The Steky 16mm cassettes are small, and they are not the easiest to reload. To top if off, threading the film and cassettes into the camera requires a little patience -- but at least that part takes place with the lights on!
  1. Memorize these instructions since you can't refer to them in the dark; better yet, run through the steps with the lights on with scrap film.
  2. Gather all your items together -- 16mm film, cassettes, scissors, 1/2" black tape, and film template.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly, or use film gloves (obtainable at most camera shops) in order to avoid getting oil or dirt on the film.
  4. With Steky cassettes, you'll notice that there are two identical cassettes.  
  5. Remove both caps and COMPLETELY take apart the cassettes.
  6. Remove any film from the cassettes.
  7. Completely check the cassettes for any loose dirt or film scraps.
  8. Turn off the lights.
  9. Cut a 19" length of film, using a template, ruler or whatever you can device. A yardstick with a notch or piece of tape at 19" will work fine. Steky cameras are designed to use perforated film.  When the film is advanced, the perforations turn a small wheel in the camera and this stops the film advance at the appropriate point.  Without perforations, the film keeps advancing.  You can use single or double perforated film since there are wheels on both sides of the camera.
  10. Snip the corners of the film end and slide the tip into the center slot of the Steky reel.  Wind the film tighly into a roll and pull out a 1-2" leader. Make sure that the emulsion is wound in toward the center of the roll.  Also make sure that the film is not loose on the reel.  The leader must make tight contact with the spool in order to achieve enough tension to turn the film counter.
  11. Slip the leader through the film outlet of one of the cassettes. Then drop the roll of film into the cassette. This can be difficult to find in the dark, so you may need to practice with the lights on with a scrap piece of film.
  12. Place the cap back on the cassette.
  13. Turn on a dim light.
  14. Snip the corners of the other film end and slide the tip into the center slot of the other Steky reel.  Wind the film tighly a couple of turns.  Also make sure that the film is not loose on the reel.  If the leader slips out of the reel, the film will not advance. A small piece of tape will probably help.
  15. Slip the leader through the film outlet of the cassette. Then drop the reel into the cassette.
  16. Place the cap back on the cassette.  
  17. Mark each cassette in some way so that you know which cassette is the feeder and which is the takeup spool. The two cassettes look identical and without marking them, you have no way of knowing which has the film in it.
  18. There is only one way to correctly place the cassettes in the camera.  Start with the feeder cassette. Make sure it goes in with the film slot toward the back of the camera.
  19. Slip the film through the pressure plate, then around the top of the camera.
  20. Flip the lever near the film plane over the cassette.  This not only keeps the casssette in place, but applies pressure from the film pressure plate.
  21. Slide the film takeup cassette into the camera and close the door.

This may sound like a lot of work, but once you get used to it, you can reload a cassette quickly.

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