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Successful Film-O-Clean hacks?


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1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Ohhhh yea that's what it was, HFE. I thought they had an alternative for the toxicity of pert. 

HFE is a "engineered fluid" by 3M I think and it is hella spendy like $1K/Gal and is basically non toxic under the conditions it is used in. I know the Lipsner 8200 HFE machines at Co3 NY needed an environmental cert to be run as they are vented to atmosphere but nothing compared to the Perc one. That said many Dry-Clean businesses still operate with Perc.

1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Cool thanks for the insight! I know nothing about cleaners. I always send it out due to how good pert is. They only charge .04 cents per foot over at Spectra, which is only a few blocks away. So I just drop older content off and get it cleaned. But we've found that even the ultrasonic pert machine can't get off the real baked in dirt. We're trying some hand cleaning with some other stuff that I'll talk about if it works! 

Ultrasonic is a small tank with the tank itself having ultrasonic "speakers" to do hi-freq oscillation of the tank liquid, this works but a it is too small and too short a time to really open up the emulsion and get it to release embedded dirt and dust stuff, a rewash processor does that but that is like running a 1/3 of a full film processor so not allot of places outside of labs will want to do that.

I could see a possible DIY machine for immersion cleaning using a non evaporative method and some kodak kit chemistry then air knives and a drybox as a possible more modern lower enviornmetal impact way to get at stubborn dirt and also to kill mold etc.

Here is the Lipsner XL1100

 

img067.jpg

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7 hours ago, Todd Ruel said:

Andrew,

I think Perry successfully convinced me not to use FilmGuard.  I don't really need a lot of oily gunk on my machinery.  If it requires too much cleanup afterward, then I'm not a fan.  I'll stick with 99.9% isopropyl.

However, I will proceed with trying to make this Film-O-Clean box work inline with the scanning process.  As I've said before, I have nothing to lose.  Very low risk even if I fail.

I will investigate Gambol.

Ok I think that's a good move. I wouldn't bother looking into Gamsol then, it's an oily liquid. It's probably the same as FilmGuard, just not a branded label for film.

I just wasn't sure if you were wanting to see if you could get better results from the HDS foam rollers w/ Iso Alcohol by either changing the delivery method of the fluid, changing the fluid itself, or both! 

I think the delivery method of the foam rollers is very good. I couldn't say if the Film-O-Clean will improve, but worth a shot if you're up for it!

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7 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Oh so you don't use alcohol in your HDS wet gate? 

No I do use Iso Alcohol, I just confused myself if Todd wanted to try a fluid that might provide different results, or change the delivery method. 

I use Gamsol for wet mounting photographic negatives on my flat bed scanner. It works very well, but you need to clean it off with alcohol after as it's oily. 

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5 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

Ultrasonic is a small tank with the tank itself having ultrasonic "speakers" to do hi-freq oscillation of the tank liquid, this works but a it is too small and too short a time to really open up the emulsion and get it to release embedded dirt and dust stuff, a rewash processor does that but that is like running a 1/3 of a full film processor so not allot of places outside of labs will want to do that.

 

Interesting. I wondered why Fotokem did their re-washing in a processor. 

Also, thanks for the info, very valuable. 

Can you explain what the best "automated" method would be to clean film? Do you feel processors are the best or can cleaners if run slow enough, actually do good work. I've been very unsatisfied with the cleaning work done at many labs, it's as of they only remove the top layer of dust, which I can do with my wet gate anyway. 

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7 hours ago, Todd Ruel said:

However, I will proceed with trying to make this Film-O-Clean box work inline with the scanning process.  As I've said before, I have nothing to lose.  Very low risk even if I fail.

I'd be surprised if you can do it in-line with a single-pass so let us know how you go on that. We just cleaned one of our prints here and it took multiple passes in an ultrasonic machine, and it would take even more passes in a Film-O-Clean or a Kelmar. One of my friends cleaned a print before projecting it using a Kelmar and because they wanted to get it as clean as possible they ran it through like 9 times or something crazy like that!! If you're making modifications to your film path don't forget to test it first with junk film for scratching etc.

7 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Do you have an ultrasonic machine? I haven't seen alcohol and ultrasonic and didn't know how well it worked. All of the guys here I use for cleaning use pert and ultrasonic. 

That's because you don't have a choice of solvent - they were designed for Trike and then most that were still in use have been converted to use Perc. Some companies (and even individuals) convert them to use HFE solvents or whatever else, but it doesn't seem to be a straightforward process to convert them and I'll bet that it's expensive as well.

7 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

They only charge .04 cents per foot over at Spectra, which is only a few blocks away. So I just drop older content off and get it cleaned. But we've found that even the ultrasonic pert machine can't get off the real baked in dirt.

One of my friends in restoration uses Spectra if they need to clean film in LA. Yes it doesn't get out the embedded dirt you need rewashing for that.

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Interesting. I wondered why Fotokem did their re-washing in a processor. 

Also, thanks for the info, very valuable. 

Can you explain what the best "automated" method would be to clean film? Do you feel processors are the best or can cleaners if run slow enough, actually do good work. I've been very unsatisfied with the cleaning work done at many labs, it's as of they only remove the top layer of dust, which I can do with my wet gate anyway. 

I think all labs do rewash in processors, or rewash machines which are just somewhat smaller modified processors and PhotoMec and Debrie have RW Machines as current products. Basically you feed the film into the processor forward of the developer so it goes through some fix and wash and the final and drybox. Kodak has a manual for this process that is pretty specific about the best methods and how to setup a machine. This is probably the most thorough cleaning method due to the much longer time the film spends in a tank and the amount of heat and agitation that can be safely applied to the film. They are just not practical for a post house / office environment.

I have saved some really valuable film and delighted a few clients with the rewash process, one in particular was a rare and famous concert on 16mm Kodachrome from the 60's and some of the reels had very bad mold damage stains and cracked emulsion. After the rewash the mold was totally gone and the stains with it and the emulsion was warmed up and the "cracking" had healed considerably. Went from almost unusable and a tremendous reconstruction and painting out of the mold stains job to almost good enough to use right from the scan.

Rewash costs a bit more than processing (say $0.20-0.25/ft say) and some setup fees and it is not for every job. I am sure FK charges allot to do it.

The latest Lipsner HFE8200 machines do a pretty great job for allot of stuff in a high end post house that can afford the liquid but they were a re-design to a Tric machine so a bit of a legacy design. Can get some embedded stuff out so a step above the buffer machines like the Lipsner XL etc which can do a great job at removing surface dirt and dust and greasy stuff.

 

 

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Should there be anyone considering a DIY rewash, I stress that you need to really think twice.  If the rewash is not done absolutely exactly right, you will end up with embedded hairs and dirt in the emulsion that was not there before, plus possible smearing, cracking or burning of the image, water spots and you can even trigger VS with it.  This is absolutely a "lab only" process.

Yes I realize this is my first post here so the first thing people are likely to say is that I am full of crap because they don't know me, but I likely have more experience and expertise with this process as well as variations on it of anyone not retired or dead at this point.  Also the Kodak "recipe" that was published in the 60s is simply not ideal for modern film stocks.  From a scratch perspective, at best you will only see the most minor and lightest of thin black lines disappear from following the recipe. 

FYI the rewash machines built by Debrie, RTI, etc are junk.  I've looked through all of them and none of the designs are acceptable.  With a rewash you get exactly one shot, and it has to be right.  The ideal settings and mixtures vary between acetate and polyester, as well as between different stocks themselves.  There IS a science to it if you want incredible results and if you don't want to send your film to an early grave. 

For ultrasonic cleaning, HFE is a joke in my opinion.  Perc definitely does a better job, but sadly some locations simply don't have a choice and cannot use it.  We have 9 machines which have been gutted and upgraded to our own modified design and have been fully automated right down to the entire reclaim process.  All of them are perc-based.  I would have stuck with trike if it was still available though.

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Hey Brad yes re-washing is certainly lab only. If you get it wrong the film can be ruined.

To back-up what Brad is talking about, there are a couple of examples of private people doing DIY services that are likely harming film like this. It appears there that they're painting the film with something which is really no greater benefit compared to just putting a filter in front of the projector:

Notice the red splodges which is dirt that's now been painted onto the film.

If in any doubt with a service like that someone should speak to a film lab and ask why they don't offer the same service, because if something appears to be "too good to be true" it usually is.

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11 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I have saved some really valuable film and delighted a few clients with the rewash process, one in particular was a rare and famous concert on 16mm Kodachrome from the 60's and some of the reels had very bad mold damage stains and cracked emulsion.

How would you re-create this level of cleaning at home? I have a ektachrome film with the same problem and we have been struggling to figure out how to deal with it, outside of frame by frame scrubbing with a qtip and alcohol. 

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18 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

How would you re-create this level of cleaning at home?

This is a good question.  How are all of these arcane, difficult-to-achieve processes available to an average film transfer guy like me?

Or do you recommend a specific vendor whom I should simply send my films to?  (I don't necessarily feel compelled to DIY all this stuff.  Rewashes.  Baths.  It sounds like more work than I want to commit to doing.)

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6 hours ago, Todd Ruel said:

This is a good question.  How are all of these arcane, difficult-to-achieve processes available to an average film transfer guy like me?

They aren't, as Brad says rewashing is really a lab service. What the serious restoration companies can offer if the client doesn't want to put their film through the rewash process and they have enough of a budget is spend an arcane amount of time scraping off the embedded dirt under a microscope, most likely with a scan of the dirt to help them find it. That's how I imagine it works, and I imagine it costs an absolute fortune. I have no idea how common that would be these days as no one really makes new prints for cinema now so fixing the negative may not be necessary if the goal is to make a restoration to DCP and 4K Bluray, the next option would be to scan a damage matte to find all the dirt but that's not available on a CFA/Bayer scanner, and the final option is to clean it up in post. As Robert said earlier it's the old adage: "cheap, fast, quality - pick two."

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