what happens to film in the heat?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by lisa_berry___northampton_ma, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. I know that it's bad for film to endure the heat, but what exactly happens to it?
    I accidentally left a few 120 rolls of portra 400 NC in my hot car over a few days. I wonder, should I
    throw the film away, or will it still be fine for unimportant shooting.
  2. Try a roll on something unimportant, and see what happens. Perform three Hail Ansels and acts of contrition, and don't do it again!

    I use a small, six-pack size cooler to carry film on hot days, including a couple of those small sealed cooler ice things. It really helps.....
  3. It "fogs" the film. Actually all heat fogs film. That's one of the reasons that there is an expiration date on film. Even at room temperature the fogging from heat will build up over a long enough time. where as putting it in the fridge or better yet freezer will retard the amount of fogging, there by extending the expiration date.

    It's just the way that the chemicals in the film's emulsion/base react to heat. Fogging looks like low contrast in the final result. Color has an additional problem because the three layers of color that combine to make all of the colors you see, have a pretty tight relationship to each other. If that relationship get's skewed because of fogging, you will get color shifts.

    Processing can, within limits, compensate for it. Much more easily with Black and White film though, because all you have to do is get the contrast back. With color....it's much more difficult.

    Higher speed films are even more suseptible to fogging

    ....portra 400 NC for a couple of days in a hot car....? Well, you picked possibly the worse film (high speed color) to subject heat to. I'd probably shoot one roll just to see. It's possible it survived within tolerance enough to let a printer (or photoshop) fix it. but........if you mean like a closed car where it gets to 150 degrees F.........whew.......good luck.

    But, then I've gone backpacking with color film for 9 days with most of the film in a backpack with the sun blasting on it while I was hiking and it came out fine.

    I would definitely try one roll.......just to see. If it's bad, it will be low contrast and the colors will be shifted to the reds, maybe purple/magenta area (film ages from greenish to perfect to reddish).
  4. Lisa, just throw it away. Chances are if just realized it today, then it has been subjected to
    100F + sitting in your car. Heat fog or ambient radiation is real and will have a pink hue,
    increased grain as well as a drop in contrast. Don't take the chance of mixing it up with good
    film, it's not worth it.
  5. Generally, a color film will shift magenta when aged: Slide film will have a magenta cast, while with color neg film the magenta shift reverses to a green cast.

    Shoot it at 200 and develop it in Diafine for nice, low contrast B&W prints -- That's what I do with old/expired color film!
  6. I kept a camera loaded with Fuji Superia 800 in the glove box of my car for an entire *year* -- including a very hot summer -- and the film came out fine. No color cast, no fog. Your film is *probably* fine, but the only way to know for sure is to process it. I certainly wouldn't throw it in the garbage just because it spent a few days in the car.
  7. About 10 years ago my wife and I were vacationing in Bali when I was asked unexpectedly to do a catalog shoot for a local company. They gave me some left over Agfa 120-size slide film which had been stored at room temperature (i.e. about 35 C) for months. Since 120 film was hard to find and I used up much of my carefully cooled Fuji film on the unexpected assignment, I used the "baked" slide film for the second half of the trip; it came out fine.
  8. I've found that dash mounted "glove boxes" sometimes have lower internal temperatures compared to older designed cars. Especially lower mounted drawers mounted under the passenger side airbag. Light colors on the dash help as do tinted windows. The car interior may still be hot, expecially near the ceiling. But the temperature stratifies, more so in cars in light interiors such that the temperature near the floor is cooler. Putting film on an under passenger seat drawer (as is typical in minivans) is the lesser evil.

    Actually measure the temperature in your car storage areas occationally under different conditions to better predict consequences. Sometimes I have a refrigeator in the minivan, but not all the time.

    Packing the film in an insulated pouch with bagged ice cubes before a hot day is the desired approach including the dark colored camera bag.
  9. That is why I am looking at the newer VW cars, they have refrigated glove compartments now. But to ans your questions, I had to leave several sheets of 4x5 in the trunk in the desert, coz I did not have a choice, I just took a lot of film to the field coz I did not know how much I will need. I was using velvia 100F and astia 100F, everything came ok. Nothing went wrong.
  10. I don't recall the specific keeping characteristics of Portra 400 NC, but I do know that for an average film, a month at 100F is roughly equivalent to 6 months at room temperature. If you car ONLY got up to 100, your film is probably OK. Cars can get up to 160 in the hot sun.

    I agree with several others who recommend trying a roll to evaluate the results.
  11. thanks for your responses everyone! I was amazed to hear about the last resort film in
    bali and the desert. I tried out a roll and it looks pretty normal. I'm going to use the rest
    of it to test out new lighting ideas. -lisa
  12. The Agfa 100 speed amateur color print films are used by building inspectors in south Texas because they do not compromise in extreme heat. You can bake it in the cab of a truck for days with no ill effects. This is one of the great truths told by the Texas Master-Senior Appraisers Group.
  13. This image done in Colorado was made on Fuji Reala ISO 50 that was stored in the crisper of a refrigerator with no envelope or plastic canister. Stored intentionally for two years to condition it for effects like this. I retrieved it from a Pro Lab after processing, they were vary nice and said that this and four other rolls were not to be charged as I had gotten poor quality film. I paid then anyway and told them I would return with images. Scanned on a Nikon Film Scanner, this was manipulated in Photoshop. I noticed years prior when an accident had happened that Fuji Reala would do this when stored this way. I find the image has a feel like old Kodachromes of the fifties. That is what I wanted from the material. Leica R-6, 100mm Macro Elmar f4 set to f=22, 20 second exposure with Neutral density and polarizer filter in use.

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