Storage Enclosures for Motion Picture Film

Store film in an archival polypropylene canister horizontally (flat) on a shelf.

  • Consider replacing metal cans, especially if they are already showing signs of rust or other deterioration, and any non-archival paper boxes with new polypropylene containers.
  • Cans that allow venting around the lid are preferred to prevent a concentration of nitric or acetic gasses inside the can that will accelerate deterioration of the film.
  • Cans that vent using raised ridges inside the cans or holes in the side of the can are not recommended. Internal ridges can cause damage and holes can allow contaminants in.
  • Do not tape a film can closed.
  • Storing motion picture film flat prevents distortions that can interfere with playing the film.
  • Avoid stacking cans more than eight high to prevent undue pressure and creating a tight seal on the cans.