Storage for Negatives, Slides, & 8mm
Storage for Negatives, Slides, & 8mm
As you are sorting through your photos, you may come across 35mm film negatives, slides, old 8mm reels and VHS tapes, and newspaper articles. Here we will cover a few ideas on storage for Negatives, Slides, & 8mm. If you missed the previous articles, see here for How To Organize Your Printed Photos, and here for How to Store Printed Photographs.
As you are sorting through your older printed photos, you have two options when you come across negatives. Deal with them as you deal with the photos, or set them aside to deal with later. Then you have two additional choices to make – create an effective storage system for these negatives to make them easy to find if you want to reprint them, or decide that you don’t want to deal with them and will scan any printed photos that you want copies of.
If you decide to organize your negatives, the most effective system for storing negatives is to place them in PVC-free plastic negative sleeves and store them chronologically in a 3 ring binder. This protects them from dirt, scratches, and the oil on your fingers. Most sleeves also have an area at the top to label the subject and the date. If your photo provider gave you an index print of the negatives, you can attach this to the top of the negative sleeve to make it easy to locate a photo.
Since your negatives are a backup system for your printed photographs, it is also best to store your negatives in a separate location from your photos – not together. For example, store your photos at your house, and your negatives at a friend or family member’s house. Hopefully, if a catastrophe happens in one location, the other location will still be safe and you will be left with either photos or negatives, but won’t lose both. The other option is a safe deposit box. The fire safes for homes will often not protect your negatives.
If you decide not to deal with negatives, you may want to consider digitizing your photo collection so that you have a backup should something happen to your printed photographs. You also have the option of scanning and digitizing your negatives. This makes it easy to share copies with other relatives.
Depending on how old you are, you may remember sitting down for a home slide show. I still have fond memories of my dad setting up the slide machine and all of us gathering around to watch the images displayed on our living room wall. There was always lots of laughing at the outfits and hair styles and of course our infamous orange flowered couch! As technology continues to change and evolve, it is important to not lose these precious bits of history because the technology is no longer around to view them. You can make prints from the slides and or have them scanned and digitized to make a slide show.
You can store your slides in plastic PVC free pages made for slides and place them in a 3 ring binder. Any marking you do, should be done with a photo pen. Another option for slides is to make photos of them so everyone can enjoy them.
8mm movie film and video
If you are lucky enough to come across some old 8mm movie film reels, now is definitely the time to do something with them. These old 8mm films are becoming very brittle and can easily break when viewed, that is if you can even find a projector anymore that will play them. If you can find a projector, the next issue is usually trying to find a bulb for it. Now is the time to have these films transferred to DVD. If you know what is on them, you can number them in the order you want them in, or if you have no idea, just have them all done and watch the random bits of your history unfold before you. These treasures will bring back laughter and tears, happiness and some sadness, and are part of your history. Some of them will be silent movies and some will have sound. These are a treasure trove of history too precious to let stay in a box and be lost forever because there is no longer the technology to view them.
Maybe you have a whole stack of old VHS home movies or your own video camera tapes that you haven’t watched in forever since you don’t have that video camera anymore. Have these all transferred to DVD and have a special movie night, complete with popcorn. You won’t regret it. Watch your life unfold or that of your children unfold. It is getting harder and harder to play a VHS tape, so make sure you do something with these tapes before it becomes very hard to find somewhere that can offer these services. Photo Express currently offers these services.
Newspaper and Other Paper Articles
Newspaper has a very high lignin content in it, which is why it becomes yellow so fast, and gets brittle. If you want to save newspaper articles, you can copy them on a machine that uses acid free paper and archival toner (as at Photo Express). You can also “wash” older newspaper articles. Place the article in a pan with distilled water, and wash, and then dry. This will strengthen the article.
Documents such as birth certificates, programs, and report cards may or may not be printed on acid free paper. There is a spray called Archival Mist, which can be sprayed on the front and back of the paper article. This will de-acidify it so that it is safe to put in your album. Or you can make copies of them on a machine that uses acid free paper and archival toner (as at Photo Express).
You most likely won’t “find” the time to take on some of these projects so it is important to “make” the time. Avoid the pitfall of not starting due to overwhelm. Just pick one small thing you want to do, and schedule it in to your week or month and then MAKE IT HAPPEN. You will be glad you did, and so will your family and friends.
Photo Restoration, Floods and Water Damaged – Coming Soon
Digital Storage – Coming soon