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Film safe-handling guide for non-archivists

Tips on identifying and handling film

Film inspection LAC Group

Newsreel footage, historical events, old training or promotional films, documentaries and many irreplaceable, photographic archives are going to waste.

That’s why we’ve created a special film preservation guidebook to help small museums, community archives, longstanding businesses or any other historical collection owner do all they can to safeguard and preserve their collection.

Preserving acetate, nitrate and polyester film

The guidebook offers guidance on the following topics:

  • How to identify whether the film is acetate, nitrate or polyester.
  • Tips for proper care and handling of film assets.
  • Characteristics of archival film storage for effectively preserving images.
  • Digitization considerations for still and motion picture film assets.

For added context, we’ve included a basic overview of the history of these different film types.

Since most film preservation projects involve acetate, and to a lesser degree nitrate, we have created this infographic as a snapshot view of the different storage characteristics and requirements of these two types.

Film characteristics - Nitrate & acetate

Archiving your film collection

Aging film is highly fragile and, if it’s nitrate-based, it could even be hazardous due to its flammability. Continuing to ignore it will result in the inevitable loss of the imagery these film assets have captured and contained.

The most important advice we can give to the owner/steward of any film collection is: Act now!

Without proper handling and care your film will continue to degrade, leading to the inevitable loss of your content. Storing your film collection in regular room conditions and continuing to wait another day is not much better than just disposing of it.

How LAC Group can help you achieve your film preservation goals

The film technicians and preservation experts at LAC Group have dealt with archives large and small, in all kinds of conditions and varying levels of neglect. Yet, while we can do some remarkable recovery work, we are not magicians. That’s why we encourage you to contact us to discuss your film collection.

If you can’t pursue professional archiving services today, our film preservation guidebook will give you proper care and handling information to best protect your film assets in the meantime.

Nitrate and acetate film handling guide banner