Southern Television cuts

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Roll ACR
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Southern Television cuts

Post by Roll ACR »

I've sneaked open an Xmas present and I'm watching "The Capone Investment" and "Dangerous Knowledge" with my Mum and Dad. I'm intrigued as to why the film cuts - almost all on "Capone" and some on "Dangerous" are made with splices that fall beyond the edge of the frame. It's bizarre! I thought the cuts were looking odd so I jogged through and sure enough the splice is about 1/5 down the frame. Why? Is it the splice or is it an electronic artefact?
Also a few of the vision mixed studio cuts on "Dangerous Knowledge" seem to occur part way through a field. Again this strikes me as bizarre and is - albeit to someone "in the business" - quite obvious and odd looking.

Anyhow, what a cracking series "Dangerous Knowledge" is :-) I love John Gregson. Southern's film camera boys do some pretty nifty work too. Quite a few shots made me smile and think "nice work". And the Southern engineers certainly got cracking pictures out of the Marconis.

Mike Womersley used to be a contact of mine as he ended up being Head of Facilities at Meridian while they still operated the Northam studio centre. But I no longer have any means of asking him about it.

Brian F
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Re: Southern Television cuts

Post by Brian F »

I would image this is because they were 16mm negs, as there is not enough room for invisible splices unless the film is edited into a and b rolls with black spacer between shots. The two rolls are run one after the other with the positive stock rewound in-between runs this means that the spice is in the part not printed. If it was done cheaply with only one edited negative roll made up the splice would indeed occupy about 1/5 of the frame. This would result in white marks to indicate splices. If the resulting print was edited physically later the marks would be black

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Roll ACR
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Re: Southern Television cuts

Post by Roll ACR »

Cheers Brian :-) Merry Christmas everyone.

That's a very interesting explanation but I still don't fully understand the principles your talking about. I've seen 16mm stuff edited with taped splices along the frame edge. If you jog through on certain programmes you can see the hint of Sellotape (or whatever it was they used) along the edge of the preceding and edge of the next frame on the cut point. But the cut itself is a clean frame to frame transition. But it shows that the 16mm film has been cut and joined between frames. I've just never before seen the splice 1/5 down the frame before. So that you see part of both shots in one frame on the cut. Why is cutting negative different than cutting positive?

What's the technical reason? Is it the sprocket hole alignment? How come some stuff in the 70s has edits on the frame edge and "The Capone Investment" has extremely clean splices but they occur within the frame. Can you give any more detail?

Brian F
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Re: Southern Television cuts

Post by Brian F »

From that it sounds like they were cement splices and the person doing the splicing took the emulsion off the edge of the next frame instead of the overlap from the frame preceding the edit. The normal way with cement splices is to remove some of the film base from the whole frame and the emulsion from a small part of the preceding frame (the rest of it cut off in the splicer) to make the splice. This is to make the splice area not much thicker than the rest of the film and allow the cement to work strongly. But the reverse way shouldn't be easily possible, at least with the splicers I have used, though it could be done if both the pieces of film were the wrong way up to usual.

Very strange, as you say.

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KennyG
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Re: Southern Television cuts

Post by KennyG »

Roll ACR wrote:That's a very interesting explanation but I still don't fully understand the principles your talking about.
I hope that the following - combined with Brian's answers - might help you out...

There are two distinct tapes of splices - tape and cement. Tape splices involve the use of a special kind of sellotape called splicing tape which is used to stick the two pieces of film together. These tend to give dirtier splices as it is normally very difficult to position the tape so that both tape edges wind up precisely in the frame edge. The one key advantage is that the process is relatively non-destructive, meaning that you can undo a splice without the loss of any material.

Cement splices involve the use of film cement and give much cleaner results. The main drawback is that you lose a little material from each piece of film during the process of making a cement splice as you have to destroy some film emulsion so that the cement works. [I would bow to Brian's superior knowledge on the precise process involved as I have only used tape splicers].

Brian is indicating that what you are probably seeing are badly made cement splices where the cut hasn't been made in the frame edge. It seems to have been a matter of film editor preference though as it is consistent throughout the film. The only technical constraint in film splicing is maintaining the correct sprocket spacing.

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Re: Southern Television cuts

Post by moodymike »

The film Seq,s were shot on Agfa reversal film and processed in house. Editing was via a B/W cutting copy and the master matched via the key no's and cement joined. Attempts at striking a TX print from the reversal master were not a great success so the original stock was transferred via Telecine. All Southern's drama inserts were shot this way until the late 70's when all film series like Famous Five and Worzel Gummidge reverted to standard practice and shot on Eastman Neg and printed A & B roll cut neg.

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