It’s been a while since we’ve posted any kind of lab update, and though with a couple things going on right now that this weekend would be the time to check in, say hello and let you all know what’s going on here at The Film Safe. It’s been a busy week of
film developing, making sure all your scans and orders have got back to you as soon as possible. But this weekend we did something exciting that we really wanted to tell you guys about!
Yesterday, we took a trip up to London, "The Big Smoke" to pick up a brand-new (second hand) piece of equipment for the lab… a second JOBO ATL-1000 film developing machine!
- We have a new black & white developing machine! This will allow us to improve our B&W developing productivity, add E6 film developing and potentially look at workshops in the future. - 10k followers on Instagram - thank you so much for your continued support! - Changes to our printing services - 1) cheaper prices, 2) discounted bulk bundle & 3) 'Print Only' service for selecting your favourite images from your film to be printed!
We’d like to introduce you to our new addition ‘Margarita’, lovingly named by her previous owner. Having made the trip from a darkroom over in Spain there was, heartbreakingly, no space for a new darkroom over in the UK for her to move into. So, we’ve adopted her and given her a new home and a place to continue developing film long into the future!
As many of you guys reading will know, Black & White developing is somewhat trickier than colour film processing. Our trusty Noritsu pro-developer covers the colour developing, we attach your film tongue to a sprocketed leader card which is then pulled through the machine and each of the four chemical baths (developer, bleach, fix & stabiliser) at a consistent and precise speed by a series of rotating cogs.
In Contrast, black & white film developing does require a slightly more manual and lengthy approach, with pull-through machines such as the one described above not particularly available, due to a number of difficult factors such as lower temperatures needed to develop the more delicate black and white film, and the wide variation in development times required across the vast range of Black & White film stocks.
Luckily, JOBO have created a line of rotary-tank developer - including the ATL-1000 - which remain some of the most effective and consistent options available! Using reels and light-sealed tanks to develop your film, the JOBO ATL is a fully automated & pre-programmed machine, providing: 1) Water bath & chemical temperature control, 2) Continuous tank agitation, and 3) Chemical pumping and dumping at the appropriate times, following the programmed and fully flexible process times, which allows us develop each film stock to it's most precise requirements. And now we have a second one to join our first trusty ATL-1500 which was the machine that kickstarted this whole journey with us!
How will this improve our film developing services?
The first and most direct improvement to lab services will be the boost to our Black & White film developing productivity. We can't promise a faster turnaround just yet as we’ll have to wait and see what effect the new workflow has on our developing speed and everything else that needs to be completed on a daily-basis. But, having said that, we are expecting that this new film developer will significantly increase our productivity and efficiency - improving our fast turnarounds and speed across the lab as it frees up more time to get everything else done during the day!
Secondly, and perhaps more excitingly, we’re looking to add E6, or colour positive , film developing to our collection of services! Similarly, we'll be taking a moment to figure this one out and get some expert advice on the best chemicals and process to achieve the high quality results. Not to forget, practice a couple runs with our own film to ensure quality and consistency. But we feel pretty confident in letting you guys know that E6 film processing will be coming to The Film Safe Developing Lab very soon!
Furthermore, looking forward to the not so distant future, this better equipment availability may allow us to open up the lab for events and workshops such as rotary machine/hand-tank film developing workshops and photowalks! We feel this would be an amazing opportunity to get to meet some of you guys and continue to grow our local film photography community.
Some other bits!
In other news, we hit 10k followers on Instagram which is very exciting for us! We have just closed out our celebratory competition to giveaway some cameras, with the winners having now been announced. But we wanted to quickly say thank you so much for all of your support in helping us get to this point, this milestone has been on the checklist for a while and we are so grateful to have finally hit it! A special mention to everyone that reached out to warn us about some of the fake/scam accounts that had been popping up in relation to our competition and to everyone that helped us try and combat these guys by reporting them - we appreciate your help with this!