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Author Topic: A task for Andec - Super 8 16 Internegative - Zombie Walk
Jake Mayes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Bath, UK
Registered: Sep 2012

 - posted December 18, 2017 04:39 AM      Profile for Jake Mayes   Email Jake Mayes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a super-8 reel (ektachrome 64T, hand processed) of a zombie walk where we all dressed as zombies through the city of bath, UK in 2012. Starting with a biohazard symbol in the dressing room, all the zombies outside and then when they were released into the city on a walk.

This super-8 was stored alongside all my others in sealed bags with silica gel and a few years ago i lived in a moldy flat, so bad the mold went up every inch of the walls and bedding and clothes. I had my films stored elsewhere and i withheld the rent and used it to replace my furniture and moved house, i would later move in with my partner. Leaky roof and water leaking into the wall cavity caused said mold, with the landlord oblivious to requests to improvement. I would run an air purifier of the HEPA type just so one could breathe in there. Even years later its abandoned and in almost ruin.

Fast forward to two weeks ago years later I get out my films to show a friend and my partner and all of them are perfect bar this one which had not been fully sealed in the bag... Mold and mildew had literally eaten the gelatin on key parts in the first 30 seconds of the film and the projector claw sounded so loud while projecting after intense cleaning with film cleaner. Even the white on the leader had been dissolved away.

You see biohazard sign, mold damage, zombies, mold, zombies raising their hands, mold, then the zombies are released and the mold dies off and the movie looks normal, even the point where one of the lecturers who had no idea what was planned was 'set on' by the zombies and was 'sucked' into the crowd and 'converted' and she goes along with it and you see her as a zombie walking. her reaction to getting surrounded, the shock, the horror and getting sucked in and converted and then the nurse zombie was just... well priceless. Probably the most irreplaceable funny moment i ever saw through the viewfinder of my camera. As this was after the 30 second point, no image damage here. And then the nurse zombie and you see this perfectly on the movie, and the walk continues and then the film ran out and i took stills from there on B&W film. I was in the crowd of zombies, as a zombie, filming the scene and taking stills on B&W film.

Due to the damage and base seems to have shrank making it a **** to project. This wasn't simple damp but was almost 'wet'. This isn't just mold spots, the gelatin in that first 30 seconds was literally eaten away. It really adds to the character of this film, though.

As it projects, barely i have opted not just using something like film renew but paying Andec to make a 16mm internegative and a new super-8 print, and a telecine of this is needed (i never telecined any due to being on a budget, affording film cartridges, and the chemicals and put money on a good projector/camera).

I spoke to them on the phone today and am going to send them the film to restore to a 16mm internegative and new super 8 print while its still projectable, i have groups of friends who want to see this and i think its one of the most awesome films i ever shot, you won't ever be able to reshoot something like that. This one is going to be telecined/uploaded.

I store much digital/analog data and digitally, i keep 4 backups of everything, even my crucial slides are duplicated, and have been proud to say up until the near-loss of this i never thought i would need to employ any form of service to recover data, although only having a single copy of reversal films always made me a bit uneasy, but i just love reversal film, from the shooting to the processing so lived with that and always attempted to store them carefully. I dare say the silica gel and bags saved all my films from the damage that happened to this one. That is the one and only downside of super-8 reversal, it is a ***** to copy on film to have a copy to project [Smile] I say this is the ONLY disadvantage of reversal film, as i really prefer projection to telecine, i have even taken my projector across the country and soon will be across international borders to show my films to friends from around the world when i travel to Nepal again, no better way to view them! Yes my original reels will be in carry-on baggage, so as not to lose them [Smile]

Two lessons here:

1: Shoot negative and have a print made for anything truly irreplacable if you can afford it, or make an inter negative of your reversal film.
2: double bag the films with the silica gel inside to ensure it stays sealed.
3. Have them all digitally telecined if only for backup in 2K, despite the cost.

1 probably won't be followed as much due to budget and the fun of developing my own E6 and controlling the colour balance with chemical means, but i will have internegatives made of anything which later turns out crucial on an as-afforded basis. For crucial family events i shoot negative (and have a print made), all my low light stuff was also shot on negative for better quality, as most reversal stocks couldn't give me the low light performance i wanted compared to 500T. Although im looking into seeing how agfa 200D responds when pushed. You have the ability to digitally telecine, but it just doesn't have the 'pop' of a projected image which almost looks 3D xD

None of my films have ever been 'lined' by my projector as i always keep the projector mechanism, path, gate and claw cleaned after every session of viewing films. The sankyo s701 series seems very gentle on your films as well.

Ill admit my reversal films have been shown a few times and one of them in particular has about 30 - 40 runs on it with different groups, with no lining or damage. I only recently learned about filmguard and aim to use this from here on in for showings, but no damage was done that was visible up to this point and im sure keeping your projector clean helps, plus i have cleaned film via a lint free cloth and film cleaner before each viewing.

I will upload telecine of the film when it is done, never thought i would pay to have an internegative done before discovering the damage to this film [Smile] The damage though did make the movie look more experimental, reminds me of night of the living dead, just in colour and in daylight [Smile] ektachrome 64T suited this. You can probably imagine the horror as im saying how good the film is removing it from its bag and storage case and seeing the damage as i was preparing to show it to my partner and mate whos gotten into film...

There is my first ever near loss of anything key since i started my rigorous taking care of data in any form since 2003 as a kid! This saved all the family video tapes which were damaged by mold at my grandads house which flooded, when as a kid i had secretly 'stolen' them all and put them back to make copies by linking the family VCR with mine and erasing the episodes of soap operas and other crap on them to keep copies of all of us as kids for myself, copies which survived with me for years for later digital transfer after we discovered all the damage to the videotapes at my grandads house. I took no chances. Mold is awful to storage media [Smile] I love super-8, love all film, i enjoy 4K digital as well, but i despised VHS.

Minus storing film in sealed bags with silica gel, and keeping projector film path and film clean, does anyone else have any tips as to extending working life of prints and storage techniques? I would think sealed bags with silica gel would help with humidity, with only ambient temperature being harder to control, my house is kept always at around 22C year round with the heating, unless the summer takes it out of my hands and goes higher.

Can't wait to get the new print back so i can show it, they said to send it after the Christmas period. Their super-8 positive prints are very good, to those who have never shot neg and had a print made, it is well worth it, but as its a minimum 25m of film they do cost wise, better sending in two carts at once.

[ December 18, 2017, 05:43 AM: Message edited by: Jake Mayes ]

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Adrian Winchester
Film God

Posts: 2902
From: Croydon, London, UK
Registered: Aug 2004

 - posted December 19, 2017 03:14 PM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jake - that's a remarkable story and I'm glad it should have a broadly happy ending, although I'm sure the interneg and print will cost you a 'fortune' relative to the length of the film! I suppose it also means you could easily have a 16mm print made one day, if you wished.

It's very fortunate that the mould 'works' for the film in question, but it's frightening to hear that such damage happened over a fairly brief period. It's a warning for anyone like me who sometimes leaves films in cold (but not conspicuously damp) rooms, because I recently found a prized 16mm feature with traces of mildew on the edge. I wiped this off and it thankfully looked fine when I projected it over the weekend, but I'll give it a good clean with Film Renew.

Adrian Winchester

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Jake Mayes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Bath, UK
Registered: Sep 2012

 - posted December 20, 2017 11:44 AM      Profile for Jake Mayes   Email Jake Mayes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah i was quite lucky here i think that it happened to work, as usually it would ruin the film!

Usually i keep them in sealed bags with silica gel at room temperature, and look after them when showing them, my thermostat is constantly at 22C, a bit higher than most vaults, but the silica gel will be nice humidity wise in the bags, the sealed freezer type ones.

A freak accident, on an irreplaceable bit of footage, i second the view on the interneg. I have been curious to try 16mm for a while.

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