Serving Canada & USA since 1980. Your After Disaster Resource For Film And Other Media.

Motion Picture Film Recovery, Restoration, Transfer, Archival Movie Film Specialist


Rescue, Recovery, Restoration, Preservation, Conservation of Warped, Shrunk, Buckled, Wrinkled, Twisted, Brittle, Wavy, Bowed, Bent, Moldy, Curled, Cupped, Vinegar Syndrome, Spider Webbed, Water, Smoke, Fire Damaged, Flood Damaged, Contaminated, Crystal Growth, Blocked, Decomposted, Deteriorating or Degrading, Crumbling, Crinkled or Cracked Motion Picture “movie” Film.


Kodak Film

We use only the best supplies by Kodak in the processing, restoration and editing of motion picture film.

TMTV Film Recovery ©

Don’t throw that film away – no matter what other film companies say… we can rescue, recover & scan almost any type of damaged 8mm & 16mm motion picture film! We are “the” film recovery experts and provide this service for many individuals & film transfer companies in Canada & the USA. IF WE CAN’T RECOVER AND SCAN YOUR FILM… NO ONE CAN!

Vinegar Syndrome is proving to be the greatest threat to the long-term survival of film collections throughout the world. Once started, it cannot be stopped or reversed. In fact, the reaction feeds on itself and speeds up over time.

New technologies through physical film rescue/recovery/restoration/preservation techniques as well as digital recovery, equipment and our technicians can take even the worst damaged Vinegar Syndrome movie film and recover and scan each frame of film and save your memories. This includes; warped, brittle, shrunk, wavy, bowed, bent, blocked, twisted, wrinkled, spider webbed, water, flood, smoke & fire damaged film. Film Scanning (one frame-at-a-time) with success: Our custom-built TMTVision Preservation Film Scanners are specifically designed for handling the most damaged motion picture film after the Recovery process.

Prior to and after submitting your order we provide one on one personal service were you can talk directly to the Technician who will be personally handling your project from start to finish. Once the films arrive we will provide email updates throughout the Recovery process.  



Your team “hit it out of the park”

I received the thumb drive with the files from the early 50s films I sent. Once again, (repeat customer) you and your team “hit it out of the park.” Thanks again for all your help on these old films.

Best regards, Steve J. Huntington Beach, California USA, Film Recovery and Scanning




TMTVISION™ Preservation Digital Film Scanning using our exclusive, special designed motion picture scanners resulting in stunning images and is easier on old warped, shrunk, curled, spider webbed, brittle or damaged movie film. MOTION PICTURE FILM SCANNING: For damaged, deteriorating or degrading motion picture film and digitally transferred and output to files in Standard Definition (SD) OR High Definition (HD) on a portable hard drive, SD card, USB thumb drive or mastered onto a 100 year archival DVD, one thousand year Archival M-Disc DVD or Blu Ray DVD master. This can all be discussed after the Recovery process. Film is scanned digitally by our exclusive special designed TMTVISION™ HD DIGITAL SINGLE FRAME MOTION PICTURE SCANNERS. Each frame of the film is stopped, scanned and advanced to the next frame. Each frame can take seconds to scan not frames scanned in seconds… this is TRUE frame-by-frame film scanning exclusively used for damaged movie film. Easier on brittle damaged film means more film recovered and transferred! After transfer, all footage can be scene by scene color, exposure, grain reduction, dust removal and density corrected by our Colorist at additional cost. Sound film: Magnetic sound film that is extremely shrunk, brittle, twisted, buckled or further damaged, unfortunately can NOT be extracted or captured. Optical sound can be captured if the film shows mild shrinkage or warping.  If your film is extremely damaged and has a sound stripe there is no way to capture sound from the film. FOR SCANS LARGER THE HD 1080… NOTE: 2K, 4K, 5K, 6.5K film scanning options are only available for our Film “Recovery” service if your film shows mild shrinkage or warping the film must be pliable (not brittle or curled) and have enough strength in order to be scanned on the Lasergraphics ScanStation – This would be determined by our hands-on inspection.  FURTHER DETAILS ON MOTION PICTURE FILM “SCANNING”.

Movie Film Scanned Image - TMTV Photo ©

This sample is from a badly warped, moldy and shrunk Regular 8mm film from 1946. Each frame of the film was digitally scanned after the recovery and restoration process. NOTE: VIDEO AND PHOTO SAMPLES ON THIS WEB SITE ARE FOR “INTERNET VIEWING” AND ARE NOT SHOWN IN THEIR ACTUAL HIGH RESOLUTION




Shrunk Movie Film - TMTV Photo ©

Film that shows mild to extreme warping, shrinking, breaking that can not be projected much less transferred by conventional means may be recovered at least long enough to be scanned (transferred). “Long enough to be transferred” is the key – some films MAY no longer be usable (either for future transfer or for projector use after the “recovery” and scanning is complete). This depends on the original condition and the process required to recover the film. These processes are not restoring the film for future use in a conventional projector or later transfer (unless it is mild to moderate warping and pliable), but is the recovery of badly deteriorating motion picture film for immediate transfer to a digital archival format. If your film has Vinegar Syndrome it begins in earnest, the remaining life of the film is very short because the process speeds up as it goes along with age and poor storage conditions. Early diagnosis, film recovery and scanning to an archival digital video format is the best option for preserving your memories. Cold, moderately dry locations for your film are the most effective defenses for temporary storage. Contact us if you require proper storage information of your damaged film until you have it Recovered or Restored.

TMTV Film Recovery Lab Nelson BC

TEAMWORK MEDIA LAB performs many levels of film recovery by a gradual, condition-specific, multi-step process that can recondition and stabilize, dehydrated, blocked, dried out or decomposed 8mm & 16mm motion picture film allowing it for immediate transfer to many of our digital formats. The process can be applied to both colour and B&W safety films, either positive or negative.

Brittle movie film - TMTV

We can handle even the most damaged and even “brittle” “blocked” & some “crumbling” decomposed film and get an image. It may be that only film of your grandma you have and our job is to make sure the film is not gone forever. TEAMWORK MEDIA’S PROCESS UNLIKE ANY OTHER: Our decades of experience with film has allowed us to use custom made equipment and treatments for the recovery process including: Single frame film scanning equipment along with Recovery & pressure tanks; to immerse the film in a several special liquids and processes to soften the film, uncurl and separate the film if bound together and help preserve the emulsion and film base. Pressure Recovery; for providing pressure on the film to make the film as flat as possible and to squeeze any solution used into and in between the film while on the reel during soaking. Drying tanks; to dry the film after applying soaking liquids. Ultrasonic Cleaning; using specific solutions that will not damage the film. Unblocking (Unblock Decomposed Block Film caused by high relative humidity and tight wind film); Humidity induced blocked film with the use of specific solvents. Preservatives;  Apply film cleaners, lubricants and preservatives. Specialty Plasticizer Treatment (elasticizing coating); to soften and allow a time sensitive elasticity that actually prevents the film and emulsion from falling apart during handling and scanning. Latest process for Film Restoration of Crystal Growth, water damaged, moldy, heat or fire damaged or very dirty film; Some of our latest techniques involves the power of electrolyzed liquids that use negative ions to adhere to soiled film surfaces. Dirt is pulled away from the film by repellent forces with no chemicals required and no loss to the film’s image. This is used on Crystal Growth, water damaged, moldy or dirty and heat damaged film. Damaged, degrading or decomposed film can require one or several of the processes listed above.





We can scan (transfer) more film than ANY other company that uses conventional film transfer machines that are used for warped or shrunk film. Those companies that use sprockets, pinch rollers and several roller guides to drive the film through their system either in real-time or at several frames per second, resulting in damaged/binding/broken and ruined film. Their equipment can only transfer mild warped film and results in less transferred films or not transferring any films. There lies the problem, you would get much less film transferred by any other company. We can recover and scan (transfer) extremely damaged film as long as the film emulsion (images) are in tacked and the film is not freeze dried (hard like a brick) to the point of crumbling or fused together (like glue) or severely blocked in one hard solid mass and can not be separated. We scan each frame of film and string those images back together to create motion, meaning we are very gentle on the film. Films in extremely poor condition require our thorough hands on assessment of the film’s condition and stability to provide an accurate quote.


Preparing film for scanning after Recovery

Our success rate is like no other…we can usually save up to 90% more damaged film using our latest Recovery treatments and application process than any other film lab and our decades of experience shows our success. Many film transfer houses and labs in the USA and Canada send their customers films to our lab to be Recovered or contact out lab for advise. Why not come right to the source and send your films directly to our  film lab and save money!


Warped Motion Picture (movie) Film
Vinegar Syndrome Movie Film - TMTV Photo

USE CAUTION WHEN HANDLING VINEGAR SYNDROME, MOLDY OR  CONTAMINATED FLOOD DAMAGED MOTION PICTURE FILM: Be aware that acetic acid (Vinegar Syndrome) is water soluble. This means that anywhere that there is moisture (eyes, nose, throat, mouth, lungs, etc.) you can form acidic solutions.

Avoid long term contact with the film and handle in a well ventilated area.

If you are dealing with large amounts of Vinegar Syndrome film, Moldy film or Flood damaged “contaminated” film: Wear a mask, wear gloves, Latex or PVC will be fine, wash your hands, face after handling and disinfect surfaces in the area you were inspecting or handling your film. 


1) Will the film come off the reel easily or is it one solid mass? If it’s solid, like a brick, or brittle to the point were it flakes and falls apart or stuck together (Blocked) and the film will not separate… this may be blocked (solid blocked mass) or “freeze-dried” syndrome and you should not handle the film any further. See “Freeze Dried Film” in a further section below. Film in Freeze Dried condition is usually in its final stages but can be handled by our lab. The outer part of the film that is on the reel may be brittle or freeze dried and you may think it is beyond saving but let us inspect the film. Also the film towards the inner core of the reel may be in better shape and recoverable through several processes. “Blocked Film” or film in a solid blocked mass may be unblocked. Do not attempt to remove the film in this case and don’t throw away the film! Send it to us for a NO obligation, physical inspection and quote. WE ARE YOUR LAST HOPE… if we can’t Rescue, Recover, Restore and scan your damaged film, no one can.

Damaged Movie Film - TMTV Photo ©

Photo of a film that is still pliable

2) Can you bend the film backwards without it breaking? We don’t mean fold it backwards, but just bend it backwards slightly. If it breaks very easy or has become too dehydrated or brittle, it means the film base… the acetate backing that holds the image is brittle and will require one or many of our processes to hold the film together for scanning. If it does bend without breaking this is the best sign because the film is still pliable which will require less work in the Recovery and Restoration process. If the film is “freeze dried’ (hard like a brick and stuck or fused together) do not attempt to remove or handle the film any further. There are options for dried, brittle film for successful Recovery and scanning. We can deal with some of the most extremely damaged film. It is very important that you not attempt to unwind any major portions or the entire roll of film that has been damaged by dehydration as this can crack the emulsion or break the film base beyond repair. It is ok to remove a very small portion or the first part of the film from the reel to perform the test as mentioned above. Again do not remove or unwind any major portion of the film.

TMTV photo ©

DO NOT REMOVE THE FILM FROM THE REEL, IF THE FILM LOOKS OR SEEMS BRITTLE. IF THE LEADER BREAKS APART OR THE FILM BREAKS DURING YOUR TEST, STOP AND DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. 3) Is the film in pieces, or off the reel? If it is…there would be extensive labour cost in recovering and restoring the film. In this situation the film must be somewhat pliable were it can be Plasticized or Laminated in order to be replaced back on the reel for scanning. Once the film is removed from the film reel there is usually nothing we can do with film that is extremely warped, curled, shrunk and or extremely brittle. If the film was removed from the reel and wound back onto the reel without breaking both the film or emulsion and if the film is not too curled, buckled or twisted then it MAY be possible to save this film. However, the film needs to be fairly tight on the reel to help perform the best recovery process.


Warped, twisted, Buckled movie film - TMTV Photo ©

WE MENTIONED THIS EARLIER BUT WORTH REPEATING – USE CAUTION WHEN HANDLING VINEGAR SYNDROME, MOLDY FILM OR  CONTAMINATED FLOOD DAMAGED MOTION PICTURE FILM: Be aware that acetic acid (Vinegar Syndrome) is water soluble. This means that anywhere that there is moisture (eyes, nose, throat, mouth, lungs, etc.) you can form acidic solutions. Avoid long term contact with the film and handle in a well ventilated area. If you are dealing with large amounts of Vinegar Syndrome film, Moldy film or Flood damaged “contaminated” film: Wear a mask, wear gloves, Latex or PVC will be fine, wash your hands, face after handling and disinfect surfaces in the area you were inspecting or handling your film. 

BASIC INFORMATION FOR FILM PRESERVATION AT HOME – Once you find your film in poor condition it is very important to store the film properly until it can be Recovered for scanning. NOTE: Keep Vinegar Syndrome films away from “good” films. Vinegar Syndrome film can infect other films. Keep the film as cool as possible in a dark, dry and cool environment. Additional options for film storage: You can store your film in a fridge or freezer in two (2) plastic sealed Ziplock (or equivalent type bags) or vacuum type freezer bags and if you have access to ‘molecular sieves’ place a couple in with each film and place in a box or container that blocks exposure to light until ready to ship. If using vacuum sealed bags make sure the films are in their original metal or plastic cans. Do NOT vacuum seal the film reels only without placing the reels in metal cans or solid plastic case to protect the film and reels. The reason for this is, the vacuum sealed bags are strong enough to crush the reel and film when using a “vacuum” seal type bag. It is important if you do place the film in the fridge, that once you remove them from the cold temperature that you open the sealed bag and allow the film to come to room temperature slowly. Then re-seal the bags of film, package and ship. NOTE: Video tapes are not the same as motion picture film. DO NOT FREEZE VIDEO TAPES. 



Below you will find photos samples of films in various conditions of damage and decay caused by vinegar syndrome, poor storage, flooding or fire.

Spider Webbed Movie Film - TMTV Photo ©


DO NOT REMOVE THE FILM ENTIRELY FROM THE FILM REELS. The film should remain on the reel in order for the recovery process to be the most successful. Minimal amount of film is recoverable from these types of films that have been removed from their original film reel.


Brittle & Buckled Movie Film - TMTV photo ©

The symptoms of vinegar syndrome are a pungent vinegar smell (hence the name), followed eventually by shrinkage, embrittlement, blocked and buckling, twisting, “spider webbing” of the gelatin emulsion and film base. Safety motion picture film (so called because it is not flammable like nitrate base film) was almost always made of cellulose acetate plastic. A key issue in preserving this type of film is controlling the form of decay known as “vinegar syndrome.” More properly referred to as acetate film base degradation, vinegar syndrome is a very similar problem to nitrate base deterioration. Its causes are inherent in the chemical nature of the plastic and its progress very much depends on storage conditions. Storage in warm and humid conditions greatly accelerates the onset of decay. Once it begins in earnest, the remaining life of the film is short because the process speeds up as it goes along. Early diagnosis and cold, moderately dry storage are the most effective defenses.


crystallized, Spiderwebbed movie film - TMTV Photo ©

The above film; very brittle, extremely shrunk, twisted, buckled, crystallized, spider webbed, smelly and moldy but is still on it’s original reel. The film has become very hard and brittle (freeze dried). A small portion of this film may be recoverable long enough for scanning. Usually the emulsion is cracking or falling off and handling the film results in the film just falling apart. Spider Webbing and buckling along with the film that may be very hard (like a brick) or very brittle and twisted is the most difficult film to work with and requires the most labour intensive recovery process. Extreme caution should be used when handling this type of film to avoid any further damage.

Warped, shrunk movie film - TMTV Photo ©
Warped, shrunk movie film - TMTV Photo ©
Warped, shrunk movie film - TMTV Photo ©

The quality of the final scanned images after recovery of this type of very brittle, extremely shrunk, twisted, buckled and spider webbed film can be very poor to poor. This depends on how flat we can make the film for scanning and how shrunk the film is and if the emulsion is cracking or become unstable and falling off. Final images can show warping, shrinkage, cracked emulsion, in-out of focus, missing frames and faded images or washed-out colour or blemishing. The degree of the reduction in the blemishing in the emulsion is largely dependant upon the severity of the damage. Deep scratches where part of the image has been lost will still be apparent. Film in this condition is a last resort to being able to provide the customer anything usable from the film. Individual scanned images (photos) in Jpeg or Tiff can be saved if “full motion” of the film or a movie of the film can not be created because of the severity of the damage. At the very least you could have still images you can email or print.


Brittle emulsion damaged movie film - TMTV Photo ©

Cracked emulsion on motion picture film

Rusty, water damaged movie film - TMTV Photo ©

Dried film on a rusty reel

Dried and brittle film can be caused by a couple of things… previous water damage and then letting the film dry or poor storage condition in hot and humid climates. The quality of the final scanned images after recovery of this type of very brittle, dried, curled and shrunk film can be poor to good. This depends on if the emulsion is cracking or has become unstable and falling off. Final images can show warping, shrinkage, cracked, broken, in-out of focus, missing frames and faded images. 16mm has the best chance of recovery overall because of it’s larger size and has more strength than 8mm.


Sticky, fused, blocked movie film - TMTV Photo ©

Sticky Film

From one extreme to another…STICKY OR BLOCKED FILM.

STICKY FILM: Film that appears to have glue or a gooey sticky substance on the film. It actually looks like someone poured soda pop on the film and left it to dry. There are no regular chemicals available to wash this substance easily from the film and takes several processes to remove the sticky goo. Film in this condition may require solvents. It is one of, if not the, most difficult type of films to Recover next to extremely brittle or fused film.

BLOCKED FILM: On occasion film can adhere to itself with the reel to form a solid mass, known as blocked, that cannot be unwound without causing serious damage to the emulsion, to the base, or both. The film can become blocked by two known mechanisms: high humidity and tight wind and decomposition. Solid Blocked Mass on pliable film that may be slightly shrunk or not shrunk at all. It may be warped and may twist once coming off the reel after the unblocking of the film is successful. Sometimes the film is a solid Blocked Mass and sometimes only parts of the film are Blocked or stuck. Consequently if a film is carelessly unwound before the Recovery process then the emulsion will tear from the subbing layer. In lesser instances the emulsion may lift away from the subbing layer but then release from the adjacent layer. This leaves a space between the emulsion and the base which causes a blemish that is highly visible. In many circumstances blemishes and ferrotyping may be unavoidable due to the original damaged condition of the film.

Unblocking Decomposed Blocked “pliable” film is extremely time consuming since it is usually best to handle every inch of the film by providing a solvent to those specific sections of the reel and not soaking the entire reel with chemicals to reduce blemishing on the film. However, sometimes soaking a blocked film can reduce the degree of adhesion overall but can cause blemishing or ferrotyping. Motion picture films have a topcoat that contains small granules of hardened gelatin. If the swollen gelatin presses against a smooth surface, such as the base of an adjacent layer of film, then this layer is pressed into the emulsion and the emulsion surface takes on a shiny appearance. This will affect the light transmission characteristics and be visible on scanning or projection. The degree of the reduction in the blemishing in the emulsion is largely dependant upon the severity of the damage. Any deep scratches or damage to the emulsion where part of the image has been lost will be apparent.

The combination of both Sticky Film and Blocked can take several weeks to Recover, prep and then scan.


ONE OF THE WORST CASE SCENARIOS… Dried, brittle film that is stuck or fused together is one of the worst-case scenarios of damaged movie film and can be one of the most labour extensive to recover, restore and scan next to “Sticky Film”.

Brittle, freeze-dried” syndrome movie film - TMTV Photo ©
Brittle, freeze-dried” syndrome movie film - TMTV Photo ©

Do not attempt to remove the film from the reel as the above photos show.

Film that is severely damaged by dehydration (“freeze-dried” syndrome), hard like a brick and fused or stuck together (one solid mass) and will not separate, should not be handled any further and you should not attempt to remove the film from the reel in this case. (as the above photos show). Film in this condition is usually in its final stages but can be handled by our lab. The outer part of the film that is on the reel may be brittle or freeze dried and you may think it is beyond saving, however, the film towards the inner core may be recoverable or sections throughout the film may be Recoverable by our experts. DO NOT REMOVE ANY FILM FROM THE REELS. Film that is broken into small pieces or extremely brittle, falls apart during handling or crumbles into little pieces and off the reel, is not Recoverable. It is important that you let the professionals help in making the determination on the condition of your film. It may look bad to you but we can handle almost any type of film damage and get results!



Spider Webbed Film

The photo above is of a 16mm film showing “SPIDER WEBBING, BUCKLING & BOWED” very shrunk with a strong vinegar odor. Film can either show no signs of white powder (mold) or have major white powder. Portions of the film may also be freeze dried and brittle.


The above photo shows film that is “BOWED”, like a bow tie. This type of damaged film is usually found with film that is Spider webbed & buckled and requires extensive Recovery.

Damaged image - Movie Film TMTV Photo ©


The quality of the final scanned images after recovery of this type of Spider Webbed & buckled film can be very poor to good. This depends on how flat we can make the film for scanning and how shrunk the film is and if the emulsion is cracking or become unstable. Final images can show warping, shrinkage, cracked emulsion, in-out of focus, missing frames and faded images.




16mm film showing the start of “SPIDER WEBBING” and buckling. The film is very shrunk, curled, the outer part of the film is twisted and the entire film has a strong vinegar odor but no signs of white powder and is not too brittle.

final scanned images of this type of mild Spider Webbed film - TMTV Photo ©

Quality of the final scanned images of this type of mild Spider Webbed film after recovery can be good to very good but, this depends on how flat we can make the film for scanning.

final scanned images of this type of mild Spider Webbed film - TMTV Photo ©

Final images can show mild warping & shrinkage


Curled and shrunk 8mm film with or without signs of white powder, usually has a very strong vinegar odor. This film is not hard or too brittle. 100% of either 8mm or 16mm film is likely recoverable long enough for scanning.


Quality of the final scanned images after recovery can be good to excellent.



Shrunk film, no odor or slight odor, not brittle, slight curl on the outer part (lead) of the film and signs of slight buckling on the inner part of the film. 100% of this film is likely recoverable for scanning. Film in this condition should not be projected or run through a transfer machine with pinch rollers, film gates or sprockets. It will damage or destroy the film. It may look good but shrunk or even slightly curled film requires recovery before transfer.

Quality of the final scanned images of mild, shrunk film after Recovery can be good to excellent - TMTV Photo ©

Quality of the final scanned images of mild, shrunk film after Recovery can be good to excellent.


NOTE: VIDEO SAMPLES ON THIS WEB SITE ARE FOR “INTERNET VIEWING” AND ARE NOT SHOWN IN THEIR ACTUAL HIGH RESOLUTION – Film scanning sample in standard definition (SD) of an 8mm home movie that had major warping was shrunk and twisted which was recovered/restored and then scanned one frame at-a-time in numbered image sequence (NIS) files and then placed into our editing program to create a speed change for viewing.

Selkirk College Opening Ceremony & the Great Trek on January 13, 1967 from Selkirk College on Vimeo. NOTE: VIDEO SAMPLES ON THIS WEB SITE ARE FOR “INTERNET VIEWING” AND ARE NOT SHOWN IN THEIR ACTUAL HIGH RESOLUTION – Video was restored for Selkirk College Film Library and Archives in Castlegar BC Canada. Film scanning sample in standard definition (SD) of a 16mm home movie that was warping, twisting, shrunk and then recovered/restored and scanned one frame at-a-time in numbered image sequence (NIS) files and then placed into our editing program to create a speed change for viewing.



The film will look great on the film reel but when starting to remove the film from the reel it twists and curves looking like a wave. Especially if you can make the film lay flat, it looks to have a wave in the film. This is one of the most difficult types of film damage to get straight in order for it to go smoothly through the film gate to scan the frames. It will break even if pliable when you try to physically straighten the film.


Flood damaged movie film - TMTV Photo ©

Extreme case of water damaged film and then left to dry for decades.

Damaged Film Emulsion from a flood - TMTV Photo ©

Image of film exposed to water and left to dry.

Photos (above) of the actual film that was damaged in a flood and then left to dry on their original metal reels and cans. As you can see, mold developed and the film reels have rusted and the rust has penetrated into the film’s emulsion. Images from film in this condition can range from very poor to good, however 50% of this film had no images at all. The emulsion (image) had simply washed away from sitting in or being exposed to water for a long period of time. If the film is Freeze Dried and Fused together, in some rare cases we may be able to separate or un-fuse the film. Flooding. If your film gets caught in a flood or exposed to water or any liquid, remove the film from the liquid, let any excess water drain from the reel, place in sealed Ziplock or equivalent bags and contact us as quickly as possible for further advice or ship the film to us immediately.

Sticky, emulsion damaged motion picture (movie) film - TMTV Photo ©

It is especially urgent to have us treat films that have been exposed to any water, saltwater, contaminated water from sewer back up, a hurricane or flood. Handle films gently, especially if they are wet. Wet films are very fragile. Do not attempt to unroll a film to look at it. If you’re not sure what the film is about (or it’s contents), make a guess, but don’t unroll it. Unrolling a film at this point will almost certainly cause further damage or a complete loss to the films images.

Moldy movie film after water damaged by flood - TMTV Photo ©

Mold can grow very quickly on film exposed to moisture or water. Films damaged in floods can be contaminated with all sorts of chemicals and sewage. Handle these films carefully, remove excess water and place in Ziplock or equivalent type baggies and contact us. Film that is on metal reels should be dealt with immediately, the film reels can rust and penetrate the film causing further damage (photos below). When sending your films, keep the film in airtight baggies and ship to our film laboratory as soon as possible. There are many variables that affect the stability of film materials, and each circumstance is different.


Recovered images can be poor to excellent. The biggest issue with water damaged film is usually the damage to, or complete removal of the emulsion (the films images) resulting in poor image quality and mold that can build up over time after the film has been exposed to water then left to dry.

Above photo: Wet and water damaged films now dried and being removed from racks after the initial stabilization process.

We treat and recover the film to prevent any further loss to the emulsion. The film itself is usually not too warped or shrunk unless it has been submerged in water for a lengthy time and then dried. Wiping the film clean with a cloth will certainly damage or remove the emulsion (films images) so it is advised not to dry the film in this manner…let the pros handle the film. We have saved and recovered many clients films from floods over the years including Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 and most recent floods for clients in Southern New England, Tennessee, New York, Texas-Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Florida, Maryland.



“Thank you so much TMTV – my parents lost their entire home during a recent flood in Texas. We are going to give them to my mother as a birthday gift. As they are from her childhood. She is going to be so surprised. We thank you so much for recovering these.  It is one of the few things we have left after the flood and it means so very much that you were able to recover and scan these movie films”.

God Bless Christy, Austin Texas USA  (Motion Picture Film Recovery and Scanning of water damaged 8mm film)




Moldy film reels and film - TMTV Photo ©

Photos showing mold on the film reels. In extreme cases the film and reels are covered in a white powder. (White powder spots or “Snow Flaking” forming on the emulsion side of the film) Film & film reels that are extremely moldy (white powder on the film & or film reels) & may have a pungent odor can be saved as long as the film is not too brittle. Mold on film is usually the first signs of vinegar syndrome, however we have seen films that have not been moldy prior to getting vinegar syndrome. Mold can also be caused from film that has been exposed to water or a damp storage area, or the type of original film used. This type of film requires all steps of the recovery process including one of the most important steps…the correct pressure applied in a pressure tank to squeeze out the mold rather than using a cleaning cloths to wipe the film clean, which can scratch or cause damage to, or removal of the films emulsion.

Moldy movie film after exposure to water - TMTV Photo ©

Mold (white powder) growing on the film

Photo above showing mold (the Smokey grey) on the film that has penetrated the emulsion (image). The film is also shrunk, slightly brittle and twists when coming off of the reel. This requires special attention to remove the mold without affecting the emulsion (image). Do not wipe the film and try and remove the mold, you may end up removing the emulsion (image) or break the film causing more issues, let the pros handle it.


Photos showing mold (Snow flaking) damage caused by moisture or water – Sometimes this can be physically cleaned, removed and treated with various solutions and conditioners performing specific steps. This can be a very painstaking process because extreme caution must be used to make sure the emulsion is not scratched or removed during the recovery and restoration process. Wet transfer can sometimes help with the removal of the snowflakes during scanning but not always with good results. The alternative is digitally removing the flakes in post. We have specific software for Digital Restoration involving this type of film damage.

Snow Flaking

Depending on how bad the film is infected with the mold, specs (Snow Flaking) and how far the mold has penetrated the emulsion would determine the overall varying results of recovery. Quality of the images after physically removing mold can be good to excellent, unless the mold was originally caused by water damage and the film was left to dry. In this case, images can be extremely poor to good. Do not wipe the film and try and remove the snowflakes yourself. You may remove the emulsion, let the pros handle it.


Moldy, Fire Damaged Motion Picture (Movie) Film - TMTV Photo ©

Recovered images caused by heavy toxic smoke or heat damage can range from poor to good. There are various methods for restoring and recovering this type of damaged film. Smoke, fire or heat damaged film can be saved, depending on the extent of the damage and should be stabilized by our team as soon as possible. 

SMOKE: The photo above is from a badly damaged film that was exposed to intense smoke and left for years before starting the Recovery & Restoration process. The film was stuck together and the emulsion (picture) was peeling, rotting and lifting away from the film base, it also smelled really bad. Physically separating the film, very carefully and applying a chemical to remove any toxic smoke and to prevent the loss on the emulsion is the main key to success with heavy toxic smoke damaged film.

EXTREME HEAT & MELTED FILM: Film damage caused by heat from a fire can be challenging depending on how bad the film was exposed to high temperatures. We use many chemical and physical processes to Recover this type of film. The issue with heat besides the obvious melting and shrinking is the emulsion (picture) can separate from the film base. Even melted film can be saved.

Special handling is required to avoid losing any of the picture. It is important, just like water or sewer damaged films, to have us stabilize the films as soon as possible after exposure to a fire. DO NOT unroll the film. This may cause immediate damage and loss to the emulsion. If the film smells from smoke, place in sealed Ziplock or equivalent bags, package well and ship them to us. Contact us for further advice or ship to us for a complete FREE hands-on inspection and no obligation quote.



16mm film after Recovery

All film recovers differently so it is hard to provide you with guaranteed perfect image results from your film, however, if there is an image and it can be recovered and scanned (transferred) we will do our best to make the image as clear as possible by physical Recovery process. All film is inspected visually for image after recovery. It is not always possible, even with magnification, to determine if what we see on the film will have enough detail to be captured in scanning (transfer). Our policy is to scan a film with an image that is discernible on some part of the film. The final scanned (transferred) image quality may still be extremely poor; we err on the side of providing the customer with all possible salvaged images. If we can recover, restore and detect any image on your film it will be scanned (transferred) regardless of quality or quantity. Film in very poor to poor condition may show shrinkage, warped or cracked emulsion (images), missing frames and in-and-out of focus. Some films that appeared in very poor condition and that were estimated or quoted at a higher price range may look better after scanning then some films Recovered with a lower price range and the same may be true for films that look in good shape but don’t Recover well and look in worst shape. Cost is based on the amount of actual Recovery and/or Restoration work required to get the films into shape for scanning. There is also the option for the digital Restoration processes, which involves the more expensive frame up Restoration. 

WATER/FLOOD DAMAGED FILM: Film from water damage is the most difficult to receive 100% good quality images even if the base of the film is not shrunk, warped or twisted, because one film frame can be partially washed away and the next frame all the image are in-tacked. Meaning, sporadic images due to the images being washed away. The old saying; “something is better than nothing” and if there is anything we can do to recover and scan your film we can do it! Don’t throw away the film, send the film to us and we will provide a complete hands-on, free inspection and no obligation quote.



16mm film after Recovery of a very warped, shrunk and damaged film

First, 8mm film being half the width of 16mm has way less tensile strength. When it starts to dry out it does so with a vengeance. It  becomes very brittle, very quickly and when that happens you get the “freeze-dried” syndrome.  If we can make the freeze dried film pliable again through our recovery process… which we can in rare cases (by laminating the film). In most cases however, “freeze dried” film will simply tear, crumble or fall apart and become unusable. If you suspect your film has any of the conditions mentioned, it is best to seek our professional help.

Film recovery process: Recovery process of the movie film which includes a gradual, condition-specific, multi-step process to recondition and stabilize dehydrated, dried out 8mm & 16mm motion picture film and the transfer with our exclusive TMTVISION HD Digital Single Frame Scanning unit which is very gentle on old, brittle, shrunk or damaged film. We uses several processes including; Pressure tanks, several wet and dry solutions, heat & drying processes as well as Plasticizer Treatment and new film base through Lamination and wet transfer for Snow Flaking or moldy film.

Quality of images after recovery: The image quality can range from excellent to extremely poor. This can include; warping, shrunk frames/images, cracking, colour shifts, washed out colour, out-of-focus frames. If there is absolutely no image on your film, it will not be scanned and a partial refund from your deposit will be made. If we are able to make out any kind of image at all on your film, regardless of quality or quantity, it will be transferred and the usual price quoted will be charged. 

We only charge for what can be recovered and actually scanned (transferred). Film Transfer success: Our custom-upgraded preservation scanners are specifically designed for handling damaged or brittle films. Sprocket-less scanners adept at handling compromised film with missing or torn perfs, brittleness, highly warped & shrunk damaged film. TMTVISION™ HD Digital Single Frame Scanning film scanning allows better quality transfer results, along with being able to transfer more film then in the past. Our film scanner has no sprockets, no advance claw, no capstan, no pinch roller, no belts, means no film damage. 

RECOVERY SUCCESS: The films original condition is still the key to the films overall recovery and transfer success.., but our technical experience and Recovery equipment has increased the transfer success rate of recovered film by an additional 50% or more than any telecine machine that uses several rollers to carry the film into a “gate” and that has either sprocket or roller driven capstans to “pull” the film through and other facilities can only transfer mildly warped or shrunk film.

FILMS PHYSICAL CONDITION & RETURNING CUSTOMERS FILMS AFTER THE RECOVERY PROCESS: Due to the time-sensitive Recovery process required in recovering and scanning poor quality warped, brittle and shrunk film, most, if not all the film will be discarded within days after the recovery process and this is usually the last attempt to Recover and scan the film, however, this does depend on the original and final condition and the chemicals used on the film. If the film can be used again in the future for projector use, we can return the film on new reels and place in new cans at additional cost to the Recovery quote upon customer request. NOTE: Most films that have Vinegar Syndrome and have been through the Recovery process where major chemicals or Plasticizer/lamination/solvent treatments are used the film is NOT returned. The first reason is the films would no longer be of any use, either for projection or re-transfer (scanning) because the films all end up going back to their original poor condition within a very short time.  The second reason; Canada Post, USPS and other shipping agents consider the chemicals & adhesives used as “Dangerous Goods” and are flammable and extremely toxic. SEE: Flammable and Combustible Liquids

RETURNING CUSTOMERS ORIGINAL BOXES/CANS/REELS/DOCUMENTS: BY REQUEST AND SHOULD BE KNOWN IN ADVANCE OF THE RECOVERY PROCESS: if you wish to have any of the original boxes or cans or other material returned please let us know in advance or before the start of the recovery process.

CHARGES FOR WARPED, SHRUNK, FIRE, SMOKE, MOLD OR HEAT DAMAGED FILM FOR RECOVERY & RESTORATION: Charges for recovery, restoration and transfer can vary depending on the amount and condition of the film and the time, equipment, and procedures required to perform the type of recovery, restoration, cleaning and transfer. We will gladly provide a no obligation hands-on inspection and quote before proceeding. Deposit required: Once your film has been inspected and we supply a quote, a deposit may be required for the recovery process of any motion picture film and must be payable before the recovery begins. If none of the film can be recovered there will be a small service charge and the remainder of the deposit will be refunded.  Minimum charges on small single film orders: There may be minimum charges for labour, materials and environmental fees for discarding of the film and chemicals after attempted recovery if you only provided a very small amount of film were we were not able to transfer the film. We would inform you of the minimum cost involved (if applicable) when providing the quote after a visual, hands-on inspection at our lab.

FILM RECOVERY PROCESSING TIME: Processing time depends on the films overall condition and the amount of film to be recovered for transfer. NOTE: No rush services available because of the type of process used to recover damaged movie film we can not give specific dates for completion. Due to the condition-specific, multi-step process, please allow a minimum of 4 weeks, but it can take several weeks to complete the “recovery” process depending on the type of damage, the recovery processes required, the size of your order and how busy the lab is at the time you have submitted and approved the start of your order. If you require your warped or shrunk movie films by a specific date please let us know before shipping your order to our lab. We will do everything possible to recover the films as quickly as possible, but the customer must be patient as Film Recovery is a time sensitive process and can not be sped up. You may contact us at anytime during your films Recovery and we can provide an update on the progress of your order.




READ THE LABEL OF ANY FILM TREATMENT PRODUCT BEFORE CONSIDERING PURCHASE OR USE – THESE ARE DANGEROUS CHEMICALS AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH EXTREME CARE – If you tried using chemicals on any of your films without success and now want to send your films to us for Recovery, please don’t. WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY PREVIOUSLY CHEMICALLY TREATED OR HOME REMEDY TREATED FILMS.  You can’t “unshrink” motion picture film with chemicals to make it transfer better, brittle film will not become pliable, wavy warped film will not straighten using any of the chemicals listed below. Chemicals and treated film is not the only solution to helping with film recovery and restoration. If you think by soaking the film, your damaged film problems are going to magically go away… think again… read the facts on film chemical use.

  TEAMWORK MEDIA LAB uses a custom build special vented Film Treatment Laboratory with vented soaking bins, drying, heating racks and pressurized tanks along with airpack respirators, face shield and specific clothing for the safe handling of dangerous chemicals. DO NOT SOAK DRIED, CRACKED, EMULSION DAMAGED OR BRITTLE DAMAGED FILM. If your film shows any signs of being brittle or cracked, do not use a chemical bath or soak the film. Let us handle the film for you. Exposing brittle film to any solutions will result in the complete loss of the film. No soaking chemical treatment will help make the film hold together or unshrink the film. We use our specific professional treatments for dried, cracked or brittle film. There are many types of chemicals for the treatment of movie film and film transparencies which are great for cleaning and softening films. All are “chemicals” that should be handled VERY carefully with proper safety gear including the right respirators (Respiratory protection), safety gloves, goggles along with clothing and WELL ventilated area. The vapor is harmful (may affect the brain or nervous system without proper precautions).  

The use of any film treatment product without trained knowledge on how to handle the film would be a mistake. We use several types of treatments for warped, dried, vinegar syndrome film, including chemicals/heat/pressure to achieve the best result for handling and then transfer of the film with our specialty designed scanners. We have had several customers treat their film with products such as Vitafilm, Filmrenew, Filmguard and home remedies only to find out it turned into a disaster or did not work at all.

One of the most important steps in film recovery is applying the correct pressure in a pressure tank to squeeze out the chemicals, dirt, grime and mold rather than using cleaning cloths to wipe the film clean, which will scratch or cause damage to or removal of the films emulsion. Chemicals soften the film… along with the emulsion and removes film splices. Soaking the film and then drying the film without pressure to squeeze out the chemicals can cause further damage or complete loss. Don’t get your hopes up on these particular products if using yourself, your inexperience could result in total loss of your film. You can’t “unshrink” OR make dried, cracked or brittle motion picture film hold together with any of the chemical products to make it transfer better. Using any of the chemicals mentioned in this article are not the only solution in helping with film recovery and restoration. It has to be combined with several processes and possibly several proper applications to be successful.

NOTE: Please let us know if you have used any chemicals or home remedies on your films BEFORE sending them to TMTV. It is possible that we will not accept your films after you or someone else has attempted home or professional chemical or home remedies of your movie film and was not successful. Although we are your last resort for successful Recovery, the film may have received further damage by using these chemicals that can not be repaired. Reasons for us not accepting film for recovery can include the type of chemicals you may have used, the film has been unwound and replaced onto the reel improperly, the film is off of the reel, the film is in small pieces. Shipping of chemically treated films can also be considered “dangerous goods” that would not be accepted by the carrier without special precautions and huge delivery costs.

IF the film has very mild signs of vinegar syndrome including mold or mild warping then a quick dunk or an easy soak can  help, but again, some of these products are very toxic, smell really bad and are very harmful if not handled properly. Vitafilm themselves says; “make sure your METAL reel does not have a plastic core or it will MELT”. So you can see, it is not, too mild of a product and care should be taken when using these products on you own. AGAIN…You can’t “unshrink” or make “brittle” or “dried” motion picture film stick together again with ANY of these chemicals mentioned. Using chemicals is not the only solution in helping with film recovery and restoration. It has to be combined with several processes to be successful. If the films is dry, brittle and falling apart, then let the pros handle the film. Believe us! If your film is on plastic reels and has mold, dirt, grime or vinegar syndrome, is brittle or dried… DO NOT USE Vitafilm, Filmrenew or Filmguard, it will melt the reels and could melt, soften or remove the film emulsion and will remove all the film splices, melt any plastic cores or plastic film reels. There are many stages of vinegar syndrome, knowing how to treat it properly should really be done by experienced personal. The companies that markets VITAFILM and other products for curing vinegar syndrome is not going to tell you that! They just want the sale. It is a shame, but improper handling has resulted in many disappointments by people who think they can treat movie film themselves. They usually end up sending the film to us (TMTV) after their treatment, but by then it’s usually too late and the film gets thrown out. We have seen this many times. If you have used these chemicals and if your film is not in good to excellent condition after treatment, then DO NOT RUN THROUGH A PROJECTOR ON ANY FILM TRANSFER UNIT THAT IS NOT DESIGNED FOR RECOVERY, also any warped or shrunk film will be damaged by using any device that runs in real-time or close to real-time, any device with a sprocket, gate, claw or pinch rollers will damage and possibly wreck the film. All the above chemicals soften the film which makes is very susceptible to scratches, breaking, stretching, more shrinking (once dried again), sprocket damage and weakening or removal of splices or the total removal of the films emulsion (the actual image of the film).

AQI and PM2 Air quality handling Vinegar Syndrome Film

Avoid long term contact with the film and handle in a well ventilated area.

HANDLING YOUR VINEGAR SYNDROME MATERIAL – VERY IMPORTANT – USE CAUTION WHEN HANDLING VINEGAR SYNDROME MOTION PICTURE FILM American Moving Image Archivists provides the following advice: Be aware that acetic acid (Vinegar Syndrome) is water soluble. This means that anywhere that there is moisture (eyes, nose, throat, mouth, lungs, etc.) you can form acidic solutions. Most frequently it appears as lung, throat, and sinus irritation as well as blepharatis and conjunctivitis (both irritations of the eye). In addition, there are cases of people getting mild to moderate acid burns caused by transferring these acid solutions formed on moist skin (particularly the palms of the hands) to other more sensitive areas (like the face). Acid solutions formed in the mouth can cause dental erosion too, just as sucking on lemons will do. 

PROPER STORAGE OF MOTION PICTURE FILM If you are not ready at this point to send your film for recovery and restoration and if your film is in advanced stages of vinegar syndrome, it needs cold/frozen storage to slow down or even stop further damage. The more advanced the decay of acetate film collections, the colder the storage should be. The best storage for motion picture film includes cold storage and moderate humidity conditions and good-quality storage enclosures. Metal or plastic cans are safe for film, provided that the containers are not rusty or broken. Archival-quality cardboard boxes are also safe. If film is kept at or near room temperature, do not seal film inside tightly closed bags. At all costs, avoid storing film in prolonged dampness. Under damp conditions, the film will stick together and mold may grow, ruining the emulsion. Damp locations such as basements or attic areas are particularly unsuitable for film storage.

FILM RECOVERY & OR RESTORATION INCLUDES: – Full inspection and quote showing minimum charges and charges for complete recovery if successful. This includes the estimated percent based on the amount of film on each reel we expect to Recover. Sometimes we Recover more film then expected resulting in additional cost. Our goal is to save and scan as much of your film as possible for you. Upon completion we only charge for the actual amount of film Recovered and scanned. – Recondition and stabilize dehydrated, dried out 8mm or 16mm motion picture film, at least long enough for transfer to our digital formats by the use of our TMTVISION™ HD Digital Film Scanner. Some film may be recovered in its entirety and preserved for future use (this depends on the films current and final recoverable condition). Film that is not brittle, is expertly cleaned to remove dirt, dust, mold. For severely damaged film such as warped, shrunk, water or fire damage, the Recovery process can involve several chemical solutions, baking, heating, applied pressure processes, Plasticizer Treatment or apply a new film base through Lamination. – The Transfer system for film recovery: TMTVISION™HD Digital Film Scanning- Single frame scanning. We use several custom-built preservation scanners that are specifically designed for handling several types of damaged motion picture film along with specialized film Recovery equipment and applications. The absolute best transfer available for your severely damaged home movies. The scanner features zero image area contact at the gate and a rubber guide that handles the film only by the edges for maximum film safety. No sprockets, no advance claw, no capstan, no pinch roller & no belts. These include a Sprocket-less film transport with fully adjustable film tension, adept at handling compromised film with missing or torn perforations, brittleness, highly warped or shrunk film. No dancer arms or undersized rollers to damage brittle film. Precision non-contact perforation sensors for extremely damaged film. Meaning no sprocket driven assembly to tear the film. Curved gates and optics for severely damaged vinegar-syndrome or other physically damaged film. Specialized film recovery equipment including; Pressure, Heat & Drying tanks, several Plasticizer & Lamination applications & Recovery Treatments. – We include “TWO” file formats when providing Film Recovery services: your choice of standard definition (SD) or high definition (HD) files in .MOV or NIS (Numbered Image Sequence) which are individual photo images of each frame of film in JPEG or PNG. Options include individual TIFF image photos, DVD or Blu Ray disc masters.


– FILM RESTORATION: We replace old reels if damaged, rusty or bent with new film reels new as required or needed for scanning. NO FILM WILL BE RETURNED if it was exposed to any of our “Film Recovery” chemical processes.

UPDATES DURING THE RECOVERY PROCESS: – E-mailed updates on the progress of your films. Depending on the size of your project, we provide updates as we go through several stages of the recovery process. You can email us at anytime for an update.

RETURN SHIPPING: Free return shipping is available on minimum size orders and is quoted in the estimate we would have provided you prior to shipping. We ship Expedited Parcel or Xpress Post (Canada & USA) which includes tracking number and delivery confirmation. 5 to 10 business days to most locations in Canada and the USA. Customer requested return shipping by courier such as Fed-Ex, DHL or UPS is additional cost.

KEEPING YOUR MASTERS, ORIGINAL FILES AND FILM ON FILE AT OUR LAB: For safety purposes (In the unlikely case of loss or damage during return shipping after your order has been completed) we will retain and keep on file a copy of your transferred mastered archive files at our lab and return ship your masters. (we can also ship your files on the media in one shipment and your originals in another – additional shipping charges would apply) Once your films and masters arrive safely, you have inspected and given us the ok (within 60 days), we will delete the mastered archived files. Customers original material “films” if not returned we would hold for a maximum of 60 days. Any Vinegar Syndrome or chemically treated films submitted to us for “Recovery” can not be shipped back because they would be considered “Dangerous Goods”. No returns, No exceptions. The film will be disposed of usually within a weeks time. Please see: RETURNING CUSTOMERS FILMS AFTER THE RECOVERY PROCESS in the section: 8MM VS 16MM RECOVERY


NOTE: This process is used for film that is not warped, shrunk or extremely moldy but is in poor condition from minor mold, dust, dirt, scratches, broken or damaged splices. Film that is warped, shrunk or  extremely moldy requires our film recovery and restoration process. See “Film recovery and restoration” above.


COMPLETE RESTORATION OF MOVIE FILM INCLUDES: Having your film cleaned, lubricated, restored & preserved which removes surface dust, grime, minor mold and minor scratches on the film which helps restore and preserve the movie film for future use or transfer. We will also repair bad splices, broken or damaged film or film reels and replace missing film leader as required.

OUR FILM CLEANING SYSTEM USED PRIOR TO LUBRICATION AND PRESERVATIVES (PLIABLE FILM ONLY): The Kinetronics StaticVac Anti-Static Film Cleaner is a vacuum cleaner to be used on film. It utilizes an electronic “bipolar” ionizing system. The StaticVac produces both positive and negative ions for complete static elimination. It will clean all film sizes up to 70mm (2.75″), including 35 mm, 120, and APS. As the film is passed through the StaticVac, the ionization system gets rid of the static on the film. Then, the gentle StaticWisk brushes wipe dust and lint away. The vacuum action draws the dust and lint into the foam filter. Even digital ICE tool software does not replace the StaticVac film cleaner for the removal of dust from both sides of your film prior to scanning.

EXTREMELY DIRTY, CONTAMINATED OR MOLDY FILMS (PLIABLE FILM ONLY): We have several processes for removing dirt from extremely dirty, mud or contaminated flood damaged or moldy films and can be removed safely using a variety of film conditioners and equipment including; Ultrasonic Cleaning, UV light or solvents & chemicals. These processes are not used for any shrunk, brittle or physically broken or emulsion or base damaged film.

LIQUID FILM CLEANER AND RESTORER: After cleaning all films are lubricated and a preservative added. All the above would be determined during visual inspection when the films arrive at the lab. 

  • Kodak™ film Restorer and Anti-static cleaner with SILICONE which Cleans, Polishes, Lubricates and removes fine scratches.
  • Revitalizes film
  • Reduces projector wear
  • Reduces film wear
  • Removes static
  • Eliminates “grime distortion”
  • Reduces film squeal and chatter
  • Cleans, lubricates and protects by depositing a micro-scopic film of SILICONE on the film

Some dirt may remain because it is embedded in the film’s emulsion. Cleaning solution MAY remove dirt but not in all cases. We may be able to remove the dirt prior to using any film preservatives using an Ultrasonic Film Cleaning Machine. 

YOUR ORIGINAL FILMS CONDITION: If you know the condition of the film that helps to determine if complete restoration or repairs are required. Most Super 8mm film is found to be in good condition, some regular 8mm film & 16mm film can be in poorer condition depending on its age and stored condition and may only require cleaning using the Kodak Particle Transfer Rollers only and no cleaning solutions or lubricates.

FILM CLEANING & REPAIR REQUIREMENTS: If the film is in poor condition, has a white powder (mold) or smells like vinegar (vinegar syndrome), then your film will need to be cleaned, lubricated, restored & preserved before transferring your films to ANY format. Film that is warped or shrunk may require our recovery process.

REPAIRS/SPLICING/EDITING: If your film is broken or the splices have come unglued or separated then splicing/editing will have to be performed. If you wish to repair your films before shipping to TMTV, DO NOT USE HOUSEHOLD TAPE TO REPAIR OR SPLICE YOUR FILMS, use only the recommended film splicing tape or glue or make a note on the film it requires splicing or repair.

REMOUNTING FILMS: If your films are mounted backwards on their original film reels then they will have to be remounted. Damaged or broken film reels will have to be replaced at additional cost if your film is being returned.


Contact TEAMWORK MEDIA - TMTV Nelson BC Canada


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO RECOVER A MOTION PICTURE (MOVIE) FILM? The complexity and cost of a restoration varies widely according to the condition of the film, its length, type of film and the unique technical specifications of the film.

WANT AN ESTIMATE BY EMAIL?… OR SEND YOUR FILM TO OUR LAB FOR A NO OBLIGATION COMPLETE, HANDS-ON INSPECTION AND QUOTE Estimates, pricing or quotes for film Rescue, Recovery or Restoration are not provided by phone due to their complexities… you can contact our lab and we will be more than happy to guide you through the estimation process so we can then provide you an accurate estimate for your project. If you are dealing with an urgent situation such as flood and/or water damaged film contact our lab immediately.


  3. THE FORMAT/TYPE (8MM, 16MM, 35MM)
  5. TYPE OF FILM DAMAGE YOU ARE DEALING WITH. – What decay and damage does the film exhibit: shrinkage, warping, curling, brittle, image deterioration, tears, broken splices, damaged perforations, vinegar syndrome (very smelly), water or mold damage?


Length Film sizes measured across the reel
50′ 3″ reel
100′ 4″ reel
200′ 5″ reel
400′ 7″ reel
600′ 8″ reel
1000′ 11″ reel
1200′ 12″ reel
1600′ 13″ reel
2000′ 14-7/8″ reel

Films length in time is determined by the original film speed. Most Double 8/Regular 8mm film was shot at 16 frames per second (FPS). Although some older hand crank models shot at 12 FPS. Super 8 was normally shot at 18 FPS with the exception of some professional cameras that could shoot 24 FPS and shoot Super 8 sound at either 18 FPS or 24 FPS. 16mm home movies were normally shot at 16 FPS and professional 16mm silent and sound film was shot at 24 FPS.


WHEN SUBMITTING FILM TO OUR LAB –  please number them CLEARLY in order of sequence, Example: 1, 2, 3, 4. (do not use POST-IT Notes, they fall off). If you don’t know what sequence please number them anyway for reference. TAKE PHOTOS OR WRITE DOWN THE ORIGINAL INFORMATION FROM YOUR BOXES, CANS OR REELS FOR YOUR REFERENCE. If there is ANY original writing or printed information on the boxes, reels or cans you want preserved, please take photos of the information or write it down before sending your films as they may be discarded after our Recovery process unless specified by the client that you want the original reels, boxes or cans returned and if they are in good enough condition to be returned.

PLACE STINKY, RUSTY, MOLD/WATER OR BRITTLE, DAMAGED FILMS IN PLASTIC ZIPLOCK OR EQUIVALENT TYPE BAGGIES OR WRAP THE FILMS IN PLASTIC AND SEAL WITH TAPE – Most Vinegar Damaged films smell. You can place one or several films into one bag. Once all bagged, make sure they are well wrapped (bubble wrap preferred), place the films in a strong, sturdy box and tape tightly. You do not want the box to split open and loose any films during shipment.

MIXING FILM FORMATS: R-8MM, S-8MM, 16MM with or without sound: All film formats are scanned (transferred) separately, meaning you do not have to separate the films, we will do that on inspection or before Recovery.

SHIPPING YOUR FILMS TO TMTV AFTER WE PROVIDED AN ESTIMATE – If you want to ship your films to us after we have provided an email estimate, please print out, fill out and sign the email estimate we provided and include that with your films and follow the important shipping instructions provided with the estimate or go to our shipping webpage for details.

SHIPPING THE FILMS FOR A HANDS-ON INSPECTION & QUOTE – Please email us and we will provide the important shipping information required.

ONCE THE FILMS ARRIVE AT OUR LAB we will email you an order number and perform a complete a FREE hands-on inspection and no obligation detailed quote by email. If you decide to proceed with your project your films will be schedule in for processing.

SCANNING & CAPTURING AUDIO FROM DAMAGED SOUND FILM. We are unable to capture any sound from damaged, shunk, brittle, twisted motion picture film even after the Recovery process due to several factors. If the film is pliable, mild warping and not shrunk we may be able to capture the sound from the film. This would be determined upon our hands on inspection before scanning.

MAJOR CHEMICALLY TREATED FILM WILL NOT BE RETURNED – All chemically treated, stinky, moldy, “film” that required major chemical Recovery or any rusty, moldy, water damaged boxes, reels or cans, will not be returned – (no exceptions) due to the chemical treated films are considered Dangerous Good by the shipping companies and Canada & US customs authorities.

OUR SUPPLIED MEDIA PREFERRED We can only use customer supplied new or used media if it meets our specifications.

SUPPLYING YOUR OWN THUMB/FLASH DRIVE OR HARD DRIVE MEDIA: You can supply your own 3.0 USB new or used media but it must be large enough to fit all of your files. Hard Drives should have a standard USB 3.0 connection and must be PC/MAC compatible and pre-formatted in EXFAT or NTFS. No warranty or guarantees on customer supplied media. We prefer “plug & play” media over A/C powered hard drives. We do not accept customers supplied tape or DVD/Blu Ray disc media



Digital Restoration is different from Physical Recovery and Restoration. Physical Recovery must be completed before providing the optional “Digital” Restoration. If you wish to discuss Digital Restoration after Recovery please let us know. The main defects needing Physical or Digital Restoration or recovery:

  • Dirt/dust
  • Scratches, tears/burned frames
  • Color fade, color change
  • Shrinkage
  • Warping
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Dried/Brittle
  • Mold

Once a film is inspected, cleaned, lubricated, restored or recovered it is transferred via motion picture film scanner and we scan each frame into a digital file. Digitize the audio (if sound film) and can sync to create a new master if required.


Providing Digital Restoration after scanning

Modern, digital film restoration takes some or all of the following steps:

  1. Scan each frame into a digital file after Recovery.
  2. Restore the film frame by frame by comparing each frame to adjacent frames. This can be done somewhat by computer algorithms with human checking of the result.
    1. Fix frame alignment (‘jitter’ and ‘weave’), or the misalignment of adjacent film frames due to movement of film within the sprockets. This corrects the issue where the holes on each side of a frame are distorted over time. This causes frames to slightly be off center.
    2. Fix color and lighting changes. This corrects flickering and slight color changes from one frame to another due to aging of the film.
    3. Restore areas blocked by dirt and dust by using parts of images in other frames.
    4. Restore scratches by using parts of images in other frames.

Teamwork Media Film Recovery Motion Picture Film Archivist, serving Canada & USA since 1980

NOTE: * The photos and videos on this website are not shown in their actual size. The images are reduced for internet viewing for all devices. All photos, video and images on this website are under copyright protection by TMTV, Teamwork Media Television Inc. and are not to be used without the express permission of TMTV. Any other photos used by exclusive permission from their original content creator. Kodak is a trademark of, TMTVISION is a trademark of Teamwork Media Television and our DigitalVideoLab department. Special thanks to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia for some valuable information as well as Chempoint Products & Kodak products we use for Film Recovery.

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