Film Cleaning and Prep Pointers

Overview: This article is on pointers regarding film cleaning.


Rewinder, film cleaning fluid (Edwal bottles have Solvon), cleaning cloth, splices, splicer.


  • The rewinder should be placed on the table with the handles facing the operator.  The left rewinder should be the drive or geared rewinder and the right rewinder the slave.
  • The film should be mounted on the slave.
  • Film reel orientation:
    • for 8mm and 16mm sound, the sprocket holes should be on the far side of the reel
    • for 16mm silent, the sprocket holes are on both sides so they cannot help in orientation
    • BEWARE 16mm leader can be I've seen silent leader on sound film (the film has sprockets only on one side)
    • typically the film will come off the top of the reel to the top of the take-up reel
    • the film's emulsion side will be facing up
    • 16mm film frames are facing heads-up toward the leader.  If the frames are heads-down, then the film is on the reel tail out.
      • tail out film needs to be wound onto the take-up reel
      • while winding the film, clean it
      • when done winding, take the take-up reel and mount it on the projector
        • when the reel has been processed to thru the projector....
          • replace the original take-up reel with the original reel
          • rewind the film back onto the original reel
  • soak some of the cleaning fluid on the cleaning cloth
  • pinch the cleaning cloth on the film as you wind it onto the take-up reel
  • then rewind the film back to the original reel
  • if the film is very dirty and long I will refresh the cleaning cloth with more fluid part way thru the cleaning.  I may also clean the film on the return to the original reel