Saving the movies

Old movies do not age well…at least in terms of the chemical degradation of the film on which they are printed. Fungi are often to blame, digesting the material and generating noxious odors and unwatchable films in the process. Now, the UK’s North West Film Archive has worked with researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to find a way to detect these problematic odors and act as an early-warning system for fungal infection of film. The technology could alert conservators to a growing problem before it causes significant damage to the film and before odor compounds reach levels hazardous to human health.