splicing and adding film leader

(Safety first!)

To protect the information (the images) on the microfilm, we will add lead (blank, archival quality film) to the start of film rolls that do not have adequate leads. This way, if any damage is done to the first few inches of a film, the risk is (hopefully) only to blank frames, not frames with information. In the scope of the Dumbarton Oaks project, we want to make sure all our microfilm have at least a lead of 12 inches (longer preferred but 12 inches sufficient).

If you pull a film without a long lead:
1. measure at least 12 inches of clear film leader and cut (preferred method for cutting: align leader in the splicer using the pins, then slice with the guillotine on the right-hand edge of the splicer to ensure a straight vertical cut)

2. if the film does not have a straight vertical edge but can be trimmed without losing information, use the splicer guillotine to make a straight, vertical cut in the same way

3. if the film does not have a straight vertical edge but trimming it would risk information, do not cut it but carefully overlap the minimal amount of the film with the leader

4. align the leader and film edge in the splicer using the pins; the join should occur approximately in the center of the “matrix” in order to fall under the tape when you operate the splicer

5. make sure the tape is aligned with the join, then pull it across the full width of the matrix without touching the film (excess tape at the top edge will be cut off when you operate the splicer but try not to create too much excess)

6. when properly aligned, press gently down on the tape to secure it to the film and leader; we recommend that, when you first touch the tape down to the film, you move your finger from one edge of the tape to the other in order to prevent air bubbles or wrinkles (like a squeegee)

7. once the tape is in position, remove your fingers from the matrix and pull the black handle all the way down; this should cut the tape along the top and bottom edges of the film

8. gently remove and inspect the spliced film

9. if satisfied, turn the joined film over and follow the appropriate steps to add a piece of splicing tape to the reverse side

Please be very careful handling the splicer because it has a number of sharp blades (guillotine on the right-hand side as well as the blades attached to the splicing plate) along with perforating pins (also attached to the splicing plate)

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