Then there are splices hard and splices soft.

I was thinking about conjunctions, those joining words and the relation to film. And’ and ‘but’ don’t break the flow of the written sentence, perhaps ‘meanwhile’ adds a time based shift but it is still doesn’t slow the reader, and has continuity. There’s no comparison to ‘but’ in a splice, they’re all ‘and’. Shot  and shot and shot and black (does black = no meaning?).

Then there are splices hard and splices soft. They’re the only physical things that break the flow in your camera original. The cuts made ‘in-camera’ where you stop and start again are not as disruptive when you are projecting it.

In video a ‘cut’ is invisible just like the image on the magnetic tape (unless there is a break in the placement of the control track – glitchy video edits are things from a pre-digital, time-based past. We even used magnetic powder, sprinkled on the edge of the 2″ tape so we could see the sync points before using the razor blade and sticky tape. They probably deserve their own examination.)

When you make a print and project it, there is forensic visual evidence sometimes of the conjunction, but the practice of A &B roll editing for a printer hides the conjunctions in overlapping black spacer, a handy trick. This was something the few laboratories who handled Super8 prints found too fiddly to do.

A splice either using film cement and grinding down the ends of the film to overlap a frame, or plastic adhesive splices of various kinds that hold two bits of film at the frame line with transparent tape are the usual methods. The tape is often less intrusive but it suffers from being ‘other’ to the original, and as they age they peel off. They can be remade without losing ‘information’ but are usually removed unless the cut is a critical frame accurate one, because they leave sticky marks on the images.

A good i.e. well-made cement splice creates one composite frame that often passes unnoticed, other than the flick of a horizontal dirty edge on a light part of the background, like these. And a ‘snick’ as it goes through the projector.

I learnt to make a film cement splice even before I had a camera. It was in the projection box at the Walwa pictures when you joined the two short reels ( a cartoon or serial) onto a larger spool. The splicing block was rudimentary, with worn brass pins and a scraper file edge that you had to just judge the pressure on so that the depth was a perfect half-lap (in woodwork).