Film Laboratory Technician Job Description video

Career Videos >> Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics >> Film Laboratory Technician video

Before motion picture footage can be edited into a film, it has to be processed, prepped, transferred and digitized into an editing system. Film laboratory technicians process and prep the film for that transfer. These workers are involved in many tasks in a film processing facility, and may specialize. While it helps to have a discerning eye, some lab techs rely more on their sense of touch -- working comfortably and accurately in complete darkness! In order to show you this, we're simulating the procedures with the lights on. Unloading film… mounting it onto equipment… feeling for imperfections or damage… connecting rolls together in the correct order… and setting it up on the processor… all is done in a pitch-black dark room. In the processing machine, the film goes through a series of carefully timed chemical baths. Lab techs analyze the chemicals in the processor on a regular basis to make sure the solutions are in balance. Once the film is fully developed, it's dried and removed from the processor. In the negative prep area, technicians reorganize the footage and input pertinent information about it into a computer database. Cleaning room technicians give the film another once-over to remove dust or debris that could spoil the images before the footage is sent on to be transferred for editing. Lab techs are involved in quality control, too. They use precision instruments to test the processing equipment before each day's run. A basic knowledge of chemistry is helpful in this work. Math smarts, mechanical aptitude and attention to detail are important job assets, too. The work is not strenuous and is generally performed within a 40-hour workweek, though deadline pressures can wrap those hours around nights and weekends. Employers look for experience in film processing or a related field and generally provide training on the job. The work of film lab technicians helps to ensure that what the filmmaker intended to capture on film is what the audience eventually sees.


We have over 500 professionally produced videos describing what it is like to do a specific job. Click on a Video Category to view the list of occupations.