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Salwater and Film


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#1 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:16 AM

Let's say I dropped a can of exposed stock into the deep blue sea about 50-60 years ago and by some stroke of luck I find it. Will there be an image left? Can it be developed?
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:34 AM

Could be fertilizer by now since they used nitrate film stock during the older part of that time frame.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 06 April 2009 - 11:35 AM.

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#3 Brian Pritchard

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:49 PM

Let's say I dropped a can of exposed stock into the deep blue sea about 50-60 years ago and by some stroke of luck I find it. Will there be an image left? Can it be developed?

As long as the film has not got wet it should be fine, it will have been kept nice and cool! The main problem would probably be that the can would have rusted away and leaked.

Brian
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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 02:31 PM

Let's say your can was only tape sealed. Then undoubtedly sea water would have penetrated into can and bag and would have left nothing more than some stained spots in the mud or perhaps a rusty something with no film.

Even if the can was soldered watertight I'd doubt it would have withstood the attack by the sea water.

As to the rest of your question: down there very little radiation, rather constant temperature, no gases to act on the film, nitrate almost certainly decomposed, acetate most likely in a useful condition, some fog. Developable in any case
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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 02:48 PM

As long as the film has not got wet it should be fine, it will have been kept nice and cool! The main problem would probably be that the can would have rusted away and leaked.

Brian


Saltwater rusts metal? Now I've heard everything. :rolleyes: I didn't even think of that. lol The reason I was inquiring was because I saw a documentary on WWII a while back and most of the footage of D-Day was lost at sea when a ship to ship transfer of the film was being made. Some of the most historic film in history is sitting at the bottom of the ocean. If there was a chance that this footage still existed, it might be worth going after. Since Navy ships pretty much track their own moves, it might be possible to find the location.
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:09 PM

Saltwater rusts metal? Now I've heard everything. :rolleyes: I didn't even think of that. lol The reason I was inquiring was because I saw a documentary on WWII a while back and most of the footage of D-Day was lost at sea when a ship to ship transfer of the film was being made. Some of the most historic film in history is sitting at the bottom of the ocean. If there was a chance that this footage still existed, it might be worth going after. Since Navy ships pretty much track their own moves, it might be possible to find the location.

Alas, the main issue would be that the gelatine emulsion would dissolve and wash away. Even if the rolls stayed wound tight, how would the divers find and recover it without using light?

I've heard of the same incident. There's only a single 100 ft. roll from Omaha beach on D-day morning. It was shot by a Sgt. Taylor, who was wounded, but never let go of his eyemo.




-- J.S.
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 05:04 PM

Alas, the main issue would be that the gelatine emulsion would dissolve and wash away. Even if the rolls stayed wound tight, how would the divers find and recover it without using light?

I've heard of the same incident. There's only a single 100 ft. roll from Omaha beach on D-day morning. It was shot by a Sgt. Taylor, who was wounded, but never let go of his eyemo.




-- J.S.


I thought about that footage for a long time and then forgot about it. Then I read where Ken Burns had done the WWII documentary and thought about it again. Since Baseball season was upon us, i watched the Baseball doc and they had a behind the scenes segment on the DVD. It was sad to see the condition of some of the storage "vaults." It's sad to see that there is a lot of old film just sitting in dank dark basements deteriorating as we speak. Thanks for all the replies.

Edited by Tom Jensen, 06 April 2009 - 05:05 PM.

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#8 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 08:26 PM

Just to add to the hazards :blink:

At the surface you have 1 atmosphere of air presure, (15 PSI) which is balanced by the air in the can at the same presure.

If you go 30 feet down the water presure is twice atmosphric pressure. at 60 Three times and at 90 --> 4

That is 60PSI being balanced by 15 inside the can. the thin steel can. Even if the tape held, even if the can did not rust, it would likely have bent enough to deform the film. Navy divers can work to about 150 ft, and maybe 300 on Helium. they do practice dives all the time. if it was above 300 ft, it is likly that that would have been a recovery practice target. in the years right after the war. if it is more than 300 FT, the posiblity of the can not being leacked, or crushed is rather slim.

BTW, the nitrate angle is very real. My understanding is the National FIlm Board of Canada was keeping all the original war footage shot by Canadian Army photographers in a warehouse in Montreal, and they had a Nitrate fire. :o That is why you keep seeing the same shots of WWII over and over. :(
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 09:42 AM

Gelatin isn't that durable; you can strip it off the film without too much effort, so 60 years in salt water won't be kind to it.
OT- here we're getting Google ads about fertiliser. It's obviously picked up the word 'nitrate' and jumped to conclusions.

Well I was amused anyway.
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#10 Tom Jensen

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:01 AM

Gelatin isn't that durable; you can strip it off the film without too much effort, so 60 years in salt water won't be kind to it.
OT- here we're getting Google ads about fertiliser. It's obviously picked up the word 'nitrate' and jumped to conclusions.

Well I was amused anyway.


I just got an ad for two cinema books and the Turner Diaries. Just don't use the word "fuse." Woops. I think I hear a knock on the door.
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