Bill Manning, host of the Studio C-41 podcast, and now one of the founders behind newly launched Atlanta Film Co, gave us the scoop on his new startup where you can buy more affordably-priced and well stocked colour cine film and have it processed in the same lab as major motion picture films.
Atlanta Film Co, which launched in June 2022, has collaborated with Atlanta-based photo store and film lab, Dunwoody Photo, who uses Kodak Film Lab Atlanta (“KFLA”) to bring still photographers a commercial solution to purchase and develop colour cinema film using the same method as major movie productions, true ECN-2 processing.
Fresh motion picture film in 35mm still photography format can be purchased directly from Atlanta Film Co. It can then be turned into Dunwoody Photo who will hand deliver it to KFLA. The film is then processed in the same ECN-2 processor as major motion picture films. KFLA has figured out an amazing way to bring together the rolls of film from 35mm format by hot splicing them together to then be able to run through their special ECN-2 processor. There were no issues in the testing phase and have not been any yet, which is why it was an easy decision to move forward with providing this service to photographers.
Currently, Atlanta Film Co. offers Kodak motion picture films, 5213 200T, 5207 250D, and 5219 500T. Bill mentioned they will also soon have 50D stock to offer as well.
Dunwoody Photo’s Michael Beattie and Christina Haley are also co-founders of Atlanta Film Co. The idea to offer colour cine film to customers stemmed from frustrations with the low and infrequent supply from manufacturers on top of the retail and distribution model that adds to the price mark up. Bill says the wait for colour negative film would take months and customers were continually asking if they had any in stock.
Motion picture film is easier to order in large stock, it is only then the process to break it down to still 35mm canisters that requires a lot of bulk loading work by Atlanta Film Co. KFLA does not have any part in the bulk rolling of the film into the 35mm canisters, this is done completely by Atlanta Film Co with help from several folks at Dunwoody as well. You can see how this is done on Bill’s Instagram live showing his process!
KFLA uses commercial ECN-2 chemical processing for the film sent into Dunwoody Photo, which is tested on a continuous basis throughout the day as Bill notes in his interview on the Negative Positives podcast for perfect quality and consistency.
The best thing which hasn’t been mentioned yet about the service is that you can send any motion picture film into Dunwoody Photo for processing, not just film purchased at Atlantic Film Co. You can even send in traditionally C41 processed film like Portra 400 for it to be cross-processed in the ECN-2 chemistry for an interesting result. Bill provided the samples below of Eterna 250T film processed at KFLA.
Cinema film is made with a layer called remjet which protects the film as it is put through the paces involved in shooting movies, usually at 24 frames per second or higher. Atlantic Film Co.’s FAQ section does an excellent job of describing this further, but this layer is the reason the film cannot be processed in C41 chemistry. The film requires ECN-2 processing which can handle the remjet layer. It could be processed at home using remjet removal methods and C41 chemistry (only after the remjet is removed), but this is a messy and sticky process as I can attest to. It also involves handling the negatives with your hands and rubbing off the remainder of the remjet layer at the end of the process which can scratch or damage the film. This is why Atlanta Film Co. recommends returning the film to them for developing.
The company ships internationally and accepts orders worldwide.
Stay tuned for further updates and releases from Atlantic Film Co by following them on social media as well!
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