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Printing Old Foggy Film - The Technical Side


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Currently, we print film both optically and digitally, but have been getting a lot of trouble, of late, with old film.

We will get in film 10, 15 years old that has 0.80+ of density RGB status M above normal.  Basically it is an erasure of any latent image information in the shadows and a loss of contrast as an inherent consequence.

I've been printing this via digital scanning and laser output, but, frankly I have real trouble with 300dots/inch printing at any size smaller than 8x10" (20x25cm).

I asked this question before and got no answers, mayber there's a different term in the UK, but is there a good way to set up CHANNELS, optically, digitally printing that would better handle these problematic situations?

I've been thinking of buying up some older film, flashing it as close as I can to get some "Shirley" test negatives, but am worried it'll be a waste of time, as maybe flashing before exposure will have an entirely different look to this age fog, or even flashing after exposure.

Anyone have some experience with this?  Advice, especially in the optical arena, would be appreciated.  Was thinking of trying to modify paper process time, temperature in the RA-4 process to try to bring out more contrast optically on the paper as well.

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Not sure what lab you are using but we have a Noritsu 3202SD with the high end film scanner for 35mm and 120, and all we do is tweak the contrast for the negs as we print them.

If the lab will not read the negs due to a high base fog due to age, then its too bad and we tell the customer that unless they want to hand print the order, its too bad and the results are not printable.

It sounds harsh, but most customers have no idea what is on the film anyway, due to its age, so they are not fussed.

Our biggest problem has been Kodachrome Super 8/Standard 8 film for processing - now that we can have the film processed, we are starting to see a number of old rolls come in to get processed. If the volumes we are getting continue to increase, we will start advertising this as a niche service and add to the list of "unusual" stuff we do.

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