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Adam Garner

Should one refrigerate exposed film?

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I'm curious if refrigerating (or freezing) exposed film is a good idea if you can't develop it for several months. I put all my stock in the fridge pre-exposure, but what about after? Is there a noticeable degradation after, say, 6 months? Anything else to be concerned about?

Edited by Adam Garner

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Why would you want to? In most cases, we want to see what we got as soon as possible. If it's a question of money, talk to the lab. They may be willing to develop now and wait for the cash.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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If you put it back in the fridge, you must make sure you seal up the tin such that it is air tight. Another factor is the humidity of where you are. If you are somewhere humid, you would be trapping that humidity inside the tin and cooling might make it turn to water. Water on film makes it stick together. Then when it dries it can make a static flash as it is unwound. This flash fogs the film. So just be careful.

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Awesome points all. I didn't consider the condensation issue, and I've actually had a full 100' roll end up with that weird flash after shooting on a ridiculously humid day. It was the weirdest flutter back and forth on the film and botched the whole thing unfortunately. I'd hate to cause that. I think the best advice is to just get it developed and work with the lab to figure out the balance later.

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Awesome points all. I didn't consider the condensation issue, and I've actually had a full 100' roll end up with that weird flash after shooting on a ridiculously humid day. It was the weirdest flutter back and forth on the film and botched the whole thing unfortunately. I'd hate to cause that. I think the best advice is to just get it developed and work with the lab to figure out the balance later.

 

I kept some exposed film in my fridge for almost a year! Finally last month, I had it developed and transferred to HD and it actually looks pretty good to me.

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To add to this, for film that's going in the fridge or freezer, I always store my film cans in ziploc bags and make sure the bags are air tight. I try to make sure almost all the air is sucked out of the back too. I'll often double or triple bag them. When I bring them out of the fridge or freezer, I leave them in the sealed bags for a day before opening them.

 

I've stored film like this in the fridge in the tropics, and left it in there for a year before shooting with it. It turned out looking fine. I don't think I have done this with exposed film though. But I'm not so sure there'd be much of a difference.

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January 2006 I developed the content of this can

 

17%20SEP%201968_f58_thumb.png

 

after more than 37 years. It came to me out of the basement of an animation movie specialist’s apartment. You can’t read it perhaps, there is a stamp 17 SEP 1968. Turned out as good negative. To know that it wasn’t already processed I cut 100 feet off and run it through my Eyemo. There was double exposure of content I didn’t know and of mine.

 

Colour film is a different thing.

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The humidity concerns are valid but the advantage of storing in the fridge is that the film is kept at a constant temperature. I think that fluctuations in temperature shorten a film's lifespan. A friend of mine has kept a hoard of exposed 35mm still film (Fuji & Kodak 400-800 asa) for 6+ years. For a surprise last summer I grabbed a couple rolls and got them developed and the film looked good.

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