(EDITOR'S NOTE: Although this article is intended primarily for the beginning editing student, it can also be helpful
for experienced people who want to improve their splicing techniques.)
- The first step in learning to splice is to learn to tell the emulsion side of film from the base side.
- Hold the film up to the light and rotate it slightly. When the light hits the BASE side of the film,
it will bounce off brightly because the the base is the SHINY side of the film. The emulsion is the DULL side
and usually has less gloss or shine to it when light is reflected on to it. (Fig. 1)
- Although the base of any film stock will be shinier than its emulsion, it is often difficult to tell one
from the other on fillms with glossy-looking emulsions - e.g. Ektachrome Commercial and fresh frome the can
lightstruck positive use throughout the industry for leader.
In this case, the best way to tell emulsion from base is to hold up a short piece of film and look at its
curl. (Fig. 1). The emulsion side of the film will be on the inside of the curl.
- If these two methods should failthe emulsion side can always be determined by moistening your lower lip and
placing the film against it. The EMULSION side will stick to your lip but the base side will not.
CAUTION: The emulsion side will also pull the skin off your lip if you do not moisten your lip well. Never use
is method unless all else fails and never use the moisture test on original film. Grease and water cannot be
removed from the original.
Always use the first two methods whenever possible. When you put the film in your mouth to determine emulsion position,
you immediately brand yourself as a non-professional.
- Learning to handle the film by its only is the next important step toward splicing. Film is handled by its
edges to avoid getting grease and dirt from your fingers on it. Never pick up film or handle it with your fingers
flat on its surface. This rule applies even when you are wearing gloves. Placing your fingers flat on the film
is a sure sign of an amateur.
When you have learned to tell emulsion from base and have mastered the techniques of handling film by the edges
only, you are ready to learn the mechaniques of splicing.
- Any discussion on how to splice must begin with the splicer itself. The tool may vary from a small table
model with a single scraper and without heat to a complicated foot splicer with all the latest innovations. But
the basic components are all the same.
Since one of the the most widely used splicers today is Maier-Hancock 8mm-16mm portable hot splicer originally
marketed by Bell and Howell, we will use this splicer as our demonstration model.