Try some clear lacquer spray – if you spray it on and add another couple of 
fine coats when its still wet, the lay-off should be smooth and it will be 
fairly flexible. I've done this in the past and you have to get the lacquer to 
'soak' over/around your mark making while wet without skimming over the 
sprocket holes (and clogging them). You can let this dry – it doesn't take long 
– and then lay on another fine coat. Don't go too thick or the celluloid may 
cause it to crack. You can either use a charcoal fixative (from art supply 
shops) or just use some automotive lacquer (the motorcycle stuff works the 

Thank you all for the info. My films aren't too long, max five minutes. I will 
probably try the clear nail polish option, as I'm looking for a way to 
stabilize the material on the film until I can wrangle up the money needed to 
get internegatives and prints made, they are both on clear super-8 leader so 
I'll also need to do a 16mm blow-up.  The shorter film is simply dirt on clear 
leader, and I'm afraid that any printing process might smear the dirt off if I 
attempted to do so as is (not to mention gum up any equipment)

again, thanks!


On Mon, May 27, 2013 at 12:11 PM, Isaac Brooks 
<<>> wrote:

Yes, I agree with previous comments about adding yet another layer to the film: 
don't, at least not as a long lasting projection solution.

If break-down / image degeneration during exhibition is your thing, then that's 
another story. But it sounds like you want what you've made to stay more or 
less the same.

Not sure how long your films are, as that might affect how easily you can 
rephotograph them yourself.

If you have access to an optical printer, and your films are relatively short, 
then then that would be the way I'd go. I work with a lot of folks who 
optically print any direct animation / manipulation they do on 16mm right off 
the bat, so they have a clean, lab-friendly negative / camera original.

But get lots of isopropyl alcohol, as the projection side of the printer will 
need cleaning. I'd look within your filmmaking community to see what sort of 
optical printer access you have, and if there is a machine that other people 
have used for this sort of slightly messier stuff.

Other list members might have solutions as to labs that deal happily with this 
sort of thing. If your movies are long, then you might have to look into 
something more specialized. But I would consider doing it yourself if you have 
some equipment access. While it's slightly against the camera-less film ideal, 
it's a measure that has frequently been made in order to ensure that a decent 
print of your work is shown, and that doesn't gum up a projector.

Common Pictures

On Mon, May 27, 2013 at 8:46 AM, Tom Whiteside 
<<>> wrote:
I don’t think you can safely add a layer of finish – ink and markers probably 
won’t change much, but craft paint is going to come off (to some degree) so if 
you want to project this (much) you need to make a print.

As I’m sure you are aware, the motion of the film through the projector is 
intermittent, it is vigorous, anything up on top of the surface of the plastic 
is going to come off.

Good luck!

From: FrameWorks 
 On Behalf Of Jarrett Hayman
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2013 9:02 PM
Subject: [Frameworks] painted film finisher

I have recently completed two films made using direct application techniques, 
such as hand painting with craft paint, india ink, permanent markers and other 
media. I would like to find a way to apply some kind of finish to the film so 
that the ink and paint do not continue to rub off with projection, but I'm 
afraid to use a spray finish for traditional paintings, as they are usually 
quite flammable. Any ideas?

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