Cleaning and splicing moldy film

Purpose: This is to describe how to handle film that has been contaminated by mold or whatever.  This article is for minor contamination.  For major contamination, check the article called "Restoring Film".

What we mean by minor contamination....generally the film is still in good condition however evidence of mold may be present on the boxes or reels.  Mold may be on the outside of the reels, but mold has not really penetrated to the film's surface.  When in doubt, recommend "Restoring Film".


Basically, we need to handle the film carefully so as not to spread the contamination.  First we prepare the work area.  Then, we clean the film.  And in the process of cleaning the film, we get rid of contaminated reels and boxes by loading the clean film onto new reels.

Customer needs to be made aware:

We CANNOT use the original reel or box and therefore we MUST sell them a new reel.  We will splice and combine as many reels as will fit onto the new reel (ie. a 400ft reel will fit 8 small 50ft reels).


1. Prepare the work area:

  • Clear the table
  • Put the film winder on the table.
  • Get the film cleaner and film cleaning "cloths" (PEC-PAD non-abrasive wipes)
  • Get a bucket of solution (Persue & LOC and water) for cleaning your hands and a couple of rags for drying your hands
  • To handle the contaminated items, use clamps to hang two "garbage" bags for  next the processing table.  One bag to handle boxes and another to handle reels.
  • Get slicer, splice tapes, and leader film.

2. Organize films that will be spliced together.

  • Create a folder for the project on K: and create an xls file as follows:  K:\(nnnnnnn) Film Transfers - AAAAA\files\xls\AAAAA  films - info (edit 1.0).xls
  • Copy the xls template from.....
  • Examine and document the films - in the excel sheet enter information such as notes on the film box, mailing dates, best before dates, etc
  • Number each box of film as per documented
  • In the excel sheet note the date order of  the films in the "order #" column and sort the films in ascending date order
  • Using the DVD #/reel # column, note the reel number based on how many films on each reel.  For example, a 400ft reel will take 8 - 50ft reels, so the first 8 - 50ft reels will have the same reel number
  • Organize the reels in a basket in reverse order, and one basket per new reel (ie. a new 400ft reel basket will contain 8 - 50ft reels).

3.  Cleaning films.

  • Mount the metal 400ft reel (and washer) on the driver mount.
  • Mount the contaminate reel on the free mount.
  • Discard the box.
  • Wash and dry hands.
  • clean the film leader.
  • Mount the film leader on the driver reel.
  • Clean the film as you wind it onto the driver reel.
  • Discard the original contaminated reel.
  • Wash and dry hands.
  • Re-mount the metal driver reel onto the free mount.
  • Mount the new clean reel on the driver mount.
  • Mount the film onto the driver reel.
  • If a film already exists on the new reel, then do step 4 (Splice films) here.
  • clean film again as you load the film onto the new driver reel

4.  Splicing films.

  • Using the splicer, cut the leader off the new reel film and cut bad film off the to-be-loaded film.
  • splice the two films together using the splicer and the tape.
  • continue with the last of step 3 ....clean film as you load it.