One of the main issues I have with many of the films I have been working on is splice tape varnish. This is a distinct degradation of the silver particles in the emulsion caused by the breakdown of the spice tape glue.
I discovered that tape on the base side of the film tarnishes far less than splice tape on the emulsion side. This makes sense as tape on the emulsion side is closer in proximity to the silver particles than tape on the base side. Also, tape on the base side removes and cleans up fairly easily with minimal noticeability. Tape on the emulsion side is extremely noticeable and far more difficult to remove. Mark recommends soaking the tape in film cleaner or what works for me since the tape I am working on is not too bad is gently use tweezers to pull the tape off. Start at the edges of the film outside of the frame lines to prevent any scratching of the image. Rule no. 1 – Do No Harm.
Once tape is removed use whatever film cleaner you have and a cleaning rag or q-tips and gently clean the tape glue that is stuck tothe film. Be careful with glue on the emulsion side because it likes to stick pretty bad. Soaking will help get it off or use plenty of film cleaner to loosen the residual dirtiness. Once the nastiness has been cleaned off there is little else one can do.
There is no fix for the tarnished silver particles aside from removing them. Splicing out frames has to be made on a case by case basis by the individual film preservationist. I decided not to remove the damaged pieces in the hopes that digital restoration will be able to fix the color and more importantly it is the only copy in our library.
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