Storing Film Reels: Tips for Properly Preserving Your Home Movie Memories


Old reel tape

Old home movies provide a special peek into the past. But how long will you be able to view these precious memories? The delicate film degrades over time, and how you keep it stored determines how quickly it decays. Find out how properly storing film reels preserves your movie memories for years to come.

Handling Old Film

If you must handle film, always hold it by the edges. Never touch the surface. Oils and dirt from hands harm the delicate material. Before viewing your old home movies, make sure they are in good condition. A simple torn sprocket at the edge of the reel leads to worse damage, like breaks or tears. Projectors from back in the day are not manufactured anymore. And finding old equipment in good working order is a challenge. If you dig out your old one or find a used one, check it carefully to make sure it’s clean and in working order before you place your precious memories in it.

What to Avoid When Storing Film Reels

Time is already not on the side of your movie memories. But when it comes to storing film reels, there are many more enemies to avoid. Rule number one is to keep them cool and dry. Extreme or fluctuating temperatures, dust, moisture, humidity, and sunlight all contribute to film decay. This means the attic, garage, basement, or shed is off limits for storing film reels. These places often don’t have regulated temperatures and are prone to dampness, dust, and pests. Keep reels away from chemicals and cleaning supplies.

Proper Storage

Where and how you keep your home movie collection is important to preserving it. Place reels in acid-free and moisture-proof archival storage boxes. But first make sure to properly label them, and to label the box. They are less likely to get lost or accidentally thrown out if marked correctly.

We Can Help

Even when carefully storing film reels according to the tips above, they still degrade over time. The best way to preserve your home movies is to transfer them to DVD or digital files. These copies can be easily shared and viewed on today’s modern equipment. Bring your valuable collection to an expert. Call Disc Hounds at 610-696-8668, and we’ll make sure you enjoy these precious memories for generations to come.