Tip: Handy storage option for refrigerating/freezing film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by ola_tuvesson, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. I was running out of film and decided it was time to stock up - and to try a couple of interesting emulsions I haven't tried before. But since I'm a bit random with how much film I use, I wanted to make sure I stored them so they will last; it may be a year (or more!) before I've gone through them all, particularly the SFX and PanF rolls. So I started looking at options for airtight freezer safe containers, of the type usually used for food storage, and stumbled upon what might be the perfect solution: the Emsa "Clip & Close" 1L size container is not only well made, completely air-tight and freezer safe - it also happens to have exactly the right dimensions for 12 rolls of 120 film, and I mean like down to the millimetre, in all three dimensions. An added bonus is that you can clearly see exactly what rolls are inside each container without having to open them. Some photos:

    A selection of fresh 120 rolls from Ilford
    Emsa Clip & Close 3x1 Litre
    Ready for the freezer!
    Since I only had twenty rolls I was going to freeze I opted to put a mix of ten in each box, and used the left-over space for a bag of silica gel desiccant, for ultimate storage conditions. It also meant I had one Emsa box over - I now use this to store the rolls I want to have to hand in the refrigerator instead; no more boxes of film falling out on the floor every time I open the refrigerator door...
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Great idea! Makes me wonder if the shrink wrap machine I use for freezer food storage would work.
  3. I'm sure shrink wrap would work very well - though you'd have to re-wrap every time you take out a fresh roll...
  4. The film is already in a moisture-proof wrapper. I don't think you need to go overboard trying to store the film in a further moisture-proof container. You just need to allow it enough time to come back to ambient temperature before opening.

    The film in my freezer is in simple ziplock bags. That works for me.

    Your idea reminded me of the 'Lock & Lock' containers, which are available in a variety of sizes. I heard a story somewhere that after a massive flood (in Japan if I recall correctly), some people's photos and documents were saved because they had been stored in Lock & Lock containers.
  5. Yeah, well, I needed something to put the film inside, and had no suitable bags or other containers to hand. It's not going to hurt them to store them like this, is it? FWIW, those three Emsa containers cost just £14.50 delivered, and should last for decades - the batch of film cost ten times more! I just felt it was a happy coincidence that they were such a perfect fit for film rolls (which I prefer to keep in their original boxes) - it may be that there are others who like the idea. And the fact that they are made in Germany only adds to the nice feeling of Ordnung! :D
  6. For me, I don't freeze film to be used in less than a year. Refrigerator should be fine for that long.
    Most black and white film, I keep in my basement darkroom, which is about 55F much of the year.
    But yes, a desiccant is a good idea.
  7. I don't freeze film to be used in less than a year​
    Yep, I've never frozen film before either, but 20 rolls of 120 is more than I'm likely to use in a year - especially considering I have a bunch of mixed rolls already in the fridge. It's also the first time I've ever bought IR sensitive film, and although the SFX is not a "real" IR film I figured it can't hurt keeping it below zero. At this point I have no idea when I'm going to be using any of this, or how often - it could well be more than a year, even two years before they're all gone.
    a desiccant is a good idea​
    I live by the sea and buy desiccant bags in bulk to keep various bits of equipment damp, mould and corrosion free. Tool drawers, component storage, camera bags, laptop bags - open any of them and you're likely to find the familiar little pouches with "do not eat" printed on them (a silly warning since in the unlikely event that you'd feel tempted to do so, the worst thing that would happen to you is that you might feel a little thirsty). I "recycle" them in a small toaster oven I have in my workshop and consider them essential. Since I always have literally dozens of these to hand I figured it can't hurt popping one into each box - might keep any paper eating moulds from munching up the cartons if nothing else. Life by the coast also means frequent and lengthy power outages and I cannot trust my tiny freezer to stay below zero at all times...
  8. I like this idea. I have a small dedicated film freezer but the problem is keeping everything somewhat neat and properly stacked. Something like these boxes will help a great deal and in the end give me more usable space. I too generally buy more than I'm going to use anytime soon, and have 35mm, 120, 4x5, plus Super 8 to store. It all gets a bit out of hand at times. These at least will control the 120.
  9. Thanks! If you look on the Emsa site you'll see they have loads of different sizes available - I'm sure the same is true for other manufacturers. Some container sizes stack in neat ways too. I do have a few rolls of 135 in the refrigerated box (as opposed to the frozen ones) and can report that the 1L version holds six rolls of 135 standing up, height and length a perfect match, but with a fair amount of space left on the sides. Eight 120 rolls and three 135 rolls fit just as neatly as twelve 120 rolls do.
  10. The film is already in a moisture-proof wrapper.​
    Not all 120 roll films are in a moisture-proof wrapper. If you have films just put in a plastic container the moisture is going inside the paper and emulsion and will damage the roll film.
    To freeze films is only interesting if you keep them longer then at least a year and an extra Zip Lock bag is always good.
  11. I use them cip-lock containers for everything including 4x5 film holders and exposed film when I am out and about. I mainly used them because they are very well sealed and I can put them in an ice box if I needed.
    For new film I just use the box it comes in provided it has a foil wrapper or I have plenty of the single roll 120 film cases you get with most Rollei films.

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