Hi, new to the forums and this is the only place I've been able to find that discusses these types of topics!
I've been having a number of archival films scanned from the National Archives. The footage has always looked pretty rough which I attributed to it being archival film. However after my last order and finally being discouraged enough by the footage I tried a different lab and the results are night and day.
As someone who has paid many thousands of dollars to the first lab over the years, I feel a bit ripped off. The new lab i went with is no more expensive, and the footage is far different.
This is not a case of simply sending them better films either, I have dozens of films from the older lab and they all exhibit the same problems vs all the films I sent to the new lab which do not have these problems.
Here is what i'm noticing.
With the old lab, the footage has a very odd and very heavy color noise. The highlights always seem to have a green tint to them, the blacks always purple, and overall everything is just very washed out and ugly. On some films, color information seems to be missing enough to where i've never been able to repair it. The lab owner has always told me that archival films are just rough, many of them are copies, and it is what it is.
So I sent some films to a new lab, and the footage looks like it was shot yesterday. Footage from the 1940s all the way through the 1960s. While some of the footage is soft such as that on edited films, the color is correct. And on the unedited raw reels, the footage is so sharp, lacks the color noise, and is nicely color balanced.
I've attached examples screencaps below. These were both scanned and delivered at 1080, 23.976. These are both probably premium examples from each lab and all films from each lab exhibit the same characteristics. I'd appreciate any advice.