Severe Optical Track Deterioration


Although extreme deterioration of acetate optical tracks is far less common than acetate mag, it is still important to be aware that optical tracks can be in danger of irreparable deterioration.  Some vinegar syndrome deterioration issues in optical tracks are to be expected such as shrinkage, warping, and weave from uneven shrinkage.  Luckily, these issues can still be dealt with using custom film transports.  The most extreme and difficult form of deterioration we have encountered is when the plasticizer in the acetate base gets squeezed out to the surface and starts to crystalize.  Following are a few examples of this issue on preferred master elements.  Although careful cleaning can improve the surface crystals, this type of deterioration usually also fogs the clear area in the base resulting in severe noise bursts in the captured audio.  By far the best approach is to simply try to transfer the film before it reaches this level of deterioration.