Whenever I chop my negs (using scissors) I think of a paragraph posted years ago (maybe on photo.net before it was semi-graphical in nature.. maybe before photo.net even on greenspun.net or whatever it was...) on the subject (I made a copy but can't locate it) that managed to describe the tension and emotions of cutting negs in a paragraph of several lines. Wish I could find it as I think some here would appreciate it.
You have stumbled on one of life's great questions - how not to make mistakes. The obvious answer is to do nothing. But this is the biggest mistake of all, since you will end up having accomplished nothing. The best solution is to not shy from anything - but to learn to concentrate on what you are doing. This sounds obvious, but how often are you thinking of the next thing you need to do or of something you've already done while you do a simple task, and end up screwing up? I find that concentrating on whatever I'm about gets the job done quicker, easier, and more often correctly and even creatively than when my mind is divided. The trick is to learn to do it amidst all the distractions that beset us nowadays. So go ahead and attack your film with scissors. Just pay attention!
I've bought a Dr. T film cutter from eBay a few minutes ago. Just want to see how much less of a chore it is to cut several trannies for use. He assures me it has a very sharp blade and is friction fed with no danger of scratching. Still need a cotton gloved hand on the left side to progressively pull through. I'll keep the Fiskars hands for trimming archival card / polypropylene masks.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
I use scissors so that I can nip the corners off at a 45 degree angle. The film slides in the sleeves much easier that way. Large format gets snipped at all 4 corners as well.
Nail clippers are another good way to nip off the corners.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2