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View Full Version : What lab services are most needed?



bob carnie
17-Jul-2016, 07:55
So after years of working for and then owning a variety of photographic labs, I am in the position of having lots of experience, tons of equipment and I am looking to
hunker down for the next bunch of years and build a resource for photographers.
I am in Canada , but with the internet and shipping options the world has shrunk a bit. I believe mail order is possible, I am seeing this
with many services I do , and I want to expand some niche services .


What services do you think are needed? (high quality film and contact service)
What retail items do you think are not well found in our current market.? - (pre cut matts, sleeves, chemical kits.)

Right off the hop I think a mail order , film process and scan , print service from 35mm - 11 x14 film would be of value.
Jobo is my process of choice for small runs but Jobo also makes a Techno Lab which can handle C41 and BW quite easily.

so these are two things I am thinking about right away.

thoughts, comments, suggestions?

Bob

neil poulsen
17-Jul-2016, 08:07
I don't know much about this stuff, but would your sheet film processing by Jobo or dip-and-dunk?

Portland, Oregon is lucky to still have one lab that does dip-and-dunk up to 11x14.

Erik Larsen
17-Jul-2016, 08:18
Perhaps offer enlarged negs for people who want to try alt processes but don't have the means to enlarge their own or don't have the desire to learn digital negs. Either optically or on your lambda with curves built in suitable for whatever alt process the customer wants to use. Just a thought, I don't really know the market enough to know if it's viable?

bob carnie
17-Jul-2016, 08:31
Both, dip and dunk would be much cheaper and run with other film.


I don't know much about this stuff, but would your sheet film processing by Jobo or dip-and-dunk?

Portland, Oregon is lucky to still have one lab that does dip-and-dunk up to 11x14.

bob carnie
17-Jul-2016, 08:32
This will indeed be a niche service I am going to offer.



Perhaps offer enlarged negs for people who want to try alt processes but don't have the means to enlarge their own or don't have the desire to learn digital negs. Either optically or on your lambda with curves built in suitable for whatever alt process the customer wants to use. Just a thought, I don't really know the market enough to know if it's viable?

Oren Grad
17-Jul-2016, 08:51
I've edited the thread title to more directly express what you're looking for.

bob carnie
17-Jul-2016, 08:54
Thanks Oren
your right better title
Bob


I've edited the thread title to more directly express what you're looking for.

Jody_S
17-Jul-2016, 09:10
Mail-order, same-day-by courier, drop-off: straight, cross- and push/pull processing of E6, C41, and B&W film from 8mm movie up to 8x10 sheet. Possibly cutting, slitting and spooling film for odd formats. Drum scanning. Don't think of us as your customer base, there's a lot of hipsters and amateurs out there who will pay for these services.

Jac@stafford.net
17-Jul-2016, 09:15
This might seem like a wimp's idea, however at only 70 years old due to injuries and arthritis my hands are a mess. Loading film holders is difficult growing on impossible. Prosthetics are priced on the moon and made of unobtanium.

So, a service that could accept ten to twenty film holders (4x5 most often, sometimes 8x10), process the film (B&W always with Rodinal 1:25) and reload the holders would be welcome.

** Let me take this opportunity to mention that years ago someone from this site surprised me with his custom design, handmade aluminum device to help with loading 4x5 holders with one hand. I lost his name, but have used the device! Thank you, Sir, if you are here. **

bob carnie
17-Jul-2016, 09:20
Hi Jody

I am putting it out here for suggestions , you are quite right my customer base is not from the forums but they represent a huge cross section of the photographic market, so all opinions are important.. You just gave me 3 bucket items in your short post.

One thing I am really wanting to push is the contact silver film from any source, specifically the users of digital cameras.
Shipping Receiving reliability is going to be paramount for success, and I see this will take a good inside person tracking every job to completion will be required.

I have a pretty good track record on quality, I have been accused of taking too much time, but for this business venture economical speed service with outstanding follow through will be the trick.


Mail-order, same-day-by courier, drop-off: straight, cross- and push/pull processing of E6, C41, and B&W film from 8mm movie up to 8x10 sheet. Possibly cutting, slitting and spooling film for odd formats. Drum scanning. Don't think of us as your customer base, there's a lot of hipsters and amateurs out there who will pay for these services.

Randy Moe
17-Jul-2016, 09:35
Digital negs is all I would need.

With your corrections for each process from my straight scan or digital sensor capture is an important option.

However this caveat. If I like my alt prints from your digital negs, I may roll my own one day...

I do think Jody is correct and we may be on the edge of a trend, Hipsters around here are deep into the 50's in every way. Why not film, alt prints and more.

The Nashville Cat that recently wanted to print huge is a harbinger.

Bruce Watson
17-Jul-2016, 10:06
What retail items do you think are not well found in our current market?

You could take over Prazio's niche with drum scanning supplies (http://www.prazio.com/cleaning.shtml). Interesting that they still list this stuff on their website, when they haven't sold it in many years now. At least they sent me a paper announcement that they were discontinuing their scanning supplies business years ago.

Prazio was the NA importer of SDS scanning fluid, drum cleaner, film cleaner, anti-static spray, scanner wipes, etc (http://www.sds-prepress.de/img/sdskate.pdf). All first class stuff.

That said, I realize that you probably aren't interested in scanning. But you did ask, and that's one thing that's missing from the high end photography market these days. We scanners are caught between Kami, which many are afraid of, and Lumina which seems like an incomplete system.

Just a thought.

Jody_S
17-Jul-2016, 15:07
So, a service that could accept ten to twenty film holders (4x5 most often, sometimes 8x10), process the film (B&W always with Rodinal 1:25) and reload the holders would be welcome.


When I started shooting 4x5 in the 90s, before discovering Internet resources such as this, the professional lab that developed my film loaded my holders as a routine service. I brought them boxes of film and my holders, I actually just asked if they could please tell me how to load, and they just took the lot and did it for me. Of course I gave them many thousands of dollars of business over a period of 2-3 years, as they did my color printing as well.

Randy Moe
17-Jul-2016, 15:17
At Gamma in Chicago they offer film holder Unloading for $1.50 per. Here's that price list. http://gammaimaging.com/darkroom-printing/film-processing/e-6_c-41/

letchhausen
17-Jul-2016, 17:20
I'll confirm what others have said about digital negs. For me getting a larger negative from my 4x5 so I can make an 11x14 or 16x20 contact print on Lodima paper would be great.

peter schrager
17-Jul-2016, 17:43
digital negs here too as I'm so lame with computers!!
best,peter

bob carnie
18-Jul-2016, 04:58
We are working on this exactly- I have sample of Lodima from Micheal to test for this exact process.


I'll confirm what others have said about digital negs. For me getting a larger negative from my 4x5 so I can make an 11x14 or 16x20 contact print on Lodima paper would be great.

LabRat
18-Jul-2016, 05:45
Bob, I think the main potential growth with film based imaging will be the youth or entry level market... Film cameras of all sorts are prized and a "hardcore" mentality about film is growing...

But it seems to me that the cameras have been made, film is being made, there is an desire, but what has been disappearing has been the resources and learning to do the process... Someone can shoot a roll of film through, let's say a plastic camera, they can't just go to a camera store film counter or drug store for developing and prints, and many don't (or can't) have a darkroom, so that roll will sit unprocessed... (Starting-up a darkroom now would be daunting if someone is entry level...) It takes commitment, resources, space, knowledge, experience, cash, etc, so many could be lost in the process, so hopefully this "revival" does not merely become a fad for many...

I think that looking carefully at the resources that that market would need is the first step... Pros, LF'ers, etc have learned to take care of most of their own needs (but also require some services), but the biggest need is for what the entry market needs...

Steve K

EdSawyer
18-Jul-2016, 12:07
how about a true optical-only automated C41 line that generates 4x6" prints from 35mm or 120? Most are scan-based nowadays, and suck as a result. The old purely optical minilab machines from Noritsu and others were miles better than current offerings. Sometimes it's nice to just get a quick throughput of 4x6 prints, say like for a wedding or something, no scanning needed.

Randy Moe
19-Jul-2016, 07:08
A link led me to Cape Fear website, and I learned.

They offer:

"Printed Transparency: $45.00 plus $8.00 for S&H in THE US.
Several images can be ganged up on one file. Images sent seperately will be billed as a separate film.
Make sure to leave room for adding safe edges or add them to your file with a .3" black border around your image.
Don't forget to flip your image horizontally so it wll print from the gravure plate in the correct orientation.

File requirements:
Max Printable area is 12.5 x 16.5"
360 dpi grayscale TIFF
Image must be flattened, no layers
Image must be flipped horizontal for correct printing orientation
Files can be sent via e-mail, please send no more than 2 per e-mail.
Please include mailing address and telephone number so we can call you about credit card payment.

If you would like to learn more about how to make digital gravure positives with QTR or Halftones for Puretch, you should consider a phone consultation. "

sepstein17
19-Jul-2016, 08:04
If redundancy equals demand then i add my 2-cents for large - 8x10 // 11x14 digital negs to contact print P/P prints -- just say when.

stawastawa
19-Jul-2016, 08:57
Film splicing and reeling/loading I think would be a boon. making my own 8mm from 16mm is on my list to do but daunting.

When it comes to optically printing, I Think it is the way to go, and get a separate scanner only module for those who want scanning.
My other thought Is I don't know how much outside service would mail in to specifically get optically printed results, while I think that if your local market wants it They would be the main reason to do it.

I don't know if you already have someone in your town who does full camera and lens CLA's but that would be something to team up with and have "in house".

Stock chemicals.
If E6 and c41 kits are coming hard to get and you can make/stock them to ship out, do so.

Have one or 2 ready made frame lines. and develop a relationship with a nearby framer to give your customers XX% off photographic framing.

Bill_1856
19-Jul-2016, 10:20
I think that you're beating a dead horse, but for what it's worth:
I'd like to be able to send you my B&W negatives (4x5 and 5x7), have them developed in a PYRO developer, and scanned.
Good Luck!

bob carnie
19-Jul-2016, 10:54
Really not sure what you mean about the dead horse,
but film process in specific developers would something we would do.


I think that you're beating a dead horse, but for what it's worth:
I'd like to be able to send you my B&W negatives (4x5 and 5x7), have them developed in a PYRO developer, and scanned.
Good Luck!

Randy Moe
19-Jul-2016, 13:04
Really not sure what you mean about the dead horse,
but film process in specific developers would something we would do.

Even old horses get recycled.

I think Bob is hoping to ride a renaissance, as many of us are.

bob carnie
19-Jul-2016, 13:23
Randy you are pretty much right on, there are lots of youngsters out there that cherish what we do , who better to help them than someone who has spend his or her whole life working in this industry.
With a few basic moves, and a very smart young social Media coordinator people like my wife can start managing my mini lab operation again. She has over 25 years of experience. Basically the industry is internet based and mail in from all points.
Our goal is to find the right youngsters and combine them with a few of us old farts {old horses} that have experience and equipment this the combination will work. My only employee is a young woman with a degree in textiles, but she is in tune with arts and social media brilliant, together we make a good team.

I have been waiting for this moment where all the mainstream labs give up services due to lack of demand, I hope to jump in and be one of the last resources left. With good equipment and fresh minds I can manage this for another 25 years.


Even old horses get recycled.

I think Bob is hoping to ride a renaissance, as many of us are.

Randy Moe
19-Jul-2016, 13:30
Randy you are pretty much right on, there are lots of youngsters out there that cherish what we do , who better to help them than someone who has spend his or her whole life working in this industry.
With a few basic moves, and a very smart young social Media coordinator people like my wife can start managing my mini lab operation again. She has over 25 years of experience. Basically the industry is internet based and mail in from all points.
Our goal is to find the right youngsters and combine them with a few of us old farts {old horses} that have experience and equipment this the combination will work. My only employee is a young woman with a degree in textiles, but she is in tune with arts and social media brilliant, together we make a good team.

I have been waiting for this moment where all the mainstream labs give up services due to lack of demand, I hope to jump in and be one of the last resources left. With good equipment and fresh minds I can manage this for another 25 years.

You must be younger than me. I'm 65, but I do have a finger on the pulse of Chicago hipsters, as I live among them.

I will not be doing what you do, but have plans.

Good luck, i think you do know exactly what and how to do it.

Cool!