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A film copying plant or film laboratory is a service company in the film and television industry, where work is carried out on behalf of film producers , film distributors and film archives for the development, processing and duplication of film material up to and including a feature film that is ready to be shown or broadcast television game . The film laboratory is usually included in the planning as early as the pre-production phase. Its specialists serve the production up to the delivery of the finished products. Film copiers are more geared towards the production of theatrical copies.

Changed profile through digitization

Due to two central changes in the feature film and television production and distribution, the demand for the classic services of the copier plants has collapsed worldwide. For one thing, the majority of feature films are no longer shown as films, but digitally. While in the past thousands to tens of thousands of copies of a film were often made, today many studios sometimes completely forego making copies of their productions. On the other hand, film cameras are rarely used, especially in production, and the majority of all productions are digital. This led to the fact that former market leaders like Technicolor and DeLuxe partly closed their copier factories completely or massively reduced them, various former competitors merged and other companies like Geyer filed for bankruptcy.

New services that replace the classic copier portfolio often emerged outside of this, for example the digital intermediate .

Areas of responsibility and services

The most important service at the film printing plant is the development of the exposed film materials and the subsequent production of often only roughly corrected samples for demonstration for producers, directors and cameramen before the shooting of the next day.

The processing includes all common black and white and color processes, film formats ( 35 mm normal film, 16 mm narrow film , 65/70 mm wide film, amateur film) including copying from one film format to another (reduction copy or blow up ). The importance of the development and processing of reversal materials has declined sharply since the late 1980s with the electronicization of current television reporting (video).

Different professions can be found in a copy factory. These include a. specialized professionals such as B. developers , copyists , laboratory assistants in sensitometry and chemical analysis, negative cutters, film light determiners in traditional film laboratories or colorists in the digital field, audio specialists, graphic artists, photographers, trick cameramen and sound and film editors .


In Austria there are two and one in Switzerland. These are the synchro, film-video and audio processing, Listo-Videofilm, both in Vienna, and in Zurich the company Cinegrell.

In the 20th century, when the cinema was enjoying its best times, film copies were made in many German locations. It is worth mentioning in Berlin 's Neukölln district, situated on the Harz Straße 39 film printing lab, the building dating back to 1911 under monument protection standing.

Andec-Filmtechnik in Berlin is active in Germany (as of 2019).


  • Joachim Polzer (Hrsg.): Weltwunder der Cinematographie - Contributions to a cultural history of film technology (8th edition 2006) - To the history of the film copier - ISBN 3-934535-26-7
  • Dominic Case: Film Technology in Post Production - The Compendium , Two Thousand One 2004, ISBN 3-86150-611-4
  • André Amsler: Flashback. From black and white film to digital video. Fifty years of production technology. Chronos-Verlag, Zurich, 2004. ISBN 3-0340-0689-6
  • Thomas Geser (editor): Professions in film. Edited by the Zurich Film Association and Switzerland. Association for career counseling, Zurich, 1991. ISBN 3-908003-10-7
  • L. Bernard Happé: Your Film and the Lab. Focal Press, London, 1974
  • Historical overview

Individual evidence

  1. Architectural monument of the former Geyer-Werke AG film copier
  2. homepage Andecfilm , accessed on 20 June 2018th