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What would cause this?

Robert Harris

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Russell G

Russell G

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Posted June 28 2012 - 09:55 AM

Sorry if this is inappropriate Mr. Harris, I'm simply a fan of movies and your work. I've been watching KINO's release "Thomas Edison: The Invention of the Movies" and last night came across a peculiar bit of film damage. Having read your numerous posts on the restoration of film and enjoyed them I thought I'd ask you about it.


On the film "All on Account of a Transfer" (Disc 4) there's a particularly bad bit about half way through where the main characters are in a store. It looks like some kind of staining on the film, but it's caused lines that look like a human hand rotoscoped the image. It's really strange to watch in motion. I'm of limited technical ability, but I did pause the film and took a poor cell phone picture to show what I'm talking about.


Posted Image


It looks like an animation effect from Yellow Submarine or something, but it is clearly print damage. I'm sure it's common and a real simple explanation, especially since it appears to happen more in the white blown out areas. I'm just really curious about the how's and why's of this type of damage, and wondering if there could possibly be a fix. I'll presume no since it wasn't fixed and many of these shorts look amazing to me considering how old and rare they are. It's oddly beautiful to see in motion, despite it being, well, damage that shouldn't of happened. :)


Thank you for your time in reading this.

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   zoetmb


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Posted June 28 2012 - 05:12 PM

Mr. Harris is the expert, but that looks to me like deterioration of nitrate stock. It's very common on nitrate films. I'm no expert on the following, but my guess is that the areas of greatest exposure have the most silver and when nitrate films decompose, the silver oxidizes. That's why the bright faces have the most deterioration. Hopefully, I'm at least partially correct.

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