Re: Preservation guide for filmmakers

From: Mark Toscano (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 11 2006 - 17:30:57 PST

Pip -
i see no specific *preservation* advantage to shooting
negative over reversal. so lots of filmmakers are
left with reversal originals now and have to make
internegatives to preserve the films. first of all,
to preserve negative-shot films, one needs to make an
IP and then *another* IN from the IP, to be able to

as for regular ol' printing, many of these filmmakers
have already made internegs over the years, and in
fact it's the repeated printing of internegs over the
repeated printing of reversal originals that has saved
the originals from excessive wear. that's why, for
instance, Brakhage's originals are usually in such
excellent physical condition - he may have made a few
of reversal prints of a given film, but making
internegs and printing from those saved all further
wear and tear on the originals. desistfilm is over 50
years old and the original is immaculate.

true, anyone who has original negatives can easily
make prints, but if you get to a point, like Ernie
Gehr has, where you're afraid to print your negative
because it's one-of-a-kind and could get damaged, then
you have to make intermediate elements anyway. and
repeated printing of your original negative will
eventually wear it out.

amanda -
i would say that the fridge is not a good place for
your films. it's too humid. but if your ONLY other
option is a hot, really humid apartment, i guess the
fridge is maybe some improvement. but i'd recommend
getting them somewhere else as soon as possible.

also, for what it's worth, and from a preservation
perspective, i value the safety of the mags higher
than the optical tracks. the opticals are the
functioning, printable object, but they're already a
serious compromise, quality-wise, of your original
sound. the mag is irreplaceable and will always sound
better. the optical is replaceable as long as you
have your mag in good condition.

Bill - i'd be happy to contribute somehow, as i've
been dealing with a lot of this kind of stuff.

mark t

--- amanda christie <email suppressed> wrote:

> wow! i think this is a great initiative!
> in addition to addressing vinegar syndrome, i think
> it
> would be good to include a diagnosis section for
> other
> forms of fungus and decay as well.
> and how to prevent cross contamination... for
> instance
> if you really want to optically print some film that
> has some beautiful fungus on it... how do you clean
> the optical printer so that it doesn't contaminate
> other films... etc.
> and some good d.i.y. tips as well... for instance...
> for those of us who don't have access to vaults...
> what sort of things are easy to do at home...
> modified
> coolers, etc. etc.
> i'm not sure if you wanted us to answer your
> questions
> on or off list... but since i'm typing this now,
> i'll
> breifly answer on list.
> > What are your most pressing questions about
> > preserving your work?
> how can i build or access a vault or storage area
> where i can control temerature and humidity?
> is it possible to build/rig some sort of moveable
> vault for nomadic filmmakers?
> > Have you even thought about this?
> all the time. in fact, my last film involved
> optically printing beautiful snowflake like fungus
> patterns from decaying film. anytime i pick up a
> reel
> of film, i automatically smell it before running it
> through a projector or any other peice of equipment.
> > If you have thought about it but haven't done
> > anything,
> > what's holding you back?
> i do as much as i can, but proper humidity and
> temperature controlled vaults are not cheap.
> i move a lot and live in small apartments on a
> starving artist budget.
> > Where are your films? This includes originals,
> > tracks, prints
> > and printing masters? Do you even know?
> yes.
> negatives: refridgerator. i keep very little food
> there, and a box of baking soda to make sure there
> aren't any dangerous vapours.
> prints: on a shelf next to my editing table. (my
> current apartment gets way too hot though (up to 28
> degrees celsius, so i worry about the prints... and
> that's why the negs are in the refridgerator... not
> ideal, but better than a hot humid apt.).
> super8: reversal prints: on the shelf with the
> other
> films.
> optical tracks: refridgerator with the negs.
> mag stock: on the shelf with the prints.
> that's about it i think.
> keep us posted about progress on this work.
> i want a copy and i want to promote it to my
> students.
> thanks!
> amanda dawn christie
> vancouver, b.c.
> Find your next car at
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at
> <email suppressed>.

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For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.