How this Latest Mani Microfilm was Developed
What methods were used to create the microfilm roll and why?
by Tai Vautier
This was a great learning process. The mantra has to be correctly modified in all the right places so that the Tibetan font does not break down under reduction. Over the years I have learned exactly where each syllable breaks down and how all the subscripts react to reduction. After I modify the font by thickening it in certain places and separating it out here and there and I reduce the mantra size down to about 1 mm. Then we go to the printers with this mantra. We attempted many different printing processes at first but we ended up finding that the only way we could get a clear print of small mantras to be used for microfilm was to employ a process called a PMT (photo multiplier tube). This is an old method used before digital technology took over. This process develops a photo of the selected images using a software called Freehand 9 to feed the images to the PMT machine and produce a PMT with of the thousands of minute mantras all perfectly clear on one large photographic page. Using a photo process keeps the images from bleeding as even the highest quality laser printers bleed. Now it is impossible for us to find someone who still owns a PMT machine and knows how to use Freehand 9 so we have switched to a Digital PMT process still using the same software and it works almost as well as the previous process.
Once we have the PMT we send this to HOV Services and they shoot our film for us. Then we trouble shoot through various tests until we achieve the smallest and clearest mantra size possible.
A huge thank you to Scott J. at Eurografics in Florida for our PMTs and to Bob Rayner, Mike Tedesco, Cesar Rodriguez and George Gasparovich at HOV Services in Albuquerque NM., Amarillo TX., El Paso TX.