basic question: storing film?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by staphkills, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. staphkills

    staphkills Member

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    Hi All,

    (Sorry if this seems like a basic question but I tried searching this forum but couldn't find specific details).

    If I want to store some film to prevent expiration, could I freeze the rolls of film? If so, at what temperature? Will the film become damaged if stored too cold? Is -4°F or -112°F too cold?

    If the film is frozen, will any moisture in the film damage it? (kind of like the ice that forms on anything you put in the freezer)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Yes. You can safely freeze film (except instant film that has chemical filled pods in the pack), and in fact it is the best way to keep it 'fresh'.

    There's no problem with moisture, except condensation forming on it after you remove it from the freezer.
    So keep the film in a closed box (sheet), a sealed foil (rollfilm) or shut cannister (35 mm film) until it has warmed up to ambient temperatures again, so that condensation forms on the outside of the package, instead of on the film itself.
    Storing film inside the freezer in a plastic box with tight fitting lid will also do. Condensation then forms on the outside of the box when you remove it from the freezer. But you must wait to let the entire content of the box warm up to remove the one or two films from it that you might actually need.

    You can freeze and thaw film as often as you like.
     
  3. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    Hi Staph,

    For short term storage, just pop the box in the refrigerator.
    Usually I would try to remember to remove them a few hours before being used.
    Get it to room temp. to avoid any condensation issues.

    Long Term, ( months, or years ) it would be best to place the film in a Zipper bag.
    and remove at least 24 hours before usage.


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York, and the
    Long Island @ Large Format Group, right here on APUG
    .
     
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Keep it in its original packaging, if possible. For use, let it warm to room temp before opening and all will be well.
    Refridgeration or freezing extends the life of the film some, but isn't essential, especially for most B&W films. -4 is fine if you're freezing it.
    The real danger for moisture is freezing or chilling film that is out of the factory packaging. Consider that it was sealed in humidity controlled conditions, and your house (usually) isn't. I generally don't re-freeze or chill opened film packages unless it's something that really requires it, such as some "pro" color films that I won't be using again for a long while.

    There has been a lot of pro and con debate about this in other threads.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Yeah, what he said. I keep all my film in the freezer in the unopened factory packaging. I let it warm up before I open the package and use it. Most films do very well; a few like infrared film are not long term stable and may show signs of fogging sooner than the rest of the films over a period of years.

    Paper gets stored in the refrigerator.

    Do a search on freeze, freezer, refrigerator. :wink:

    Steve
     
  6. staphkills

    staphkills Member

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for the replies! What should I do if the factory seal is opened? (I'm not sure if the film I'm getting will be factory sealed).

    I've searched this forum for using the keywords that Steve suggested, and I found this old post on how film shouldn't be deep freezed. So I'm guessing -112°F would be too cold? What is the lowest temp you can freeze film before you start damaging it?
     
  7. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Somewhere near absolute zero perhaps. :wink:

    If film gets 'too cold' it may lose elasticity, become brittle perhaps.
    But you will not use it that cold, so...

    Anything your freezer can handle (-112F ??? :surprised:) is fine.
     
  8. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    You can find the data sheets for most films online, for the major manufacturers anyway, like Kodak, Ilford, Fuji and so on. These data sheets will include information on short term storage and long term storage. I routinely store all my film in the freezer, with a small box of assorted rolls in the fridge for more rapid access. Ian Grant in another, similar, thread pointed out that B&W film was less likely to need freezer over fridge storage, and when I checked the data sheets of these films, he was right. There are some films that shouldn't be frozen, and though I forget what they are, they were described on the Fuji film web site. So, first port of call is always to search for the data sheet.
     
  9. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Common deep freezers found in any house are fine for storing film. A cryovat is definitely not suitable. My deep-frozen (—20°c) stocks of Velvia (50, 100F) and Provia (various formats) share living space with all manner of chooks, meats, vegies and dog bones. Film(s) are removed and placed anywhere at room temperature, unopened, and left to "thaw out" for 2 hours, then loaded, not sooner. Condensation can form on the film if the canister(s) are opened in a warm environment. Today a roll of Velvia that expired in May 2004 came back from the E6 and it's indistinguishable from other D&P'd stock.
     
  10. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    I wish you'd told me that before I bought the liquid nitrogen.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There's another thread about this just a few days ago and Simon Galley (Ilford) said that freezing or even refrigeration isn't really necessary with B&W films.

    Yes it will extend the life, but most of us use it well before freezing would be beneficial, Colour pro films are different, they need refrigeration.

    Ian
     
  12. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    What sort of shelf life and extension beyond expiry can be expected from freezing over cool storage?
     
  13. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    As I see it, deep-frozen film is in "suspended animation", if you like: it is not ageing at a normal rate, but at a greatly retarded rate, even beyond it's nominal expiry. All film will succumb to deterioration over a long period of time from environmental factors beyond our control (e.g. radiation). I am not concerned for deep-frozen film that expired xx number of years ago if it has been stored carefully.
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Difficult to say, possible 10-15 years and longer, that doesn't mean there aren't slight changes in the emulsions though.

    Taking the other extreme my HP5 which I bought short dated 3 years it expired Jan 08 ago is still perfectly OK despite storage at 28-30° C at times in the summer here in Turkey, the coolest place in the apartment is a bottom drawer.

    I agree with BradS in the other thread that sometimes people are overly cautious..

    Maybe if your favourite emulsion is being discontinued there's a case of stock piling, if you have sufficient spare cash, but it's not for me.

    Ian
     
  15. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    I kept some Orwo Pan in the freezer, with an expiry date of 2005, and so far it's worked perfectly. I think I'll start to move the B&W stock from the freezer to the fridge, since around three quarters of my stock is colour, and I'm getting domestic complaints that there's no more room for food in the freezer. Besides, I've just had another delivery of Agfa APX, and that really is for stockpiling.
     
  16. stevco

    stevco Member

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    I don't want to open new topic, because there are similar already, so:

    I have around 8 rolls Portra 160vc and 3 rolls T-max 400, all expired 2005-2006. I think that I will use them all through the summer, maybe most of the colors film in the end of August.
    I store them in a closet, in a guest room on 2nd floor on the house (so no-one lives there), the room is dry and it's pretty dark for the most part of the day.
    I'm little afraid that on the 2nd floor the temperature are higher than on the ground-rooms which have more condensation on the walls, a thing that might affect the films maybe more negatively than the temperature?

    Is this safe place?

    Or should I freeze them.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Not really for the colour films.

    We are luck it's a ground floor apartment so the bottom drawer is the coolest place in the whole block.

    If your films are still in the sealed wrappers etc then downstairs should be OK, they are protected against humidity.

    Ian
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Put it in a ZipLoc bag at room temperture forcing out as much air as you can. Toss it is the freeze. When you want to use it, allow it to get to room temperture before opening.

    Steve
     
  19. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I believe that for long term storage Kodak suggests keeping all films at -5 C to -10 C. They say that this temperature represents the best compromise between quality and electricity cost.

    Other factors also determine how well a fim ages such as background radiation and cosmic rays. Both of these are however out of our control.
     
  20. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Keep it Cold so it don't get Old. Store in zip locks in smaller quantities so you don't have the bring a large amount back to room temperature.
     
  21. mattmoy_2000

    mattmoy_2000 Member

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    Unless your house is in Death Valley and your upper floor is made of glass, I wouldn't worry too much. You're going to shoot it this summer, or soon after, and you're not a colourimetrist (I assume!), so really don't worry.
    If you were saying "my favourite colour film has just been discontinued and I want to stockpile it so I can shoot my newborn daughter's future wedding using it, is it OK to store it here" I'd say "No, freeze it". But you're not, so don't bother.
    I've shot films that expired 40 years before I was even born; Agfa film that was made in Nazi Germany and that was fine (except the filmbase itself had deteriorated, but then it was nitrocellulose, and I explicitly chose it because of that fact).
    Genuinely, film is like babies - a lot more sturdy than you'd think.