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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » best/worst lab - redux

   
Author Topic: best/worst lab - redux
Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7908
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-03-1999 09:16 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just a followup to the old "best/worst lab" thread of a month or two ago: what's everyone's opinion of Foto-Kem? I have a really nice recent 35mm print of theirs here at home; no lab splices in five reels, no scratches, no negative dust. I don't have much experience with Foto-Kem prints; how's the color stability? Hopefully, it's better than Technicolor Hollywood or Deluxe Hollywood...

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 08-04-1999 12:50 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My friend Tom Moyer shoots his television program, CRITTER GITTERS on Fuji film stock and has it processed at Foto-Kem. They are an excellent lab. Highly recommended!

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Christopher Seo
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 530
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-04-1999 05:50 PM      Profile for Christopher Seo   Email Christopher Seo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I had been wondering about the issue of how a lab can affect color fading. Given today's low-fade stocks, what can a lab do to *decrease* the color stability?

And how can you separate the inherent stability (or instability) of color dyes themselves from a lab's careful (or sloppy) processing, when trying to compare labwork?

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-05-1999 08:30 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Inadequate washing or poor control of the pH of the processed film can affect the long-term dye stability. Residual thiosulfate (hypo or fixer left in the film) must be held to low levels by proper washing of the film prior to entering the dryer --- usually counter-current washes are used. The Kodak Processing Manual H-24.03 details the Methylene Blue Test Method for residual thiosulfate, which labs can run.

Film storage conditions are also very important for long-term film preservation. In brief, storage should be cool and dry. Film should be stored in vented containers so harmful degradation by-products ("vinegar syndrome") don't build up, or Molecular Sieves should be used in closed containers.

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John Pytlak

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7908
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-05-1999 09:39 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are molecular sieves or ventilated containers necessary for prints on ESTAR-base stock, which supposedly isn't susceptible to vinegar syndrome? Or is it acceptible to store an ESTAR-base print in something like ICC shipping cases? I know about storing acetate-base prints out in the open or in loose cardboard boxes, but I like the idea of storing film in cans to protect it from dust.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-05-1999 11:34 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Polyester support is much less prone to the hydrolysis (acid and moisture-related degradation of the polymer molecule) that degrades cellulose nitrate and cellulose triacetate base. But the organic materials (e.g., emulsion, dyes, and binders) used in the film still are affected by moisture and can have minute amounts of volatile degradation by-products. Excess moisture also adversely affects dye stability and can cause ferrotyping/sticking. So the use of molecular sieves in sealed-container long-term storage would likely still be beneficial. The same logic would also apply to magnetic media, which usually has oxide and hydrolysis-prone binders coated on polyester support.

Do not use excessive molecular sieve material --- use just enough to get the enclosed atmosphere down to about 30%RH and adsorb any anticipated by-products over the typical 2-year inspection/replacement schedule. You don't want to dessicate the film or magnetic media to bone-dry brittle condition.

Even with molecular sieves, cool or even cold storage is recommended for long-term storage. See SMPTE Recommended Practice RP 131 "Storage of Motion-Picture Films".

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John Pytlak

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