You’ve heard the question asked before – “What would you try to save from your home if it was burning down?”. The first response is always the people in the house and perhaps the family pet but the family photos are usually very high on that list.
We understand the importance of a family’s archive of photos and motion film. We also understand the excitement of finding a long ago set aside and undeveloped film. It’s a “time capsule” in a very true sense. Many years or decades ago, someone took the time to get out the camera and take some pictures of things that were important to them. Perhaps it was a long ago family birthday, a Christmas celebration, a day at the park for a picnic, some pictures around the house or even the proud owner of a brand new car or television. Then, for whatever reason, that film was set aside or lost. Maybe it was the last film in a camera before someone bought a new one, or it was set aside because the person at the time couldn’t afford to have it developed, or it was simply put aside with the intention of developing and soon forgotten. For whatever the reason, it’s exciting to come across these time capsules – even for us at Film Rescue; after years of doing this, it’s hard not to have some small thrill at being the first people to set eyes on these lost and found treasures.
Unfortunately, they’re not all treasures. Often enough we come across pictures such as those from a child’s camera of every animal at the local zoo in 1968, Great Granddad’s deteriorating artistic landscapes from 1945, or a barely recognizable parade shot on super 8 in the 1970s and then stored in a hot attic for 35 years. No matter the content, we are very serious about the potential to salvage what are often fantastic images of a now virtually forgotten family history.
We’re always happiest when we first open a processing drum after it comes off the processor, or see freshly developed motion picture film winding up on the processor’s take up reel – and happier still when it has a clear image and interesting subject matter. We can’t do a lot about the subject matter but we truly do our best to get the best from these long expired films.