MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2014
Randy Gitsch, Operations Manager, PRO-TEK
I recently had a surprise while working on one of our client’s still image collections. Going through a series of boxes of Hollywood studio photography, preparing select titles for our PRO-TEK crew to inventory, archivally re-sleeve, scan and QC, I came across a box of 8”x10” negatives with no referenced motion picture title on it. This box was unmarked except for the picture code, “ML-8”. Unfortunately, our picture code reference didn’t include the code.
A look inside the box revealed a dozen brittle paper sleeves holding a variety of negatives on what I recognized by their overall appearance and feel to be nitrocellulose, or nitrate film stock. Nitrate was the mainstay of still photography through the early 1940’s, when flammability and susceptibility to decay led to its replacement by acetate “safety film”. Unfortunately, acetate is also prone to organically deteriorate over time. Read more!