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  1. #1

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    Cutting 35mm film.

    It's always a chore and seems like never a perfect cut between frames. What's your simple stupid process or device that makes it easier for perfect cuts?
    W.A. Crider

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    A scissors seems to work for me.

    It might be a camera issue. Some 35mm cameras (like my Canon New F-1, and I think Leicas do this, and I'm sure there are others) always put the frame margins between sprockets, so maybe these are easier to cut straight.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  3. #3

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    After the film has dried, and while it is still hanging, I also cut using ordinary scissors. Counting from the bottom I cut between every sixth frame. It does take practice, and occasionally I miss the mark. Good lighting helps.
    "Lo único de lo que el mundo no se cansará nunca es de exageración." Salvador Dalí

  4. #4

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    Yet another ordinary scissors user here. My biggest problem is with cameras with less even frame spacing. Some, such as my Ricoh XR-X 3PF and Zenit KM, provide very even frame spacing. Others, such as my Zenit APk, are much less even, and if I happen to need to cut between negatives with less than the usual space, I occasionally end up slicing slightly into one frame or the other. Very thin negatives (dark scenes) can also pose problems. I've resorted to counting sprocket holes on occasion.

    As to technique, I hang the film to dry. When it's done, I cut off the bit where the clip had been at the bottom (it's often got some residual trapped moisture that can drip). In most cases, with 35mm I reverse the roll, so that the first frames are at the top; this lets me get four frames (I use four-frame strips) in the last strip and however many will fit, plus some leader, in the first strip. I then hold up the bottom of the roll, count frames, and position the scissors to cut. Holding the film and scissors so that a white wall is behind them helps me to see the frames and the gap between them. If necessary, I move the scissors back and forth a bit to get a clearer view of where each frame ends, but I'm careful to keep the scissor blade well away from the emulsion when I do this. I then cut slowly. This often causes the film to buckle a bit, so I may need to shift my grip and reposition the angle of the scissors as I cut. This part sounds trickier than it is. For the first few strips, I tend to lift the film into a more-or-less horizontal position to find the frame gaps and cut, but for the final few strips, I find it easier to cut while the film is hanging vertically.

  5. #5
    Lee L's Avatar
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    I used to use scissors. For the last two years I've been using a Fiskars 6" bypass (not rotary) trimmer that I found at an office supply store. I put it on a lightbox for use. It can also cut through the continuous sleeve that my color lab uses, so the film is protected while I cut. It's great for 120 and 35mm, and you can align the film with the grid on the bed of the cutter.

    Can't find it online right off, or I'd post a link to a photo.

    Lee

  6. #6

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    Another vote for a trimmer.
    I just started to use a small Fiskars trimmer, the kind with a sliding blade in a little holder. It works great on a lightbox. The space under the blade is clear, so you can see exactly where the cut will be and the edge of the frames. With 35 you have some advantage for using scissors, as you can gauge where the cut will go using the sprocket holes. It's a little tougher with 120, which is why I tried out the trimmer.

  7. #7

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    there does exist a special cutter for 35mm film. i regret everyday the day i got offered to buy one for 10$ and bailed out because i was a broke-ass student.
    the cutter is about 6 inches long, has a small lightbox built into it with a mini paper cutter type thing attached. apparently it works marvelously. too bad i'll never find out. you might be able to find one on ebay or a second hand camera store.

  8. #8

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    Well I've tried the scissors in the past and with my eyes and even with reading glasses it's always real tough. I next went to using a piece of glass on a lightbox with a top edge and now am using a scored piece of paper covered plexiglass on a lightbox with a hard mousepad on top to prevent film slipping. The score seems to guide the blade pretty good and the hard mousepad keeps the film from moving and prevents damage to the film. I need something quicker tho; Maybe the Fiskars trimmer would be better.
    Last edited by waynecrider; 11-24-2007 at 02:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    W.A. Crider

  9. #9
    Mike Richards's Avatar
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    I found a ROWI cutter in a bargain barrel at a shop in Germany -- 8 Euro as I recall. It's works as jordanstar described. Don't know how I ever got along without it. You should be able to find something equivalent on ebay or the large photo dealers.
    Mike Richards' Mobile Me gallery, including the Holocaust and Turkey Expo.

  10. #10
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    I use cotton gloves, so that I can put my fingers everywhere I need to, and a pair of scissors. I use my Patented Super-Special Grip to hold the 35mm strip (works for 120 as well) on either side of the cutting zone (see photos).

    That way I hold the film with my left hand, cut with my right hand, and I can look at it by transparency holding it towards the light, to see the frame space. Gripping film like this helps a bit to cut a strip with curly base.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 06120002.jpg   06120003.jpg  
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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