Stripping & Recovering 35mm Acetate Roll Film

Over the past few weeks we have been working on an exploratory project that involves the stripping of the image pellicle from strips of deteriorating 35mm acetate roll film from the 1950s. Our previous experience with stripping microfilm led us to the conclusion that miniature film emulsions were too thin to be be stripped, so this recent series of tests is an exciting discovery.

The acetate base successfully removed from the gelatin image layer.

The acetate base successfully removed from the gelatin image layer.

Image pellicule after cleaning.

The image pellicle after cleaning.

These sixty year old negatives were badly curled and had bubbles forming between the gelatin and the base layers. However, through careful testing we have been able to successfully separate the gelatin image layer from the acetate base in order to recover the image layer.

This potentially opens up a new range of negative formats suitable for image recovery from vinegar syndrome and other acetate deterioration. The recovered pellicles are now stable and can be stored or prepared for high resolution digital capture in order to be printed digitally or have copy negatives made for continued service in the traditional darkroom.

While the our recent testing has been mainly on Fuji Neopan SS film, we are hopeful and excited to see how other types of older roll films from Kodak, Agfa, Ilford etc. will respond to our acetate stripping process.

Smoothing pellicule in preparation for digital image capture.

Smoothing the image pellicle in preparation for digital image capture.

We’ll update our progress as different films and formats are tried and tested.


About albumenworks

Founded in Chicago in 1976 by Doug Munson and Joel Snyder, CAW moved to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts in 1982. The Chicago Albumen Works puts decades of experience to work for some of the finest collections from around the world. A combination of technical expertise and historical perspective, operating in a controlled, conservation environment, directs our solutions to the diverse challenges presented by photograph collections. At CAW, the synergy of technical understanding, a conservator’s approach, an artist’s eye and a historian’s perspective creates a unique, productive, and collegial environment.
This entry was posted in Acetate Deterioration, Acetate Film Conservation, Acetate Film Restoration, Collection Services, Disaster Recovery, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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