Your 16mm and 8mm films hold priceless memories. They won't last forever, but you can extend film reel shelf life with proper care and storage. Here's how:
Storing 8mm Film Reels
Since film is a physical medium, it's vulnerable to physical damage. It gets moldy when moist, cracks when it's dry, decays in the heat, and fades in the sun. Some tips for 8mm film storage:
- No light? You're alright. Film is designed to react to sunlight, so keep it in a dark place. Even after it's developed, UV rays from the sun can damage your film and cause it to fade.
- 40-40 for Surety. Film is best kept as a constant 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity. This one's tricky without a spare fridge or a big budget for climate control. Still, try to keep your film in a consistently cool, dry place.
- Let it breathe. Store your film in ventilated, archival-grade containers. Decaying film releases gases that can build up in airtight canisters and damage the film.
How to Handle Aging Home Movies
To enjoy your old motion pictures, you'll inevitably have to handle the film and load it into a projector. But be careful. You could damage these at-risk items unless you:
- Wear gloves. The natural oils from your skin can transfer onto the film and cause permanent damage.
- Check for breaks. Even tiny rips, especially near the sprocket holes, can become much worse when your film gets pulled through a projector.
- Wind properly. Wrap your film securely around the reel, but not too snug. It should be loose enough to breathe and tight enough to stay put.
More Film Preservation How-Tos
Want more advice on protecting your home movies? Check with the Library of Congress for a technical, conservation-minded perspective.
The best way to save your home movies, though, is to have us digitize them. Digital files don't fade in the sun, and you can keep them on DVDs or USB flash drives instead of fancy containers. Don't delay -- call today!