checking the film gate after a shot? how?

cartala

New member
I just finished "Cinematography" by Kris Malkiewicz, and on p230 of the 3rd edition, it says:

"When the director is satisified with the setup and wants to move on, the AD will ask the first AC to check the camera gate for anything that might have ruined the take. After checking, the AC will usually say 'Gate is good' and the AD will announce that they are moving on to the next setup."

My question: how does one check the film gate when there is film loaded in the camera? You can't open the camera loading side. Do you take off the lens and rotate the shutte to observe the gate? Isn't this risking light getting in to the film that resides still looped in the camera that hasn't been advanced far enough to get back to the safe darkness of the attached magazine?

(Note, all of my film experience is on 16mm, in case that matters for this discussion.)

Thanks,
Derek
 

laurent.a

New member
Do you take off the lens and rotate the shutte to observe the gate?
Yes we do. But we actually can also check from inside the camera as well. If it's a "quick load" magazine (arri sr, aaton), we take off the mag and inspect the stock along the loop, or, on other cameras, we would take the sprocket and mecanism off the gate and look at it.

But, personaly, I don't like this way of doing it, since the dirt or whatever might fall off. I like better looking by the front.

We use a maglite + magnifying glass, and check for hair, scratches etc.

Isn't this risking light getting in to the film that resides still looped in the camera that hasn't been advanced far enough to get back to the safe darkness of the attached magazine?
No it's not, since this part of the stock is useless. It's after the "cut" call.

But, usually, you'd pass a few frames with your hand in front of the lens, as to protect the end ofthe shot, before removingthe lens and opening the shutter.

The light should never go from outside to the inside of the mag, anyway. If it would, you couldn't load/unload a mag on/from the camera without fogging the stock !

Once on a set I had a DA asking me : "How can you tell the shot was good, just by inspecting the gate ?" :lol: No we can't !
 
I probably should have covered how to check a gate more clearly, although it may be elsewhere in the book than the part you quoted.

Yes, generally you run a bit forward before opening the lens port or the camera door. You can pull off the lens and rotate the shutter and look (magnifier with a light helps). Some people can even see thru the lens but I don't see how you can see clearly enough. On a camera like a Panaflex, you can even slip the gate out of the movement and look at it held up to a light.
 

cartala

New member
thanks!

thanks!

I read the book cover to cover--there wasn't any further reference to this, but thanks for the replies.

So next question: why is this necessary after each cut? Can the emulsion scrape off and get in the gate that easily?

Thanks again,
Derek
 

laurent.a

New member
We do it after each shot. That is after the number of required takes so that the directors says "ok , let's wrap to the next shot". Before we change of setup/shot we check the gate. If there is a problem, then we re-shoot the shot.
 

kenz0r

New member
Re: thanks!

Re: thanks!

cartala said:
I read the book cover to cover--there wasn't any further reference to this, but thanks for the replies.

So next question: why is this necessary after each cut? Can the emulsion scrape off and get in the gate that easily?

Thanks again,
Derek
it's not in terms of scratching the film really, it's just: hair=blocks light from reaching emulsion = entire time you have an obnoxious hair at the edge of your frame.
 
K

Kevin_Zanit

Guest
Hair is an issue, but any dirt particle can look huge or scratch the film (same with a film chip).

Typically you only check the gate through the lens with large zoom lenses. You can adjust the focal length to almost magnify the gate. It is mainly done because a huge zoom can be a pain to take on and off (and if you can magnify the gate through the lens, it might help as well).

Most of the assistants I have worked with just pop the lens off, check carefully with a light (and sometimes magnifier) for any problems. If we are shooting with Panavision stuff, they will sometimes pop the gate out if something odd catches their eye.

If something is in the gate, he will usually bring me over to look at it. If it is obviously going to be a problem we have to redo that take (if the director wants to). The bigger dilemma is if its something really tiny that is 99% going to be either a non issue, like it happened from a roll out, and wasn't there the entire time, or it is likely to be out of the picture area. It can be a really tough call. When in doubt, I usually just say we should do it again.

Kevin Zanit
 
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