Jump to content


Photo

Shooting and processing 35mm in Vancouver, BC


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Alex Birrell

Alex Birrell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Student
  • London, UK

Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:35 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I was wondering if anyone had any advice for shooting and processing 35mm in Vancouver, BC. I know there are no local labs anymore but it seems like cameras won't be a problem with Panavision and Keslow in the city.

 

In terms of processing and scanning it looks like either MELS in Montreal or Fotokem in Los Angeles would be the nearest options. Does anyone have any experience with lower end productions with either or both labs? This is for a low budget short film project (but with enough budget for film - I'm more concerned with how the film will be treated and how much of a customised experience it will be - I've had terrible best light rushes riddled with dust on a previous low budget project because of lack of interest of the lab and had to get everything retransferred!)

 

Also, can anyone fill me in on safe practices for shipping exposed but unprocessed negative and/or recommend a good shipping company for it?

 

Many thanks!


  • 0

#2 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3723 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 November 2017 - 12:36 PM

Well, your best bet all the way across the board is Panavision. They do great deals and have a well maintained camera.

In terms of lab work... Fotokem is the most expensive lab in the US today. Their processing rate is high, but manageable... it's the transfer rate that will kill you.

They charge $350/hr for 1080p telecine and $0.11/frame for 4k and higher scans. Cinelab in Boston, MA charges .30/ft for process + 1080p transfer. .40/ft for process and 4k scan.

Since you aren't local to either lab, the "risk" of shipping is nearly the same from where you are to Fotokem or Boston. The problem then lies with the lab work itself.

Now I send everything I shoot personally to Cinelab and most of my clients use FotoKem. I do think both labs do nearly the same quality work, they're both clean, they won't leave dirt on your film or anything like that. My heads and tails are always spotless and the transfers are always good.

So it just depends on the risk really. For a short film, you can probably risk more than on a feature for instance.

Shipping is a huge problem due to Xray scanning done with most shipping companies. Ground shipping however is a very different business than air. So that's one thing to think about. Everything that goes on an airplane is scanned, not everything that goes into a truck is scanned.

I've not had an issue with Xray damage yet... I've sent cinelab tons of 500 ISO film and it's always come out fine.

So there ya got it... lots of ancillary info, but I hope 'good' info from personal experiences!
  • 0

#3 Samuel Berger

Samuel Berger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 650 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Seattle

Posted 27 November 2017 - 12:44 PM

It sucks for both of us (me and OP) that Alpha Cine over here in Seattle folded. Now everything has to be shipped around the world, risking exposure to x-rays.

 

I do find it odd that you can't find processing in Vancouver. I've lived there in the 90's and a lot of film work was being done.


  • 0

#4 Jeff L'Heureux

Jeff L'Heureux
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 98 posts
  • Director
  • Vancouver, Canada

Posted 27 November 2017 - 07:28 PM

MELS in Montreal is great.  I used them the last time I shot film in Vancouver, and FedEx'd the negative over there with no fear of it being x-rayed at all since it never crossed a border.


  • 2

#5 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3723 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 November 2017 - 09:39 PM

MELS in Montreal is great.  I used them the last time I shot film in Vancouver, and FedEx'd the negative over there with no fear of it being x-rayed at all since it never crossed a border.


Ohh didn't know it was still running! Sweet!
  • 0

#6 Alex Birrell

Alex Birrell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Student
  • London, UK

Posted 28 November 2017 - 11:47 AM

Thanks for the replies, looks like MELS would be the best option then. Wish I could find a way to get negative from the UK to Canada safely though - it's so much cheaper at home and easier to find a deal - even with the good exchange rate!


  • 0

#7 Jean-Louis Seguin

Jean-Louis Seguin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 719 posts
  • Other
  • Montreal, Canada

Posted 28 November 2017 - 05:43 PM

How is it that new Kodak stock manufactured in North America would be cheaper in the UK?

It makes no sense to me.


  • 0

#8 Alex Birrell

Alex Birrell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Student
  • London, UK

Posted 28 November 2017 - 06:42 PM

We get a lot more recans and short ends - a lot of these "re-cans" are actually completely untouched and are left over from the bigger US productions being filmed in the UK. I've compared these prices with a similar supplier in L.A and the UK prices come out cheaper. 


  • 0

#9 Jean-Louis Seguin

Jean-Louis Seguin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 719 posts
  • Other
  • Montreal, Canada

Posted 28 November 2017 - 07:11 PM

You didn't mention using recans and short ends.

I assumed you were comparing list prices from Kodak for brand new stock.


  • 0

#10 Alex Birrell

Alex Birrell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Student
  • London, UK

Posted 28 November 2017 - 08:21 PM

You can't easily find out the UK list price now without getting in touch with Kodak directly but back in 2012 the Kodak catalogue price in the UK was a little cheaper than the US one - not sure about the Canadian one. It sometimes works out that way. I've looked at the digital options and I've been really surprised how much more hire companies in the US and Canada charge for the Alexa Mini compared to the UK too. 


  • 0

#11 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 28 November 2017 - 11:15 PM

Cool to hear MELS is running, I didn't know that!


  • 0

#12 Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 159 posts
  • Other

Posted 30 November 2017 - 10:32 PM

Another option is Niagara Film Lab in Ontario. I've used them a couple times now. Not sure how clean they are compared to other labs though. Scanning is okay, though I did notice something weird with their Super 16 scanning. Pricing doesn't seem bad.


  • 0

#13 Alex Birrell

Alex Birrell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Student
  • London, UK

Posted 02 December 2017 - 08:15 AM

Hi guys,

 

Thanks for all the answers! After a lot of research and consultation in seems we're going to have to shoot digital after all.

 

Panavision Vancouver were really helpful but made it clear that their film cameras were in storage and it would take a lot of money to get them out, serviced and ready for shooting. Keslow had a couple of camera options available but no 2 perf anymore.

 

EVERYONE commented how much it could risky to ship the film back and forth to Montreal despite MELS there being very helpful and immediately coming back with a quote. For this production it just seems too risky - we won't be able to reshoot anything if negative gets ruined/fogged/lost etc. 

 

Would have been great but such a shame! Looks like Alexa with anamorphic so not too shabby at all but I was really looking forward to the 35mm experience!


  • 0

#14 Samuel Berger

Samuel Berger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 650 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Seattle

Posted 02 December 2017 - 01:08 PM

Hi guys,

 

Thanks for all the answers! After a lot of research and consultation in seems we're going to have to shoot digital after all.

 

The lab closures are going to be the nail in the coffin.


  • 0


Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Opal

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

The Slider

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc