View Full Version : Freezing Film

Steve Bell
3-Apr-2005, 02:04
I've just bought at 40% normal price some boxes of Fuji Provia and Velvia Quickloads to use on a few trips away from home later this year when its impractical to use film holders, its expiry dates are this June and Septembter. There's not enough space in the fridge without throwing food away, but my wife won't agree with my priorities. I've never frozen film before. Is the best way to freeze quickloads to remove the sealed foil packets from the box and simply freeze them?

I've also bought very cheap 10 boxes of Fuji Velvia 50 a year past expiry. I've previously used similar expired film with no problem. I'm having 2 sheets from this batch processed tomorrow, and if OK, will also freeze. Is it best to enclose each box in just one seal up polythene bag, or should I also then enclose the whole 10 boxes in cling film to further lessen the chance of moisture getting in?

Any advice appreciated. I know I should have a dedicated film fridge, but that's something I'm working towards.

mark blackman
3-Apr-2005, 02:21
Personally I wouldn't worry about film expiring in June/September, I certainly wouldn't put it in the freezer (especially if food has to be sacrificied!) Keep it somewhere cool, or at least where the temperature won't rise too high. I'm shooting 10x8 film that expired 18 months ago & there's no degradation in the colour.

On the other hand, if I was on a once-in-a-lifetime shoot, I'd buy brand new film and probably try out a couple of sheets.

Dave Moeller
3-Apr-2005, 05:10
Unless you're working somewhere that color-matching is hyper-critical, the film that's set to expire this year should be just fine as long as it's not spent much time in hot conditions. Freezing the film won't hurt it, but is probably unnecessary.

Like Mark, I'd suggest shooting a few sheets from each box to make sure the film is OK. After that, keep it cool, refridgerate it, or freeze it...whatever is easiest for you. If you do decide to freeze it, I strongly recommend that you seal it well to keep it as isolated from the air in the freezer. (Have you ever taken something out of the freezer that had a layer of ice crystals on it? This is what you're trying to avoid.)

I've frozen Quickloads before without any trouble. I left the foil bags intact inside of the boxes, put the boxes in Zip-loc freezer bags, then squeezed out a bunch of the air so the package wasn't bloated, sealed the bag, then put that whole thing into another freezer bag and sealed that bag. I didn't bother trying to get too much of the air out of the 2nd bag; just enough so that I could still stack the boxes easily. When I was ready to use the Quickloads, I took the packages out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature, still in the two bags, for eight hours. (Leave it in the bags so that any atmospheric humidity that condenses on the cold package will condense on the bag and not on the film box.) Eight hours is probably overkill, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. The film I've treated this way has been just fine. In fact, you could probably just take the boxes out of the bags right away...but then the boxes might soften if atmospheric water condensed on them.

Again, this process is probably overkill for the film you have, but if you do decide to freeze it then you should do it in a way that won't damage the film.

Be well.

Ted Harris
3-Apr-2005, 08:04
I hav been freezing film of all types for many years and have never ever done anything special to it. For regular sheet film and Quick/Readyloads I just put the sealed buxes in the freezer. Once I have opened a box it stays in the refrigerator until used. I generally do not refreeze open boxes; in those rare instances where I do I put them inside a ziploc bag. Unopened boxes of 120/220 roll film get the same treatment. If it is film that has been removed from its foil bag then it goes in a ziploc bag. The only oprecaution is to give the film plenty of time to come up to room tepmerature and for all moisture to evaporate. I generally leave it out overnight.

Ted Harris
3-Apr-2005, 08:06

Waht we reallay want to know is where did you get all the cheap film and do they have any left?

3-Apr-2005, 15:09

I also purchased a quantity of "on-sale" 4x5 Provia & Velvia (6,000 sheets) back about 2+ years ago and, like Ted, have it stored in a freezer. I used a box from that supply just recently and have had absolutely no problems with it whatsoever.

When you do take it out of the freezer, put it into a ziploc bag right away and let it thaw in the refrigerator. I throw in a couple of packets of dessicant material to absorb any moisture. After 24 - 36 hours... you're good to go!


John Gittens
27-Apr-2005, 17:12
Hello Steve, FYI we have colour film that is dated to expire in 1981 and has been in the freezer since then (we bought quantity!) and when allowed to warm up naturally we are still getting EXCELLENT colour when processed. Hope this helps.