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Hong Kong & South East Asia film labs


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#1 chris descor

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 06:16 AM

Hello
I live in Australia, I know of some film processing labs here, like Neglab for instance, and the Melbourne super8 lab, but I wanted to know about any film processing labs based in Hong Kong and/or South East Asia in general, that can process 16mm/35mm film, make workprints, and even sell film/short-ends/recans etc

I'm hoping the prices will be either the same or less expensive than in Australia. And I'am taking into consideration the distance.
I'm unsure if 16mm 100D Ektachrome can be processed at all in AUstralia, and if it is, probably extremely expensive.
I also would like to get workprints/positive prints done, as I'm not entirely interested in having digital intermediates done or telecine etc
I'm an amatuer and film-study student(but we are not using film this year, and dont get taught it now), but I shoot film for myself.
I've shoot super8 and so now aquired a 16mm, and want to shoot filmstock from Kodak, Fuji and ORWO etc
Negative film interests me, not only reversal, but I dont only want a telecine transfer to watch it, I want a work-print, positive made so that I can project it with my projector.
I've hand processed film before, but it takes a lot of effort and is unpredictable and I want to know other means of shooting film.

So, could anyone please recommend/suggest any film-processing labs as well as companies/places who sell short ends, in Hong Kong and/or South East Asia ? I've tried searching, but have only come up reallly with one place that looks very high-end and expensive.
I dont exactly have lots of cash to throw around. I want to use my money wisely.
It would be preferable if I didnt have to send film off to the USA to be processed and a work print made, or England for that matter, and then have to pay the stupid postage rates/prices, whereas I could use a lab closer to me, like in South East Asis, where hopefully its not as expensive and can do workprints and the postage to and from is not super-expensive.
YEs I know I live in AUstralia, so I dont need to be reminded of that.

thanks
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#2 Steve Zimmerman

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 07:42 AM

Be sure to shoot a test before commiting to shooting lots of reversal film. It can look extremely harsh if you don't shoot it right. I saw a test a friend did with 7285 100D, on an average sunny day, and the shadows were jet black. There was no detail at all on the dark sides of their face, or the shadows. You need HMI fill to bring up the shadows to 1-2 stops below the key light make it look more normal. Or you need to angle yourself and the subject to the sun/lighting so they are completely lit by the sun, or all in the shade. Unless that is the look you are going for. If designed well it can look nice too, like in Man on Fire

The book "New Cinematographers" has a section on Buffalo '66 which was shot on an old kind of VNF reversal film. It was made without a digital intermediate, so the prints were very contrasty with burned-in bright areas. You either need very controlled lighting and spot on exposure or digital intermediate, like Man on Fire or Domino, to get all the high contrast detail on the camera original on the screen. I think you can read most of the Buffalo '66 section here:
http://www.amazon.co...ader_1856693341

I've seen Buffalo '66 twice on TV, once was on an old dvd and it was completely washed out looking. Just like the captures here:
http://www.dvdbeaver...falo_66.htm#b66
The second time was on a High Def channel and the colors and detail were so much richer, they must have scanned the camera original for that transfer. I don't know if that transfer has been released on video.

I just got a 200ft short end of 5285 myself, and will be shooting a test soon with my anamorphic lomos. I called Dwayne's photo, and they said they will E-6 develop short rolls, and prep for telecine.

Steve

Edited by Steve Zimmerman, 27 April 2010 - 07:45 AM.

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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 05:10 PM

There is a global lab directory on Kodak's website at
http://motion.kodak....ctory/index.htm

You will find three labs in Hong Kong and one in Singapore, for instance.

Check the facts - the Kodak list isn't always up to date. For example FilmPlus in Melbourne is listed, but on their website they announce that they no longer process film.

  • Also, consider a few things before you decide to process or buy stock overseas.
  • How do you know the quality is OK? You go to a lot of trouble to expose your film correctly, you don't want to ruin it all in a cheap and quick process to save a few dollars.
  • How will you ship the unprocessed stock? - normal airfreight will be X-rayed.
  • How long will it take, and how will you communicate if anything is wrong?
  • You are asking about not just processing, but also work-printing. One-light? Colour-corrected? That's not cheap, and in fact workprinting isn't at all routine any more.
Personally I'd recommend trying to get your work done in Australia. Neglab can process your negative but not print it. You'd have to go to Deluxe in Sydney or Melbourne for that. In NZ you can choose between Filmlab in Auckland (processing only), or processing & printing at Park Road Post in Wellington. Not sure about 16mm reversal processing any more. Richard Tuohy at Nanolab might be able to advise.
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#4 Henri Titchen

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 05:23 PM

Hi Chris,

Your idea of using an asian lab is interesting.

Some assorted points that "may" help with decision making.

1) Australian labs seem open to bargaining especially for students
2) Due to the current difference between the Aussie and NZ $ then Park Road Post and other NZ labs mentioned by Dominic Case may be a good choice.
3) I have posted low ASA stocks internationally with no apparent x-ray fogging. Make sure you don't send unprocessed stock via "surface mail" it may take 3mths to arrive.
4) I tried to use an asian lab but found that language was an issue.
5) The Aussie $ is very strong at the moment, (especially against the Euro). Might be worth looking at European labs.

If you find a lab in Asia that you are happy with please let us know!!

For short ends I would try the NSW shop called "The Stock Shop". They have a lot of 35mm....not sure about 16mm.

H.

Edited by Henri Titchen, 01 May 2010 - 05:25 PM.

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#5 Dominic Case

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 12:50 AM

3) I have posted low ASA stocks internationally with no apparent x-ray fogging.

Doesn't mean it's safe to do so. You were lucky. Perhaps you park without paying - and you often get away with it. Doesn't mean you'll never get booked. It's a risk that you'll get your images ruined.
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#6 Henri Titchen

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 07:07 AM

Dominic, yes you are correct, it is a definite risk.

Some other risks worth considering are poor handling of the packages. Once I received film that had badly dented cans with some minor damage to stock inside. Posting/shipping in the heat of summer might result in the package sitting in the sun for hours....it can't be good for the film.

H

Doesn't mean it's safe to do so. You were lucky. Perhaps you park without paying - and you often get away with it. Doesn't mean you'll never get booked. It's a risk that you'll get your images ruined.


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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:11 AM

I have a personal policy that with camera negatives, a human being has to travel with it. I prefer it being driven, so even if the driver is killed, the film has a good chance of surviving, whereas in a plane crash, I assume everything will be destroyed by the impact. I joke around a lot on this site, but I am serious here: I always have a film runner take my film to the lab.


Any job I shoot that is worth serious money, I have negative insurance on, but I still don't take any chances with some silly shipping error.


In the U.S., at least, the postal service will only replace damaged, missing, or destroyed film with a like amount of unexposed footage.


Unless there is no other laboratory option, I would NOT ship my film across an ocean, by sea or by air.

There's too much bullsh!t that can happen on the inspection end too, some f*cktard first day on the job with the X-ray machine that doesn't know how to read "DO NOT X-RAY. HAND INSPECT ONLY. CONTAINS UNDEVELOPED PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM" labels.

It doesn't just happen to the little guys; remember that "Lost" had to reshoot an entire episode because of some genius at the airport with a low IQ and a sense of authority that decided on the bright idea to send 1,000 foot rolls of latent imaged film through a high-powered X-ray machine.

With a handler that wouldn't have happened.
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#8 Dominic Case

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 05:43 PM

even if the driver is killed, the film has a good chance of surviving

I hope you aren't as hard-hearted as you sound here, Karl.

I joke around a lot on this site, but I am serious here

OMG, perhaps you are :blink:

More to the point:

In the U.S., at least, the postal service will only replace damaged, missing, or destroyed film with a like amount of unexposed footage.

Your argument is weakened a little by the fact that most labs have the same policy. But you can't avoid using a lab :) - you can avoid the postal service or unsupervised shipping.
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 06:45 PM

How about labs in India -- it's roughly as close as Australia, and they have a huge industry there. There are companies such as "Reels on Wheels" and "Midnight Express" that specialize in shipping undeveloped film and camera original video tape.



-- J.S.
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#10 chris descor

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 06:49 AM

yes India! thank you for reminding me.
I wonder what good affordable labs they have there?
i'll check the kodak list.
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#11 Dominic Case

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:06 PM

How about labs in India -- it's roughly as close as Australia,

But John, Chris lives in Australia - how can India be as close as Australia? Nothing's as close as Australia.

Many countries have absolutely no film labs any more. But if you are fortunate enough to live in one that has one or more, it seems wilful and somewhat contrary to try so hard to process elsewhere - with all the risks that that entails.
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#12 K Borowski

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 08:40 AM

I hope you aren't as hard-hearted as you sound here, Karl.

OMG, perhaps you are :blink:




Hey Dominic. I don't want it to come across as my saying to the "film runner:" "If this film doesn't make it in-tact, don't come out of the situation alive." I'm saying that I want to put the film in the safest situation possible, even a situation that could kill a human being (a car crash) the film will probably still survive. Whereas on a plane, my understanding is that everything is destroyed. Same thing with a ship.

But no, I don't have the attitude of "Save the film! Save the film! The boat is really sinking!" then someone else in the background quietly asks me "Wait, what about the actors. Do we wait until we get the film out to help them?" (Jaws) ;)




Another thing: I think it is very important to have a knowledgeable human handler with a run of film. Hand delivery is the only real method to ensure this. Think of the guy in the post office yelling "Hey Tony. What does Fraeh-gee-lay mean?" or "Hey, did that thing we just inspect all those packages with use X-rays. I just found a label on here that says not to.." or, God forbid "Hey look, looks like old films. Let's open 'em up and take a look to make sure there isn't anthrax inside."

Edited by Karl Borowski, 07 May 2010 - 08:43 AM.

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#13 Dominic Case

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 05:28 PM

Think of the guy in the post office yelling "Hey Tony. What does Fraeh-gee-lay mean?" or "Hey, did that thing we just inspect all those packages with use X-rays.

Everyone has stories, but I always think of the ones about Australian Customs officials back in the 60s and 70s opening cans of exposed unprocessed stock to check they weren't pornographic films.

Australian officialdom was a little more sensitive in those days. (Well, not sensitive so much as clodhoppingly prurient.) Security wasn't about the threat of bombs, it was about the threat of permissiveness.

knowledgeable human handler

But in terms of you ensuring that the runner always takes care of the film, (a good thing), there are threads around that question the idea that you entrust the most valuable thing to come out of the day's work (a roll or two of negative) to the most junior, inexperienced person in the crew.
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#14 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 07:50 PM

But in terms of you ensuring that the runner always takes care of the film, (a good thing), there are threads around that question the idea that you entrust the most valuable thing to come out of the day's work (a roll or two of negative) to the most junior, inexperienced person in the crew.


This thread brings to mind a story I once read. CBC produced a series called "The Beachcomers" <http://en.wikipedia....e_Beachcombers> which was filmed at a location on the west coast. The story was that one woman's first job at the CBC was to stick the days exposed film in a backpack and run down the highway on her Motorcycle, as the policy of the ferry boat was that as motorcycles were small they would let them on regardless of the lineup of cars and trucks. She had to race some days to meet the ferry. The motorcycle was also allowed to be the first off at the other end, so she could race off to Vancouver to get the film processed the same day.
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#15 John Sprung

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:44 PM

But John, Chris lives in Australia - how can India be as close as Australia?


My understanding of the question was that he lives in Australia, but is shooting in an undisclosed location on the mainland of Asia. In that case, the logistics may or may not favor shipping to India.




-- J.S.
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