View of the processor showing the daylight film load station and processor control station. (Photo courtesy of Alpha Grip.)
Almost a century after Technicolor built a film lab in a railway car for the silent movie The Gulf Between on location in Jacksonville, Florida, Alpha Grip has outfitted the first of a series of mobile film laboratories in a 42-foot semi truck.
“It’s a 100-year-old solution to the problem of all the lab closures,” says John Tadros, Managing Director of Alpha Grip and Alpha Mobile Laboratories, based at Shepperton Studios in the UK. “A number of directors and DPs still want to shoot film. If you can offer the convenience of a laboratory that sits right alongside the camera, lighting and grip trucks on set, the lab becomes part of the production instead of a postproduction function.”
Built in England’s Shepperton Studios, Alpha Grip has designed the first of a series of mobile film processing laboratories. Alpha Lab's 44-foot trailer showcases how mobility in film processing is providing flexibility to filmmakers who choose film. This high-tech facility allows filmmakers to process film on location eliminating the need for daily couriers. It is capable of processing 20,000 ft of film during each 8-hour shift. Alpha Lab works in conjunction with digital dailies companies so the director will know if they got their shot before they leave the location. All chemical waste is collected and disposed of offsite.
Take a look inside the trailer:
Acmeworks President Steve Hagel
When animation studios began moving from traditional ink and paint to digital ink and paint in the late 1990s, Steve Hagel was manager of sales and marketing for Chromacolour North America, Ltd., a major supplier of equipment and materials to the animation industry. The physical production of animation was changing, but that didn’t necessarily spell gloom and doom. In fact, he saw a new business opportunity.
“Big animation studios still had a film archiving policy, so they needed to get from digital back to film. But film recording was very expensive and not sustainable on a large scale,” he points out. “So there was an opportunity to develop a cost-effective film recording process aimed at archiving television animation.”
Negative is prepared at VISION GLOBALE
In June of 2013, co-owners Adrian Bull and John Mahtani acquired a film lab that had been in operation for 37 years. Identifying a need in the London marketplace for a full-service film facility with an eye towards the future, they rebranded the company Cinelab and never looked back. Their mission – to deliver high-quality, reliable film processing services and enhanced digital solutions, ensuring that content creators in the UK and Europe can confidently choose film as part of their creative pallet.
Today, Cinelab London is flourishing and has expanded to provide a complete service offering for film clients. “What we acquired was purely a photochemical lab, primarily focused on trailers,” says Bull, who also serves as managing director. “We knew we needed to reimagine and reinvent the business in order to survive. Extending our service sector into commercials, features, and high-end broadcast dramas was a first step, but beyond that, we needed to deliver the digital services that allow people to get in and out of film as needed.
Filmmakers who have spent any amount of time in Hollywood are already familiar with FotoKem, which has been providing post production services to the industry for five decades. From early on, the facility has been a trusted resource for studio projects, television shows, independent films, and commercial production. Headquartered in Burbank, Calif., FotoKem enjoys a unique role in the industry as an independently owned-and-operated post facility with a global reach. Their process embodies technological innovation and a passion for supporting filmmakers.
Today, emerging filmmakers and seasoned pros alike continue to rely on FotoKem’s wide range of expertise for navigating the many creative choices available for storytelling. "We are extremely proud of our history in the post production industry, and our longstanding relationships with so many gifted filmmakers,” says President and CEO William Brodersen. “Our transition into file-based workflows was led by the talented people that work here. Over the last decade, we have been able to grow technically and build an incredible, professional team of experts that has made FotoKem what we are now."