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TOPIC: Does It Stretch?

Does It Stretch? 16 Dec 2003 10:34 #21732

I must admit that I don't have much knowledge when it comes to running film. I know that under certain conditions tape as in video and cassette tends to stretch. I was wondering if the same holds true to film. If the it does what do you do to correct the problem when it arises?
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Re: Does It Stretch? 16 Dec 2003 16:20 #21733

  • John Pytlak
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Extreme tension (e.g., a platter jam) can stretch Kodak VISION Color Print Film on ESTAR base, but under normal use, it is very stable dimensionally:
http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/support/h1/baseP.shtml#characteristics

Triacetate film could shrink and become brittle with age, especially if stored improperly.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
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Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Does It Stretch? 19 Dec 2003 10:27 #21734

  • leeler
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Amen to that John. I did my first acetate film the other day (Philadelphia Story circa 1940) and boy was that a challenge to my newbie splicing skills. Many times the splicer would cause a tear from the sprocket hole to the edge so I'd move it over and add another splicer tape to that tear and hope against hope that it didn't do it again. It took me hours to put that film togethor.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Does It Stretch? 19 Dec 2003 10:52 #21735

  • John Pytlak
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If you had a print from the 1940's, it was dangerous NITRATE film. Much more likely that your print is much more recent and on triacetate stock.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Does It Stretch? 20 Dec 2003 10:28 #21736

  • leeler
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John, you're probably right. Is there a way a novice like me could tell the difference? It was a clear, fairly brittle plastic and every so often it would have a whitish residue on the edge of the film. On occasion, when I peeled off a splice the image would lift off of the film there. It came from Warner Brothers Classics so I doubt they would ship me nitrate film, but you never know for sure.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Does It Stretch? 20 Dec 2003 16:26 #21737

  • outaframe
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Woops!... Duplicate post below...

[This message has been edited by outaframe (edited December 20, 2003).]
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Re: Does It Stretch? 20 Dec 2003 16:37 #21738

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LEE <> If you apply a match flame to a SMALL snippet of Nitrate film, it will burst into flame almost explosively... DON'T inhale the fumes, they contain nitric acid!... It's been illegal to ship Nitrate film interstate since 1950, so it's extremely unlikely that your print is Nitrate... Your print is probably a much later strike on Safety Stock, and MAY be marked as such along the edge...
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Re: Does It Stretch? 20 Dec 2003 17:06 #21739

  • leeler
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outtaframe,

I played the movie last week and it worked out fine. No explosions or balls of fire or anything. Jeez, why the heck did they make that stuff in the first place?

I think my print was a reprint and was made much later then the origianl print so it was probably whatever replaced nitrate.

Thanks for the warning, I'll stay away from that stuff.

Leeler
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Does It Stretch? 20 Dec 2003 23:43 #21740

  • outaframe
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LEE <> John is the film stock expert, and can probably give you a more accurate timeline, but the first roll film (that made movies and small self-contained still cameras possible) was based on a flexible Nitrate Cellulose called Celluloid... Even though Celluloid is extremely flammable, it was used for hundreds of consumer products, even (removable) men's shirt collars and cuffs... In the 1920's Safety Film was developed, and almost immediately went into use for consumer still camera & home movie film (8mm, 16mm, and other lesser known widths)... Yet, for some reason that I have never found a conclusive answer, Nitrate was used in commercial theater 35mm movie film (prints) until late in the 1940's... Because of the carbon arc lamps (and high heat) and the huge amount of film in a typical movie, projection booths of those days were a virtual powder keg... Fireproof booths with automatic fire drops on the ports, automatic closing fire doors, closed film magazines, fire rollers on projectors, and many other safety measures (and toilets) were mandated by law, and one or more operators were required to be in the booth at ALL times... STILL, disasterous booth fires which sometimes even burned the entire theater were not uncommon... Cellulose Nitrate is an ingredient of Dynamite, so WHY it took so long for Safety Film to reach commercial 35mm movie theaters is hard to fathom... But Nitrate film DID make the first movies possible, so I hope that answers your question...
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Re: Does It Stretch? 21 Dec 2003 13:52 #21741

  • leeler
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outtaframe,

Thanks, that does help. It also explains why my projection room was made the way it was. My theater was built in 1941 and they used concrete in all of the walls, the floors, the ceiling, everywhere.

"What a crazy business"
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Re: Does It Stretch? 21 Dec 2003 18:17 #21742

  • outaframe
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LEE <> Yep, the booths in the BETTER old theaters were built like bunkers!... When Safety Film finally became the norm, it took years before the Nitrate regulations were relaxed... In many locations, it was not until the late '70s that the Nitrate safeguards were done away with, even though there hadn't been any Nitrate prints for years... Of course, where any Nitrate classic prints are shown, all the bells and whistles are STILL a requirement... By the way, check all the nooks and cranies around your place for old film... I found a couple of cans of old silent film (nitrate) in the attic that was "cooking in its own juice"... Nitrate breaks down over time, and has been known to spontaneously combust, so unless it's something classic, pitch it STAT... I also pitched a bunch of old Nitrate date snips for the same reason... Better SAFE than sorry!...
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Re: Does It Stretch? 22 Dec 2003 13:32 #21743

  • John Pytlak
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Here are Kodak publications about nitrate film:
http://www.kodak.com/US/plugins/acrobat/en/motion/hse/H-182.pdf
http://www.kodak.com/country/US/en/motion/support/technical/storage3.shtml
http://www.kodak.com/country/US/en/motion/support/technical/storage1.shtml

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Does It Stretch? 22 Dec 2003 13:59 #21744

Outaframe said "STILL, disasterous booth fires which sometimes even burned the entire theater were not uncommon... "
that is very untrue
most booth fires were contained to the upper magazine. Almmsot every documented theatre fire started somewhere else usually with a cigarette left in a seat
In some case fires that had started after hours else where did spread into the booth with spectacular results. The only major nitrate fire was in a hospital with X ray film and it had a large number of deaths

Nitrate dispite its flamability was optically superior and more durable of plastic than early saftey base film

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Re: Does It Stretch? 23 Dec 2003 09:55 #21745

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Here is the story of the disasterous Cleveland Clinic Fire (May 15, 1929), started when a leak from a steam pipe ignited thousands of nitrate-base x-ray films:
http://www.clevelandclinic.org/act/frames/chp3/chp3_1.htm

As Gordon notes, theatres handing nitrate prints took numerous safety measures to limit damage or injury if a nitrate fire occured.

Here's a listing of nitrate fires of motion picture films, usually of archive vaults:
http://www.geocities.com/soho/square/5632/nitratefires.html

Here are links to other information about nitrate film:
http://www.geocities.com/soho/square/5632/nitrate.html

And some on-line videos of nitrate fires by Rick Shamel on Film-Tech:
http://www.film-tech.com/trailers/nitrate1.mpg
http://www.film-tech.com/trailers/nitrate3.mpg
http://www.film-tech.com/trailers/nitrate2.mpg

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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