A film leader is a short section of film that should be attached to each end of a film. Some types of unprocessed film, known as 'cream leader’ because of their light colour, are suitable.
The leader provides a convenient location to write identification information about the carrier. The leader also provides a degree of protection for the film during winding and other handling.
'Painted’ leader is also available for this purpose. However, this often becomes powdery over time and deposits the 'paint’ as a dust that may cause scratching. Therefore the dust needs to be cleaned away before the film can be used. Also, unless the exact composition of the pigments and carrier in the paint is known, there is a risk that these will harm the film, especially the image, in some way.