RE: help for deteriorated film

Oksana Dykyj (
Wed, 18 Sep 2002 13:44:59 -0700 (PDT)

Vinegar syndrome and decomposition strikes acetate film as well. There's no
indication from the original post whether it is a 35mm or a 16mm film. If
it's 35mm, it can be a nitrate print but if it's 16mm it is absolutely not
nitrate and therefore not a security issue in terms of flammability etc. In
any event it should be isolated from any other films as soon as possible
and the university administration needs to make a decision about how
important their institutional history is to them and whether they are
willing to put any money into saving a part of it.


At 01:24 PM 9/18/02 -0700, you wrote:
>Yikes. If I am right, sounds like a nitrate film print, as most were of
>that vintage, and has deteriorated as most do without proper preservation.
>It would take absolute professionals to dupe any of it, if possible at all.
>A matter not to take lightly as it is dangerously combustible. CAREFULLY
>remove it from the premises and put somewhere that it would harm not
>anything or better to just dispose of as dangerous waste.
>Trent Nicholas
>Statewide Media Resource Coordinator
>Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
> -----Original Message-----
>From: Bergman, Barbara J. []
>Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 3:59 PM
>To: Multiple recipients of list
>Subject: help for deteriorated film
>The university archivist asked if you folks have any suggestions for
>this film. She realizes that total restoration is probably not possible,
>but curious about the possibility of rescuing some of it to have
>transferred to video. (It is a film of a university event, no copyright
>issues involved.) Here's her description:
>The film was created in late 1930s and is approximately 45 minutes long.
>It is not stored on a reel of any kind. The film has deteriorated a
>lot. It smells badly like vinegar and is very sticky. The core of the
>roll of film does not look like it can be unwound at all. Approximately
>15 minutes look salvageable but that section has also deteriorated. The
>film is very faded down the center and is slightly sticky. The only
>reason I am interested in pursing this is that the content of the film
>has historical value to the campus and the images can be made out on
>some of the frames. Does having a copy made sound like a waste of money
>for this film? (Realizing a vendor would have to clean up the original
>to make such a copy.)

Oksana Dykyj voice: 514-848-3443
Head, Visual Media Resources fax: 514-848-3441
Faculty of Fine Arts
Concordia University
H-335, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W,
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3G 1M8