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What do you store your film in?


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Im just curious, if you're shipping your film how do you store it? I've seen people put the exposed roll back into the black case it came from (Kodak). 

How do you guys store exposed film? How do you ship it if you have? 

Thanks!

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We use lab rolls for everything. So these are assembled rolls with heads and tails added, usually more than one camera roll spliced together. They are sent back from the lab in white 1200ft boxes with labels. Then we store them in a locked closet, ready for scanning. The boxes the labs use are pretty easy to find online. Spliced rolls are generally stored on a core, not a reel, but the boxes will hold reels as well. The nice thing about them is that any off-gassing from the film won't be trapped. That's the critical part. Most labs will also assemble your film onto these lab rolls and then re-wash them, so you actually get double wash. This is very important for long term storage, left over chemicals are what damages film the most. 

We shoot with 400 and 1000ft rolls. So those are in sealed cans. They're shipped to the lab in those cans (or dropped off locally) and then the lab does all the work and ships us back the lab rolls assembled. With daylight spools, the reel is generally recycled and the box contains just the film you shot, no heads or tails added. This means it's useless to you because you need leader to project it (if shooting reversal) AND you need A LOT of leader to scan it. Which is why it's critical to prep your film for transfer when you're at the lab. 

Picture below is of the lab boxes. The bottom ones are 1800ft and the top ones are 1200ft. The can in the middle is a reel I assembled and didn't have a box for. 
 

IMG_8862.jpeg

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All my film is processed film OP, so here is my perspective on it.

I store my archival footage in vented plastic cans to minimize VS. Film can also be vacuum packed and frozen on cores. But that is what an archive may do with a problem child that has VS. Most people don't freeze film, although archives try to keep them cool.

I ship films directly in metal cans or cans in cardboard boxes. The films shipped in cans direct are usually cheap films I am disposing of on eBay. If I wanted to get a scan I'd ship the can in a proper box. But either way no issues with shipping direct in cans. Just a cheapo way of doing it. If you ship the can direct there is a possibility of the can getting damaged and it wont open. Then the can gets ruined prying the lid off.

In the old days they shipped films in film shippers made for that purpose. I have a large collection of them but have not digitized them all. Some were metal, fibre or plastic.

Here is a small part of the collection from the reel and film can archive.

Small Gauge Reel & Film Can Archive D.D. Teoli Jr. A.C. : Daniel D. Teoli Jr. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

I recently picked up a 35mm short film can that is built like a tank. Unbelievable. I bought it just to get a photo of it for my collection...and it was $$.

I have some archival film that was processed and stored in the original cans / boxes they came in. It was common to ship out film for processing and store them like that. 

 

 

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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9 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

All my film is processed film OP, so here is my perspective on it.

But you're talking PRINT film, not original camera negative. 

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On 1/13/2021 at 7:53 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

But you're talking PRINT film, not original camera negative. 

Could be original camera negs, but it is all processed film I deal with, not unprocessed. I think the filmmakers would just store the film in the original cans they came in or similar cans. (before and after processing.)

Film shipping containers is an interesting filed of study, just like film reels. But I only go into it with small gauge films. Here is that heavy metal film shipper I talked about along with a lightweight fiber container from the 1950's. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Could be original camera negs, but it is all processed film I deal with, not unprocessed. I think the filmmakers would just store the film in the original cans they came in or similar cans. (before and after processing.)

Film shipping containers is an interesting filed of study, just like film reels. But I only go into it with small gauge films. Here is that heavy metal film shipper I talked about along with a lightweight fiber container from the 1950's. 

 

 

Storing in can's isn't good because the film can't vent. It needs to breathe a bit. 

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7 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Storing in can's isn't good because the film can't vent. It needs to breathe a bit. 

I have been wondering if I should drill some holes in the cans that hold my camera originals. On the other hand, as far as I know, when films are stored correctly, there is air pushed through. But I guess even having some holes and avoiding air tight cans is better than nothing.

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14 hours ago, Heikki Repo said:

I have been wondering if I should drill some holes in the cans that hold my camera originals. On the other hand, as far as I know, when films are stored correctly, there is air pushed through. But I guess even having some holes and avoiding air tight cans is better than nothing.

I personally wouldn't store them in cans, having worked on archives that were stored in both cans and boxes. The stuff in boxes seems to have survived better. All stored in the same place at the same time. 

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Boxes breath better. I use vented cans for degasing. For 8mm I use envelopes. The vented cans for 8mm are poor.

Old timers would use humidor cans with blotter material inside saturated with camphor. I got some photos of them at the at the I.A..

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Here is an example of the old humidor film cans. They would saturate the absorbent material with camphor. Although some of the old films stunk of mothballs. Everyone had their own pet preservative to use.

Internet Archive Search: humidor 16mm

I have some more example of film can humidors, but need to get them photographed.

I store my 16mm 100 - 200 foot reels in 5 x 5 x 1 inch white cardboard boxes. They don't make vented cans for them.

Film hoarders / collectors / archivists can amass a huge amount of films. 

3, 16mm 800' FILM with canister random mixed, educational, cartoons from library | eBay

Although archivists usually don't store them like that. I'm a broke archivist, so I store them all over. Anyplace there is some floorspace, even under the bed.

film archive - Google Search

But if you use modern films, they don't get VS, so no worries about venting the can to de-gas. Only 1% or less of my collection is Kodak Estar base. I just use vented cans for everything I can.

Film base - Wikipedia

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Here is what can happen (or worse) to acetate film stored poorly or just from time.

The 3 Graces 72kb-4.32mb D.D.Teoli Jr. : D.D.Teoli Jr. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

(It is also an example of resolution from 72kb-4.32mb. You can download the various files to magnify and inspect how image quality varies with file size.)

If you got some important film with vinegar that is decomposing, you put it on a core and vacuum pack it. Then store it in freezer. Freezing halts the decay. You can also reverse wind film to help with warping. But no magic bullet. And none of the film preservatives and restoratives I've tested seem to do much to fix VS.

I got a fantastic old Kodachrome road trip film from 1948 I will have to freeze. It smells and is warping, makes me sick. You can get cheap vacuum packing machines at Walmart.

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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