I've always had a love/hate relationship with Neumade's media pads. I loved how smooth they were, how long I could run them with FilmGuard (multiple weeks on the same pad, used every show every single day, resoaking once per week). I hated their super small cores which did not easily fit on the cleaners and how both ends come taped to the cores.
Neumade has recently changed their media pads to a new softer, gentler version, which I am reviewing here. My first impression was not very good. The media came packaged with defects! Looking at the pictures, you will see how they can arrive at your theater with creases in the media, cuts in the middle of the roll, and so on. This is not good. I honestly do not know if Neumade is having problems manufacturing the new type of media or what the deal is.
The creases pictured above cause for run off during operation and can easily scratch a print. For those reusing media pads with FilmGuard, this becomes incredibly difficult.
Cuts in the side of the media rolls are now common with the new version of Neumade pads. These cuts tend to cause the media to tear as they are reused.
How do they perform overall? If you run them once, I guess they do OK. But for FilmGuard, they are not quite as durable as the older media pads. We have noticed that sometimes on the first pass, it will leave a sort of lint in the projector. This seems to have gone away with a couple of passes. On a good note, the cardboard cores are bigger and fit more easily onto the cleaners now.
This is not to say that Kelmar is the only manufacturer not having problems with quality control on their media pads. Just take a look at this picture of a splice within Kelmar's pads (pictured below).
That's certainly going to scratch! Kelmar also is having many problems with the ends of their rolls becoming too narrow to the point where the media is less than 35mm wide, so never use the ends of their rolls and always inspect the entire length for splices.
Perhaps Neumade will iron out the manufacturing process so that these types of defects don't exist. Let's hope so, because they used to have the best media pads.
Bottom Line: Kelmar now has the best media pads, but not without their own defects.
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