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Way back in the days before digital..

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by hornet, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. .. we used to take photos on film, and then put it in at the local chemist and wait a week for it to get processed. It used to come back as a set of prints, and the negatives were returned in various folders, or such like. SO the point of this..

    I have found half a dozen rolls of negatives which I had processed, but never printed. They are wrapped around a cardboard holder, about 100cms long and around 12cms thick, round at the ends. The negatives are in a long strip, and interleaved with a long strip of paper, to stop them rubbing against each other. Now the problem..

    In the 28 years since they were stored away, the paper strip has stuck to the film strip. Now, I don't want any, "you might try..... (glycerine, water, high-octane petrol)" etc, etc; I want a definite anwser as to how I can separate the paper strip from the film strip without damaging the emulsion on the film.

    The negs are irreplaceable; the 1980 Castrol Six Hour Race, in B&W and colour, and the 1980 Coca-Cola 800 in B&W and colour, and I can't afford either to damage them in trying to rescue them, or replace them if they are.

    Answers, please???
  2. Water would be my first step, water certainly can't harm it. Just be careful not to scratch them whilst washing them, and clean hands thoroughly/wear gloves to keep fingerprints, dust, etc. off.

    I've got some photo paper that needs to be used, I'd offer to process it for you but I'd be too scared to noob it up :p
  3. got any chemists run by guys that would have experience processing the films before artificial? might aslo be worth it to give your local uni a call and ask around it's arts department or kodak australia/agfa (is agfa still around?).

    If you're still after an answer by the weekend, a neighbour of mine used to be quite in to home processing and slide making, he's got about 30 years of dead technology, video, photography, etc, Will ask next time I see him. Any clue to the make of the film? type of film?
  4. Terrif, guys

    The film is branded Pacific, (most of you wouldn't remember the old Pacific Photo Labs) but my guess is that it is re-badged Kodak or Fuji (probably Fuji by the 'warm' greens). It is certainly 250 ASA colour, and the Black and white would be the old Kodak Plus-X 125ASA mono stock.

    Good ideas about the Uni and older chemists too, I hadn't thought of that.....
  5. Water usually is harmless.
  6. Water is the one thing that you MUST NOT USE!!!
  7. Care to tell us why, titus?
  8. Paul, do NOT mess around. Contact Kodak or Konica in Sydney, tell them your problem, and send them off to their labs. Don't trust some chemist hack who used to run a minilab, any monkey can run one of those things.
    They'll know how to sort it out, anything else is just too risky.

    Regards, Andrew.
  9. Why would that be?
  10. I'd be looking for someone who's life it is to do that sort of thing - seems a little difficult to set up a test run to be sure ;)

    Hope you find someone though - would love to see what's hidden in that film =P~
  11. Thanks for the helpful suggestions, folks. I think I will take the general advice and entrust the task to a professional, even if it takes a bit longer.

    jd, that's an interesting read, but I don't think the first case is what's afoot here, because the colour and definition of the images is still OK. It is most probably condensation/humidity, as for a lot of their life, they have been stored in garage/shed/outdoor buildings.

    Blue, I can see what's on the films, and I can't wait to see the results either; they will be posted in "The Way We Were", in Racing and Motorsports. The Coca-Cola 800 especially I want to see, because it belted down rain all day and the conditions for photography, let alone racing, were diabolical. Wayne Gardner, the water wizard, no less, fell of in the wet three times, and eventually left the bike where it lay in the mud and walked back to the pits in disgust!!!
  12. Paul, contact the guys and girls at the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra.

    I did some work for them a few years back. Those folks are very knowledgeable, and will talk to anyone who will listen for hours (and hours, and hours....). They do some amazing restoration work, any will surely know how best to do it.

    The problems would come from fibres in the paper getting caught in the gelatin it it gets wet, and the acids in the paper doing their damage over time.
  13. I have had a long chat with the people at the National Sound and Film Archives, and a kind gentleman there is sending me a detailed appraisal of what could need to be done, and where to get it done.
  14. From JD's link:

  15. Yeah just try telling HER that:


  16. That's definitely relevant, but the reasons I said that were, 1) the effect of softening the emulsion, and 2) the fact that the glue in many papers is water soluble, and would have no problem in leaching into said emulsion.

    The old-time photo retouchers (print or neg) that I worked with would never let water near their work.
  17. Titus, you appear to be half-right. One of the rolls of film has only half the negatives exposed, but the paper strip stuck the full length. So I cut 4" off the end and soaked it in plain cold water for 30 minutes. The paper came away easily, but there is a glue-ish residue still on the surface of the negatives and this is not able to be removed at this stage. So water removes the paper, but doesn't deal with the residue which has leached out of the paper onto the negatives.....
  18. Hey Hornet. I am not entirely sure, but I think that resedue isn't leached out of the paper as such, but it is the film that has been effected by the acids from the paper. So the acids have caused teh film to... break down a little on the serface.
    I'd be being realy gental with them in this state and get them digitised off the negs as soon as you can.
  19. I just re-read what I wrote, and fear that you might be right :(. My only hope is that the information from the NS&FA might suggest a chemical or something which will lift the residue and leave enough of the original image behind to enable prints to be made......