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Price differences between processing reversal and negative?


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#1 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 07:54 PM

So far, all of my filming has been on reversal film (mostly super 8 and a little 16mm.) However, I am planning to shoot some negative cine film in the very near future. This question relates to the 16mm format in particular. There is an one online source that suggests that developing of negative film is cheaper than reversal. Is this generally true for 16mm or does this differ from lab to lab in which case some labs would charge the same amount for the length of film, regardless if it is negative or reversal?
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 10:25 PM

Is this generally true for 16mm or does this differ from lab to lab in which case some labs would charge the same amount for the length of film, regardless if it is negative or reversal?


If you shoot negative you have to either Scan it or have a print made (sometime refered to as a workprint) in order to see your images. REversal you CAN see right away but you can optionaly scan it. In some cases you end up making a print and also scanning.

develop plus print is a bit more expensive than reversal i most places, But neg and scan may be a touch cheaper than reversal and scan. You have to check with the labs in your neighbourhood. I end up having to ship my film to toronto, and so I end up using one or the other of

B&W Film Factory (B&W negative and reversal mostly)
Exclusive Color Lab reversal
and Niagra Custom lab - B&W and COlour Negative mostly

All three have prices on their web site that you may be able to use for comparison purposes.
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#3 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 11:12 PM

"If you shoot negative you have to either Scan it or have a print made..."

That is correct but I was referring specifically to the cost of developing only (minus telecine.) With the project I am considering, the film will be telecined anyway so telecine costs would probably be identical regardless if I shot reversal or negative. I do know that there are some labs that offer both developing and telecine 'in-house' but I'm not sure at this point whether I'll be choosing this route. Thanks for the listing of the labs though they are in the US whereas I am in Australia!
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#4 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 11:20 PM

". Thanks for the listing of the labs though they are in the US whereas I am in Australia!

There are NOT in the US, They are in Canada! Please don't ever confuse the two. (althought Toronto seems to appear decked out in US flags in a lot of Movies - Short Circuit was the funiest as the 3 block area used as backgrounds is Very identifable)

I sugested them merly because I know all three post their prices for various servcies on their web site (In CANADAIAN dollars) (Nice and colourful like the Oz curency, and with pictures of the queen, but ours is still printed on paper.)

A lot of labs have a general "contact Us" website before they will give you any idea of their costs. You have to give them a lot of info before they will create a quote fro your project.

I am sure that dominic who runs a lab in your part of the world will have something to add.
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#5 Richardson Leao

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 08:34 PM

So far, all of my filming has been on reversal film (mostly super 8 and a little 16mm.) However, I am planning to shoot some negative cine film in the very near future. This question relates to the 16mm format in particular. There is an one online source that suggests that developing of negative film is cheaper than reversal. Is this generally true for 16mm or does this differ from lab to lab in which case some labs would charge the same amount for the length of film, regardless if it is negative or reversal?


There aren't many llabs that do reversal in australia. Film plus in Melb use to do it but i think now they only process BW reversal. They do reversal telecine though (i think). In my opinion, the advantage oof reversal is that you can process your self as there is no remjet layer. If you get an E6 kit from Vanbar you can easily do yourself. It costs ~150$ for 5L and that's enough to process probably a kilometer of film. In the end, probably you would have to send your reversal stock overseas, what would add the shipping, however, OS labs are far more cheaper than local ones but there's always the risk of some weirdo US custom guy to blast your film with x-ray.
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#6 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 08:42 PM

In 16mm, reversal is more expensive to process... usually 25 cents per ft compared to 12-18 cents per ft with neg. S8 neg is about a buck less per cart for Neg.
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#7 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 02:30 PM

Processing prices are set by the lab. The E-6 reversal process is a bit more complex to control. Often, smaller volume processes are more labor intensive, and so may cost more to run.
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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 02:35 PM

There is an one online source that suggests that developing of negative film is cheaper than reversal. Is this generally true for 16mm or does this differ from lab to lab in which case some labs would charge the same amount for the length of film, regardless if it is negative or reversal?


You are correct that most labs will process negative for cheaper, I'm sure John's correct about the process for reversal being harder, but also, many more people process negative so therefore more labs do it and the price is less.

Many labs in the U.S. are associated with telecine houses and often give processing discounts if you use their telecine.

For instance, in my home town, Dallas, TX, The Lab at Video Post & Transfer will process negative for $.15/ft if you use their telecine or $.18/ft if not.
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