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Looking for a recommendation of a full service lab


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#1 ReadyTeddy

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 11:55 AM

I am working on a documentary in 35mm... my first 35mm project.

I'm having issues with my lab, however. Turns out they run a lot less 35mm than they claimed in their sales pitch to me. They batch process their 35mm when they have enough volume to "justify" a run. That means I am waiting weeks for my film to get done and can't see my dailies in any reasonable amount of time.

They also outsource their telecine work and offer very few options... just SD miniDV and DVCAM. No HD.

They claim they are getting set up for 2K and 4K scanning capabilities, but they have been saying that since last year. Right now they got zilch.

I know I ain't Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, but can anyone recommend a full service lab that knows what it is doing and is willing to make a deal on pricing with a guy like me to encourage independent or personal filmmaking?

What I would like to do is telecine to HD since I can cut a "film" in it natively that I can then video out to HD broadcast or DVD... but I want to be able to do a quality DI and be able to print to 35mm to distribute the film theatrically. I would prefer to do this all with the same lab and organization.

Am I smoking crack? Can anyone help me?

If the labs are not willing to work to keep film alive then we're all going to end up doing wedding videos... I am having a hard time finding PAs who know how to work an exposure meter.
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#2 Sam Wells

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 12:26 PM

There are plenty of labs that can do what you want, and they do dailies well, daily - but where are you ?

Postworks/The Lab/Moving Images in NYC; FotoKem in LA and more..

Deriving a "quality DI" from High Def is a whole issue in itself.

-Sam
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#3 ReadyTeddy

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 01:20 PM

Clarification to my prior post:

The 2K/4K DI and HD Telecine would be separate items.

I wouldn't want to print a 35mm release print from an HD data stream.

Ideally I am looking for a lab in the Northeast. However, because of electronic mail, cell phones and overnight air courier services it is less important where a lab is as opposed to the organization having a sincere commitment to filmmakers and the process of filmmaking.

If they have customer service reps who have the authority to cut deals, are honest, return calls promptly and then do the follow up on what they say, it doesn't really matter where the lab is...
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#4 Nathan Milford

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 01:20 PM

Postworks/The Lab/Moving Images in NYC


I second The Lab @ Postworks, (212) 661-2530

- nathan
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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 11:24 PM

Wll I gues I will respond to this...

I'm having issues with my lab, however. Turns out they run a lot less 35mm than they claimed in their sales pitch to me. They batch process their 35mm when they have enough volume to "justify" a run. That means I am waiting weeks for my film to get done and can't see my dailies in any reasonable amount of time.

Perhaps there was no sales pitch, nor any "claims" about volume of film run and 150' of 35mm negative does not exactly constitute "dailies" but more like a camera test. Perhaps also September is a slower month and your lab might be working hard at doing maintenence and upgrades like Hepa filters to their machines. And maybe they have a very dedicated and meticulous man who has been running film for 30 years as head of their color negative department. Maybe he has a zero defect policy for ecn-2 and maybe this lab does actually run millions of feet of film every year and they run every current process except E-6 with no defects. This does not excuse the timeframe issue but if you want a lab to work with you as this lab does with all of their customers a bit of understanding could go far, esp. if you are an individual shooting primarily with a 2C.

They also outsource their telecine work and offer very few options... just SD miniDV and DVCAM. No HD.

Perhaps they do not "outsource" their TK and have 2 444 cintel suites with keylinks in house and they are in a smaller market which already has a Spirit and a Shadow in it so this lab naturally works with these post houses.

They claim they are getting set up for 2K and 4K scanning capabilities, but they have been saying that since last year. Right now they got zilch.

Maybe this lab had a Baselight4 and a Scratch system in house for the month when you were there and are weighing these machines and others, and their considerable costs, very carefully as part of a 5 year plan.

I know I ain't Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, but can anyone recommend a full service lab that knows what it is doing and is willing to make a deal on pricing with a guy like me to encourage independent or personal filmmaking?

I know of a lab which has 7 feature length projects in both Super-16 and 35 in house right now and that bends over backwards to help people make their films on a budget when they have a real plan and idea for their workflow.

What I would like to do is telecine to HD since I can cut a "film" in it natively that I can then video out to HD broadcast or DVD... but I want to be able to do a quality DI and be able to print to 35mm to distribute the film theatrically. I would prefer to do this all with the same lab and organization.

The DuArt Courier is at Boston Camera, I think that MI Post is great we are working with them on a feature I am Dp on with 250 16mm rolls planned. a good DI is going to be 200K and a HD "DI" will be 90 or 100k or more.

Am I smoking crack? Can anyone help me?

If the labs are not willing to work to keep film alive then we're all going to end up doing wedding videos... I am having a hard time finding PAs who know how to work an exposure meter.


I have always found that the small dedicated film community is usually there to help and encourage the independent person who wants to make a film but it is a job and when there are suddenly 7 studio pictures shooting in a small market a good AC might not want to take his day off to work for $100.00.

My 0.02

Robert Houllahan
Filmmaker
Producer/DP "The Illustrator" a 100min feature
Director "happy" a short
Co-Owner Cinelab Inc.
www.cinelab.com
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