HOME     8 MM FILM

A Note of Warning:
Chemical breakdown
is destroying the world's film libraries at an alarming rate via Vinegar Syndrome. Vinegar Syndrome is a chemical, chain reaction, breakdown of film.  IT IS CONTAGIOUS to other film -- through the air!

If you can "smell your film" -- like vinegar -- you are loosing it, fast! Run, don't walk, to digitize your film.  Once Vinegar Syndrome starts, there is no way to reverse it.

My observation is that film that has NOT been allowed to breath -- "sealed" in canisters-- seems to "break down" due to toxic build-up of harmful gases that collect in tightly sealed canisters.

Other Problems with Film: A lot of "super 8 mm" goes bad due to "bad baths" during the original processing -- with a crystalline "snow flake" build-up with in the emulation of the film -- which was not washed / rinsed properly at the time of development.

Aging and Mold: Film is made of plastic "tape" (backing) AND an organic "film" on the tape -- the "gelatin emulsion". Made from plant and animal by-products, all color and B&W information is stored in the gelatin emulsion -- which cracks with age. Even the color dyes "get tired". This "organic" media is vulnerable to mold that grows in dark damp places.  Film that "gets wet" will contract mold that will literally "eat it up".  This appears as blue-green mosaic in your film and occasionally as "black specks". Also, mold can grow in the scratches in the emulsion of your film, which discolor over time.

The gelatin emulsion: Moisture, from the air, on this organic material  -- stored in the dark -- creates an environment for ultimate destruction -- mold! Virtually all old tape is at risk of, if not already impregnated with, some mold! We see it all the time -- and have to tell the families the bad news!

Ultimately all old film is in crisis and your memories with it.

Also, the plastic "tape" itself  on old "home movies" is becoming brittle -- easily damaged by old movie projectors. Once the "pull-down holes", along the edge of the tape, are damaged, the "home movie" is dead. Only one bad run through an old projector -- purchased for $2 dollars at a yard sale -- could trash your priceless "home movies".

Saving Film Vs Saving Memories: The broader view of preservation is "to save" the visual memories of "your life and times" -- NOT just to magnetic media.

Once you have “saved” your visual images, then you can focus on getting                  "the story behind the pictures" -- from family members who are still around -- who enjoy good health and are willing to help ALL generations "remember".

After you digitize your film, I recommend using your videos to make "video interviews" with your loved-ones -- to preserve the story of their life and times -- as the video tape stimulates their memories of people, places, and things.