I know that this is off topic , but I just wanted to make the difference know to those who might not be aware of it.
Safety Film of that vintage is cellulose diacetate as opposed to celulose acetate and ( for all of it that I'v handled as a projectionist for 2 film festivals for several years ) suffers from none of the decompository effects such as vinegar syndrome that acetate film does - It does shrink somewhat , occational warpage , but never to the extent to being unprojectable .
Some folks misinterpret the strong odor it gives off as being decomposition , but is just the normal odor of camphor , or as I smell it sometimes, mothballs . I have unearthed some vintage cans with blotters in them that contained camphor, used to keep the film pliable. Also moth balls in 35 mm acetate film cans to do the same thing - and it does work. I'v never turned up 35 mm film stored in this manner with Vinegar Syndrome ( VS ), but then most projection booths have low humidity to begin with , and that is where the film would have been stored for long periods of time anyway.
High humidity seems to trigger the onset of VS . Molecular Sieves kept in the can will absorb the Acetic Acid , slowing the destruction. Unfortunately it cannott be stopped .
But then it seems to indicate that the proper storage for acetate tape is a low humidity environment, and the use of sieves to absorb the Acetic Acid given off would be applicable as well.
Other Thoughts ?
>>> [log in to unmask] 06/10/04 09:54AM >>>
In a message dated 6/9/04 3:33:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time, [log in to unmask]
> Speaking of storage media, can anyone tell me whether reel-to-reel should
> put in special storage cases? Most of our tapes are currently in the boxes
> the tape comes in.
My opinion is that nitrate or acetate materials should not be stored in
containers that let them stew in their own juices. Cardboard boxes that allow gas
diffusion seem to be the best.
I have Kodak Safety Film rolls from the mid 1920s that still run through a
projector just fine, that are still in their original cardboard return boxes.
However a friend of mine just went to great expense salvaging his home movies
from a highly deteriorated state from having been sealed in metal cans for half
I also have samples of nitrate based sheet film (oscillograph recordings)
which were inserted into laboratory notebooks in the early 1930s which show
absolutely no deterioration.
I would use sturdy, acid free cardboard in a temperature-humidity controlled
environment to preserve these materials for another 50-75 years.