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Thread: managing film archives

  1. #1

    managing film archives

    I am interesting un understanding the selection process for archiving film. Let's say you went to a shoot and 1 negative of 4 is the best negative. Do you archive all 4 or keep 1 and shred the rest. What is the critria you use for archiving your film.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Re: managing film archives

    I save everything. I figure that I might find something interesting in a "bad" shot someday.


  3. #3
    LJ Segil
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Highland Park, IL

    Re: managing film archives

    So how do you go about organizing all that stuff? This has always been my big stumbling block.

  4. #4
    Daniel Geiger

    Re: managing film archives

    I toss those that have clearly blown out highlights or shadows without details (where there should be), or have some other objective defect (bad blur, out of focus, ...). I shoot mainly E6 shoot usually three sheets per view, and toss usually at least 1, occasionally even 2, rarely all three.

    I do keep data sheets on every shot, and mark which ones I tossed on them, so that I can detect patterns.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Baton Rouge, LA

    Re: managing film archives

    Unless you hate digital, do a low res scan of each negative that you keep, and use a photo database like Imatch to keep track. Number the negatives and use the number for the file name of the scan.

  6. #6
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    Re: managing film archives

    Quote Originally Posted by ljsegil View Post
    So how do you go about organizing all that stuff?
    You may have seen pictures of the multi-story, but small, house built in the shape of a shoe? I have the shoe box it came in.

    I organize by location, project, or person, along with the date, and then simply file alphabetically. The negs go into PrintFile sheets, and those go into conventional file folder. An abbreviated form of that data also becomes part of the file name for any scans, so any digital files point back to the film archive.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: managing film archives

    Archival three ring binders roughly chronological, stored vertically in a cool dark closet bookshelf, now about six linear feet of binders. And I toss the bad film and marginal shots.

    I have no freaking idea what the heirs will do with it all. The rest of the closet is pretty much boxes of archival prints that will never do much of anything ~ but they will last forever....

    I figure I better get famous and make valuable images before I check out or otherwise it is all going to the dump.

  8. #8
    Daniel Geiger

    Re: managing film archives

    If metadata-storage was the question, I find a database solution ideal. I wrote once something up, sent it to Steve Simmons, who wanted to included it on the on-line version of View Camera website, and a while later shopped it around also to QT Luong for inclusion as an article on LF forum. Well, ... it is still availble on my website under

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