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Expired Film


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#1 Alexander McCarron

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 09:33 AM

Hi,

I recently inherited some expired, negative film:100' of Fuji Reala 500D, 100' of Fuji F-500, and 200' of a 250D B&W Kodak roll.

I was just wondering if anyone had any advice on how to expose it. I searched the archives but the info was a little unclear. I should over-expose it, right? By one f stop? More? Less?

It's just come out of someone's refrigerator and I've been informed I can't refrigerate it now. So I guess I shoot it immediately?

Any advice anyone has is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 04:56 PM

No, you can re-refridgerate it again - no problem. You can even deep freeze film if you want to preserve it longer.

Overexposure works wonders on grain. I normally go for 1 stop over if it's not very old (less than 2 years, perhaps) or a bit more if it's older or I have reason to believe it has been kept in less than ideal conditions. Colors might be slightly off, but nothing you can't recover in any garden variety telecine.

The Fuji Reala 500D in 16mm is never going to be grain free, though. Even on 35mm brand new that is a very grainy stock. I'd save that for when you need that look.
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#3 Mike Lary

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 05:35 PM

You can ask a lab to do a snip test and that will help you determine how much sensitivity has been lost. You can refreeze and refrigerate film. You just need to make sure the seal stays tight, otherwise condensation can form inside the can. If your film just came out of someone else's fridge, I would keep it in yours until you're ready to shoot.
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#4 Dominic Case

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 08:57 PM

I recently inherited some expired, negative film:

What makes you say it is expired? I don't believe the manufacturers put a use-by date on film - they can't guarantee how it is stored, so can't guarantee its life.

A dip test (varioulsy called dip test, snip test or clip test) will determine how aged the film is in each case, and wheterh you need to treat it normally, overexpose, or throw it out. Note that slightly aged stock with a high fog level can still be OK for some types of shot, but not others, especially those with a very high brightness range or where all the important detail is deep in the shadows.
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:51 PM

Like Dominic says - the ref values you get back from the lab can be pretty off and deemed "unusable" and it'll still be OK to shoot. Labs do this (quite understandably), because they're 1) giving you the worst case scenario for print, and 2) they don't want to be in the firing line if something is even the slightest bit off. They're protecting their and your quality, so this is the right thing to do if you're a lab. If I had a lab I'd do exactly the same.

At what ref values the film gets unusable even for telecine no one really knows. Here one has to rely on experience, judgement or plain guts feeling.
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#6 Alexander McCarron

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:57 PM

Thanks for the advice, guys.
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#7 Will Montgomery

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 01:21 PM

Perhaps the "you can't refrigerate it again" idea comes from condensation forming on the inside. I would just suggest you keep it at room temperature for 12 hours before putting back in cold storage but I doubt that's really a factor. Only going quickly from a fridge to a warm car would probably cause this so bring it up to temperature a little more slowly might help. Honestly though I really don't even think that's an issue.
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#8 K Borowski

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 01:25 PM

Perhaps the "you can't refrigerate it again" idea comes from condensation forming on the inside. I would just suggest you keep it at room temperature for 12 hours before putting back in cold storage but I doubt that's really a factor. Only going quickly from a fridge to a warm car would probably cause this so bring it up to temperature a little more slowly might help. Honestly though I really don't even think that's an issue.


Or opening it without allowing it to temperature/humidity acclimate. Been there, done that once (fortunately just old expired aerial film I got from NASA, not anything important). Never again. . .
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#9 Erik Vilhelm

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:07 AM

Note that slightly aged stock with a high fog level can still be OK for some types of shot, but not others, especially those with a very high brightness range or where all the important detail is deep in the shadows.


Interesting topic since it's always tempting to save money on old but cheap film.

I got some Fuji F-64D (8621) for free, and I think the stock is discontinued since 1998, so it was at least ten years old when I shot it some months ago. It had been stored in a freezer since it was new.

I rated it as 25 ASA instead of 64 ASA.

Overall I'm really satisfied with the outcome of shooting this quite old film stock.
However, it's not like new, so here's two screenshots (jpeg's unfortunately) of the two situations described above by Dominic:

High brightness range
The white building gets a little burned out (also due to overexposure I guess) but otherwise it looks quite OK.

Shadows and blacks
The shadows and blacks don't hold very much details and look grainy, though it's easier to spot when watching the actual film. It gets a certain look for sure.
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