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Black & White Processing in the U.S.?


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#1 Tim Carroll

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 10:10 AM

Can anyone recommend a good Black & White processing house here in the U.S.? I have had great success with Filmworkers/Astro in Chicago for all our color processing and transfers, but they do not process B&W. And the place I used for a number of years, Franklin Film Lab, went out of business when Kodak changed the B&W chemicals, something about it screwing up their equipment.

I sent a couple of small rolls to a certain lab that is named for an institute of higher learning, and after they processed them and sent the rolls to Chicago for transfer, they were quite dirty, and as our guy in Chicago said, the dirt was "heeled over" so it could not be removed with their clean and prep process. I know this particular lab does alot of work for students and I am suspecting that maybe their process is not top quality.

We need something better than this for the projects we are working on, so I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a top quality B&W processor here in the states?

As a side note, the ARRI SR1 and both mags we are using were serviced by ARRI New York about eighteen months ago. We did not have this problem on the last project we shot in color and had processed with Filmworkers. But could this dirt be something from the camera, or does it sound like just a dirty processing area? Most of the dirt was at the heads and tails of the rolls, but our telecine guy said the dirt went quite a bit further into the rolls than he is used to.

Thanks for any and all assistance,
-Tim Carroll
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#2 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:21 PM

Can anyone recommend a good Black & White processing house here in the U.S.?  I have had great success with Filmworkers/Astro in Chicago for all our color processing and transfers, but they do not process B&W.  And the place I used for a number of years, Franklin Film Lab, went out of business when Kodak changed the B&W chemicals, something about it screwing up their equipment.

I sent a couple of small rolls to a certain lab that is named for an institute of higher learning, and after they processed them and sent the rolls to Chicago for transfer, they were quite dirty, and as our guy in Chicago said, the dirt was "heeled over" so it could not be removed with their clean and prep process.  I know this particular lab does alot of work for students and I am suspecting that maybe their process is not top quality.

We need something better than this for the projects we are working on, so I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a top quality B&W processor here in the states?

As a side note, the ARRI SR1 and both mags we are using were serviced by ARRI New York about eighteen months ago.  We did not have this problem on the last project we shot in color and had processed with Filmworkers.  But could this dirt be something from the camera, or does it sound like just a dirty processing area?  Most of the dirt was at the heads and tails of the rolls, but our telecine guy said the dirt went quite a bit further into the rolls than he is used to.

Thanks for any and all assistance,
-Tim Carroll

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



You can search using the Lab Locator tool on the Kodak website:

http://www.kodak.com...=0.1.4.13&lc=en

The information on the processes offered is provided by each lab:

http://www.kodak.com....1.4.13.4&lc=en

Shadow image dirt in the camera or camera raw stock shows up as black on the final screen image, and is usually most noticed as "hairs in the gate". Handling-related dirt is more random, and will appear white if it is on a negative element. "Healed over" dirt implies that it got on the film while the film was wet during processing, and the emulsion embedded the dirt as it dried.
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:29 PM

John,

As always, thanks for the feedback. Here is what my transfer guy had to say about the film,

"What I was seeing were specks and chunks of dirt. The sizes and shapes varied, there was no pattern. The rolls were dirtier at the heads and tails which is to be expected, but this continued further than just the handling areas (there is always an extra amount of dirt in the handling areas, where the camera loader, the processor, and the prep people have to touch the film to work with it.) As for the cleaning machine, sometimes if the dirt is introduced early in the camera or processing, the processor actually seals the dirt into the film and our cleaning machine cannot remove this dirt. We say that the dirt is "heeled-over". The machine is mostly to remove what we call loose dirt, which is physical debris collected on the film."

He did not notice any "hairs in the gate" and I am meticulous about cleaning the gate and film track every time I change mags. Does it sound like processing dirt to you?

Thanks,
-Tim Carroll
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:13 PM

As I noted, "healed over" dirt usually got on the film while it was wet, and then later dried into the emulsion. Likely happened during processing.

The hopefully rare particle of dirt that gets on the film during the emulsion coating process often causes a colored effect around the particle, sometimes with a "comet tail" where the wet emulsion was dragged by the particle.
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#5 Alain LeTourneau

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:02 PM

Can anyone recommend a good Black & White processing house here in the U.S.?  I have had great success with Filmworkers/Astro in Chicago for all our color processing and transfers, but they do not process B&W.  And the place I used for a number of years, Franklin Film Lab, went out of business when Kodak changed the B&W chemicals, something about it screwing up their equipment.

Thanks for any and all assistance,
-Tim Carroll

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>




I've used Forde (Seattle) with good results.

Alain
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#6 Robert Hughes

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 11:48 PM

Film and Video Services in Minneapolis processes b&w reversal, Super8 and 16mm:

filmvideoservices.net
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#7 Robert Hughes

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 12:06 AM

Also, Western Cine aka the Cinema Lab does b&w negative, 16 & 35mm:

http://www.thecinemalab.com/
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#8 Dominic Case

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 06:37 PM

"Healed over" dirt cannot be removed by mormal ultrasomic cleaning, as you say.

However, it's possible that it might be removed by rewashing. (Running the film through the processor again). This causes the emulsion to swell and soften, thus opening up its grip on the dirt particles. (That's how the dirt got "healed over" in the first place, by adhering to the soft swollen emulsion and then drying in).

However, if the dirt came from the processor itself, rewashing will simply result in one lot of dirt being replaced by another, unless the source of dirt has been acknowledged and removed.

Whatever you do, DO NOT get your favourite lab to rewash the negative in a colour neg machine, however clean it is. The bleach bath in the colour process will remove your silver image. Completely. Cleanliness will then be a minor irrelevancy :o
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC