Market Insight

Technicolor shuts Pinewood lab for 35mm

March 07, 2013

David Hancock David Hancock Director – Research and Analysis, Cinema & Home Entertainment
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Technicolor is to shut its film lab at Pinewood (UK) by the end of May 2013, as the use of film for digital capture dwindles and uncertainty surrounds the availability of film stock. The Pinewood site was opened in January 2009, and focused on the company's film-based activities, with the central London site working more in the digital space. The Pinewood lab took over the front-end processing of 35mm and 16mm film negatives for Deluxe in summer 2011, described by Deluxe as a 'result of digital image capture overtaking film capture'. This trend has strengthened since then, and now the majority of larger films are using digital technology for shooting. In addition, Fuji has said that it will no longer supply some products for 35mm motion picture production, as a result of the market shift.


This closure fits into a strategic logic of the transition from 35mm to digital (for capture and distribution) that IHS Screen Digest has followed closely, with Technicolor's North American 35mm operations effectively ending in May 2011 when it subcontracted its operations to Deluxe, although the two companies merged operations in Vancouver a year earlier.

On the distribution side, as digital cinema kicked in and demand for film release printing began to drop, this was allied to the rise in silver prices (a key raw material in film processing although most is recovered later in the process), oil prices (for the transportation of film reels and raw materials) and the resulting rise in prices for 35mm film led to a managing of this decline across the industry. Technicolor has been restructuring its activities to focus on the digital creation and distribution environment, including digital delivery by acquiring the physical and digital delivery assets of Cinedigm in July 2011.

On the digital capture side, the success of 3D in 2009 drove the increased use of digital cameras for film shoots and the more recent growth of 4K capture and workflows is also accelerating the trend for filmmakers to use digital technology.

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