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TOPIC: Splicing Tapes

Splicing Tapes 06 Aug 2000 17:59 #13141

  • MovieGuy
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Here's a dumb question. Whay are there so many different types of splicing tapes out there? Clear, Yellow, Striped, etc. And which one does your theatre use for making up your prints?? We use the yellow for splicing reels, and the clear for repairing.
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Re: Splicing Tapes 06 Aug 2000 21:10 #13142

  • Mike
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All white, all the time. Why? Because. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Splicing Tapes 06 Aug 2000 22:07 #13143

  • RoxyVaudeville
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CLEAR all the time. It's the only thing that will never be seen by anyone.
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Re: Splicing Tapes 07 Aug 2000 09:39 #13144

  • Ken Layton
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White for reel changes, clear for repairs.
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Re: Splicing Tapes 07 Aug 2000 14:43 #13145

  • Avalon
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Used to be clear all the time, but I'm going to white (except for repairs). The ol' eyes ain't what they used to be and i'm getting tired of missing the splice during tear-down.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Splicing Tapes 07 Aug 2000 16:10 #13146

  • Large
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Please don't use white or yellow opaque tape when building up a print, I can see it go by. We use zebra tape for build up and clear tape for repair. We only use the two outside lines of the zebra tape as I can see the cross line on a scope print.
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Re: Splicing Tapes 07 Aug 2000 16:15 #13147

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When you send a print out, do you splice the leader back on or just attach it with masking tape?

We place a one sided spice to attach the leader back on. I have friends who run only reel to reel and it takes them just as long to check in a print as it takes us to build one up because they have to check each end of the film.
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Re: Splicing Tapes 08 Aug 2000 08:35 #13148

  • John Pytlak
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Please don't use colored or opaque splicing tape on any section of the print that will be projected --- the splice covers part of two frames, and is very visible to the audience. It also will usually disrupt the sound, even with digital sound. Most consider them poor and sloppy practice.

The least distracting tape splice uses clear, 1.5 inch wide (8-perf) tape, so even the tape edges fall on the framelines. If you are "blind" (or lazy) enough to require marks on the tape to find the splices quickly, use the new "Zebra" tapes with magenta stripes, that have less effect on the Dolby Digital and SDDS tracks.

Brad Miller of Film-Tech suggests marking the side of the shipping reel with a piece of masking tape, indicating the "full" load of film it contained. That way, when breaking down the print onto the same reel, you know when the reel change is coming, without having to make the splice more visible.

Please do NOT use masking or regular adhesive tape on a print --- non standard tapes usually leave a gooey adhesive residue. I discourage using single side splices, even for reattaching leaders, since the next operator may not repair them, and have a film jam or break caused by the single side splice stretching or folding over. Use fresh splicing tape --- with age, many tapes ooze adhesive or lose effectiveness.

If a lab splice is unreliable or not on the frameline, please reinforce or remake it with clear splicing tape.

The audience came to see the movie, NOT the splices!

John P. Pytlak
Senior Technical Specialist
EI Worldwide Technical Services
Research Labs, Building 69
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 716-477-5325
Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Splicing Tapes 08 Aug 2000 13:45 #13149

John,
Why in the world are the labs still using glue splices and why are they making the splices in the middle of the frame. I saw "Space Cowboy" last night and there was 3 terrible looking lab splices appear on the screen. Yeah, the theatre should have taken out these splices, but does no one at the lab care about quality? If a theatre would have hatched these splices, the people at TAP would have been on the phone to the manager. I have a suggestion, start a new division of TAP and call it LAP "Laboratory Alignment Program." Is it just me or has everyone else had alot of problems with bad prints over the last year. Just had to order a new 4th reel of "Coyote Ugly" because the picture and sound disappeared for about 10 sec at the end of the reel. Does anybody at the labs take a random look at the prints developed or are they just to rushed to get them out?
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Re: Splicing Tapes 08 Aug 2000 21:08 #13150

  • John Pytlak
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Those lab splices are really ultrasonic weld splices, made to join large rolls of raw stock print film in the darkroom, before the rolls are even printed. They are an economic necessity, because most reels are not integral parts of the 4000-foot and 6000-foot lengths of film made by the film manufacturers. Unless splices are allowed, there would be lots of "short end" film waste thrown out by the labs, at about 9 cents a foot, driving up the cost of prints.

Because the splices are made in the dark on unprocessed film, they are often discolored or not on the framelines. It falls to the projectionist to inspect the lab splices during show make-up, and properly remake the splices if they are unreliable or "terrible looking".

John P. Pytlak
Senior Technical Specialist
EI Worldwide Technical Services
Research Labs, Building 69
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 716-477-5325
Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Splicing Tapes 08 Aug 2000 21:40 #13151

  • Avalon
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Being that we have pretty crude audio equipment, I have used clear or white on the splices with no problem. A friend who works in the multiplexes saw the bottle of white shoe polish on my work bench and threatened my life if i used it on a new print -- so I stopped using it. Aside from John's statement that I'm too blind or just lazy to do it his way, I will compare the two an see if it makes that much of a difference in my theater. It is my understanding that even if it isn't a big deal on my equipment, it is sometimes a problem on down the line. Having been on the raw end of what comes down the line, I have no interest in making life harder for someone else -- lazy or not. So, this leads to a question: Is it a problem for the digital houses to deal with white splicing tape and/or the shoe polished edges at reel ends? Now, let's see if i can find that submit button . . . .
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Splicing Tapes 09 Aug 2000 07:46 #13152

  • John Pytlak
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Dear Avalon:

Using white shoe polish, nail polish, china marker, or anything else that permanently marks the film or leaves a residue is very poor practice.
Any residue that remains in the picture area is visible on the screen, anything that covers the analog track will be heard as crackles and pops, and anything that covers the Dolby or SDDS digital tracks may cause a default to analog.

A clear tape splice is the best practice. Some hints to help find the splices during breakdown:

1. Put a piece of masking tape on the outside flange of each shipping reel, and mark how "full" the reel was as you make up the show. During break down, you know the reel end splice is coming as you approach the "full" mark. (this idea comes from Brad Miller of Film-Tech).

2. Use a good bright light source to illuminate the sidewall of the roll on the platter as you break it down. A 75 watt spotlight or high intensity clip-on light is good. When illuminated "just right" by such a directional light, it's easier to see the slight differences in color or gloss of the film edge for each reel. Almost as good as painting the splices.

3. If you use "Zebra Tape", be sure the stripes don't cover the soundtracks, or get into the picture area. Some newer "Zebra Tapes" use magenta stripes that claim not to interfere with the digital tracks.

Don't forget to completely remove any foil cue tabs or tape before sending the print back. If the next guy misses one that you left on, they may have a miscue.

Always reattach leaders (please don't get them mixed-up
) with good clear tape splices.

John P. Pytlak
Senior Technical Specialist
EI Worldwide Technical Services
Research Labs, Building 69
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 716-477-5325
Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Splicing Tapes 09 Aug 2000 13:59 #13153

  • Avalon
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Thanks for the tips, John. I like the one with the tape on the shipping reel. A problem I have is that I often break down prints while the show is running and I cannot have a bright light on in the booth (I started in drive-ins where this was never a problem. Suddenly in my 100 seat art house i have people asking me too turn off the booth light). This was the main reason i wanted to go to white tape. I often spend part of my building-up process removing past splices -- there's just soemthing I don't like about trying to squeeze a splice the size of a small eastern state thru the gate of my Motograph. . . . So, my feeling was that if the next guy (or gal) doesn't like the white splice, they can remove it. Maybe I'll rethink that.

Concerning another question, when i reattach heads and tails, i use masking tape with the reel nummber and "H" or "T" so the next projectionist can build in a hurry if necessary. I recently got a print where the previous projectionist had spliced(both sides) the heads and tails back on but had removed the last frame for matching the head and tails. included in the film can was a note saying he wasn't sure if the reels were in the right order. So, with the heads spliced on, i couldn't match the tears from the previous splices. The bad news it was 2 hrs before show time. The good news was I had seen the film and spliced from that. And, yes, the bozo had the wrong heads on the wrong reels. And, the cinema gods were smiling on me -- I got it in the right order. It's been 12 years since i built a print incorectly and it made it in front of an audience. I feel another thread coming on . . . .
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Splicing Tapes 28 Aug 2000 02:40 #13154

  • BurneyFalls
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I use zebra tape for reel ends and clear if a repair is needed. Someday I may graduate to clear for the reel ends. I removed masking tape from my booth a couple years ago. I hate the stuff. Please do not use it. The glue sticks to the film and makes a gunky mess. I just switched to Neutape by Neumade and it is by far superior to anything I have used before. It is sooooo easy to peel off.
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Re: Splicing Tapes 21 Aug 2006 18:26 #13155

  • sevstar
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Not sure why this topic from 2000 was in the newsletter. But we have always used clear splicing tape. Because it is best for the customers viewing enjoyment.
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