A Positive Future for Film

Despite the ongoing closure of labs worldwide, Cinelab UK installed a new Photomec negative processor and ready for South African film productions shooting on film. The newly built environment is clinically clean and has a wow factor seldom seen in a film laboratory.

Clive Nichols, Chief Engineer (ex-Deluxe) masterminded the new installation and is rightly proud, particularly of the pristine negative produced by this processor. "The only Photomec machine with feed and take off at the same end greatly improves operational efficiency and with a move to Kodak kit chemistry, control and quality are much easier to maintain" explains Nichols.

Adding telecine, scanning and film recording to the lab means that once the original camera negative arrives it stays under one roof, a benefit unique to Cinelab London and much appreciated by clients and insurers alike.

Running night and day shifts, 16mm/35mm colour or B&W film is processed, and then telecined to Avid DnX or Apple ProRes files for editorial with a proxy for production. Paul Dean leads an experienced telecine department who view and provide lab reports for all rushes at the transfer stage. Close interaction with the DoP ensures that rushes are graded to create the intended final look.

Dean explains "we see the Colourist's role as an extension of the camera team, working closely with the DoP to ensure their creative vision is consistently and accurately portrayed" With less requirement for tape deliverables, the company now find the preferred method is to deliver encrypted digital files over Sohonet to editorial and production. The film is then securely vaulted until required for the final conform. Given the EDL, Cinelab then scan the original negative at either 2K or 4K resolution using the class leading Arriscan.

The digital-ICE infrared pass ensures the cleanest of results and using double flash HDR gives the best representation of the dynamic range present on film. Uncompressed DPX files are then delivered back to the post house for the final conform and grade.

Cinelab London have developed processing, telecine, scanning and deliverables packages specifically tailored to meet the needs and budgets of all film makers. From the major studios to students, they have a cost effective solution to enable any production to confidently choose the superior format of film, and ensure their project stands out from the digital crowd.

Still the majority of studio movies have a need for film deliverables, and for territories outside the UK Cinelab still produce film prints. Most importantly, the long term archive reliability of film is well proven. Last year they worked on film deliverables for over 25 features. Cinelab have five Arrilasers including an Arrilaser2, which are the industry standard and used for recording picture data back to film. With an optical camera they record Dolby Digital, analogue and DTS soundtracks. From here combined answer prints, interpositives and internegatives can be made.

The company is now the only film lab in the UK with a complete solution - taking digital elements and being able to create all of the film mastering and preservation elements through to final prints.


In 2014 there were 39 US release features shot on 35mm film proving that there is still a strong demand. More surprisingly these were not all big budget movies, demonstrating that with modest shooting ratios the cost of shooting on film can be competitive against digital. With increasing demand for 4K digital delivery, film is a simple acquisition solution not only fulfilling the technical requirements but with no cost overhead to the production until the final scan, conform and grade stage. Many 35mm archive negatives over 50 years old have inherent 4K resolution. With the latest Kodak Vision3 500T stock, resolution up to 8K can be achieved.

Cinelab London is pleased to announce Super 8mm film processing and 2k scanning service. Kodak have also appointed Cinelab London as an official re-seller of Super 8mm negative stock.

E-mail: enquiries@cinelab.co.uk
Call: +441753501500

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