Color movies faded away in no time

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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 5:43 am

All my commercial 8mm and 16mm movies from the 70's are faded and have turned red. I would have thought that in dark storage they would have not faded so bad.

Does anyone know if the original negatives to the films have faded as well? Did negative stock hold up better than reversal stock?

Can faded color films can be turned into decent quality BW digital copies?
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boblipton

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 6:21 am

It depends on the medium. Technicolor used a vegetable-based dye that was very long-lasting. However, many of the color-stock films that came in later, where based on far less stable chemicals. That's why, while many of the color movies from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s could have new prints pulled from the negatives with breathtaking results, if you look at color films from the 1960s on, you'll find that they have distorted color values, turning red, brown or even purple.

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Paul Penna

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 9:16 am

Technicolor projection prints used stable dyes, but the camera negatives, one to record each primary color record, were black-and-white in the original three-strip process in use until 1954. Color fade doesn't enter the picture - literally - in that case.

Also, it was a fairly common practice to make black-and-white protection elements, again with one for each primary color, from standard color negatives, and if they were done properly and survive the original colors can be reproduced from them even if the camera negative has faded.
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silentfilm

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 11:20 am

It is because they are probably Eastman Color. That was the main color stock in use in the 1970s. If they are Kodachrome, or Kodak/Eastman LPP, (which was introduced around 1981-1982), then they will not fade. Eastman fades to pink. A later stock Eastman SP, fades to yellow.
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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 1:10 pm

Yes, Kodachrome is very good for fade resistance. I was wondering why more films were not shot on it, then remembered that that needed a neg to dupe it.
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sethb

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 2:04 pm

Paul Penna wrote:
Also, it was a fairly common practice to make black-and-white protection elements, again with one for each primary color, from standard color negatives, and if they were done properly and survive the original colors can be reproduced from them even if the camera negative has faded.


While that's so, an additional unforeseen difficulty is that sometimes one or more of the B/W elements has shrunken slightly or suffered other damage, making it difficult to obtain proper registration among all three elements. I understand that this problem can be corrected digitally, but I'm sure it's not cheap to do. SETH
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pookybear

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 2:56 pm

You have to remember that color fade is a chemical process. This process is aggravated by both light and heat. Thou kept in a dark room, 60 degrees fahrenheit is more than enough temperature to keep the process of fade going. Cold storage below 32 degrees fahrenheit seems to help this problem out quite a bit. However, like you, I have no way to keep a full collection in a deep freeze. Please see the following page for more information on Eastman film stocks.

https://unwritten-record.blogs.archives.gov/2016/01/11/film-preservation-101-why-are-old-films-sometimes-pink/

Pookybear
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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 3:11 pm

Thanks pooky!

What sort of BW elements are you talking about here?
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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 3:38 pm

I decided to see what sort of BW could be made from a faded color movie.

Forum would not let me upload photos, so here is a link to my test I just did:

https://danieldteolijrarchivalcollectio ... and-white/
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Marr&Colton

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostWed Sep 27, 2017 12:36 pm

Unless these are one of a kind HOME MOVIES or rare unheard of films, WHY would you want black & white copies of a color film?

Why not just go out and buy the restored versions of commercial movies on DVD or BluRay?

Seeing a color movie in black & white is very annoying since the varying colors--or lack thereof doesn't register properly on monochromatic (black & white) and it has a strange look compared to original black & white.
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pookybear

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Re: Color movies faded away in no time

PostWed Sep 27, 2017 2:58 pm

Actually it was Paul Penna who wrote about different elements in Black and White. The take is this: there are three colors now used in the color film processes magenta, cyan and yellow. As we know in color film stocks such as Eastman of the 1970s fades fast. Cyan layer is most unstable and goes first. Then followed by yellow and yes even the magenta will start fading as well after the yellow. If you can separate out the three elements (magenta, cyan and yellow) you can make three films elements just containing the color information for each in a black and white print. The black and white print is just used for the density of each color over the film emulsion when making a new print (acts kinda of like a filter) . However, just like Technicolor you must have all three elements in order to remake a new color print. So that is three Black and White prints in order to make one Color print. And furthermore you print each color in a separate process. So the new print has be run threw the printer three times. Kinda over simplified the whole process here but gets the point across.

Okay so back to faded film stocks. Thou we can not see the Cyan and Yellows in most prints, it does not mean they are not there. As faded as they are, there is now emerging technology in scanners and programs that can "see" this information upon scanning the faded film. The big problem is cost running right into budgets of archives. None of this is cheap. Also some prints are just that faded to the point there is nothing left to scan. You can read this as when the fading gets all the way to the magenta layer and even start to fade the magenta layer, most likely there will be no information that can be saved. Even technology has its limits.

Pookybear

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