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