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Home /DIY / How to Store Film Reels

How to Store Film Reels

By Christian Roemer

Film reels are cool. They’re a little bit before my time; I only really got to experience camcorders with VHS tapes. But I’ve seen movies about film reels, and those movies always make them look so cool. Fight Club used film reels to wage psychological warfare on kids’ movies, 8mm was a weird Nicholas Cage movie about film reels, and The Rock (another Nicholas Cage movie?!) also involved film reels.

And every single time someone pulled a film reel out of its canister in one of those films, I would think to myself, “cool.”
Even though film reels are unequivocally the coolest looking film format, they’re not necessarily hearty. In fact, they can be downright fragile. If you’re not careful with your film reels, you can damage the film inside, and you’ll have to splice, dice, and cut. You don’t want that, which is why we’re telling you how to store your film reels safely and securely--both at home and for their trip to Kodak for digitization.


Surprisingly, weather is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re storing your film reels. Moisture is film’s enemy. If the place where you store the canisters has too much water in the air, all sorts of bad things can happen. Your film can grow mold, mildew, and harbor other nasty organisms. A great way to cut down on the di-hydrogen monoxide scare is pretty easy: store your film reels in a dry box, in a dry place, and put a couple of packets of silica gel in there with it. Most new shoes come with a little packet of the stuff, so just toss a couple in the storage container with your film feels.

When you’re sending your film reels to Kodak for digitization, you don’t have to worry. Our specially-made boxes are there to keep your film reels safe and sound on their journey. If you’re not convinced, we don’t blame you. But we’re also here to put your mind at ease.

If you want to be extra safe with your film reels when you’re shipping them to us, there are ways to do it. First, you’ll want to make sure that the canister is completely closed and won’t pop open. You can use a little piece of scotch tape on either side to keep the canister shut tight. Then, if you want to add some padding, use a little bit of bubble wrap to give the case some extra cushion.

Really, shipping things safely is all about three things: packaging, packing, and filling. You don’t want to have anything rattling around in the box, because that increases the risk of damage. Use newspaper to fill in gaps. Make sure that casings are secure, and wrap them up in soft things.

You don’t have to worry about the packaging, because the box that we send you is made to keep your media safe. That means all you have to worry about when sending us your film reels is packing and filling.


Digitizing your film reels can seem scary, but with just a little bit of tape, bubble wrap, and our awesome box, you can sleep well knowing that your movies will be safe. Heck, maybe they’ll make a movie with Nicholas Cage about your film reels too someday!

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