Know your enemy [ECO 7252]

I hate hate hate this film.

Ektachrome Commercial, aka ECO. I know a lot of people used it and loved it, and it was especially handy for folks doing optical printing and animation work. It was low contrast, versatile…. But the shit fades like you wouldn’t believe. As a preservationist working on experimental film, including MANY filmmakers who used this stuff extensively, the sight of this box makes me a little irritable. You can chalk up the faded color in the film originals for work by Pat O’Neill, Stan Brakhage, Chick Strand, Morgan Fisher, Kathy Rose, Adam Beckett, David Wilson, Peter Rose, Daina Krumins, and many others to the instability of the dyes in this film.

Its precursor – 7255 (pre-1971) is actually a lot more stable, for which I’m very grateful – the originals for Robert Nelson’s Oh Dem Watermelons, Morgan Fisher’s Production Stills, Thom Andersen’s Melting, and plenty of other films are on 7255, and look pretty close to how they did originally.

But the color fading that occurs with 7252 has compromised the originals of numerous films made from roughly 1971 to the early ’80s. This includes films such as Chick Strand’s Elasticity, Guacamole, (and others), Brakhage’s Unconscious London Strata (and any other blown-up film he shot on Super 8), most of Pat O’Neill’s ’70s work including Easyout, Down Wind, Saugus Series, and others, Gary Beydler’s Pasadena Freeway Stills, David Wilson’s Stasis, Daina Krumins’ The Divine Miracle, and Morgan Fisher’s Standard Gauge, among many others. Urg.

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