This is topic Condition rating of S/H films in forum General Yak at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on September 12, 2013, 04:26 PM:
As someone who was an avid book collector for 40 plus years I am familiar with the grading of antiquarian books, and know what defects if any to expect. Books are described as Fine, Very Good, Good, Poor or Reading Copy.
Is there a similar description for the grading of used films? Obviously I know the meaning of Near Mint, and Excellent, is probably as good as you are going to get for a 30 plus year old film. There doesn't seem to be a grade Good, so what should I expect for Very Good?. I can expect that the original leader is missing, but anything else?. One US seller on Ebay grades VG as projectable, but that tells you nothing really.
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on September 12, 2013, 08:19 PM:
I think if you use that kind of grading, you will end up on grading the film physically, not the contain.

That was always Derann used when grading the film.

I don't agree with that way. Grading the film must be clear on:

- how light or heavy is the scratch
- how far has the color fading taken away
- Is there any vinegar smell
- Warp or not

This is due to the fact that we "watch" the contain, and our enjoyment will depend on the above facts.

You can have a very good (physically) film but scratchy and badly faded pictures, we will end up throwing it to the bin. Right?
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on September 13, 2013, 03:16 AM:
I don't feel that any seller is going to the trouble of using Winbert's excellent ideas. Just look at eBay, a mine-field when it comes to film selling.

I have always found the grading used by Independent 8 to be useful as a guide, but then, of course, if you wanted more information, a quick call to Barry would give you the answer.
Posted by Jonathan Trevithick (Member # 3066) on September 13, 2013, 03:35 AM:
This is a very good grading system:
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on September 13, 2013, 03:53 AM:
Thanks Jonathan for that link; not everyone will grade a book, record, or film identically.
I have only bought one feature graded as VG in the past, and apart from the replaced leader, everything else was perfect. I had never bought from Derann or Steve Wellings, but did think I could buy with confidence, but on inspection of my film I found numerous splices, tape repairs for diagonal tears, holes in the picture area, and some very minor perf damage. I haven't attempted to project the film yet, but it's not what I expected for Very Good. I have emailed Steve to ask if he projected all his films prior to listing; and no doubt he will not be pleased that I have gone public, but I don't think I will be purchasing any more.
Posted by Jonathan Trevithick (Member # 3066) on September 13, 2013, 04:13 AM:
Robert, I have had some frustrations with sellers who say the print is in better condition than it is. I once bought a print which was advertised as "mint" and it actually had holes in it(maybe it was a polo mint. Ha! Ha!). Personally, when I sell a film, I often tend to play down the quality a notch and am as descriptive of the condition as possible. Then, there are fewer disappointments.
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on September 13, 2013, 04:55 AM:
I wonder how they get these holes?, it's not from the lamp, because you would get a scorch mark. What I noticed was one hole in a frame, running for 4 frames.

I always found Paul Foster to be good with his grading. The films I have bought from him, described as Excellent condition, have been as good as a new print with no previous owners.
Posted by Jonathan Trevithick (Member # 3066) on September 13, 2013, 06:13 AM:
Well, I chatted on another forum and I was told it was most likely the 16mm print had been selected for destruction and a knife had been slit across it lightly. Fortunately, this has only happened once to me and it was only one reel. There are prints out there called bandsaw prints which have literally been sawn in two by the film company and later reconstructed by incredibly patient collectors. I have never seen one but apparently they aren't easy viewing!
Posted by Lars-Goran Ahlm (Member # 1908) on September 20, 2013, 07:04 PM:
I just got my first bad buy on ebay due to a faulty description. I bought from a seller with 100% positive feedback (you should be able to trust them, don't you?). The listing ended with "COMPLETE FULL-LENGTH FEATURE".

Unfortunately I received it the first week of July. From midsummer to end of August I work six days a week as we live on the tourist trade. Thus the box was unopened untill a couple of weeks ago.

The first thing I noticed was that "COMPLETE" apparently means completely missing all main titles except "directed by". Secondly I got a sneaking suspicion that this was not all, so I timed the film. It ended up being 98 minutes long, according to IMDB it should be 111 minutes.

So this trader, with a 100% score, apparently thinks a film missing main titles and thirteen minutes is a "COMPLETE FULL-LENGTH FEATURE". And when I tried to give feedback it was not possible. Apparently you only have 60 days to do so and not 90 as I thought.

Well I will never buy from him again, and that's a pity as he has many interesting films listed.

It also taught me to open the box and run the film as soon as possible, even if I have been working the last six days and are too tired to really watch it. It's to late to complain to ebay too [Frown] .
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on September 21, 2013, 02:00 AM:
There are a some films which on viewing seem complete, however if they are timed against reference books they run shorter. This is because a lot of 16mm prints have been edited for showing on television.

I have a copy of "Straw Dogs" which is twenty minutes short of its correct running time, but it runs very coherently and only a person who has seen the original full-length version would know something was missing.

Also, in the very early days of 16mm prints "out for sale" the credits were purposely removed by sellers so as not to give any reference back to where they might have come from.
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on September 21, 2013, 03:50 AM:
The seller should have recorded that the titles were missing; in the UK you would probably be able to use the Office of Fair Trading, or maybe Trading Standards.

I bought a film from a dealer, while I was waiting for it I checked the length, should be 113 mins, but only 2 x 1600 foot reels arrived. Looking at an online trailer I found not only missing action but some actors who were not in my reels. The seller originally said it was a Theatrical Print, and after said it was probably a TV print, until I told him about the trailer and all the missing action.

In all fairness, he refunded money immediately.
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on September 21, 2013, 04:19 AM:
Robert, I bought once a 16 mm copy of a French tv show. I found that it was full of spices. I had my splicer ready and my hand on the knob of the projector when I projected it. And, surprise, not only not a single splice broke but you could even not see the plices on the screen. It's a mystery as it is a of course a sound film, but the result is what matters.
Posted by Jonathan Trevithick (Member # 3066) on September 21, 2013, 05:43 AM:
Robert, trailers are sometimes not the best indicators of a film's content, particularly films from the pre 80s. They are often constructed way before the editing is finished. I can think of some Pink Panther trailers off hand with scenes which didn't make it into the final cut.
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on September 21, 2013, 11:58 AM:
Actually, the film that was offered to me was The Lady With The Lamp, about Florence Nightingale, but not only did we not see her in the tents holding the lamp, but the action in the Crimea was missing, and although Gordon Jackson appeared in the trailer and cast list, he wasn't in my reels. At the end of reel 1 the scene ended abruptly instead of fading out, and the next reel commenced with a different scene. What I had was reels 1 & 3, and number 2 missing. The dealer said he bought the collection from an old man who was going into a retirement home. He never followed my request to check if the missing reel was someone about.
Posted by Jonathan Trevithick (Member # 3066) on September 21, 2013, 08:11 PM:
Well, that's pretty bad. I am very wary of purchasing films which have not been viewed by the seller....unless it's cheap as chips! Stating that Robert, are you saying the seller had actually watched the film? He should have noticed if a reel's worth of footage was missing! Very poor.
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on September 22, 2013, 09:12 AM:
I think he just read the date code and said it was a Theatrical Print from 1955. I had just bought a film starring Michael Wilding, and he immediately wrote back and said he had just bought a collection and thought this might interest me as Michael Wilding was in this also. This person is knowledgable about film and does restoration and runs a film school. He should have checked it out first.
Posted by David Guest (Member # 2791) on September 22, 2013, 09:22 AM:
my opinion when buying a film his ask all the questions you want to know and if happy with the outcome buy it
Posted by Michael O'Regan (Member # 938) on September 22, 2013, 12:36 PM:
Strange you should say that, David, because I was once interested in a print of yours on ebay so I asked a few questions and, in the end, for personal reasons decided not to buy it. Yet, you called me a time-waster and barred me from bidding on your future auctions.
[Big Grin]
Posted by Jonathan Trevithick (Member # 3066) on September 22, 2013, 05:16 PM:
Robert, it is amazing how many sellers do not check their films first. I bought a Laurel and Hardy feature last year only to discover the 2nd reel was a completely different film! Fortunately, he took it back (he was in the States and Paypal chipped in a bit too). At a later date, he advertised it again (having found reel 2) and I bought it again. That film has certainly done a fair bit of flying!
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on September 22, 2013, 10:24 PM:
How many sellers are genuine film enthusiasts? Do they really know what they are selling? No purchase is a bargain if you don't get the complete film.

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