The East Coast Film Lab Mantra

In years past, getting your film processed was as simple as popping down to the local drugstore, or the local professional lab. Sadly, today most of those professional labs are gone, and the local drugstore employee may not even know what film looks like.

Even if they do accept your film for processing, they won’t do it there… Your film goes on another journey all its own, traveling through trucks and planes (and potentially damaging X-Ray scanners) before finally landing at some clearinghouse, to be run in a batch with other nameless, faceless rolls. Quality control is typically acceptable, usually hovering around “middle of the road” consistency, because keeping perfect control requires a meticulous and time-consuming approach. Once it’s processed, your film runs through a scanner, turning your beautiful, organic analogue film into ones and zeros.

And then your negatives are destroyed.

Perhaps they’re recycled for their petroleum content. Maybe they’re turned into playground mulch. Maybe they’re just recycled into new base for someone else’s film, but the sad reality is that your negatives no longer become negatives, the bits and pieces that live in a shoebox to be discovered by the next generation after the ones and zeros of today have been upgraded into oblivion.

We are big fans of environmental protection, but we’re huge fans of history and archiving.

Want your negatives back? We want you to have them, and keep them, and treasure them for future generations.

That being said, we do have some customers that are not interested in the film itself, but prefer a hybrid digital process. After all, a film camera can be purchased (along with plenty of film and processing) for a fraction of the cost of a new digital camera, and you can also feel better knowing that your camera, itself a work of art with a potentially amazing history, is rescued from becoming a shelf queen or another piece of “waste” cast aside in a landfill. So if you want to shoot film, have it professionally processed with exacting precision, scanned at nearly any resolution, and delivered digitally with a quick turnaround, we’re here for you. And if you really don’t want your negatives, we’ll recycle them.

There is, however, one small catch.

Because we think everyone should keep their negatives, and because some people just never return to collect them, we are drowning in old negatives. With that in mind, moving forward, we can only guarantee to hold your negatives for 30 days from the date of processing, unless prior arrangements are made. Sure, we can keep them longer if you can’t make it back in thirty days, you just need to let us know.

We will take utmost care of all our clients negatives, but any film left with us is done without liability placed upon us for loss or damages to negatives. You agree as a client to not place any responsibility of care on East Coast Film Lab for the holding of your film negatives. East Coast Film Lab is not at fault for any damages due to, but not limited to, negligence, accident or malfunction.

Despite the archival aspect of keeping negatives, there is also the continual advancement of technology. Digital cameras keep improving, but so does scanning technology. You might not want your negatives now, and you may be content with a high resolution scan, but tomorrow’s high resolution scan will surpass today’s technology, so you can always get a larger file. Try that with pictures from your Nikon D70 or Canon 10D.

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If you want to see what’s going on in the lab day to day, we’re all about social media.  We’re on instagram sporadically throughout the day updating on what’s new and exciting at the lab.