The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Hair in the Gate

Back in the days of shooting film, the expression “check the gate” came into being because hairs or build up of film emulsion scrapings would get caught at the bottom of the rectangular opening, the gate, that allowed light to pass from the lens onto the film. So after each successful take, the assistant camera person would “check the gate” to make sure all was good. Not withstanding this procedure, sometimes these rascally imperfections made their way through…

good bad ugly hair in gate check film tuco ramirez lee van cleef eli wallach cowboy spaghetti western photo

While plenty of technical issues challenge the digital cinematographers of today, fortunately gunk in the gate is no longer one of them.