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storage of film prints and video tape


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#1 Mitchell Rose

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 10:33 PM

Hello friends -

I'm a director who has recently moved from the balmy environs of Los Angeles to arctic San Francisco. My garage here is unattached from the house and unheated. That means that the temperature at night is going to drop to 35-45 and during the day will soar to 55-65. Humidity is maybe 70% - 80%. Would you say it's all right to store my films prints and negatives, and video tapes, in that environment where the temperature is slowly but constantly changing? Besides being chilly to an Angeleno, San Francisco also offers increased storage challenges. Thanks very much.
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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 10:39 PM

[quote name='Mitchell Rose' date='Jan 2 2007, 10:33 PM' post='145841']
Hello friends -

I'm a director who has recently moved from the balmy environs of Los Angeles to arctic San Francisco. My garage here is unattached from the house and unheated. That means that the temperature at night is going to drop to 35-45 and during the day will soar to 55-65. Humidity is maybe 70% - 80%.

I think that the humidity will be your biggest problem, where there is water and food there is mold to eat it. Film of various types is food to mold and the glues used to bind the magnetic coatings to the backing on videotape are also tasty to mold. The ideal would be cool and dry but a decent de-humidifier is probably easier and cheaper to install/run than a complete climate control system.

-Rob-
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:56 PM

night is going to drop to 35-45 and during the day will soar to 55-65. Humidity is maybe 70% - 80%.

What you've described is textbook-standard bad storage conditions - at least for any long-term consideration. The temperature variation and the high RH are both bad.

Ideally you should aim for between 5C and 10C, and 20% to 40% RH (relative humidity). However, a constant temperature is also important: frequent changes in conditions have been found to accelerate decay.

You can get good information about home storage at
Film Forever
or the Technical Library at the Atlab site (you will need to log in or subscribe (free) from the home page if you haven't already.

Maybe your local lab (Monaco) could give you advice - or you could even use their controlled storage vault - at least for your original negatives and master videotapes.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 09:58 PM

Do you have a garage sized amount of film & tape to store?

I understand housing here in SF can be pretty cramped, but honestly, if you have room indoors, use it for your stock.

Does anyone recommend vacuum sealing film & tape stock? Maybe that could prevent any damage from this town's humidity?

:unsure:
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#5 chuck colburn

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:22 PM

A sound rerecordist once told me to always store my mag tape, be audio or video, tails out. Something about reducing print thru. Has anyone else ever heard this before?
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#6 Jon Kukla

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 04:09 AM

Yeah - the very loud (highly polarized) particles can start to repolarize others beneath them, leading to an odd ghost echoing. That's usually why loud noises, such as gun fire, tend to be recorded with a lot of blank tape between them.
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#7 Mitchell Rose

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 08:49 PM

Yes, I had been told years ago to store my reel-to-reel audio tape tails out. As I remember, bleed-through is going to happen anyway, but by having the echo before the event and not after it, it will be less noticeable.
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#8 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 09:54 PM

Kodak has a chemical sieve and fungicide available in the catalog a can (they come in a paint can, I do not remember exactly the quantity but it is a fair amount) is available for less than $100.00 this product or some similar dessicant might be a good idea if you cannot control the storage conditions or find another place to store your materials.

-Rob-
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