Go Behind the Scenes to See the Neat Process of a Large Film Processing Lab

If you still shoot film and don't develop it yourself, you probably mail it to a processing lab. But have you ever wondered what actually happens to your negatives once they arrive? Watch this video to find out.

Coming to you from Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens, this interesting behind the scenes video follows him as he tours Richard Photo Lab in Valencia, CA. As digital has taken a firm hold, a lot of local film processing labs have died out, but there still remains a strong, devoted group of film shooters, and there are a few popular mail-order labs around the country, Richard Photo Lab being one of them. It's very interesting to see how the process has been modernized and streamlined for bulk work; the sheer efficiency and precision of it all is astounding, right down to the lab doing the chemical reaction calculations to keep the developer tank at the proper concentration without ever wasting any of it or adding more than needed. Each step has been carefully engineered to be done both quickly and effectively. It's an impressive operation, and it's quite interesting to take a look at how it all comes together. 

Log in or register to post comments

7 Comments

Do you guys just follow PetaPixel and post whatever they post, sometime days later? You guys are the best when you create original content instead of copying PetaPixel or worse, thinking that because somebody post a video on YouTube, that somehow that is newsworthy.

At least PetaPixel got Jay P Morgan to write an article about the video. What Fstoppers does is no different from your friends on Facebook who only post links to other peoples work.

Alex Cooke's picture

Nope, I subscribe to numerous YouTube channels and post what I see fit. Also, you should read more closely, because PetaPixel did not have Morgan write an article for them; they simply reposted the text from his personal blog. It came up in my YouTube list, and it’s interesting, so I shared it, as not everyone in the world has the time to sort through 200+ YT channels every day, which is what I do.

Then you need to come up with a better system because you guys are consistently late in posting "news" articles, sometimes as long as 12 days after.

Spy Black's picture

Although roller transport processors can scratch film sometimes, when dip n dunks fuck up, they fuck up bad. The torque on those suckers can completely crush and mangle one or more racks. Not a pretty site. :-) I worked in a lab back in the photo-optical era where we had both types.

Prints are always processed on roller transport units, much more logical for paper. A well maintained roller transport will play nice with film, but it is higher maintenance to ensure that.

Kinda funny that people shoot film, then scan it. They're missing the whole point of shooting film. ;-)

I would much rather trust film to a roller transport machine than a dip and dunk contraption. Maintenance and quality control of the process are key in getting good results from a machine processor.

I shoot and scan now. I don't have the space, time or money for a darkroom. You can always print them later.

Spy Black's picture

As long as they're well maintained, I wouldn't care either way. Rollers were far more maintenance than dunkers for us however.

"You can always print them later."
But do you? :-)

Never worked on a dunker. Lots of roller transport including Kodak, Kreonite, Colenta and Nortisu machines. The Nortisus were so easy it was almost trivial to work on them.

I have a ton of film negatives from when I shot film in the 70's and 80's. There is always time to print.