Before and After: 35mm Acetate Film Stripping

As we have posted previously, we have had some success treating deteriorating 35mm negatives by stripping the gelatin image layer from its acetate base. These are scans of the stripping project and experiments that we have been carrying out over the last few weeks. These before and after pictures show the potential efficacy of stripping 35mm  film as a treatment for negative preservation and digital image capture. b-a_japan

The “before” scan shows both channelling and blister-like bubbles that marred the image on the film. One can also get a sense of the curling of the film strip from the highlights around the edge of the sprocket holes because the film was unable to be flattened completely in the scanner.ba_face_japan

While stripping can’t eliminate all the image flaws in deteriorated film it can go a long way to render the image workable as well as stabilizing the gelatin layer by removing it from the damaging effects of decaying acetate.

Single frame before and after example of a 35mm stripping treatment.

Single frame before and after example of a 35mm stripping treatment.

Once the gelatin layer is flattened and dry the gelatin is relatively resilient (though not suitable for traditional enlarging) but stable to further changes if kept in a proper storage environment.

The negative can at this point be digitized for archiving or for digital output as an LVT negative or pigment print.


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 35mm Duplication, Acetate Deterioration, Acetate Film Conservation, Acetate Film Restoration, Archival Digitization, Digital Restoration, Negative Scanning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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