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Venice, Italy 1950s, 16mm film

Film – Vinegar Syndrome

First reported by the Government of India in 1948, the issue of “cellulose triacetate degradation” was a result of high temperature and high humidity storage. The components of the film break and eventually lead to a characteristic smell of vinegar. At a later stage, the film becomes brittle and easily breaks or physically shrinks. Pink or blue dots can occur on the film.

Studies conducted by the Image Permanence Institute have shown that fresh acetate film stored at a temperature of 65°F (18°C) and 50% relative humidity will last approximately 50 years. Some of our film transfers have been from reels dating back to the 1940s and have been of great quality, even 70 years later.