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Ranks and Static

Just thought I'd throw this into the discussion for what it's worth...

We used to have very noticeable static problems every winter with our Ranks.
 It sometimes seemed as though the static was coming right from the film
itself.  Our mag dubbers showed similar faults.

We attacked this problem in several ways.

First, we discovered that most ball bearings, such as you would use for Rank
rollers and MTE dubbers, contain non-conductive grease.  Therefore, the
rollers don't do a very good job of discharging the static that does build
up.  It is possible to order bearings with conductive grease, and switching
over to them helped a lot.  

Secondarily, humidity does make a big difference!  New York City is not
normally thought of as a dry climate, but in the winter, the humidity in a
building can get down as low as 10% if you let it.  Keeping it up around
40-50% in the telecine area is essential if you want to control static!

Third, you have to consider where the film was previously.  Turns out that
stuff which has been "warehoused" in the winter is very dry and static-prone.
 Allowing it to acclimate in a room with adequate humidity--even for just a
few hours--can often make a big difference.

Finally, we noticed that wiping the telecine deckplate and reel platters down
with a good anti-static solution such as the one Hewlett Packard makes will
quiet things down a lot even in less-than-ideal situations.  A lot of the
other so-called anti-static formulas aren't nearly as effective.

Christopher Bacon
DuArt Film & Video