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View Full Version : What fades old movies that are in color?



tashirosgt
2010-Feb-25, 12:53 AM
Many films from the 60's - 90's that I see on DVD looked faded, pale and have a bluish tint. What causes this fading? Does it happen to them in storage or does the lamp in the projector cause this?

Gillianren
2010-Feb-25, 03:22 AM
Film is not, in the long term, a very durable medium, especially if it's stored as badly as a lot of film has been. There are movies which simply crumbled into dust in storage, meaning there are films with no known copies. I think there's also chemical "decay" (the technical term escapes me) changing the colours. That's why so many old movies get remastered--if you ever get the chance to see one of those bits where they show you the original as it is now and after it's cleaned up, check it out. It's astonishing sometimes.

BigDon
2010-Feb-25, 03:48 AM
I bet Jay would know.

Gillianren
2010-Feb-25, 04:12 AM
If he ever posted outside CT. We could ask him, though.

mike alexander
2010-Feb-25, 06:00 PM
Dyes have different stabilities. Have you ever seen an old sign posted in a sunny store window where it looks bluish because the red dye has degraded?

That's why Technicolor is great. The negative is really black and white negatives shot through three filters. B&W is much more stable, so you can reprint a 50 year old Technicolor negative and still get excellent color.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Feb-26, 04:26 AM
DB&W is much more stable, so you can reprint a 50 year old Technicolor negative and still get excellent color.
Provided it wasn't just kept in a can where the celluloid would decompose to a pile of dust in a few decades.

Interestingly, until the copyright laws were changed to cover film only printed material was covered, which is why many of the very early movies were preserved, because a contact negative on paper had to be deposited to the library (of congress, I think) to claim copyright.
Those copies have a vastly longer shelf life that movies on celluloid, so there's a period before that practice stopped and the period after the use of celluloid was dropped where we still have the movies, but a middle period where it's only those few movies that were continuously being copied that survived.

DonM435
2010-Feb-26, 04:40 PM
Provided it wasn't just kept in a can where the celluloid would decompose to a pile of dust in a few decades.

Interestingly, until the copyright laws were changed to cover film only printed material was covered, which is why many of the very early movies were preserved, because a contact negative on paper had to be deposited to the library (of congress, I think) to claim copyright.
Those copies have a vastly longer shelf life that movies on celluloid, so there's a period before that practice stopped and the period after the use of celluloid was dropped where we still have the movies, but a middle period where it's only those few movies that were continuously being copied that survived.

The version I'd heard was that the filmmakers provided paper copies of the movies simply to save on the cost of the film medium itself.

But, for whatever reason, the work survived.

Argos
2010-Feb-26, 05:55 PM
If he ever posted outside CT.

He did it, at least one time (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/94992-messy-code-offshoot-7.html#post1614246)

Romanus
2010-Feb-27, 12:25 PM
I've heard that color film has always been less stable than B&W, though I admit I'm no expert.

Lord Jubjub
2010-Feb-27, 11:56 PM
I have old color slides my parents took from the '50s and '60s. I scanned them and had to do some serious reddening to balance the picture.

My understanding is that the red dyes used in film are less stable than the blue and green ones.

Anyone have a link to those amazingly old Russian pictures that used B&W film with color filter?