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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Technicolor Drives Another Nail into Films Coffin.

Technicolor closing North Hollywood film release printing plant.

Technicolor has been an iconic name in the film business for more than 95 years. The company is the world’s largest film processor. They are also a leading provider of production, post-production, and distribution services to content creators, network service providers and broadcasters.

If you are film buff then you then you know that Technicolor has been associated with the color process since the early days of the industry. Technicolor made its name providing color cameras and prints for such Hollywood hits as A Star is Born, The Wizard of Oz, Singin' in the Rain and Fantasia.

As digital video has grown the company has been transforming itself from a film-focused lab to a company providing all manner of digital services, including digital intermediate and visual effects. Currently the company is the largest independent manufacturer and distributor of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs; and it has become a leading global supplier of set-top boxes and internet gateways. Technicolor also operates an Intellectual Property and Licensing business unit managing more than 42,000 patents.
The Camera Rig from the ASC's 2009 digital camera test.
But in this age of digital moviemaking the company has also seen the writing on the wall. With the failure of the California economy, and it’s pending collapse the company is looking for a way to cut costs and prepare for the future.

On Thursday November 18th, 2010 Technicolor confirmed that it is shutting down its North Hollywood release printing plant. It is moving all release print operations in North American to its Canadian plant located in Mirabel a suburb of Montreal.

Technicolor will continue to provide film processing in LA in the form of dailies,  but will be closing most of its film processing and its printing plant. The factory does most of the film processing for the company.

Technicolor reports its actions are due to the theaters moving to digital projection technology . The company is preparing for a huge decline in feature film distribution print requirements in the coming years.

Currently North American digital penetration now exceeds 30%. The reduced demand for film prints doesn’t require the company to keep two facilities. With Technicolor’s lease on the property in North Hollywood expiring next year and the escalating cost of union labor, taxes and other expenses in California it only makes since to move all of its North American distribution print operations to Mirabel. This shift means that Technicolor will no longer strike release prints in the United States. A first in the history of the company, and just another sign of the changes that new technology is bringing to the film industry.

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