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Does anyone have a photo of an actual hair in the gate?

Jeremy Parsons
 

Does anyone have a photo they could share of an actual hair in the gate from outside the lens port looking in? 

During the fall/winter months, I teach at a local film school where we still teach 16mm on an SR2. Every time I talk about checking the gate for "hair", my students ask what they're looking for. At best, I can only describe it or show them what it looks like when projected. I've only seen one once myself, but it would have been really helpful to know what I was looking for all that time.

Thanks.

Jeremy L Parsons, MFA
IATSE Local 600 1st AC
Adjunct Instructor , Pittsburgh Filmmakers
415.577.9679

John Adderley
 

I can supply a photo later but for the moment I would say that is is pretty obvious when you see a hair when checking the gate viewing it properly. Checking the gate is not just to see hairs. You are looking for scratches as well. The best way to see it all properly is to use one of those small torches with a built in magnifying glass where the light is between the magnifying glass pointing towards the film so that you eye is on almost the same line as the light. Moving it back and forth sideways you can pick up hairs and scratch easily. Just a small led torch is good is you have good closeup vision as long as you look from behind the torch on the same axis as the light beam.

Another way to check the gate I have found is if you are using a zoom or long lens. Leave the lens on the camera, open the aperture wide, focus on infinity and zoom to the longest focal length. Use a pencil torch or a torch in font of your eye  that you can look down past and direct into the lens on the same axis as you are viewing. With a bit of moving the torch and your eye about you'll see the gate magnified and a hair and/or scratch will stand out like the proverbial. You can actually go around the edge of the aperture gate. Just practise it with some dummy film etc. I found this is a good way to check the gate in the windy desert or hostile environment where there's muck or water in the air etc.

When you unload the camera it's a good idea to take off the last foot or so and check that for scratches when it might be possible to repeat shots. Always take everythng out of the black changing bag and turn it inside out if you are in a clean environment and shake the bag out. Always zip it up when not in use..... yeh pretty obvious but I've seen it all over the years.

The hairs are often bits of the edge of the film when the cutting disks during manufacture have become worn and not cutting cleanly. This is a good reason to record emulsion numbers and especially strip numbers so those can be held back.

I once was shooting in Tasmania and had a really excellent, conscientious and clean assistant but we kept on getting hairs time after time. I held back one the half shot rolls to take to the manufacturer after they had delivered to us a whole new batch. The new delivery solved the problem and at the end of the shoot I took the un-shot roll to the manufacturer and watched while they examined it and confirmed that it was a faulty batch.

John Adderley FRGS
Kinematographer, London
john@...

John Adderley
 

I have added these shots of a hair and a scratch. The scratch is actually a heavy rub but you get the idea. This torch is the best way to inspect the gate or similar to the one used in looking through the lens as described previously. one of the closeups is direct and the second is through the magnifying torch. moving the torch and your eye laterally as you inspect will pick up the hairs and scratches.
I hope these shots help and please feel free to use the shots as you wish.

you'l notice the perf becuse I used double perf in a super 16 gate. The camera is an Eclair ACL, notable for its small size and beautiful engineering and it has a focal plane shutter great for long interval timelapses.

John Adderley FRGS
Kinematographer & MoCo
London UK

Art Adams
 

A Google search for "youtube film hair gate" turns up all kinds of video. A Google image search for "film hair gate" turns up lots of stills.

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Art Adams
Director of Photography
San Francisco Bay Area

Jeremy Parsons
 

Thanks John.

That is DEFINITELY a hair in the gate! Precisely What I'm looking for! Nasty rub too. Is that caused by the hair or another mechanical part of the camera? I also explain to my students the importance of doing a scratch test with each magazine in their camera prep. That's an excellent example why.

I have one of those self-lighting magnifiers I show them as well. A great tool for checking the gate in any camera. They're great for checking our DSLR which see a lot more neglect/abuse.

Always wanted to try using an Eclair. I loved the Aaton LTRs we had in school. Everyone preferred the SRs so the Aatons were in much better condition.

Jeremy L Parsons, MFA
IATSE Local 600 1st AC
Adjunct Instructor , Pittsburgh Filmmakers
415.577.9679
jparsonsfilm@...

John Adderley
 

Hi Jeremy
I made that rub with a plastic rod as I pulled the film through the gate but it is just to demonstrate. I have seen heavier and lighter than that but it serves to illustrate. A scratch looks pretty similar but usually fainter and usually found by changing the direction of the inspection lamp. A scratch can happen at any time and place in the film path. Definitely check the loaded mag as it gets loaded. the film path has many places which can attract a bit of foreign matter, grit or metal etc. I often found it useful to take off the end of a roll after unloading and inspect that carefully. Don't forget the cell side. Cell scratches can often be polished out in the lab but depends on the depth. Very rarely an ACL, NPR or Cameflex mag can get accidental damage on the pressure plate so the loader should always check these places as it only takes a moment. All places in the film path should be checked anyway as the assistant works.

John Adderley FRGS
Kinematographer & MoCo
London UK

Mako Koiwai
 

Too bad I don’t have a photo of the piece of craft paper obscuring a third of the aperture!

And it was for a four minute dance number.

In my 38 years, I’ve only seen a “hair” in the gate perhaps three times. Typically a “hair thread” shaved off of the side of the film.

I DID work on the RESHOOT of a days worth of shooting where the AC never checked the gate!

It’s ALL About the loader keeping a clean loading environment. When we were doing SILVERADO … very dusty locations … I was always on the Loader to keep the changing bag and mags clean. We were SO CLEAN that we got a note from the lab congratulating us, because our negative was cleaner then most of the film that they were seeing from Hollywood! 95% of that movie, 500,000’ total, was loaded in a changing bag. We were usually not that close to our main camera truck and it’s dark room.


makofoto, s. pasadena, ca

brent finley
 

The high speed photo-sonics cameras create a lot of emulsion dust and you have to check for shavings as well.  Blow the mags out with a can of air and check for actual chips that the reg pins can sometimes chip off.

Here’s a clip of mine on Getty with a film chip rattling around in the gate for the first 0:02 seconds of the clip.


You have to take the front of the camera off to locate those little guys…

Brent Finley, Chandler, AZ