The Americas Film Conservancy is dedicated to the preservation of historic film for future generations. Film is a fragile medium that is subject to deterioration. Fewer than 10 percent of Latin American films produced before the 1920s survive and of Latin American films produced before 1950, less than 30 percent survive today. Most deterioration results from the decomposition of a film’s particular composite materials. Deterioration can be combated with adequate preservation techniques, proper storage and appropriate restoration procedures.

Film Deterioration

Film consists of a clear plastic base, a much thinner layer of gelatin emulsion, and an image composed of either color dyes or in the case of black-and-white film, very small particles of silver. The goal of preservation is to avoid deterioration in any of these components. The main types of film decay are Nitrate Degradation, Color Dye Fading, Vinegar Syndrome, and Shrinkage.
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Preservation Basics
The goal of film preservation is to extend the useful life of collection materials. The key to effective preservation is to slow down and prevent decay through proper film “storage” of film elements such as negatives, interpositives (IPs), internegatives (INs), and separation masters. Storage alternatives range from million-dollar film vaults to household freezers. See more...

Film Restoration

Film can be restored through both analog and digital techniques. A restored film can then be archived for preservation and/or made available for viewing. Restoring a degraded film can be costly. Most film restoration is done using photochemical techniques. Digital techniques are only employed when necessary because of the high costs, time, and effort involved. Digital restoration is typically performed on selective sections of a damaged film, though there are some cases where an entire film has been digitally restored.
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Film Deterioration | Film Preservation | Film Restoration
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