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Storing and Caring for Super 8 Film


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#1 Matt Hira

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:14 PM

Hello!
As a new member to the community, I began extensively researching how to care for Super 8 film. The opinions are surprisingly mixed. I would like to know what everyone thought definitive care tips would be.

1. Should you zip lock film and put it in the refrigerator regardless of how long it will be until you use it?

2. Should you zip lock film at all? I read that it will decay if it can't "breathe."

3. Is it OK to leave film in a camera? Say you shoot 10 feet and a week passes before you shoot another 10. I it OK to let the film sit in the camera? Should you take it out every time and refrigerate it or is that more wear on the camera?

4. When the film is completely exposed, I know you should process it as fast as possible. In the mean time should you refrigerate it in a bag? Or no bag?

Sorry for so nanny questions, but with so many mixed views I don't want to "disrespect" the film.

Thanks!
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#2 Matt Stevens

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:25 AM

1. Should you zip lock film and put it in the refrigerator regardless of how long it will be until you use it?

2. Should you zip lock film at all? I read that it will decay if it can't "breathe."

3. Is it OK to leave film in a camera? Say you shoot 10 feet and a week passes before you shoot another 10. I it OK to let the film sit in the camera? Should you take it out every time and refrigerate it or is that more wear on the camera?

4. When the film is completely exposed, I know you should process it as fast as possible. In the mean time should you refrigerate it in a bag? Or no bag?


I am no expert, but in answer to your four questions...

1. I do. I put two roll per zip lock. They fit nicely, still in the boxes, of course.

2. Never heard that, but I don't keep film all that long. Actually, right now is the longest I have had a bunch of film in the fridge and that is because of a project that was cancelled.

3. I've done it and nothing bad happened.

4. I fridge it, ziplocked so as to keep moisture out. But I prefer to bring it to the lab within days of the film being shot.
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:32 AM

1. Should you zip lock film and put it in the refrigerator regardless of how long it will be until you use it?

Yes, unless you're using it within a few days. The higher the speed film, the more important. 500asa being about the highest available now.

2. Should you zip lock film at all? I read that it will decay if it can't "breathe."

With Super 8 It's sealed in an aluminum bag inside the box; doesn't breathe in there anyway. It will decay no matter what since you're not storing it in an underground salt mine away from cosmic rays. Refrigeration will slow the process, zip lock bag is so the fridge doesn't leak water on it.

3. Is it OK to leave film in a camera? Say you shoot 10 feet and a week passes before you shoot another 10. I it OK to let the film sit in the camera? Should you take it out every time and refrigerate it or is that more wear on the camera?

It's fine. Only issue is if you're waiting 6 months or a few years in between shooting. Then theoretically it would be best to store the film in a fridge.

4. When the film is completely exposed, I know you should process it as fast as possible. In the mean time should you refrigerate it in a bag? Or no bag?

Unless you're waiting for months to process I wouldn't worry about refrigerating. Nothing wrong with a zip lock bag to protect it from the elements, just watch going from hot to cold and back again too much because of condensation.

Main thing with film is to avoid X-Rays and leaving in 105 degree cars for days at a time. The bag check people say only high speed, 800asa or greater film can be harmed but I beg to differ. Any film in a checked back is subject to being complete toast. Carry-on bag x-rays are less intense but they can turn it up when they need to. I've had 100D suffer some issues with a check-bag scanner. Other than that it's not as fragile as you might think. Oh, and avoid direct sunlight on the film itself. :D
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#4 Matt Hira

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 10:20 PM

Thanks for all your suggestions everybody! I just got my first roll sent off to Dwayne's!

Am I right to assume that essentially the only companies that process super 8 any more are Dwayne's and Pro8mm?
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#5 Matt Stevens

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 07:28 AM

For mail order, yeah, I think so.

Drop off you have PAC LAB in NYC you have and in Seattle there is a company, the name of which I cannot recall. That place works with Lightpress so you can send the film to the lab, they will process and give it to Lightpress to transfer and then Lightpress can send it to you.

Not worth the effort for anything under say 7 rolls due to expense.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:51 AM

Am I right to assume that essentially the only companies that process super 8 any more are Dwayne's and Pro8mm?

Eek! No.

AlphaCine in Seattle
Spectra in LA

Both of these places can do negative & reversal. AlphaCine will be helpful if you get into 16mm as they still make work prints from negatives and process B&W negative (Double X) & reversal. AlphaCine bought Forde labs several years ago which had a great Super 8 lab. Dwayne's is great for Ektachrome but I've had mixed results with Pro8mm on negative stocks.
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS