8x10 transparency storage
How do those of you who shoot LF color transparency film store and protect your processed films? Do you use PrintFile or similar storage sleeves? Are there any options that yield more attractive presentation of the film and still provide protection on par with the utilitarian but ugly PrintFile sleeves?
I'd like to be able to protect my 8x10 transparencies in sleeves or protective mounts to keep them dust and fingerprint free. I'd like to be able to view them on a light box without having to remove them from the sleeve. Are there any sleeves that are clear enough for this, or is it better to remove the film from the sleeve for viewing?
I've just started shooting 8x10 transparency film within the past week, and I've exposed and processed ten sheets so far. These were all test shots, so I haven't been too concerned about keeping them clean, but I've observed that fingerprints, dust, and even emulsion damage can accumulate quickly on unprotected film. I don't want such damage to occur with my non-test images.
I don't shoot a lot of 8x10 transparencies any more. I get the urge to shoot color every few years and then it quickly passes.
When I have shoot them, I just store them in an interleaving folder and negative envolope just like I would a negative. I'm not a fan of the Printfile sleeves for any size films (just my opinion your experience may be different). The thought of the sleeve sliding on the surface of the film to remove the film and to insert it into the sleeve everytime you need to print it just "rubs" me the wrong way. Many people use them and have no problems with them, I just don't like the idea of a page touching the film the whole time its moving in or out of the sleeve.
You might try the fold and lock type of sleeve from Light Impressions. This would keep the film secure and yet open fully to allow removal without the film sliding like the printfile system.
I use the Filmguard Pro-Line sleeves - which are crystal clear (you can get frosted too) you can get them close edged or open/foldover flap (which I prefer
Then batches of them live "loose" in archives quality file folders
Thank you both for these suggestions. I've been looking at the Light Impressions web site. They have a number of potential options, but their descriptions could be a little more clear in some cases.
There are some Mylar D sleeves (same thing as polyester?) and polypropylene sleeves available from LI. Most are sealed on three sides, and one, I believe, is sealed on two. From my research, I gather that polyester is considered slightly superior to polypropylene for long term storage.
The Pro-Line sleeves are polypropylene. It sounds as though they are available sealed on two or three sides.
I think the sleeves that are open on two or three sides that you then put into a paper envelope sound like the best way to protect the film without risking emulsion scratches from sliding in and out of a sleeve that is made like a pocket, sealed on three sides.
Glassine sleeves appear to be the most economical option, but I've seen a few recommendations to avoid them for storing film. I'm still researching this, though, as I really dislike plastic sleeves.
Originally Posted by SkipA
Mylar D was replaced by Dupont Archival Polyester--it's really pretty much the same thing, although there are different grades of polyester. At any rate, the best plastic sleeves are made from *uncoated* materials---which is very hard to find in most sleeving. Mylar D, Dupont Archival Polyester or Melinex 516 (all pretty much the same product) is used mostly for filing documents, postcards, currency, negatives etc. It's used for preservation encapsulation and mountmaking as well.
The best sleeves out of this material are the "interleaving" type--which is just a fold in half (good if youi access the file alot), with 3 open sides, and a "locking edge" type (good for long term, I prefer these). With Mylar D, it's possible to sonic weld or heat form seams, but mostly this is used in encapsulation. Polypropylene about a third of the cost, and comes in the same types of configurations--but needs to be uncoated as well. Mylar D can have some static problems and is very tough. Hard to tear or cut.
Polyethylene is the cheapest of the three "safe" plastics. It comes in two grades--low density and high. The high density is the best of the two, but is a translucent type material similar to what minilabs use in sleeving machines. There's only one consumer product as far as I know, and it's the HD Polychron sleeve that LI markets. This is supposedly a very safe longterm material, but you can't view it on a light box or contact through it.
Low density polyethylene can have some problems--mainly from the slip agents that are added to the plastic as they form those notebook pages and other configurations.
Glassiene and acetate used to be popular but have fallen out of favor now. Glassiene is still used in some forms as an interleaving or packing material though. Acetate suffers the same problem as film bases--it falls apart eventually. The archives near where I work used it for years and these sleeves just are useless in their old-age...glassiene can cause some severe staining problems and the adhesive seams can stain as well.
It can be confusing with all the products to choose from, but here's what we do at the museum where I work:
Modern negs & chromes: Mylar D or polypropylene fold-lock type sleeves. For color transp.--use unbuffered, acid & lignin free envelope. (look for products that pass the PAT). B/W--use same sleeve, but a buffered envelope.
The film is stored in separate file cabinets--for 4x5 we use Russ Bassett or Visuflex media cabinets. These are designed for storing film--each will hold 900 4x5s, they either stack or come as floor units--very well made, baked enamel steel cabinets. You can get these from Gaylord, or other library supply vendors. We use these for 35mm and 120 roll film as well--each drawer is about 4.5 inches tall. They hold roughly 150-200 rolls of film depending on what type of envelopes you use. Slides are stored in hanging Permasaf or some Saf-t-stor files in file cabinets. Each slide is kept in a single Mylar D sleeve to keep it off the plastic.
For 8x10--we use flip top vertical Hollinger boxes (metal edge boxes). The negs go into paper (PAT) folders and are stored in small numbers to a box, vertically with partitions to keep them upright & pressure off. This is probably the best way to store negs/chromes outside of a cabinet. For older negs and plates--use 4-flap paper enclosures. No plastic.
Some other companies besides LI to look at: Gaylord Bros., Hollinger, Talas, University Products, Metal Edge, Archival Methods, Conservation Resources Int'l.
fwiw--CRI has some of the best boxes and paper enclosures, but most of these companies offer essentially the same products and are used interchangeably as long as they pass the specs.
Here's a link to the IPI. Check out the Climate Notebook and the Media Storage Guide, as well as the Preservation Calculator:
NEDCC guide to storage materials:
Hope this helps somewhat & isn't too confusing. You can also get some good advice from some vendors like Hollinger, Light Impressions, Gaylord and University Products to name a few.
Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my agency
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Hey, thanks, DKT for the detailed explanation, recommendations, and links. There are, as you say, so many different products on the market that it is difficult to sort them out. Your comments are quite enlightening.