I screened the two new reels at Lab-Link today. Once again, some problems crept into the process. Reel 1 was very jittery for much of its length--Tony is certain that this is a problem with the projector and not the printing, and he's probably right, but I've become a bit paranoid. One of the shots in reel 2 has some weird visual garbage on it that lasts a few seconds. And there was a regular popping sound, like a scratch in a phonograph record, in the last five minutes of reel 2. This is the most interesting problem, because it occurs in exactly the same place as the sound track noise in the last print, though the quality of the noise is different in the two prints.
I feel too weary to make a fuss over these problems--I paid Lab-Link for the print (almost $1500) and carried it away. Tony is going to send reel 2 and the optical track to Magno Sound to try to find the source of the problem. If the optical track is flawed (which seems possible--otherwise why is the problem occurring at the same place each time?), maybe I'll take it back to the sound lab and try to get them to make me another track. But in that case I would probably just hold on to the new track for future prints, and not pay Lab-Link for another print right now. If the sound is Lab-Link's fault, I have to decide whether it's worth my while to stay on this merry-go-round.
In other words, today is probably the official day of completion of the movie. Too bad that these little defects keep me from being in a celebratory mood. I'm holding off on the next steps (making a video master, buying reels and cans to store the film, scheduling a cast and crew screening) until I talk to Tony about the cause of the problems, just in case.
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