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Author Topic: Vinger Smell
Jason Stauffacher
Film Handler

Posts: 17
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Jul 2011


 - posted May 26, 2013 02:05 AM      Profile for Jason Stauffacher   Author's Homepage   Email Jason Stauffacher   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I bought an old 1938 8mm film with some great shots of that era. Love the time capsule nature of it all. But what does the vinegar smell mean? Do I need to air it out? And part B of this question is, how should I store my current films? I have some old ones, and some I have filmed of family on a Super8 camera and so they are just 2 years old. Advice much appreciate. Cheers.

-Jason Stauffacher

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We must become the change we want to see. -Mahatma Gandhi

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Maurizio Di Cintio
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 977
From: Ortona, Italy
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted May 26, 2013 02:41 AM      Profile for Maurizio Di Cintio   Email Maurizio Di Cintio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK, first off: if a film has vinegar smell, keep it separated from other fims, as this syndrome is "infectitious" and contagion is almost sure to happen. Also it's a good measure to wind and rewind films like these: it won't stop the syndrome from worsen (which is impossible once the process has started), but it will slow it down; needless to say, it is a good precautionary measure to take the habit to screen/wind/rewind films in general at least a couple of times/year, as this will let the substances released by the film out instead of remaining 'inside' the spool windings like a soaked sponge.

This should be done with all non-Kodachrome stocks on a regular basis: if the syndrome hasn't begun yet, chances are it won't, provided you stick with this simple rule AND store the films in a ventilated area, with mild room temperature (between 15-20° Celsius) and humidity not exceeding 60%. Do not use cardboard boxes: they impregnate the fumes from the film, nor wrap the films in any plastic wraps/foil: the film must be able and 'breathe' if you want to prevent the syndrome to start.

Kodachrome films are less prone to this problem because of their peculiar and highly standardized preocess (including lso final washing and drying, which are critical as long as VS is concerned). Nonetheless if you care for these films the same way you do for non-Kodachrome ones, they will certainly outlive you: some early Kodachrome shots taken in the early 1930's still have excellent color. Hope this helps.

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Maurizio

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10204
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted May 26, 2013 08:49 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jason ...

Does her film have a magnetic soundtrack?

I have heard (and not quite sure of) that if a standard 8mm film has a mag track, it could possibly be the magnetic soundtracks "glue" that is causing the problem.

At any rate, I have a standard 8mm feature of "Birth of a Nation" with a magnetic soundtrack, and it has vinegar syndrome and as the previous post states, i also seperate it from my other films.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Jason Stauffacher
Film Handler

Posts: 17
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Jul 2011


 - posted May 26, 2013 10:44 PM      Profile for Jason Stauffacher   Author's Homepage   Email Jason Stauffacher   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
this is an old film circa 1938 in Mississippi, and has no sound. So does that help your understanding? Cheers.

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We must become the change we want to see. -Mahatma Gandhi

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John Hermes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 139
From: La Mesa, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2008


 - posted May 27, 2013 01:50 AM      Profile for John Hermes   Email John Hermes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Kodachrome was introduced in 1935. I have been transferring film for about thirty years and have seen lots of vinegared Kodachrome. It doesn't seem to be any less prone to vinegar syndrome from my experience. The main factor is age. I rarely see vinegared home movies after the early 1950s, but a lot before that, be it B&W or Kodachrome.

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John Hermes

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted May 27, 2013 07:59 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I bought a film with vinegar smell once. It made me pretty annoyed because it was one I'd been looking for for a while and it wasn't cheap (full feature...). It turned out it was actually a polyester print, and therefore couldn't have vinegar syndrome. Once it aired out a while it was fine.

I'm not sure if some chemical had been applied that gave it that smell, or if it was in a collection with vinegar prints and the cardboard boxes absorbed it from the air, but the moral of the story is not every film that smells of vinegar has VS.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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