses me off! These cues annoyed me so much, I had
almost considered closing my eyes so I wouldn't have to look at them, but then
I realized that was probably not going to work out too well during the screening.

So, I managed to get through the screening OK, but a friend who was visiting
the booth said I ground my teeth & grunted ( & I'm sure my blood pressure
went up a few points) at every change-over. [Embarrassed]

"Actual Photo"
(And this pic shows one of the less offensive examples)

 |  IP: Logged

Victor Liorentas
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 800
From: london ontario canada
Registered: May 2009

 - posted 04-05-2019 02:47 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah it's maddening!!!

 |  IP: Logged

Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7474
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 04-05-2019 03:19 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That is restrained compared to some examples I've seen. The office paper folder hole punch method sticks in my mind as being particularly egregious.

That looks like a 1.66 hard matte to me. What's the movie?

 |  IP: Logged

Michael Cornish
Film Handler

Posts: 26
From: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

 - posted 04-05-2019 03:32 PM      Profile for Michael Cornish   Email Michael Cornish   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Back in the 80's I was a projectionist at our local Art house. I had to put up with with a lot of that kind of garbage.Even worse when the lab ques were fine but there were still as many as 4 or sometimes 5 sets of hand made ques. [eyes] [eyes] [evil] [eyes] [eyes] [Mad] [puke]

 |  IP: Logged

Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 04-05-2019 04:26 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Leo Enticknap
That is restrained compared to some examples I've seen.
I agree, and as I said in my post, the picture I used was one of the least
objectionable examples on that print.

I think the reasons this incident bugged me so much were:
1> the print itself was fairly recently struck, and looked like it had gotten
very little use. So except for those cues, it was 'almost practically new'.

2> The lab-cues were all in well lit scenes and VERY easy to see;
so the extra scribing was was just unnecessary damage.

3> As is procedure with many "serious" archives, I had to provide the
client who booked the event with technical details about the facility and
documentation and references about my film handling qualifications
before the owning archives would ship the print out for use.
I assume they did this with everyone, and yet somehow, someone
managed to handle this print who should have known better.
....and in the end, I think that gives all of us a bad name.

quote: Leo Enticknap
That looks like a 1.66 hard matte to me. What's the movie?
The movie title (in English) is "Tragedy Of A Ridiclous Man" .
It's a Bertolucci flick from 1981.

Your Aspect Ratio observation is correct. It's 1:66 ( & mono sound.)

It's a recent copy (possibly a restoration) from some archives in Italy
that will be shown at an Italian Film Festival later this month here in SF.

 |  IP: Logged

Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 4340
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009

 - posted 04-05-2019 04:53 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, did you get back to the archive about this?

- Carsten

 |  IP: Logged

Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7474
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 04-05-2019 09:54 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dealing with the big nonprofit, FIAF archives can be very problematic. The core of the problem is that very few of their technicians and access officers have any projection experience, and therefore dispatch their prints to theaters in a form that makes them difficult to handle and prepare for presentation efficiently; and also impose sometimes unrealistic and unnecessary rules on projectionists.

I once witnessed a screaming row between an A-list movie maker and the director of one of the world's most prestigious archives in my booth. The cause of the disagreement was that the filmmaker was insisting that the print of his restored movie be built up and run from a platter, because in his experience, the color temperature of the light from two projectors in a changeover pair was never identical, and he found the shift at each changeover highly distracting.

The archivist was taking the predictable "You cut the heads and tails off my precious print and I'll personally see to it that you are escorted to a cellar and introduced to The Gimp" line.

The filmmaker clearly had significant knowledge of projection. In comments to me before the archivist arrived, he identified various pieces of equipment in the booth and commented on them intelligently. The archivist clearly (from his remarks and comments) had next to none.

Prints arriving from these institutions with evidence of mishandling by incompetents is frequent. I suspect the reason to be that these archives simply don't have the staff resources to do a detailed bench examination of every print that comes back from a booking, and probably just look at a random sample. The problem happens when damage caused by venue A is not caught, the print goes to venue B, venue B's projectionist thinks that the damage is typical wear and tear for a print of that age and provenance, does not report or make a fuss about it, the print is examined on return from venue B, and venue B gets whacked with a bill for a new print. I've seen this happen many times.

So the moral of the story is, document and report up the wazoo. I always had a rule with prints from the big studio and non-profit archives, which was to grade the print overall one classification lower than I would any other.

So for a regular print that I would grade as excellent, if it was an archival one I would check good; average rather than good, poor rather than average, and bad rather than poor. I would also make detailed, copious notes of defects that I wouldn't bother to document in any other print. If there was any damage that I thought would be picked up by the archive on return, I would have a co-worker look at the print with me, so that I had a witness that the print arrived with the defect.

For example, here's a typical archive print report of the sort I used to do:


The slight scuffs between the perfs (very likely from having been run on a badly tensioned continuous motion telecine or scanner, with dirty rollers) is not something that I'd have bothered to note if this were a commercial rep print. But in this case, the need exists to protect oneself against a "You broke it, you own it" accusation.

 |  IP: Logged

Brad Miller

Posts: 17775
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 04-05-2019 11:22 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Leo, you forgot to check SRD/DTS/SDDS for that 1980 print. I learned that from Deluxe. [Razz]

 |  IP: Logged

Donald Brown
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 131
From: Lincoln, DE
Registered: Sep 2009

 - posted 04-06-2019 06:28 PM      Profile for Donald Brown   Email Donald Brown   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've encountered a wide range of enhanced cue markings, but the most dramatic that I've seen were made with a hole punch! Prints that frequently screened at drive-ins were often the worst! There were often duplicate sets of cues that extended over a surprising length of footage!

 |  IP: Logged

Kenneth Wuepper
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1026
From: Saginaw, MI, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 04-06-2019 08:10 PM      Profile for Kenneth Wuepper   Email Kenneth Wuepper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The drive-in thing started when CinemaScope prints were shown on under width screens. Not just the q marks were in the trees but even some of the characters that were at the extreme sides of the frame ended up there.

The destructive way out was to run a china marker down the center of the image during the q marked frames. Often this happened on the emulsion side of the print.

Never did it myself as I preferred the thick tape noise through the gate instead of seeing the q marks, a trick taught me by a projectionist in 1949.

 |  IP: Logged

Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7474
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 04-06-2019 11:06 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
+1 to click strips as an alternative to visible cue marks if an archival print arrives without any cues on the print whatsoever. When film was in mainstream use, the French labs tended not to put cue marks on their prints at all (presumably in the expectation that most of them would be plattered), and so if I got an Eclair or an LTC print that was new and I was running it in a changeover house, I'd put click strips on it. More recently, some European archives seem to have carried on this tradition (the Nederlands Filmmuseum especially, which seemed to have a policy both of not putting cue dots on their prints, and banning projectionists from plattering them!): I got a few when I was at the Egyptian.

Some booths make using click strips easier than others, the model of projector and the ambient noise level in the booth being the main factors. For a projectionist trying them for the first time, I'd suggest making up quite a long loop of scrap film and running it for a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the sound of the splicing tape going through. In many booths you only need a strip on the base side, but if it's too quiet you can tape both sides. You'll also need a footage and frame counter, and I'd suggest putting a cheat sheet on the bench, so that the correct positioning of the strips is always to hand.

By gently removing the tape using gloves and pushing one corner of the strip with a Dolby screwdriver to get it started, the click strips can be removed without anyone ever knowing that they were there.

 |  IP: Logged

All times are Central (GMT -6:00)  
   Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Powered by Infopop Corporation

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2020 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.