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I finally started setting up the film lab!!!


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Are you talking to me? If so, without learning to process film, I couldn't afford to make films, besides in MY opinion setting the "look" of the film (bleached out, Vivid colors, high or low contrast, whatever) is a VERY inportant element of elisiting an emotional responce from an audience. Although, you do bring up one interesting point, The great yellow father above? So basically in your mind's eye, God looks a lot like Homer Simpson....and YOU'RE telling me I"M crazy. B)

 

The great yellow father is George Eastman, and his mighty sword is Eastman Kodak from whom all flmakers joy starts. You must be respectful or he will smight you with another cost increase

 

I worked in a lab as an intern in college. It is a full time undertaking. You need air and temperature control, densitometry to do anything repeatedly.

 

Yes you will get a "look" each and everytime you make a film run. Plus the emotional response of your audience will be your film looks like it was shot in a snow storm or in 1916.

 

Have fun cause you won't be shooting very much

 

As I said before Best of Luck. You will learn many new things and :D then give up

 

This is like brewing beer because there is no six pack in the fridge

 

Once again enjoy the experience I learned a lot and so will you. I made some very strange films with the labs optical printers.

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Or maybe from chronically posting stupidity on the internet. . .

 

The ''chronic stupidity'' as you put it (naturally, I think I'm a comeidic god) is my way of cooling off for a few hours every day after the many more of fatigue, nausea, tension headaches e.t.c.

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It is called a Silver Recovery Service and you have to pay them to pick up your silver from the silver recovery units and then they process it. Then you are credited something back for the silver. However, it is more an expense, not a method to generate money.

 

To me that seems an inefficient, why not just circulate silver like milk bottles, therefore you don't have to pay for it, slashing the cost of filmstocks.

 

you are out of your mind.

 

I hope you're not talking about me.

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Let me throw in my own endorsement for Kodak chemicals. I've only used RA-4 and C-41 chems from the company, but compared with Fuji Hunt Chemicals, I found them easier to mix, more consistant, and there's even a chemically-induced color change that insures proper mixing, and indicates good pH, I think. I also use Trebla Chemicals, but only because my C-41 processor takes special KIS chemistry that is modified from the standard version. When we outlab film at the studio I work at, our lab also uses all Kodak chemicals. The owner was telling me about one time they tried another brand, (maybe Agfa?), and the developer formed a black tar in the developer tank while it was floating around in there. He called someone else who was using the stuff, and that someone else said "Oh, that's normal; don't worry about it". He replies "If it's normal, then why don't Kodak's chemicals have the sludge?", and he promptly dumped several hundred dollars worth of it down the drain and went back to Kodak.

 

While chemicals slowly go bad over time, I've found Kodak's chemicals are much more durable than the company claims. Even when they start to turn brown (developer) or grey (bleach) or cloudy (fix), I've found they still work remarkably well with a little chemical rejuvenation (replenishment). Kodak pisses me off by doing everything in metrics sometimes (especially when it's obvious they're just using a rounded-off metric version of a customary unit), but I think I'm stuck with that no matter whom I buy from. Kodak's chemicals are probably going to be more expensive than Fuji's or Agfa's (if they still make MP chems, as Agfa has been broken up now that the parent company is bankrupt), but there's definitely a quality advantage. Plus, you're probably shooting mostly Kodak, so you're best off going with the chemicals that have been tested with Kodak film exclusively (although they might do some double checks with Fuji just to make sure there are no serious compatibility issues). I've heard of there being trouble when running Kodak and Fuji slide film through the same machine, forget whose chemicals that is with.

 

Keep in mind that, should you be able to order large amounts of the component chemicals, some of which are very expensive, you could mix the stuff up yourself, as Kodak has the formulas for ECN-2 up on their website, at least as of four years ago. Keep in mind also, there's different formulas for different machines, not so much developer as with bleach and fixer, so you'll have to make sure that you get the right chemical kit for your machine. Chemicals from Kodak for ECN-2 start at 40L or more, so you'll have to plop down a large ammount of money, and then maybe divide the kit up into usable chunks, storing the unused solution in floating-lid containers, or under nitrogen or helium.

 

They might be more expensive, but they're worth it. Be prepared to mix the stuff 10 gallons at a time. And don't mix a batch (foolishly) with only a couple hundred feet to process. I'd say you need tens of thousands of feet to process before you mix a batch, because it goes bad slowly as it oxidizes, even in a floating lid tank.

 

Theoretically, you can modify E-6 and C-41 to produce usable results with ECN-2 film, solely for the convenience of the smaller sized kits, but this obviously isn't what they are designed for, and I cannot vouch for the stability of films processed in such a manner. There's a different color developing agent (key developing ingredient in color developers, a highly complex benzene-based compound) in C-41 than in ECN-2, so the colors will not be developed properly, which may necessitate different printer lights, and cause crossover if you aren't careful. You can email Super8mm [at] aol [dot] com about these modifications, as he does them for his small movie lab work as 40L kits are too much for him to handle.

 

Matthew, a serious thread about setting up a processing laboratory isn't the right spot for silly jokes. I didn't accuse you of posting chronic stupidity either, I accused you of the chronically posting of stupidity, meaning you post far too often on threads you have no real business posting in. If you want to learn, fine, listen along, but don't screw around with people that don't know you don't have any experience with this. If someone fu cks up 100,000 feet of film because of one of your posts, do you think anywould would still be laughing?

 

 

~Karl

Edited by Karl Borowski
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The great yellow father is George Eastman, and his mighty sword is Eastman Kodak from whom all flmakers joy starts. You must be respectful or he will smight you with another cost increase

 

I worked in a lab as an intern in college. It is a full time undertaking. You need air and temperature control, densitometry to do anything repeatedly.

 

Yes you will get a "look" each and everytime you make a film run. Plus the emotional response of your audience will be your film looks like it was shot in a snow storm or in 1916.

 

Have fun cause you won't be shooting very much

 

As I said before Best of Luck. You will learn many new things and :D then give up

 

This is like brewing beer because there is no six pack in the fridge

 

Once again enjoy the experience I learned a lot and so will you. I made some very strange films with the labs optical printers.

 

Well, I'll just have to say a rosery and hope ol' George will forgive me although I have enough cemecals to last through a couple of price increases. I would imaging working in a comercial lab WOULD be a fulltime undertaking as it was your job even though it was an unpaid job. We're not commercial. The processing we do with the exception of some work we will do for select clients will strictly be for Black Sky Productions. We are in the process of setting up air and temperature controls even as I write and had planned to do so before we started building the lab so It's good to know my instincts were correct. The Bray processor is a rather sophisticated piece of equipment that came from Rockwell Aerospace and is a current production model. It has been modified by the previous owner to use smaller tanks to allow small runs of film. The chemicals that came with the machine are all less than a year old and in excellent condition. There have been stored in a cool, dry, dark area. I actually have 2 other guys who are also learning the fundimantals of processing along with myself so that I will be able to shoot and we can take turns doing the lab work. Both of these guys have worked in technical fields before and are famillar with handling and working with chemicals under labratory conditions so I'm QUITE sure that if I have film come out looking like it was shot in a snow storm or in 1916, it's because it WAS shot in a snow storm or was a piriod piece that called for the 1916 look. As for brewing beer because there is no six pack in the fridge, If beer cost $16 a bottle, I'd brew beer too. And one other thing you need to know about me Scooter, I don't NEVER give up! B)

 

Now onto my report, Today was frustraighting. I seached arond some more to find hardware to intall the doors I need to seal the lab as I am a cheap bastard and done want to buy new stuff. I got a late start because my girlfriend was being a pain and I had to block out some time in order to argue with her. I of course lost the argument as most of us do when arguing with our girlfriends which did little for my disposition. I gathered up my tools and hardware and went to the studio to work out my animosity in a healthy fashion. I decided to work on the maid lab doors as I antispated they would be the most challanging the make work. The first thing I had to do was remove some wood peices that someone had installed years agao as I guess trim. I cause the bottom half to have a stepped effectso the the bottom 3 ft was a half inch wider on each side than the upper half. I thought I would be an easy case of knocking off the trimm boards and the door frame would be square. What universe did I think I was living in? I knocked the boards off only to find out that underneath there were shim wood nailed to a resessed verrical beam. I removed the nailed on shomes and found I needed to saw the upper half of the trim back to the recessed beam inorder to be able to have something to screw the hinges for the heavy doors to. The entrance was also reletively short as well, maybe 6 and a half feet. The doors would also have to be cut down. I sawed and cut finally getting back to the support beams and to my further frustraition, whoever had installed all this badly done and useless trim must have had drucken baboons as contractors because there wasn't a square corner in the place AND after all that cutting, the section of closet door I had planned to use in concert with the heavy door was now inadiquite for the task. The other doors I had availible were all too big so I again had to consider cutting a door's width as well as it's hight which was going to be a pain in the ass. I sat there thinking "This day just keeps getting beter and better" when it came to me like a vison of redeemtion! I had

gotten a bathroom door to replace the one at my home that was much nicer than the plain, drab one I had a t the time. It's part of the project that's been sitting idle for 6 months. I remembered the drab door was narrower than most I I would have to open up the opening to install the new door which I planned to do....at SOME point in the future, buth the drab door JUST MIGHT FIT!!! I jumped back in the Explorer, fired up the engine and slung gravel out of the parking lot. I screached to a halt iu front of the house and raced inside to check the door. 24 INCHES It would fit!!!! I hauled it out of the house and zipped back t the studio. I yanked the door out of the SUV and rushed inside with it. A quick check, it looked good. I cut the door down, reattached the bottom interior bracing and nailed the whole thing back together. I set it in place and it was PERFECT!!!. I was contemplating hanging it when I noticed the time 10:15 PM. It was time to go home. I reluctantly shut everything down and headed to the house. I had lanned to take pics but forgot the camera which is always a good thing for a director to do, anyway I'll try and remember tomorrow so you guys can see what I'm taliking about. Until then, adu. B)

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James Steven Beverley, now that I have read your posts I am more convinced than ever that you are quite, quite mad. ;)

 

Thank God we have a few people like you around.

 

Looking forward to reading your further reports. I'm sure you will get something working, and I'm equally sure that you will never run out of problems.

 

For example, let me comment on just one little issue - it won't hit you for a while, but it will eventually:-

 

I would like to retain the window's ability to be <snip> sealed tight during processing to keep the climate controlled and light & dust out.
I plan to install an exaust fan to get ride of any chemical odors and fumes and help control dust,

Errrm . . . If the exhaust fan sucks fumes out (where to, by the way - the street?) then it will create negative pressure. Air must get in somewhere, or you won't get the exhaust out. That will be hot air (you'll be exhausting your air-conditioned air), and it will be dusty, as it's probably going to come in under the door.

 

Have fun B)

 

Meanwhile, Matthew . . .

why not just circulate silver like milk bottles, therefore you don't have to pay for it, slashing the cost of filmstocks.
In fact paper money and now credit cards were invented to avoid having to circulate things like silver.

 

But more to the point, if you didn't pay for the silver, then stocks could be marginally cheaper, but processing would be dearer, as the labs are able to offset their chemical costs against the value of the recovered silver.

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James Steven Beverley, now that I have read your posts I am more convinced than ever that you are quite, quite mad. ;)

 

Thank God we have a few people like you around.

 

Looking forward to reading your further reports. I'm sure you will get something working, and I'm equally sure that you will never run out of problems.

 

 

I have to second Dominic here, I am making two pictures right now (a short which I am making a 16mil print with sound and I am cutting it on a flatbed and i am cutting the negative and making the print, an educational like experience) and a feature length film shot mostly in NYC and NJ we are shooting 90 or 100k feet of Super16 and some 35mil with my eyemo and a konvas.

 

I started working at Cinelab about 4 years ago as my day job we are a small regional lab which has been in business since 1948. I feel lucky to be working with some really great people like Bob Hum who has been running film since the 70's in Boston. Bob keeps our kodak ECN-2 process survey results very right. I don't know how he does it exactly but I am learning.

 

I thought I was crazy and did not sleep much and all that. We are in a beautiful mill built in 1880 and occupy much of the top floor. Running ECN-2 is possible in mill conditions! We have a good big commercial water heater and I am thinking about the possibility of augmenting this with some solar on our roof. We have a nice digital water temp controller but Bob had run with a 2 handle manual mixer and a temp gauge in the past so your water temp can be controlled without spending 10K or more on hot water.

 

A densitometer is your best friend and your second best friend is cubes of chemicals from Kodak. I would suggest trying to get into the kodak process control survey which will give you benchmarks to strive for and show you scientifically where you are having problems.

 

Your third best friend will be a dust free drybox and there are allot of tricks to this a set of large surgical grade hepa filters and a enclosed film takeup wiith a set of large PTR's will give you film which does not necessarily need to be post cleaned.

 

We do recover enough silver every month to pay for our silver collectors and more!

 

-Rob-

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James Steven Beverley, now that I have read your posts I am more convinced than ever that you are quite, quite mad. ;)

 

Thank God we have a few people like you around.

 

Looking forward to reading your further reports. I'm sure you will get something working, and I'm equally sure that you will never run out of problems.

 

I think we can all agree on all 3 of your points here.

 

For example, let me comment on just one little issue - it won't hit you for a while, but it will eventually:-

Errrm . . . If the exhaust fan sucks fumes out (where to, by the way - the street?) then it will create negative pressure. Air must get in somewhere, or you won't get the exhaust out. That will be hot air (you'll be exhausting your air-conditioned air), and it will be dusty, as it's probably going to come in under the door.

Have fun B)

 

Dominic, not to worry. The studio sits very close to open desert in an light industial area on the outskirts of town. In the complex is Don Davis Race Cars which does a lot of Fiberglass work. several automotive shops, a paint and body shop, across the street is a junkyard and down the road a tile factory and food processing plant so we're not dumping a cloud of poisonous gas in the neighborhood schoolyard if ya know what I mean. I had actually thought about the negative pressure issue prior to this, as I have a background in heating and air conditioning, and here's the plan: I and going to do my best to seal the doors completely when closed, exessive use of weather strip, rubber sealed exterior rated threshholds ect. All doors and windows lead into interior rooms, except one, which will help control dust. The only point of direct access to the exterior of the building from the lab is the small rear window where the window A/C unit will be installed. This widow will be removed and the space completely framed in and sealed except for the A/C inlet it's self which will be double filtered. The exaust fan will not have the CFMs that the A/C has especially on "High" , so although the exaust fan (which will also be filtered and sit directly over the processor) will be drawing air out of the room, it will be replaced with an abundence of fresh cleaned air from the A/C, maintaining, I believe, a positive air pressure in the lab's interior with all doors closed. I also plan to use some small air recycling units in the room it'sself to further clean and filter the air and retard dust contamination. I think with schedualed, frequent mantianance of the air filtration system, we should be OK.

 

Now onto my report, TODAY WAS A TOTAL BUST!!!! I made the mistake of answering my phone this morning. (I GOTTA STOP DOING THAT!!!!!) :angry: . It was my Mom. She said she needed a little help. My Dad wanted to move his restored '68 big block El Camino SS to his carshop because he was afraid it would get snow on it. Snow on it? :blink: It snows in El Paso about as often as Bush gets a good idea. Why would he be worried it would get snow on it? But then I thought for a minute...Do the huge pile of dishes sitting in the sink from last night or drive a hot rod El Camino unsupervised through the uncrowded and relitively cop free streets of El Paso. :unsure: Tough choice. :rolleyes: Sooooo I told my mother I would be delighted to help her, hung up, finished my coffee, got showered and dressed and went to my parent's house to move the car before starting to work at the studio. This was at 10:30 AM. Well I got back to MY house at 8:30PM. What can I say, when the folks need help ya can't say no. Anyway I DID find out that we're expecting a HELL of a snowstorm. Ysleta school district pre-emptively shut down for tomorrow, the rest of the school districts are on standby-WHAT THE HELL???!!! :o This is El Paso! You'd get better odds that Paris Hilton will win an Oscar than the'll be a devastating snowstorm here. :huh: So well...about the only thing I did today reguarding the lab was discuss the lab project with My friend Steve Harney who is one of the guys also learning to process film with me. We made tenitive plans to check the electrical tomorrow, weather permitting, and descussed some potental stratigies and problems. I felt at least I was doing SOMETING towards getting the lab done, BUT Steve had gastric problems so he had to cut our conversation short so he could go throw up, which kinda put an end to the positive spirit of the discussion. However undaunted, I vowed I WILL work on the lab tomorrow if I have to trek across a snow covered waistland that USE to be my neighborhood in SNOWSHOES to get to the studio. :ph34r: I suppose I could form a rudementary dogsled out of some broken lawn furniture and half a torn Slip and Slide I have laying around here from an exessively exsuberant birthday party we had this summer, but the real problem is that I don't have any dogs, I do however, have 4 cats. I wonder if you can train a tabby to mush. Anyway, come Hell or high water, er...ah...make that waist deep snow, I'll be back on the job tomorrow and you can take that to the bank. I'll report back again tomorrow. B)

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Oh my God!!!

 

Could that actually happen??? HAS IT actually happened???

 

I'M SO SORRY SO SORRY SO SORRY!!!

 

 

I do not see any likely possibility where you could destroy 100,000 feet of film, unless you happen to be working with a film processor which runs 100k at a time :D This is why you run multiple tests like scratch film, twist leader, sensi's etc. on your processor before you run film which is worthwhile to someone. Mechanical failure of the leader or drive in a old-new setup film processor would be a more pressing area to pay close attention to things like drive shafts/chains and bearings especially submerged ones will all have to be examined and those Tires! lots and lots of tires.

 

Being mechanically inclined is a necessity but if you are there is no reason why you can not get the mechanics of the machine running smoothly again.

 

-Rob-

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The only point of direct access to the exterior of the building from the lab is the small rear window where the window A/C unit will be installed. This widow will be removed and the space completely framed in and sealed except for the A/C inlet it's self which will be double filtered. The exaust fan will not have the CFMs that the A/C has especially on "High" , so although the exaust fan (which will also be filtered and sit directly over the processor) will be drawing air out of the room, it will be replaced with an abundence of fresh cleaned air from the A/C, maintaining, I believe, a positive air pressure in the lab's interior with all doors closed.

I remember Window A/C units. I think that you will find that most of them will draw air from the room, and run it though a rudimentry filter, then through some cooling coils, which will also remove some water, then BACK into the room. At the same time you draw OUTSIDE Air in the sides of the outside part of the unit where it is heated up some more from the heating coils and sent on its way out the grill at the back. The water that condenses on the cooling coils has a little chanel to run out and drip on your garden.

 

There is a bit of Uncooled unfiltered outside air that comes in if the selector is set on "ventalate". Open the cover on the unit and marvel at how little conection their is between the front and the back.

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I remember Window A/C units. I think that you will find that most of them will draw air from the room, and run it though a rudimentry filter, then through some cooling coils, which will also remove some water, then BACK into the room. At the same time you draw OUTSIDE Air in the sides of the outside part of the unit where it is heated up some more from the heating coils and sent on its way out the grill at the back. The water that condenses on the cooling coils has a little chanel to run out and drip on your garden.

 

There is a bit of Uncooled unfiltered outside air that comes in if the selector is set on "ventalate". Open the cover on the unit and marvel at how little conection their is between the front and the back.

 

You maybe right. I may have to go with an evaporitive cooler, but that brings a set of other problems with it. I have 2 refer andd 1 evap window units. I'll have to figure something out. I am determined to find a way to keep positive air pressure in the lab. In the mean time on to my report:

 

Sell the house, cash in the bonds and throw one last fling because WE GOT SNOW!!! 2 snows in one season in El Paso, the Apacalyse is apon us. WELLL, to be fair the "snow storm" was a light dusting of snow this morning which lasted about 20 minutes then turned into a long day of drizzeling rain that lasted into the night, is still going on and LOOKS like it will be continuing for the next 3 or 4 DAYS!!! NOT a thunderstorm, mind you, just a light continuous drizzel that seemed to seep into every tiny inperfection there was on our terrible roof. I spent most of the day trying to get 30 odd or so containers of all descriptions under the torrid of leaks that plagued the studio. Rain like this is worse than a down pour because if there are ANY leaks at all, they will be dripping. I did what I could and contained the major leaks but the floors of the lower section of the studio were our sound stages are were soaked. Sence this WAS a pitched battle , I didn't get much work done on the lab per se', but I did SOME work done. I finished rounding up all the hardware we needed and installed most of it. I also solved a problem that's been frustraiting me. One of the openings needed a 34in door which I don't have and because I didn't want to buy anything I didn't have to, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I wanted to keep the doorway useable and not frame it in but the only way to do that was to cut down a 36in interior door which I do have but which would have been a pain to do. I kept thinking I needed to keep the doorways wide, then today I thought "Why? We HAVE a 5ft wide doorway as the main entrance" Sometimes I feel I'm too stupid to live. I guess you just get set on doing something one way and don't consider alternitives. I found the widest door I have left which was 30in and set it into the portal, added 2 2x4s and whatdaknow, it works! I'll frame it in tomorrow. I installed the hardware on most of the doors and now all that's left is to hang them and seal them up. I'll also make a decision on the larger window tomorrow and work on that. Once that's done, I install the cooling and ventalation systems and the lab is sealed, I'll move the equipment in there and bomb the joint for mold which ALSO horrendous because the the continuing leaks. I've been working in there with the doors wide open to let in fresh air and making sure I have a mask on at all times but I can't work in there with actors until the mold is irraticated. Fortunately me next door neighbor at the studio is in the buseness of water damage restoration and has ALL the chemicals needed to take care of this problem. He owes me one because I let him store his vans on part of our back lot so He said he'd even do it for free. Once the roofers finish the roof, I'll have him bomb the place and that SHOULD take care of the problem. I had hoped to have better news to share but that will have to wait until tomorow...or next WEEK if the damn rain doesn't quit. Regardless, more tomorrow. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly
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I do not see any likely possibility where you could destroy 100,000 feet of film, unless you happen to be working with a film processor which runs 100k at a time :D

 

Oh ho ho...that Borowski...had me so worried...I'LL FU**ING MURDER HIM!!!! :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:

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And now for the news, It was reported today that I finished installing the last of the doors. This report is highly dubiuos however and should be taken with a grain of salt. Dispite this I DID actually, FINALLY finish installing the damn doors today and find is hard to believe myself! I actually believe I should get an honorary Oscar for best achievement in door hanging to complete a movie or at the very least a round of applause. I wll start weather stripping and sealing them tomorrow. This has been a lot of work but it is starting to pay off. I am positive I can achieve a nearly air tight, fully controllled enviroment in the lab. I was suppose to have some help with this but, hey I guess you get what you pay for. :rolleyes: That's OK. It's getting done and that's the important part although it really is a bitch to hang a series of doors by ones self, particularly when one is dressed in a bulky mechanic's snow suit so that one could leave the main building doors open to allow the rain slicked floors of one's studio to dry out without having one's willie freeze off. So as a result, while trying to prop one particularly heavy door designed not for the interior use I was putting it too but apparently made for the front entrance to a nuclear weapons facility and built to withstand a cannon assault from the Hun with my foot while holding a drill in one hand and a hammer in the other, I started using curse words I had forgotten I knew. It didn't help that everything I was using was old and used. One of the doors was warped which I'd never seen before and made for an interesting doorframe. I got it to seal though. I still have to deal with the large window opening, eather try to save it with some types of doors that would allow it to open or lose it by completely framimg it in which would be simplier, although I've never been known for doing anything simply. I've got some of the guys coming over Friday to help out but the majority of the work, at least on the lab may be done by then. I still have to rest the electrical for the 220 and install all the fans, A/C, heating and air filtration units but everything in it's time. I want to get done though so I can start shooting some second unit stuff for Blood Moon Rising to test the machines and learn to use them. It should be interesting.

 

 

I did have a couple of questions for Dominic, David or anyone else out there that might know the answers to:

 

1) Does humidity affect processing and if so how and what can be done to stablize this factor?

 

2) Aside from mataining exact bath temps, consistant chemical mixing, mantaining a dustfree environment, proper schdualed mantaince and cleaning of equipment and proper storage of chemicals, waht other factors can help to keep a consistant look this the processing results?

 

3) Asisde from Dominic's book, Film Technology in Post Production (Which is the next book I get) what other good materials are ther out there on Motion Picture processing, are there and videos anyone is aware of?

 

Thanks-The Captain B) Next report tomorrow!

Edited by James Steven Beverly
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without learning to process film, I couldn't afford to make films

Maybe it's too early to say, but how much do you think you'll save by processing your own film (considering all of your overhead)? Last time I checked 100' daylight load of S16 was only $14 for processing...

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Maybe it's too early to say, but how much do you think you'll save by processing your own film (considering all of your overhead)? Last time I checked 100' daylight load of S16 was only $14 for processing...

 

I'm doing 35mm exclusively so basically a bundle. I bought my machine right and as I say I got a ton of chemicals with it for free as I would have paid what I paid for the machine, or should I say machines, without the chemicals. At $14 per 100ft, IF I could get that price on 35mm, would be $5460 for 39,000 ft of film (The price on 35mm would probably be closer to 25 cents a foot which would be $25 for 100ft), which is a 4 to 1 shooting ratio for an 90 minute feature film. Now that's JUST processing, not printing and certainly not the blow up from super 16 to a projectable format such as 35mm. Now I bought the processor and step printer for less than a quarter of that price, including driving out to LA to pick the equipment up and got the chemicals and spare parts for free. So for at least the first feature, figure a quarter of $5460 (actually THAT figure would be closer to a fifth because doing an action/adventure, horror film with a 4 to 1 shooting ratio is a bit optimistic so there would be more that 39K of film used) plus the cost of film, my studio rent and electricity. My studio rent is cheap especially considering the amount of space I have (which is why I put up with the problems it has) and I would have to pay it anyway, I'm doing the work on the lab myself, and people involved in the film and myself are going to be doing the processing.so really my overhead is as inexpensive as I can get away with. Now as you do more films the price on processing goes down and down as you sped it out over 4 or 5 movies and IF I can do some processing for a few people to off-set costs, it gets even cheaper for me to make films. Mantaince will be an expense but sence this is a relitively new machine and was never used for commercial pocessing, mantaince for at least the first few years should be reitively inexpensive. The step printer's old But nothing is perfect. I have 2 KEM flatbeds and an gathering up all the support equipment and supplies I'll need to use them. I plan to get an optical printer (nearly had one but Bozoed out and didn't get it, as I said, sometimes I'm too stupid to live) which will take care of titles and simple compositing so with all that, I won't have to do a DI or digital transfer and again IF I can do some work for other people THOSE expenses go down too. I also plan to get a projector and modifiy one of the sound stages so it can also be used as a projection room for screening daillies and fund raising or test screenings, ect. I've done my best to plan this out in the most cost effective, business-like way of doing things and only time will tell if I'm right. The one thing I do know is I could never see spending money to have someone else do something I'm capible of doing or renting soemting I'm capible of buying for less. Call me crazy but that's just the way my mind works.

 

As for my report, NOTHING to report today, another "help the folks" day but back on it monyana so I should have more then. I did discuss the positive pressure problem with my father, who is a heating and A/C expert and has built and installed systems like this for hospitals. He was not overly optimistic nor overly pessimistic. The one work that kept coming to his lips though was "Expensive" and that's not good but we may be able to come up with a low rent alternitive that will work, as he said we'll just have to try some things B)

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James,

 

You asked in one of your previous posts for recommendations of books that deal with lab work.

 

I have a copy of a book called Principles of Cinematography (A Handbook of Motion Picture Technology) by Leslie J.Wheeler. This book has chapters on:

Film Emulsions

Film Processing Equipment

General Quality Control in Film ProcessingSensitometry

Printing Motion Picture Film

 

and others...

 

I have the 4th edition which dates from the 1970's. I have found it a very interesting reference. Abebooks would likely list a copy.

 

The other excellent source of materials relating to labs is:

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/support/...ssing/h24.jhtml

 

I haven't seen any video material relating to labs.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Henry.

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I did have a couple of questions for Dominic, David or anyone else out there that might know the answers to:

 

1) Does humidity affect processing and if so how and what can be done to stablize this factor?

 

 

Thanks-The Captain B) Next report tomorrow!

I think you will find that Humidity will mostly affect the drying of the film in the drybox and you will need to add or subtract heat in this area to compensate for the humidity factor. You should vent the drybox seperately and don't forget those hepa filters on the intake.

 

-Rob-

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Thanks, Henry, I'll try and find a newer edition of the book you suggested so I can check it out. I want to be up on the newer techniques and emultion information but no doubt there is a lot of great info even in an older edition like yours that I would benifit from.

 

Thanks for the advice Robert, I'll take it to heart. Humidity isn't a problem here in El Paso, usually the lack of humidity is. I was thinking about using evaperative cooling to cool the lab while mantaing a positive air pressure in the room, which whould have added humidity to the air but it would not have been a constant percentage and I was concerned that might somehow affect the final outcome of the processing so that runs of film done at different times with different humidity factors might look, welll, different. I'm glad to here it isn't a factor, except for the drying box. In that reguard being in the Sun City might be a positive as our lack of humidity is VERY constant. I've decided against elaporative cooling as the temperature difference is between 20 and 25 degrees and on the August days when we're at 115 deg and the baths have to be at 81 degrees the ambiant temperature would raise the bath temp over the optimum, plus the fact that swamp coolers draw in dust and the ONE thing we have in abundance in El Paso is dust. I'm absolutely convinced my BIGGEST problem will be controlling dust which is why I am in the process of sealing the lab room as tightly as possible and that leads us into today's report:

 

Sorry I didn't report testerday. I forgot to pay the internet bill and internet provider gentally reminded me I was a wee bit late by instantly blocking my access. It's a little game we play every once in a while called the the stern ISP and the naughty costumer. Anyway I'm back ans I will combine the 2 days of reports. I started to frame in the big window opening today after plaining down the main doors yesterday which was a long, teadious, boring but absolutely nessesary job. Tha doors now close perfectly which will allow me to seal them later much more easily. I finally got ahold of the landlord and found out the roofers were schedualed to return tomorrow although I have my doubts as it's little warmer which of course means it's raining like Hell again, so I again spent an hour or so hustling containers of all descriptions under the leaks although, I was more organized this time (I actually knew where the buckets were) and it went a lot smoother. I again didn't get every leak but I got the majority and used a push-broom the sweep out the pools of water from the leaks I missed. I cut and prefitted the framing for the window yesterday and knocked it together today, which was a pain because the wood I was dealing with was so twisted it could have made Micheal Jackson look straight. Once the 2 x 4 frame was built, I hauled it back into the lab and set it into the window opening and tapped in in place.....who am I kidding, I pounded it into place with my infamous small sledge hammer. It's a tight fit but that's exactly what I wanted. It should help keep the dust out. I nailed it into down and cut the sheet-rock screwing that into place as well for the mostpart until I ran out of sheet-rock screws. So at that point I stopped because I had just spent an hour looking for the sheet-rcok screws I did find and ws tired of playing Hide, go seek and then screw so I went ahead any left that part alone for the day and cut and installed the doorframe stops for the main double doors. They are amasingly tight and precise. I'm going to double weather strip them and seal them but that may just be overkill! No major problems or delays today which was a pleasent surprise. Th worst problem I faced was warped wood, but a series of well place nails and theraputic pounding solved that problem. My next problem will be intalling the window A/C unit and sealing it properly. I figure that may be another framing situation as well but no a big a deal. I've got plenty of warped wood.... If you know what I mean. All in all it's starting to look more and more like a room with a purpose. More tomorrow. B)

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Your third best friend will be a dust free drybox and there are allot of tricks to this a set of large surgical grade hepa filters and a enclosed film takeup wiith a set of large PTR's will give you film which does not necessarily need to be post cleaned.

 

We do recover enough silver every month to pay for our silver collectors and more!

 

-Rob-

 

Robert,

can you tell me more about your third best friend? Is the 'drybox' a room or a cupboard/compartment or the last stage in the processing machine?

Would be very useful to know a bit more about what you advise here.

Cheers,

Richard

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Well for mine, Richard, it's the last stage in the processing machine. I'll look at it in more detail when I get it into the labroom. I want to post photos but there doesn't seem to be enough room in my account here to do that. This is SOOO frustraiting. I want to share my pics with you guys but I can get the photos to attach and when I do, they're so small you need a microscope to see them. CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH THIS PROBLEM????!!!! ADMINISTATION... Someone? I've seen pics posted that were normal web sized pics. WHAT am I doing wrong or do I have to be allowed more space to post pics. Please let me know. Now on to my report:

 

Today wasn't a lab building day per se'. I had some help from one of my guys for a change so I decided we tackled a job thast need to be done but which I dreaded attempting alone. clearing, cleaning and re-organizing the scene shop which was in a dismall disarray. It has been something I have been wanting to do for a long, LONG time. The mess had grown like the Blob in a movie theater full of horny teenagers and had started to invade the adjacent sound stage and was becoming a problem that threatened to over whelm that area as well and it was time to call in the CO2 fire extiguishers. I needed to clear a pathe trough the drbris in order to the processing and step printer machines through the scene shop and up into the lab. So becuase this was a task I didn't want toi face alone unless I had to, we took a break from working on the lab and dealt with the mess instead. My friend Mike and I moved 2 pick up loads of stuff out of the scene-shop and into a couple of cargo van bodies I bought a while back to use as storage sheds. They worked out great although I should put some sheet metal in the front window opening so I could untilize the entire length of the van bodies, but all in all they keep thing quite dry and safe. I will eather finish off the cleaning tomorrow or get back on the lab. The next step there will be to intall the A/C, weather stripping and dustproof thresholds.The we'll tackle the positive pressure and ventallation problems after that. I did find out today that the electronic particle filters I was planning to use put out an inordinate amount of Ozone, which in a sealed room could be problematic to say the least. It takes a least a couple of months to train lab people so if any of them should accidentally die from ozone poisoning, it might but us behind schedual. This makes the need for proper ventallation even more critical, so I'll definately have to come up with solutuions to these and other problems. Not to worry, I WILL make this work. More tomorrow. B)

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I want to post photos but there doesn't seem to be enough room in my account here to do that. This is SOOO frustraiting. I want to share my pics with you guys but I can get the photos to attach and when I do, they're so small you need a microscope to see them. CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH THIS PROBLEM????!!!! ADMINISTATION... Someone? I've seen pics posted that were normal web sized pics. WHAT am I doing wrong or do I have to be allowed more space to post pics.

You should consider becoming a Sustaining Member of cinematography.com. Members get 15MB of space, non-members only get 100k I believe. Follow this link:

 

Membership Upgrade

 

If you use this site and think it has value then I would suggest upgrading immediately, it only requires a small donation and is a lifetime membership. I'm also quite interested to see those photos James!

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You should consider becoming a Sustaining Member of cinematography.com. Members get 15MB of space, non-members only get 100k I believe. Follow this link:

 

Membership Upgrade

 

If you use this site and think it has value then I would suggest upgrading immediately, it only requires a small donation and is a lifetime membership. I'm also quite interested to see those photos James!

 

Soooo THAT'S the problem. I can't do it right now, I'm too f#*king broke but when I get a little cash, I will. I did put them on photobucket www.s163.photobucket.com/albums/t296/CaptVideo1/ for anyone who cares to take a look. These images are from about a week ago. all the openings now have doors installed and the large window opening is framed in and in the process of being sheet-rocked as is the area where the pipes show. Let me know what you think. As for my report, I had an audition today that took MUCH longer than I thought it was going to so I didn't get back til late and because I've been working 6 to 9 hours everyday for 2 weeks on it, I felt I deserved a little break, so that's what I took. I'll DEFINATELY be back on the job tomorrow so more then in the meantime please feel free to check out the photos. They're not much but at least y'all can git 'n ideer o' what Iz bin talkin' abouts B)

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I did put them on photobucket www.s163.photobucket.com/albums/t296/CaptVideo1/ for anyone who cares to take a look. These images are from about a week ago. all the openings now have doors installed and the large window opening is framed in and in the process of being sheet-rocked as is the area where the pipes show. Let me know what you think.

 

You can also link offsite to photobucket (and other pic sites) which is actually what I like to do to save Tim bandwidth. I guess since you put the link you wouldn't mind if I thumbnailed them:

 

th_DSCF0041.jpg

 

th_DSCF0052.jpgth_DSCF0050.jpgth_DSCF0026.jpg

 

th_DSCF0040.jpgth_DSCF0039.jpgth_DSCF0031.jpg

 

th_DSCF0032.jpgth_DSCF0027.jpgth_DSCF0028.jpg

 

th_DSCF0033.jpgth_DSCF0035.jpg

th_DSCF0030.jpgth_DSCF0029.jpg

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