Projecting old Kodachromes

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by winger, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    First off, I've never been much of a slide shooter, so I admit my ignorance on this. In the assorted stuff my parents have sent me from my late grandmother's house are a few boxes of old slides (most in Kodachrome mounts). They range from my dad's childhood (1940s) to the early 70s. I have a project in mind using them that would mean projecting them (and maybe for a minute or two). How safe is that and how long can a slide be projected before there's a chance of damage from the heat of the bulb? I've really only projected slides for a few seconds each in an average show and very rarely.
    And, as a side note, yup, the colors of the ones in Kodachrome mounts look perfect and the other ones are a little off.
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I've researched this and have learned that while Kodachromes are forever, that in 1 minute of projection, they can be ruined. They can take time and tide, but not the projector bulb.
     
  3. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Thanks, Tom! I was worried it might be something like that. I'll have to find a way to minimize the "bulb time." Or maybe copy the ones I want to use onto fresh stock (I won't care as much if I burn out a copy as I'll still have the original). Any thoughts on the best available slide film to use for copies would be appreciated, too.
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Scan them if you are really worried, but the emotional umph of projectig them to a darkened room of knowing relatives should not be passed up, even if the colour fades a touch for the 20 seconds in front of the projector bulb set on dim.
     
  5. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    I’m not saying that projection doesn’t do some harm to transparencies but I have often left slides (35mm, 645, and 6x7) up on the screen for several – 10 or even 20 minutes at a time - without any noticeable effect. Projectors have a fan to whisk heat away from the film. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    Thomas
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Slide dupe film for Kodachome was a specialist thing and was discontinued long ago.

    Fuji CDU is good for e-6 transparencies, and it still turns up on the auction site from time to time.
    Be prepared to tweak exposure, gelatin cc filtration fine tuning, and do H-D plots of 3 colours of a step wedge/ grey patch target read through a denistometer to nail the exposure and filtration with this process, once you have found an e-6 processor or your own efforts that deliver consitent development results.

    Very rewarding when you pull all of the required stars into alignment, but not a task that is taken lightly.

    I usually build a list of needed dupes and gear up the process to get it done right once every two or three years, as a batch effort in my 35mm slide duper, or polaroid process camera using an enlarger head inverted as the adjustable light source, and filter it to daylight with filters in the head, and tweak film response with CC filters in the lens path. That lets me go between the tow camer rigs and keep the flash/daylight ambient metering working.

    In between, a roll of 400 or so feet of CDU that I snip from lives in the back of the freezer, with updated exposure and filtration from each run written on the can with a sherpie so I can try to spont trends to cut the testing cycle the next time I pull it out.
     
  7. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I left a Kodachrome slide in my window for a whole year I see the affects of light on it, it seems fine... It's a direct sun window getting hit at least half the day.

    I'm not saying that a projector won't do damage just surprised the bulb would after only 1 minute.

    Also I would agree that duplicating it would probably be the smart move :smile:

    Dwayne's Photo still does it I believe.


    Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Agree. A good projector puts very little heat on the slide because of the fan. My Dad and his friends used to leave a slide up for a long time while they were discussing the qualities of it. Those old slides still look great!

    He used a Golde projector, and I have a couple of Aeroquips, and neither one seems to heat the slide much.
     
  9. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    It's the light, not the heat. Look at any poster taped up in a store-front window. They turn from full color to cyan and black in weeks--in freezing cold weather, just from the sunshine.
    I say that if the lady wants a slide show with her valuable old Kodachromes, keep it short. No need to project it for more than 5 seconds. Scan it, dupe it, or whatever to print it. But protect it.
     
  10. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    Some time ago, I read a study done that compared different slide films. I think it was done by Wilhelm Research. If I correctly recall, while Kodachrome has a very long archive life if kept in the dark, it tended to fade faster than some of the E-6 films when projected.

    However, nearly all of our family slides taken in the late 1950's through the 1960's, and even newer were shot on Kodachrome and projected. No doubt some of those were projected many times with some of those being viewed in the projector for extended periods while stories were being told. For the most part, they seem to have held up very well. But of course I am relying on memory as to how they looked years ago and even my memory can fade over time, so I can offer no scientific proof.

    Dave
     
  11. ROL

    ROL Member

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    As a an old slide shooter, long before becoming a devoted practitioner of the fine black (and white:wink:) art of the GSP, I have thousands of those 35mm Koda- and Ekta- chrome slides mouldering away in boxes of all kinds, waiting for me to do the right thing and scan them. I have ashamedly scanned but a small percentage, even though I understand it is the right thing to do at this point. All this logic and rationalization even though I cannot justify hauling out the Carousel and Da-light screen ever again to show them. Once they're scanned and "saved" all those lovely colors can be seen, and largely restored if necessary, at will on a computer or large screen television, with near complete ease and safety. I would think that only then, would it make sense to ever haul out irreplaceable memories for special occasions to be projected – and perhaps worth it. It seems more a question of the unknown, for some slides, limited lifespan of the media versus presumed risk.


    FWIW, I turn collections of old slides into Ken Burns'ed videos, added to my YT channel, where they will likely be judged harshly by GoPro jockeys and ignorant, self–absorbed millenials. :laugh:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  12. onepuff

    onepuff Member

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    I've left Kodachrome 64 and 200 slides in my Carousel SAV-2010 for up to 5 minutes with no apparent damage, either fading or warping. My slides date from the 80s to about 5 years old and none are showing any obvious fading despite having been projected 10+ times in a number of instances and I would estimate for an average of 20 seconds each. I also have some earlier Kodachromes in card mounts from the late 50s to early 60s which look as good as new though I rarely project these myself.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The Kodak lab in Vancouver BC used to have a large booth at our annual fair - the Pacific National Exhibition.

    They used to have 8 slide projectors, 4 dissolve units (I think) and 4 big screens, and the staff at the lab contributed slides for projection at the fair.

    Two weeks long, for 12 hours each day, those projectors would show each of (120?) slides over and over for about 10 seconds each time.

    Most were Kodachrome, but some were Ektachrome.

    At the end of the fair, the slides would go back to the staff member who supplied them, essentially none the worse for wear.

    My Dad used to man the booth each year. On more then one occasion, I saw my (then cute) face up on one or more of those screens.
     
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  15. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Pretty sure that particular example is a consequence of UV light, not just light in general.
     
  16. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Every so often, I run my dads kodachromes from the late 40's thru the mid 60's through my projector for one of the kids to watch. I see no obvious signs of damage on any of them. The kids, now all adults(save for the youngest) want to see what life was like back then. We also have home movies shot on kodachrome stored on vhs tapes, which are not withstanding the test of time.
     
  17. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    I have exposed many rolls of Kodachrome in the past. I've projected some of them many times as well with no noticeable bad effects.

    But why take the chance with the important ones? Scan them.
     
  18. Nathan Potter

    Nathan Potter Member

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    If they are Kodachromes projecting for a minute or two will not result in a detectible change in density or color shift. I have projected some for up to a half hour for doing pastel drawings with no noticeable change. I think you'd need several hours of exposure to projector light to see really measurable differences.

    With dark storage my older Kodachromes begin to fade at around 40 years depending on who did the processing.

    Tom1956 many posters are done using notoriously poor non archival ink so are absolutely subject to fading rapidly in sunlight and even subdued light.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.
     
  19. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I've many of my late Father's Kodachromes (all Kodak factory processed) from the 1960's which he used extensively for public and private shows and these still look fine. I'm sure, in normal circumstances, damage in a minute could only be from a faulty projector or over-powered lamp; he used a Leitz Pradovit (which I still have) and slides are barely warm after even 10 minutes projection.
    I've scanned the most important ones, but this has been mainly to have a duplicate record, copies for other members of the family or against physical damage rather than any major concerns about projector damage.
    And remember that slides were designed mainly for projection. :smile:
     
  20. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    Here's an interesting link to what Kodak says: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/products/techInfo/e30/e30Slides.shtml

    Note Prolonged exposure to light and heat adversely affects most photographic dyes. Do not subject valuable original slides to prolonged or repeated projection, e.g., in a commercial display.

    The same holds true for transparencies. Although the level of illumination is usually lower in light boxes, prolonged exposure to light is harmful, especially if direct sunlight (which contains a large amount of ultraviolet radiation) strikes the transparency. Use an ultraviolet absorber for fluorescent lighting displays. Rosco Laboratories, Incorporated, 36 Bush Avenue, Port Chester, NY 10573, produces such an ultraviolet absorber. Use duplicates of valuable originals for displays. Store the originals under the best possible storage conditions, as described in the preceding sectio


    Thomas
     
  21. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Yep, mainly UV.
     
  22. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    That has to be one lousy projector. They will fade eventually, but not after one minute, unless they get fried by bulb heat, which should not happen.
     
  23. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    A lot of slides were used from the 50s to the 90s for instructional purposes in places of work and remained on a screen for several minutes at a time while the instructor explained the purose of waht was on the screen and were used repeatedly for many years.

    These were probably not Kodachromes but were E6 processed slides and in my experience they seemed to withstand the experience very well.

    So are Kodachromes that much more susceptible to projector light and to the extent that as little as a minute will ruin them? Surely Kodachrome holiday slides and the like were shown time and time again and when Uncle Harry was explaining what the scene was and how much he and Auntie Hilda enjoyed exploring the antiquities etc it is difficult to believe he was switching off the light after say 30 secs or moving to the next slide.

    I recall seeing the same slides( probably E6 admittedly) time after time in the late 50s when families got together and some slides were on the screen for several minutes at a time.

    Those slides didn't appear useless or even show any signs of deterioration when shown for the second and third times as they often were.

    pentaxuser
     
  24. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Sorry, Winger. I don't know where on the computer I saw that. As for me, I still wouldn't project them for very long.
     
  25. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    One minute? Um, no - not with normal projectors anyway. I've projected them for a lot longer than that, but it IS true they suffer from light fading while being very resistant to dark fading, which is one reason they used to make a lot of Ektachrome dupes for projection.

    I don't hesitate to project mine occasionally, but I'm mindful not to leave the same slide up too long. I've certainly exceeded a minute though with no harm, repeatedly.

    It's worth it, absolutely, to see them as they should be seen.
     
  26. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Now that this matter has circulated in my head all day, I'll try not to feel like I made myself a know-it-all-alarmist. But I swear I saw that in an online Kodak publication, within maybe the last 6 weeks. Could be wrong, but it's not my way to remember things that just aren't true. Or to "remember" something I never actually saw. And I vaguely remember being somewhat stunned also that they stated "1 minute".