Burning Old Films

I traveled to Rochester with producers Annelise Ogaard and Akil Gibbons to visit the George Eastman House and torch a bunch of hopeless nitrocellulose.  Until 1951, film stock was made by dissolving cotton in nitroglycerine.  The result was a strong, clear plastic with the same properties as gun cotton or flash paper.  When it was exposed to too much heat (like, a carbon arc flame in a projector) it had a tendency burn rapidly.  It creates its own oxygen so it can even burn underwater.  We lit some on fire and shot it at 120fps. Enjoy.