It’s Film! What can go wrong?

Most of the film we deal with is older, ranging from 10 years old back to the twenties, 80-85 years old. Things can go wrong over this much time.Archival film has a number of potential problems that can occur upon origination or through use and wear, or through aging based on storage conditions and other deterioration.

Potential Defects include:

  • Shrinkage
  • Color shifting or fading due
  • Sprocket damage
  • Dirt and Scratches
  • Unstable images
  • Flicker
  • Excessive grain
  • Poor exposure
  • Poor focus

Many of these issues can be helped during a proper film transfer. The design of our Spirit Telecine allows film that is moderately or severely shrunken to still be transferred. We have Primary and Secondary color correction to handle many of the color shifting issues. Many sprocket damage issues go through the system with little or no effect. Proper film cleaning along with selective use of our WET-GATE process minimizes the dirt and scratch damage. Instability comes from several places. Original camera issues are very common with small gauges, especially Super8 and Regular8, and also occur in some 16mm films originally shot with inexpensive cameras. Projector-based transfer systems are inherently less stable than our telecine, and can make this instability even worse when using damaged sprockets to drive the film through their systems.