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How do you store your Super8 stock?


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#1 Niall Conroy

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 06:06 PM

Hey guys,

I've amassed quite a collection of super8 stock now - ranging from brand new kodak stock (100D, Trix, Vision 200T) to old out of date stock (Afga, Kodachrome 40)

I've been storing it so far in my bedroom drawer - out of the light and heat. Although, i'm starting to get slightly worried about the inevitable gaps that will occur while shooting this stock and getting it developed. So i'm starting to realise this is probably not the best long term home for it.

Now, from what I gather storing it in the fridge/freezer is the way to go usually. But i've never fully read up on it.

What do you all normally do? Is the stock safe enough where it is in my drawer (I live in Ireland so it doesn't really get that hot here) Will it degrade ALOT if not stored properly, or will the differences be not huge. (i quite like the degraded look of out of date stock)

Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions?
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#2 Todd Pinder

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 09:04 PM

For long term storage, get some gallon size storage Ziplok bags to keep frost moister out, and then freeze'em! For film you are going to use in a short time, store them in the fridge.
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#3 Niall Conroy

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:23 AM

For long term storage, get some gallon size storage Ziplok bags to keep frost moister out, and then freeze'em! For film you are going to use in a short time, store them in the fridge.


Ok cool, so how long do they need to be left to de-frost once freeze'ed/refrigerated?

also, will it actaully make much of a difference the freeze'ed film vs. the film thats been left in a drawer?
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#4 Todd Pinder

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 12:09 PM

If they are frozen, you can move them to the fridge overnight. Then take them out in the morning and give them an hour or more and then shoot.
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#5 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 05:50 PM

Film that is to be used within 1 to 3 months can be stored at room temperature, but KODAK and other manufacturers recommend storage at 55 F or less for film being stored 1 to 6 months. Longer than 6 months, it should be refridgerated, and longer than a year, it should be stored frozen. Get good quality ziplock freezer bags, evacuate as much air out of the bags as you can before you zip them up. Also, if you can do this in an environment at less than 60% Relative Humidity, that will help. The official recommendation is for 'indate' film, as with expired filmstock you need to store it cold so it will keep. So, for any 'good useable' expired filmstock, if using it within a year, refridgerate it, otherwise freeze it.

As for film keeping, YES, it will hold most of its original properties if cold stored when it is still good. Very long term cold storage will still have some aging attributes, such as some contrast loss and some color saturation loss.....however, very minor compared to NOT cold storing the film. Not cold storing the film, it will age rapidly, and will loose significant effective filmspeed, contrast, color saturation and color dye shifting, especially as it enters the 3 to 5 years past expiration date. This will just accelerate as time passes eventually leaving you with film that has most of the color shifted to blue-green or mostly green, very little detail, lack of tonality even though the image is now mostly monochromatic with green tint, and so forth. Although it can take 10 to 15 years to get it to such a really bad point, kept at room temperatures in the 64 F to 72 F range. Higher, and it will be worse of course.

I still have a little film with expiration dates of 1982 in my freezer that I've been using, and quite a bit from the later 1980s and 1990s. Cold storage despite some aging of the film, will leave it still very useable with predicatable results. Black & White film will lose filmspeed and contrast at it ages, and the loss of filmspeed will result in a much lighter washed out image unless the processing is compensated for.

Lastly, to use film that has been cold stored, the recommendation is to move frozen film to the refridgerator a day ahead of time, and from the fridge to move it to room temperature at least two hours prior to use. Although, in practice over the years, film that has been moved from the freezer to room temp, in those ziplock bags and left that way overnight, was fine to use the next day. The only time any trouble was ever noted was if the ziplock bag had lost the seal, or had too much air in it...then there was a moisture problem if moved to room temp immediately. Anyhow, so with care, you can keep film for a long time to use even years from now if so desired. If for some reason all film manufacturing ceased, it should be possible to still keep stock for years, and process it by making up chemistry to formulas. Good luck, and cold store your film ASAP!

Addenum: IF for some reason you can't afford a freezer to freeze your film....at least keep it refridgerated. That will keep the film fine for several years with minimal change.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:01 AM

Those vacuum seal bag systems are really cheap now and do a great job of sucking out all the air for freezing or long term storage.

I sent a ton of Regular 8 film to a transfer house in PA that put it all on a giant reel, transferred it and returned it in a vacuum sealed bag. Curious of the benefits for long-term storage of already processed footage.
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#7 Niall Conroy

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 01:39 PM

many thanks for all that info, Martin.

Could you see any possible problems if you were to refreeze a film cartridge multiple times? If lets say I froze a cartridge, 6months later I prepare it for use (i.e. fridge to room temp.) but end up NOT using it - would there be any problems with refreezeing it again?

Also - is there such thing as a freezer being TOO cold for the cartridge?
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#8 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:27 PM

From my own many years of experience, I haven't noticed any several refreezing problems, with any films that were still completely sealed. I'm still using up film frozen on and off since 1981. It traveled the world with me, so there were five major times times it was thawed out, twice for a month at at time during winter time when it was all being shipped to England and then 4 years later to New York, and then short durations for freezer servicing. The only problems I have ever noted on any films were films that had lost seal integrity and thus were compromised due to humidity changes, moisture buildup etc. For the best quality continuity of course, I suggest minimizing the amount of time it has to be refrozen and thawed out. However, I must say, I was amazed at the color in some Ektachrome 160A Super 8mm that had expired in 1978 that I shot and processed about 4 years ago. Hope this helps.
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