Expired Film Day 2016 results: Kodak Vericolor III VPS

1938 Ford Truck
A 1938-39 Ford 1 1/2-ton truck on the grounds of The Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch, just outside of Longmont, Colo. (Daniel J. Schneider)

Kodak Vericolor III Professional, Type S was the mainstay professional color negative film of the 1980s. Mine was a roll of 220 format of unknown expiration or storage.

Since VPS was discontinued in 1997, I know the film was likely 20 years old — maybe more. It was replaced as the natural-color negative film in Kodak’s lineup by Portra 160NC.

Kodak VPS 220
The roll in question: undated Kodak Vericolor III Professional, Type S (VPS) in 220 format. (Daniel J. Schneider)

The only camera I have that can make use of 220 film is my Pentax 6×7 (well, and my other Pentax 6×7), so I made sure to take it along on Expired Film Day. I took some other 220 film, as well — which will be the basis for my last Expired Film Day 2016 results post.

Since VPS is C-41 film, I had it processed at a lab, and then scanned it myself.

The results are only so-so. Of course, I have no idea how the film has been stored or how old it is — it could be over 30 years old. It came to me in its wrapper but without a box. It might’ve bounced around in some photographer’s bag for years, might’ve been baked on a hot dashboard, or stored in the cabinet above the toaster oven.

VPS is normally an ASA 160 film, but given the unknown age and storage conditions, I decided to compensate heavily — I rated it at ASA 20 with the intention of overexposing it by around three stops. It wasn’t enough.

1881 School in Lyons
The 1881 school building in Lyons, Colo., now houses the history museum. The town has an active preservation effort, and is home to a historic district and more than a dozen historic buildings. (Daniel J. Schneider)

As you can see, I experienced some severe color shifts, mostly to the blue spectrum, with some yellow/green apparent here and there. You can see the grain is pretty heavy, as well. I adjusted the exposure on the scans just a little bit in Photoshop so there would be something to show here.

I loaded the VPS in the parking lot of the Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Patch, outside of Longmont, and finished it in Lyons, Colo. Much of the roll was so dark, grainy and color-shifted it was beyond saving. Here I am presenting the five frames that seem the best of the roll.

In the far-away shot of the Lyons School there’s a narrow vertical band that I believe is a scanner artifact as it appears horizontally on a couple of the other shots, as well. Likely it’s time to do a more thorough cleaning of my scanner.

The banding on the first and last shots — those of the trucks — I think may be caused by this bit of the film being wound over the tape that attaches the film to the backing paper ends (remember that 220 film has no backing paper behind the film, just leaders taped to the ends of the film).

Lyons church entrance
The entrance to the Old Stone Congregational Church in Lyons, Colo. It was built in 1894-95 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. (Daniel J. Schneider)

Overall, I’m disappointed in the amount of damage to this film — mainly because I really like a couple of these photographs. But the unexpected, unwanted and awful are all part of the fun with expired film!

If I decide I really want to, I’m pretty sure I can recreate my favorites with fresh film later this year. Particularly the last one — I doubt that old GMC truck has moved in years.

Next up: Some much-less-expired Kodak Portra 160VC (also in 220 format).

Other Expired Film Day 2016 posts:

Lyons school building
Lyons, Colo., was founded in large part due to the quantity of quarriable stone in the vicinity, and that red, native sandstone is the primary material of many of the historic buildings in town. (Daniel J. Schneider)
1950 GMC truck tailgate
The tail end of a 1950 GMC pickup truck, the boards on the bed warping severly. Once a proud orange, it now sits on a trailer where it appears not to have moved in a decade or more. (Daniel J. Schneider)