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Film Restoration - Magenta/purple dye transferred to film base


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Hi all,

I have some 16mm film with signs of vinegar syndrome, mostly just smell. But it was stored in a can with another film with full blown VS.

I’m not 100% sure on the correct word to use, but I believe it’s Ferrotyping? 

It seems the emulsion has leached some dye, and it’s become pressed into the base. It doesn’t come out with alcohol or water. 
it’s only purple/magenta in colour. 
the film still seems to have ok colour going on.

its marked as Kodachrome on the film edge. it’s the first time I’ve seen this before. 
 

Is there any fix either chemically or in post?

 

thanks! 
 

 

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Posted (edited)

If it is too far gone and you can't color correct in post...turn it into B&W.

I'm not sure about ferrotyping. 

Ferrotyping is what we used to do to 'Type F' semi-gloss paper to turn it into glossy photos. You would squeegee the wet paper into contact with a highly polished chrome plate and let it dry slowly. If it dries too fast, it develops clamshell cracks.

You can tell the difference between ferrotyped gloss prints versus RC gloss by looking at the edge of the paper. The ferrotyped paper has a smidgeon of non-ferrotyped semi-gloss gelatin still left on it. The RC has a perfect gloss right to the edge. Also, some pin hole defects in a ferrotyped gloss finish when viewed at an angle.

Ferrotype plates, so called, were also used in making daguerreotypes, but had nothing to do with making gloss prints. 

Next time send in a photo / scan of the problem. It is good to see this stuff.

Good luck!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Andrew. If you could get hold of some green lighting gel, probably about 1/8 or 1/4 and place that over your light source, that might be helpful in bringing the blue and red channels back into balance if the magenta masking in the base is consistent in density.

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On 5/12/2024 at 2:52 AM, John Rizzo said:

The best thing to do is to scan it, the purple color should be easily correctable.   

Unfortunately it’s not just the standard magenta fade that you’d normally see which I can correct, It’s magenta ghosting from the frame that was rolled on top of it in the wind. 
here’s an example - https://app.frame.io/f/df4571a5-c6a7-40f1-a81f-d48e8f0d563c

 

a friend told me it could be from a tight wind, or maybe film cleaners or lubricants used in the past. 

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Jeeze that is a tough one to fix.

I wonder if you could do some kind of notch or bandpass color filter in Resolve or Phoenix that just selects the fairly uniform color range of the dye imprinted onto the base from the tight wind and extract it.

If they dye is really soaked into the acetate base it probably won't ultrasonic clean off.

 

 

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I wonder if once you have a safety copy scanned off the film and the owner of the film consents to possible loss, that you could bleach the base face of the film and wash/wipe the bleach off before it can touch the emulsion face. 

I would be inclined to still try adding a green gel filter to your scanner's backlight source to balance the magenta. The ghost image may however remain as a faded black and white image. You have a conundrum there that I do not envy on little bit.

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Most scanners these days have pretty sophisticated RGB LED lamps which can be calibrated to any RGB balance making the filter unnecessary.

Doing a good 4K scan which is un-clipped and then trying to work on the base to remove the transferred dye. I would suggest finding a section at the head or tail to experiment on. Start with alcohol and move up in solvent strength to see if anything works.

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Thanks for all the replies and advice everyone. 

On 5/15/2024 at 6:32 PM, Robert Hart said:

I would be inclined to still try adding a green gel filter to your scanner's backlight source to balance the magenta. The ghost image may however remain as a faded black and white image. You have a conundrum there that I do not envy on little bit.

Thanks Bob, I used the filmfabriek here so I could push the RGB light source, I balanced it to be peak white. 

I've tried some colouring in resolve but I'm not that skilled, and it just takes away from the other colour of the film. 

6 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

Doing a good 4K scan which is un-clipped and then trying to work on the base to remove the transferred dye. I would suggest finding a section at the head or tail to experiment on. Start with alcohol and move up in solvent strength to see if anything works.

I took some of the leader where the dye had also pressed into it, I couldn't get it out with any alcohol (iso and ethanol) and water. But it could be different to the film base. I could try steal some from the tail. 

 

It might be something I just have to leave as is. Just do the best scan I can. Maybe someone down the track can do some further work on the files

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I think that if the emulsion dyes have transferred into the base it will be very hard to remove them because they are now part of the base not just on the surface.

You might try soaking a small head or tail piece in Film Renew or Vita Film and then take some more very aggressive action like using a scotch brite pad to it just to see how far you need to go to possibly get it out.

You might want to ask some more experienced colorists about how to "notch" out the color spectrum of the transferred dyes as they seem to be a very specific color range. There are great color picker tools in all the modern software like Resolve or Phoenix. Maybe make a post on the Lift Gamma Gain forum to get some more colorist opinions.

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