Specialist Still Photographic Film Digitising Specialists | Nitrate Film | Safety Acetate Film | Polyester Film to Archive Industry Standards
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Our services are highly recommended in the UK, providing high quality precision still photographic film scanning solutions for all your digital media requirements. Output digital files can be in any format, with typically any archive file converted to TIFF, with JPEG or PDF access files.
Upto the early 1950's, cellulose nitrate was the plastic commonly used for film-base photographic materials (stills, movie and X-ray films) otherwise known as celluloid which can be hazardous if not stored correctly. More modern film is acetate or polyester-based, which is less hazardous.
There are Three Stages of Nitrate Film Decay
Stage 1: Orange film discoloration and fading images
Stage 2: The film becomes smelly, sticky, and appears bubbly or foamy
Stage 3: The film crumbles into a bad-smelling brownish powder
Our professional archive suite can support clients upto Stage 1 deterioration. If the archive is between Stage 1 and beginnings of Stage 2, then we can access the film to determine whether the archive can be converted in our studio. It is absolutely essential that any archive with serious Stage 2 and Stage 3 deterioration has hazardous specialist check the film.
How to Identify Nitrate Film Decay
- Labels: Check to see if the word ‘Nitrate’ is embossed or printed on the edge of the film. Some nitrate films have been copied onto less-flammable safety film, which might have the words ‘Nitrate’ and ‘Safety’ printed on the film.
- Deterioration: If film is in any of the three stages of decay we noted above, assume it’s nitrate. But if the film is wrinkled or smells like vinegar, it’s most likely safety film.
- Assume that any film dated before 1920 is nitrate film.
- Look for notches on the edge of any Kodak film dated from 1921 to 1940. Hold the film with the notches in the upper right corner. If the first notch from the right is shaped like a ‘V,’ you’re holding nitrate film. If the first notch looks like a ‘U,’ it’s most likely safety film.
- For non-Kodak film from 1921 to 1940, all film from 1940 to 1950, and any film that can’t be dated – look for the signs of deterioration we mentioned above.
Don't Wait Too Long to Digitise Your Archives
We often write about the ever increasing short shelf life of still photographic film because the risks of this type of film merit a greater sense of urgency.
Our services are highly recommended in Oxfordshire, providing high quality precision photographic and document scanning solutions for all your digital media requirements. Output digital files can be in any format, with typically any archive file converted to TIFF, with JPEG or PDF access files.