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Film Lab Issues in the US?


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#1 Tim Shim

Tim Shim
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Posted 12 May 2006 - 10:50 AM

To all film labs and people in the industry - I'd like to hear your side of the story.

See, I sent in some unprocessed film to Bono's for processing and transfer to HD tapeless early January and till today haven't gotten back my footage. I've been corresponding with Tim Bono over the past few months starting in January when I sent my unprocessed film. Earlier, his response was that they'd have to gather sufficient lengths of stock to warrant a run. Later, it was some problem with my film needing rewashing. I emailed him again two weeks ago and he promised to give me an explanation and mentioned that there have been issues with film processing in the US. Today I got Tim's reply with this lengthy explanation:

----

Hi Tim,

I agree totally, it's beyond ridiculous. Here goes.

The film industry in the US is in shambles due to many factors that we
we're not able to control nor address. I'll give you the film lab
perspective. A processing machine without use will sour or exhaust
within three weeks or less. The processing machine must be run daily or
at least weekly to be kept on AIM and fresh. This is impossible to do
with the state of affairs in the states and Kodak has realized this just
recently. To recoup a machine (our machine) the cost is in excess of
$500 and we're good for another three weeks. At .18/foot which is list
price you have to run close to 3000/feet to even come close to breaking
even and this is a gross not net price. Not trying to give you a
business lesson here but I feel it important to explain.

We have come to the realization now that Kodak has copied our idea for
film kits that we had the correct idea 4 years ago when introduced. We
don't participate as a lab due to the pricing Kodak tries to force on us
and it's simply unacceptable. Having said all that we will be offering
packages to high definition and they will most likely be 5000ft and
10,000ft kits direct to drive. At these lengths we can make a fair
profit and that's what we're in business to do.

You happened to jump into this mess during a redefining stage and I do
apologize for that. The $95 premium fee didn't work as we had hoped and
we're discontinuing that too. In fact we've stopped all processing with
exception of black and white negative. To operate at a loss will close a
business and that won't happen here. We have two choices with your film,
either transfer now and you ignore the uneven drying that has taken
place on the non perf side or wait another week for me to clean the
machine up. It takes 3 solid days for a proper clean up. I will not run
your film through bad chemistry.

It's your choice and let me know how you would like to proceed.


Regards,

Tim Bono

----

Is this really an issue in the US right now? Myself not being in the US, I'd like some feedback from all ya American folks out there in Cinematography land.



Note that this issue only concerns Bono's film processing options - not it's telecine to HD tapeless transfers.

Also, please don't mistake this post as a disgruntled post against Bono - I think they do a fine job when it comes to HD tapeless transfers. Don't let this thread deter you from using their film to drive services.

Just be aware that they are now having problems with processing film.

Cheers.
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Aerial Filmworks

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Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc