Vintage: Film Labs

Posted in Vintage at 12:34 pm by Sam

An assortment of 1928 advertisements for film laboratories….

Film Labs

There isn’t much call for a lot of commentary this week. I might have more to say if I had any idea about how film labs are set up now. I have to imagine the studios own their own laboratories for the most part. I also have to think they’re located in or around Hollywood. All but one of these labs were located in New York, the last being in New Jersey. Obviously there are still going to be film labs in NYC, but surely Hollywood backlot productions don’t ship to New York.

Film Labs
Film Labs

The more interesting distinction of these ads, of course, are the antiquated technological claims. Such and such lab can do color tinting! Titles! The wording “ordinary or panchromatic negative developing” is amusing. “Panchromatic” just means what we normally think of as color film: the full range of color, not just monochrome tinting. In other words, quite ordinary, unless you’re living back in 1928.


  1. Ferrick (140) said,

    October 12, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Plastograph. That name rules.

    Interesting that only one ad mentions capacity. I’m guessing that three million feet was a lot but I have no idea what that really means for the day.

  2. Nyperold (116) said,

    October 12, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Hey, Hedwig Motion Picture Laboratories. That should draw some attention these days. :)

  3. Sam (405) said,

    October 14, 2007 at 10:00 am

    A foot of film is 16 frames. Today, we display 24 frames per second, so a foot and a half. In the silent era, speeds were not standard, but 19 fps was probably close to the average, or 701 hours, 45 minutes.

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