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What is the world coming to? (Noticed this about Colorlab)


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#1 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:54 PM

I have been looking for a lab that offers good prices for student processing and I thought I had found it with Colorlab. At 0.135/ft for 16mm, it seemed too good to be true! Then I looked at their agreement that all customers must sign and saw this...

 

"COLORLAB does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage to such film or tapes from any cause whatsoever, including negligence by COLORLAB technical or 

administrative staff. "
 
WTF? Why would anyone want to deal with this sort of thing? I love film and all but no wonder people don't want to deal with it anymore.
 
 

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#2 Heikki Repo

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 04:43 PM

It was a common practice of professional motion picture film labs here in Finland even when film was the only real choice for filmmakers to only replace the raw material in case the lab had ruined the film. There are no such labs that are going to pay for your lost production days, equipment rent etc. You take a production insurance to cover such catastrophic but rare occasions.
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 04:48 PM

Colorlab isn't a big player and seems to work on the basis that a film has production insurance.

 

These are the conditions of Deluxe. They also have limitations because they can't be responsible for the value of a re shoot.  

 

https://billpay.bydeluxe.com/TandS/

 

Labs tend to restrict themselves to replacing raw material.


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#4 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 05:31 PM

 You take a production insurance to cover such catastrophic but rare occasions.

But that message implies they dont even have to replace your stock or even offer a refund of your fees! Imagine a mechanic telling you "if I blow up your engine while giving you an oil change, I am not responsible AND you still have to pay me for the oil change!" Absurd.


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#5 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 05:36 PM

Labs tend to restrict themselves to replacing raw material.

That is an acceptable risk. But that is not what Colorlab said...theirs do not even seem to give the customer the right to get raw stock replaced.


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#6 Chris Millar

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 06:00 PM

I think that clause is there to make it crystal clear in at least layman's legal terms that they won't be having anything to do with compensating production costs.

But given the choice between stock replacement and the bad press resulting from not doing so, they'd be mad not to replace your stock.

Even if it doesn't say they will replace your stock, its pretty clear from the context of what had been discussed already that if things went south in processing that stock costs are the least of your worries
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#7 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 07:46 PM

All film labs have that disclaimer, it has as much to do with studio negative insurance as anything else. Lab problems and now digital corruption happen even on the biggest best funded productions and those problems are covered under production insurance and completion bonds, etc. Labs do try to make good with credit for services when the rare mistake happens.


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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 12:27 PM

Colorlab is good people. They would work with you as much as possible but those types of issues should be covered under your production insurance.

 

If there was a major fowl-up it could cost them their business and/or their personal savings & house so they need to be protected. These days we should be glad there's a lab open.


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#9 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 12:36 PM

 These days we should be glad there's a lab open.

I understand what you are getting at but still. What happened to personal accountability?

 

And why dont they have insurance if they are in business?


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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 12:56 PM

It may come down to the costs, they may have a no frills operation that enables them to keep the costs down. Although, your issue seems to be more of a service one about checking a DVD that has a corrupt file and and sending you an uncorrupted file.  I've never any dealings with this lab, so I can't comment on their normal service in handling issues which aren't that unusual.   


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#11 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 01:26 PM

But that message implies they dont even have to replace your stock or even offer a refund of your fees! Imagine a mechanic telling you "if I blow up your engine while giving you an oil change, I am not responsible AND you still have to pay me for the oil change!" Absurd.

No. It doesn't say that. I don't know about the US but no English court would find that such a term was implied because it isn't even mentioned.

Obviously if they didn't perform the service contracted for you wouldn't have to pay for it and they'd have to replace any lost material.

If you were contracted to shoot footage you'd want a disclaimer against, say, a camera fault which ruined it. Otherwise the costs could ruin you. It's just the same.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 21 May 2014 - 01:30 PM.

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#12 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 01:39 PM

No. It doesn't say that. I don't know about the US but no English court would find that such a term was implied because it isn't even mentioned.

Obviously if they didn't perform the service contracted for you wouldn't have to pay for it and they'd have to replace any lost material.

If you were contracted to shoot footage you'd want a disclaimer against, say, a camera fault which ruined it. Otherwise the costs could ruin you. It's just the same.

Of course I do not expect a company to be liable for bad footage. But what I read does make it sound like a customer is signing away the rights to any restitution if the lab makes a grave mistake. At my budget level, I can live with having to reshoot if my actors are up for it because they are taking reduced rate anyway but I cannot handle it if the stock gets wiped out and I cant get replacement.


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#13 Chris Elardo

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 06:58 PM

I've dealt with Colorlab many times and agree with Will. They do lots of archival preservation stuff and have a really good crew. They do small batches no problem and have great prices. I see what your saying Matthew but they've been really easy to work with doing just my small projects and there are several labs much closer to me that I could use. I send my stuff to the one in Rockville, Md.


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#14 Will Montgomery

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 07:52 PM

I understand what you are getting at but still. What happened to personal accountability?

 

And why dont they have insurance if they are in business?

I totally agree about their accountability and often they would too, I'm just talking about how the business works.

 

If something major happened at Fotokem or any of the older giant labs, they wouldn't just "make it right." You, them, your insurance company & their insurance company would go into long negotiations with them about how the costs would be handled...but if it was a small batch even with a big boy they'd probably just replace your film to make it easy on them time-wise...they never HAD to do it automatically.

 

It's just like parking lots saying that leaving stuff in your car there is at your own risk. They can't completely wave responsibly by putting up a sign or stating a policy...if they messed up they would be accountable, it might just take a while and some money to get to that point legally. Make sense?

 

I can live with having to reshoot if my actors are up for it because they are taking reduced rate anyway but I cannot handle it if the stock gets wiped out and I cant get replacement.

 

If that's a concern you might want to look into insurance or maybe the lab can direct you to companies that do that...it can be affordable. I would look at it like (slightly more likely than) a freak hurricane or something...it can happen, rarely with good labs.


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#15 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 09:06 PM

If that's a concern you might want to look into insurance or maybe the lab can direct you to companies that do that...it can be affordable. I would look at it like (slightly more likely than) a freak hurricane or something...it can happen, rarely with good labs.

The problem with that is that I often shot with short ends and recans which insurance will not cover. If I shot everything "Hollywood style" then I would never be able to make a feature.


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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 12:47 AM

Dude, that is just C.Y.A., why you trippin'?!! These policies have been in place for LITERALLY DECADES. You're NOT gonna get around 'em so why worry about 'em. Labs RARELY screw up. That's bad for business and right now, labs need ALL the business they can get. YOU'RE WAY MORE LIKELY to screw up your footage that they ade.
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#17 Mark Dunn

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:18 AM

In fact you'd find that a lab which spoiled footage would replace it and process it free. Those Ts and Cs don't actually say they wouldn't. They're to attempt to put a limit on consequential damages.

In England an unfair term is unenforceable anyway- I don't know about the US. Business-to-business terms- and that's what this transaction is- can be more restrictive than consumer contracts because both parties are assumed to know what they are about and to have equal negotiating power.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 28 May 2014 - 04:19 AM.

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