This is topic Black and White Films-Query in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Tony Milman (Member # 7) on June 27, 2003, 11:10 AM:
Can someone outline what can go wrong with time where black and white film is concerned. Vinegar syndrome aside. With colour stock I am aware of the magenta issue and of fading. Does B/W film fade/reduce in contrast or suffer other faults?
Posted by George Willeman (Member # 62) on June 27, 2003, 11:50 AM:

I have recently found some B&W prints with brown splotches and/or orange spots, which I believe are a by product of either bad fixing or incomplete washing by the lab. Another problem, probably true of color films as well, is overall shrinkage. Some Blackhawks I have, which must be about thirty years old, are starting to chatter in some of my projectors. And some of my Regular 8 sound films are shrinking to the point where the soundtrack will not ride along the sound head properly.
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on June 27, 2003, 11:59 AM:
Hi Tony,
I believe I am correct in stating that Black and white prints (assuming they are printed on B&W stock) will never ever fade, as there are no dyes used in the printing process. The only long term concern, which applies to any film , Black and white or colour, is film shrinkage, film getting brittle, and warpage. These concerns can be almost completely eliminated by correct storage in a cool environment with adequate humidity, and most importantly periodic film treatment and lubrication of the film.
I have black and white prints over 30 years old which look and play like new prints.
Incidentally if you have Kodachrome home movies, you have no worries at all about colour fading. Kodachrome is the one colour process which simply will not fade ( unlike Agfa color, Gevacolor, and all the others). All of us who have shot colour movies for the past 50 years owe Kodak a big thank you for producing such a superb. I have Kodachrome movies from the 50's which look like they just arrived from processing!
Posted by Trevor Adams (Member # 42) on June 27, 2003, 02:09 PM:
Certainly agree with Paul on the old Kodachrome.Films I took in the Islands in the 50s are colour-fast.
I've found some of my b/w films have faded-they get a bit washed out.Some were marginal brand new though.
Posted by Kevin Faulkner (Member # 6) on June 27, 2003, 06:38 PM:
Hi Tony,
Having worked for a Major b/w film manufacturer for 24yrs I can tell you that brown marks can occur with age and that they are definately caused by bad washing at the end of the process. Shrinkage and warping can also be very bad on b/w film and will almost certainly be caused by incorrect storage. It occurs because the film emulsion unlike colour film contains silver and this is strong enough to warp the base as it dries out and shrinks. Acetate base is also more unstable than poly base so this adds to the problems.
Well proceessed and stored b/w film should last many many years.
Kevin. [Smile]
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on June 27, 2003, 10:37 PM:
I recently had to return a print of "Casablanca" because during Rick's flashback to Paris numerous brown/orange splotches appeared.They showed up about 30 seconds into the third reel, starting out small and increasing in size for the remainder of the
reel. This was a Ken Films print from 1982. Is it possible they weren't visible when the print was a youngster?
Posted by Kevin Faulkner (Member # 6) on June 28, 2003, 04:05 AM:
Hi Doug,
Your spot on so to speak. The spots dont show up for wuite some time and is due to a chemical reaction on the film.
As I said earlier it's due to bad washing and I'm sorry to say that it was probably caused by the lab making shortcuts during processing. Very often they would run the wash water cold to save money or shave a few mins of the processing time to get more film through.
It's a great shame this sort of thing happened but now we are paying for the problems associated with residual fix being left in in the film. Not a lot can be done about it now.
BTW I think it's this sort of short cutting that has led to the very quick deterioration of some colour stock like the pre LPP Kodak stocks. Some people find film that is still holding up well and I think again it's down to where and how it was processed.
I worked for the Film manufacturer Ilford Films and was one of the tech support team and yes I went to many labs and I have seen things to do with processing that would make your feet curl. Or in this case your film base! [Roll Eyes]

Posted by Tony Milman (Member # 7) on June 28, 2003, 04:29 AM:
Doug, I have just bought a copy of the same film although I think I was told it was a red fox film and guess what- yep- the same spotting is seen on reel one (I have not looked at the others yet) but is not too noticeable on that reel.

Kevin, does this sort of thing continue to get worse over time? Ultimately if left long enough would it have the potential to turn the whole film orange?

Posted by Kevin Faulkner (Member # 6) on June 28, 2003, 05:57 PM:
Tony, Unfortunately the answer to that question is probably a definite YES. Once most of these chemical reations set in then they cant be reversed. People have tried for instance to reverse the fading cyan dye in colour film without success, they have tried to stop VS but that cant really be stopped just slowed down a bit and the orange spots just tend to get bigger and yes ulitametly the whole film will suffer. Curling due to shrikage can be made much better by using a good film lube and I have heard that FilmRenew can actually flatten the film out again. It is also possible to treat film with brown spots to slow that down. I believe that a good re fix and wash helps and in some cases a reprocess of the film can do the trick but you will then probably have balck spots instead of brown.
At the end of the day deterioration once set in is very difficult if not impossible to cure.
[Frown] Kevin
Posted by Tony Milman (Member # 7) on June 30, 2003, 05:08 PM:
Thanks Kevin,

I watched with fascination as the orange blobs attracted themselves to some of the darker areas of the film such as bow ties and eyes. So much so I was watching the blobs and not the film! Interestingly there were some minor running marks (I think that's what you call them) which attracted an orange halo for their entire length.

It is at times like these that I am glad to be dealing with a reputable UK dealer on whom I can rely. Imagine the fun on ebay (current forum members excepted of course!)

Great film though. [Frown]
Posted by Joe Taffis (Member # 4) on June 30, 2003, 06:40 PM:
hey Tony, you should see the s..tuff i'm goin' through now returning a crap projector...even with the PayPal money back guarantee! Joe

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