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Author Topic: Vinegar syndrome
Jason Patnode
Film Handler

Posts: 45
From: Zephyr Cove, NV, USA
Registered: Jul 2017


 - posted April 29, 2018 05:56 AM      Profile for Jason Patnode   Author's Homepage   Email Jason Patnode   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It was bound to happen, but I finally got my first film with vinegar syndrome. It's the 1973 animated version of Black Arrow. The vinegar smell is very light, but definitely there. Any tips to help stave of the turning would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.
-Jason

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Jason Patnode

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Robert Crewdson
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1031
From: UK
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted April 29, 2018 07:05 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
PM sent.

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5895
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted April 29, 2018 09:36 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You will not get rid of the problem, and keeping it could pass the V.S. to the other prints in the vicinity.
The only thing to do is quickly put it out in the refuse.

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Maurice

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Will Trenfield
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 506
From: Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK
Registered: Mar 2016


 - posted April 29, 2018 06:05 PM      Profile for Will Trenfield   Email Will Trenfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I thought that the vinegar smell only affected acetate film. Wouldn't commercial releases would have been on polyester by 1973 if not before or have I got my wires crossed? As I understand it, as acetate film ages, it can release acetic acid, hence the vinegar smell, if not stored in cool, dry conditions. From then on, it's a downward slope with shrinkage, brittleness and worse.

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Joe Caruso
Film God

Posts: 4105
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted April 30, 2018 04:03 PM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I kept the one film I had, a 200' one on refrigeration with baking soda dabbled over it (overnight) - Then, after cleaning the film with a swab and filmrenew, the odor had lessened - Continued with baking soda in the cardboard box with the film exposed, aired and re-cleaned - After 8 days the smell disappeared - Now, I sprinkled a bit of the baking soda on the film itself while exposed in a A/C control room - The box also is free of any lingering odor, now it is simply a box smell as is usual - Mind, this odd prodecure might not work with everyone - I experiment constantly - Metal cans are fine if kept controlled in the proper temperature - Heat ruins alot of things, acetate, paper, vinyl and tin alloys - Trick is to keep items as comfortable as yourself - Cardboard boxes contain oxides, however they do allow ventilated air to enter - Plastic cans won't harm film as long as they are storage correctly and again with the right airification, so to speak - When I was collecting 16mm, I had no VS difficulties but made sure I was keeping everything cool and easy - My nickel on it - Cheers, Shorty

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Will Trenfield
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 506
From: Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK
Registered: Mar 2016


 - posted April 30, 2018 05:47 PM      Profile for Will Trenfield   Email Will Trenfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That makes sense, Joe. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, an alkaline which will neutralise the acetic acid which causes the vinegar smell. It's the same stuff as in the tablets you can take to relieve acid indigestion. Although the vinegar smell might have gone, the film has damage which can't be fixed. Storing film in cool, dry conditions is best. Mine are in a large furniture box, with a few sachets of silica gel crystals to absorb moisture, close to north-facing patio doors.

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Joe Caruso
Film God

Posts: 4105
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted May 01, 2018 10:02 AM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Can't say the 200' film I experimented with has damage, it runs fine - No curling, fading or such - Still trying out new approaches - Dr. Shorty

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Osi Osgood
Film God

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


 - posted May 01, 2018 11:38 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, Joe, i wish I knew about that baking soda thing! I once had a standard 8mm feature that developed vinegar that I recently got rid off. [Frown]

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

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Jason Patnode
Film Handler

Posts: 45
From: Zephyr Cove, NV, USA
Registered: Jul 2017


 - posted May 01, 2018 01:06 PM      Profile for Jason Patnode   Author's Homepage   Email Jason Patnode   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Joe. I will give the baking soda a try. I have the film airing out right now. Going to try the baking soda as soon as possible.

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Jason Patnode

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Bill Brandenstein
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1632
From: California
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted May 01, 2018 02:33 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Keep vinegar prints segregated from OK prints, and as cold and dry as possible, and they can last for years. Decades, even.

Of course, keeping OK prints as cold and dry as possible will extend their usefulness also!

Polyester need not apply. Abuse it freely. (JK!)

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Osi Osgood
Film God

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


 - posted May 02, 2018 11:53 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does using baking soda also help with the warping that comes with vinnie syndrome?

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

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Bill Brandenstein
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1632
From: California
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted May 02, 2018 01:17 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'll hijack Joe's needed response for a second: I'd define warping as caused by a change in size between the shrinking base and not-easily-shrunk emulsion. If that is technically correct, baking soda won't help with warp any more than sieves will. Those petroleum-based film products, over months, are able to relax that problem somewhat, as you know.

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Will Trenfield
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 506
From: Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK
Registered: Mar 2016


 - posted May 02, 2018 06:09 PM      Profile for Will Trenfield   Email Will Trenfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Acetate film can become chemically unstable if not stored in cool conditions with low humidity. It was introduced as "safety film" due to the unstable nature of the earlier nitrate film. The first reports of degradation emerged from India, apparently, a few years after its introduction. The first sign that the degradation has started is the vinegar smell as acetic acid is released. Baking soda might well deal with the smell but the problem is still there. Such films need special treatment so it makes sense to keep them separate from your other ones and stored at a cooler temperature. If it's a precious family film that can't be replaced then it needs to be digitised or copied before it's too late.

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Joe Caruso
Film God

Posts: 4105
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted May 03, 2018 02:21 PM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Will and Bill are right - My experimentations are to help downgrade the VS, not cure it, though the film I have has no odor now after several months of tending to it - Warping is caused by shrinkage, and storage - These films must be kept cool and dry - Summer plagues the progress, care must be given to our prints - I just got a 200' 16mm short housed in a metal can, yes a slight smell is there (not bad) - Metal is a part-culprit in this weather - So, I'm precautioning as it goes - Let's keep it all preserved and playable - Shorty

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