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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How 35mm Film is Printed at CPC London's Laboratory

Our lab technicians are giving you exclusive behind the scenes access to our London facility, showing you how 35mm is printed... step by step.


1 | Prepare Source
2 | Film Recording
3 | Film Processing
4 | Quality Control
5 | Packaging Delivery

When a client approaches our team, they provide us with a data source, either in physical form or by uploading to our secure SFTP server. We will accept one of the following: DCP, DPX, QuickTime Pro-Res, MPEG4. This will then get ingested, starting the process of getting the client's digital file printed directly on to 35mm Film! With Content Security Approval from Walt Disney Studios, our clients have no need to worry about the safety of their data.

For an in-depth look at each format, read our Source Requirements

Next, our technician's run Densitometric checks. At the start of each day control strips are run out, processed and measured by a machine called a Densitometer (we use two X-rite 310’s). The results from these are used to calibrate the machines, ensuring that colour levels and chemistry are correct. This is an imperative stage, and further density checks are carried out every 4 hours.

The next part gets a little more interesting… Here we move onto the stage that involves our state-of-the-art Film Recorders. This piece of kit is extremely rare, and we are lucky enough to own TWO of them! Our Film Recording machines print picture, audio, and subtitles onto positive 35mm Film, in real-time at 24 frames-per-second. This removes all stages involving expensive negative intermediates and makes us the only laboratory IN THE WORLD that solely specializes in 35mm Direct-to-Print.

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State-of-the-art Film Recorders at CPC London's Laboratory

At this stage, the film is still light-sensitive, so the Recorders are housed in our darkroom, which is linked directly to our in-house processors.

This takes us onto step number 3! Built by Cinetech UK, our ECP-2 machines ensure the highest possible processing quality and consistency. The exposed material leaves our connected darkroom and is then put through the baths, dryers and made into full reels at the end.

Did you know… each reel of 35mm Film has 32,000 frames and holds around 22 minutes of footage!

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ECP-2 Processors at CPC London's Laboratory

From here, our technicians collect the reels of processed 35mm Film, moving them to our quality control room. Using our Steinbeck’s, each reel is checked visually in real-time for any picture or audio defects. Once our technicians are happy with the quality of each, the reels are then placed into metal cans and securely packed ready for shipping. We send these worldwide via DHL or your preferred courier.

"Filmmakers who care about projecting on Film need to know about CPC London. This company rushed an incredible 35mm Film print of my new film #waitforyourlaugh to NYC and it was so affordable. There is no excuse to not show on Film!" - Jason Wise

We have produced 35mm prints for many filmmakers, studios, cinemas and festivals worldwide. Our clients range from top Hollywood studios to Independent filmmakers, and some of our top customers include Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures!

Click here to view our list of clients.

Want to receive a free quote for your next 35mm print? Email with the length of your film and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as possible. Plus, new clients will also receive a special discount!