At Familyography, we will do our best to restore old film that has seen better days. But a while back, we had a customer come in with the most difficult challenge in my experience. Two reels of 16mm film were so degraded that they smelled the high heaven of vinegar, the result of chemical degradation that causes the film to warp and buckle. Worse still. the inner 4/5 of the film was actually finished its chemical decomposition and had dried out and was one solid block of cellophane, the film having all fused together.
There is a specific (and expensive) liquid chemical that can restore the pliability of old film that is starting to deteriorate, but we have never used it on film in such bad condition. Still, making not promises, we gave it a try. We immersed the damaged film in a vat of this chemical, and then let it sit sealed up for a couple months. Yesterday. when we opened the vat and took out the film, I wasn’t sure how good the resulted would be. But we cleaned it up, patted it dry, put the film on a film-editing reel, and slowly - very slowly - tried to unwind the film. The film resisted being pulled away from the reel, and first I thought it was going to fall apart. But then the miracle happened. It started to unwind, and as it unwound, I could tell that it was in beautiful condition.
Why is this important to you? Because what we learn in accepting the difficult orders also makes us better and digitizing the less difficult orders. This is true for any kind of media we handle— slides, negatives, film or videotape. We have a trained, critical eye. and we want to give you the best results possible. Its our core value, plain and simple. And in every case, that commitment ensures your satisfaction, guaranteed.