8mm Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq | register | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» 8mm Forum   » 8mm Forum   » Bad experiences with Pro8mm (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!  
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Bad experiences with Pro8mm
Richard Wilks
Junior
Posts: 2
From: England, UK
Registered: Jul 2012


 - posted July 24, 2012 03:54 PM      Profile for Richard Wilks   Email Richard Wilks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello,

I am a filmmaker of Super-8mm short films, from the UK, and I'd like to share a few experiences that I've had with Pro8mm.

My first encounter with Pro8mm was in 2010 after winning a jury prize at a festival here in England in 2009. The prize was 4 films from Pro8mm, with developing and HD scanning included. These films, once shot and sent to them, were destroyed by their developing tanks, during a power cut. I had paid $50 in push process fees, as well as almost $150 in postage costs (due to their insistence on using Fedex, despite there being a USPS post office 100 metres from their office). The shooting of these rolls however, cost me an awful lot more.

But never mind, power cuts happen. They sent me two replacement rolls, with developing and scanning included, as a way of saying sorry. This didn't come close to making up for what I'd lost, but it serves me right for failing to shoot some backup footage.

My second encounter with Pro8mm was earlier this year, after winning another Jury prize with the same festival in 2011. On this occasion, I was awarded HD scanning time on their Millenium II scanner. I had to pay $50 in prep and cleaning fees, but that seems reasonable when one considers that the scanning time would have cost over $500. Anyway, in order to avoid the expensive Fedex service, I planned to email Pro8mm a pre-paid USPS label. Apparently the 3 minute walk to the post office was still too much to ask.

However, once the work was completed, I was told I needed to provide them with packaging materials. I didn't think to include an empty jiffy bag with the reels, naturally thinking that they (as you'd expect of any reputable business) wouldn't struggle in providing me with one. Not the case. They flatly refused, and insisted that I send them an empty jiffy bag, all the way from England. Apparently California is currently in the depths of jiffy bag drought.

When I finally got the footage back, I discovered very quickly that it had been scanned out of focus. To be certain that it was the scan and not the footage that was out, I had it re-scanned by a lab here in Bristol that has an MWA Flashscan HD. As I'm sure you know, these are not the best telecine machines by a long way, but the footage is markedly sharper than the Pro8mm scan, and immediately confirmed to me that Pro8mm had made a serious error.

Naturally I informed them. I sent them stills from the footage, along with stills from the MWA scan that clearly illustrated their mistake. This was their response:

'If you are unhappy with the transfer we are happy to re-do it.'

They informed me that I would have to pay for the postage to have the reels sent back to them, the postage to have the reels and scan sent back to me, and the prep and cleaning, all over again. Another $150. And despite their clear and obvious error, they refused to apologise or even acknowledge that any error had been made. Below is a link to an account on Flickr, onto which I have uploaded the exact same comparison stills that I sent them. They are taken directly from the 10-bit uncompressed files and are not manipulated in any way.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/82784534@N03/7585172448/sizes/h/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/82784534@N03/7585170672/sizes/h/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/82784534@N03/7585168806/sizes/h/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/82784534@N03/7585167018/sizes/h/in/photostream/

As you can see, the scan is badly out of focus from the far left of the image to the near right. The far right of the image is perfect. I don't know enough about Super-8mm scan gates but is it possible that the left hand side of the film was not seated in the gate properly? Pro8mm certainly aren't willing to entertain discussion on this, but perhaps someone reading this knows something.

Pro8mm tried to tell me that because I had chosen a one-light transfer, focus throughout the footage cannot be guaranteed. I tried explaining to them that the footage is out of focus from the beginning to the end, and all the way in between, but they've stopped responding to my emails (which have always been courteous).

This job, had I paid for it in full, would have cost over $600. Am I really supposed to believe that they are willing to offer a service that costs so much but can guarantee absolutely nothing? Why on earth would they even offer a one-light scan if they can't guarantee that it will be in focus? What use to anyone is an out of focus scan? One-light transfers are not adjusted for changes in exposure and colour temperature, and are thusly a risk if one's footage is badly exposed and / or poorly colour balanced. Scan focus has got nothing to do with it.

In 2010 Pro8mm destroyed my film in their developing tanks. This year, they've given me a scan that is completely unusable, and have offered me nothing for my wasted time and money, other than the opportunity to waste even more. Thankfully, I only invested $150 in this entirely fruitless exercise; the MWA scan, by the way, cost me $20.

I'm not a bitter person (really!), but this company have annoyed me so much that I feel compelled to write this post. It will be entered onto various forums, not just this one, so apologies if you see it twice.

 |  IP: Logged

Christian Bjorgen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 996
From: Kvinnherad, Norway
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted July 24, 2012 05:04 PM      Profile for Christian Bjorgen   Author's Homepage   Email Christian Bjorgen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I considered Pro8mm for my wedding shoot, but I decided against it, mostly due to my communications with them beforehand.

I mailed them in February to hear if it would be possible to purchase the "Do-a-shot"-package (around 1200 USD) and have it mailed to Norway for me to shoot my wedding, as I didn't have the camera nor film for it. I though, it's expensive, yeah, but it's worth it, I mean, it's my wedding!

So I sent them a mail, and even from the first response I had a bad feeling about it.

While their website says no deposit, and says that camera rental is included, they said that due to the "massive increase in shipping costs" to Norway, I would have to pay a 40% deposit aswell as paying extra for the camera rental. I would also be personally responsible for any damage during freight (what the %#&!?) due to the long distance, and of course; they said I HAD to use FedEx, a company which doesn't ship out of Norway, so I would have to pay extra to have it "forwarded" from FedEx in the UK.

So I said, no, that's not how this works. I gave them a polite reply, saying that this was not possible for me, and that since their website didn't state anything about the additional costs they mentioned, I would not agree to it. So then I gave them an offer, that I would purchase the package from them, as stated on the website, and pay the deposit, but I would not accept any extra costs, unless they then gave me more for my money.

I then received a rather rude mail from them two days later, saying that they could offer me the package as stated on their website, provided I pay the deposit, but that the price would be 1950 USD (while the site says 1200), and that "this was their final offer, and I should be glad that they even bothered responding me" because I was being "unreasonable and not serious".

Now, this bothered me ALOT, but I decided to reply saying that I would consider it, as it was quite expensive, and that I would get back to them within the week.

Three days later, I recieved another rude mail, saying they were "tired of waiting" and had "cancelled my order", and that if I wanted to use their services in the future, they would prefer that I "contacted them with the intent of purchasing their services" and not "to be a nuisance".

After that, I didn't bother. I didn't even reply. And so, about a month later, in early April, I suddenly recieved a mail from them, this time from another of their employees, with an apology for their earlier behavior, and with the offer of the complete wedding package, as previously agreed, for 1600 USD, with a 500 USD deposit. Now I thought, OK, this sounds fair, and replied with an "OK, I'll take it. When do you want the deposit and where/how?". Days passed, no response, until two weeks later. Then I recieved a new mail saying that as they hadn't recieved my deposit yet, they had once again cancelled my order.

And that was it. No more Pro8mm. They are without a doubt one of the most unserious businesses I've ever dealt with.

--------------------
Well who’s on first? Yeah. Go ahead and tell me. Who. The guy on first. Who. The guy playin’ first base. Who. The guy on first. Who is on first! What are you askin’ me for? I’m askin’ you!

 |  IP: Logged

Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

Posts: 3063
From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted July 24, 2012 06:34 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Well from what you two gentlemen have said,they certainly don't
live up to their name and are most definately to be avoided,in
fact there should be ads for companies like this that say;
DEAL WITH "PRO8mm" AT YOUR OWN RISK. Thanks for putting
us wise, lucky for Chris they didn't spoil his wedding day and
heartbreaking that they managed to ruin Richards films TWICE,
Now that is incompetence and tight as a ducks arse with it!

 |  IP: Logged

Claus Harding
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1127
From: Washington DC
Registered: Oct 2006


 - posted July 24, 2012 06:48 PM      Profile for Claus Harding   Email Claus Harding   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As a shooter, I have used them, and they are very expensive. They have a couple of stocks that Spectra doesn't have, but beyond that, their standard-def scanning really is average at best.

My last negative transfer from Wildwood had a couple of base-level deep green scratches in the footage, this from footage that had just been developed and was supposedly being run for the first time through the scanner....

I get better results from a local gent I use in Virginia who has a Workprinter XP who offers both full 1080 and standard-def transfers at much lower prices.

Buyer beware.... [Smile]

--------------------
"Why are there shots of deserts in a scene that's supposed to take place in Belgium during the winter?" (Review of 'Battle of the Bulge'.)

 |  IP: Logged

Richard Wilks
Junior
Posts: 2
From: England, UK
Registered: Jul 2012


 - posted July 24, 2012 06:50 PM      Profile for Richard Wilks   Email Richard Wilks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, they really ought to omit the word 'pro' from their name.

Christian, that's an awful lot of money that I'm glad you didn't waste.

Pro8mm pretend to be the best there is, and maybe they had the best scanner for a while (their Millenium II), but there have been a few companies emerging recently that are offering equally terrific scans for a fraction of the price.

 |  IP: Logged

Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5415
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 24, 2012 10:54 PM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When they are under the old name, Super8Sound (same address, same owner, same business), they got a lot of criticism from film shooter, mostly because of their ridiculous prices and attitude. I thought when they changed the name to Pro8mm there have been something new. I received regularly the news letter from them and seems to me they have indeed changed. Still I never use them since I got enough with Dwayne route.

But with these two emails, I can say that nothing has change in their corporate culture.

Pro8mm and super8sound are best avoided.

--------------------
Winbert

 |  IP: Logged

Christian Bjorgen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 996
From: Kvinnherad, Norway
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted July 25, 2012 04:28 AM      Profile for Christian Bjorgen   Author's Homepage   Email Christian Bjorgen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, I'm glad I didn't go for it, but I ended up with no Super 8 footage of my wedding sadly.

I did, however, capture the whole thing in digital HD, almost five hours of multi-cam footage, so the movie it self is still on ;-)

--------------------
Well who’s on first? Yeah. Go ahead and tell me. Who. The guy on first. Who. The guy playin’ first base. Who. The guy on first. Who is on first! What are you askin’ me for? I’m askin’ you!

 |  IP: Logged

Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

Posts: 3063
From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted July 25, 2012 05:47 AM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
It's a sad fact that some of these "firms" and I use the term
loosely,seem to have the attitude that the customer is a pest
and must be treat accordingly,seemingly forgeting that that
person they are dealing with is the reason they have a job.
Unfortunately for people like that,my way is quite simple,I cease
to do business with them, as I am not one of these people that
have to put up with bad service at any price,and thanks to this
Forum, other people can be enlightened,eventually their
attitude changes or custom falls away and their business with it.Loosing bad service is no loss at all.

 |  IP: Logged

Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5415
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 25, 2012 10:52 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Christian, so pity you missed the super 8 footage.

My last 5 cartridges (from Batch 2011) just arrived yesterday and they are darn good!.

Seem Kodak has changed the formula a bit making the color more powerful and also the brightness.

I will review that in different thread.

--------------------
Winbert

 |  IP: Logged

Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

Posts: 3063
From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted July 25, 2012 11:27 AM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
When you've shot them Winbert,I hope you don't put them
in Pro8mm's incapable hands.

 |  IP: Logged

Christian Bjorgen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 996
From: Kvinnherad, Norway
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted July 25, 2012 04:55 PM      Profile for Christian Bjorgen   Author's Homepage   Email Christian Bjorgen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I haven't shot any Super 8 since last summer now. Did a few cartridges of Single8 this spring, and they turned out good, but I haven't gotten around to Super8 since the bad batch of cartridges I got last year.

--------------------
Well who’s on first? Yeah. Go ahead and tell me. Who. The guy on first. Who. The guy playin’ first base. Who. The guy on first. Who is on first! What are you askin’ me for? I’m askin’ you!

 |  IP: Logged

Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5415
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 25, 2012 04:56 PM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Of course, I will not Hugh. As I said above, I am staisfied enpugh with Dwayne. One cartridge is $17 and developing cost is $12/cart. Almost half prce of Pro8mm. Anyway I am just a casula film shooter who love shooting with 8mm because I will limit my footage (due to 3 minutes a cart) compared to HD which can make hundreds minutes but we never see it back.

--------------------
Winbert

 |  IP: Logged

Bill Phelps
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1453
From: USA
Registered: Jan 2009


 - posted July 25, 2012 05:52 PM      Profile for Bill Phelps     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am sorry to read about your bad experiences Richard and Christian. I too shoot film and I just used Spectra for the first time and didn't have a good experience with them either. They act like they are high on a mountain top somewhere....I never used Pro8mm because of the price but now I would never use them. Thanks for the info.

It sounds like they have good equipment but they don't have people who can use it or deal with customers either. Shame.

Bill [Frown]

 |  IP: Logged

Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5415
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 25, 2012 07:53 PM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am not of course the Dwayne owner but they have very good customer service. I was always dealing with a lady by the name of Krystal and she always helpfull in any manner.

I once had 3 cartridges that had to be developed by Spectra because they were prepaid carts with shipping cost included within the USA. At the same time I had 5 carts were going to be processed by Dwayne. Because sending 3 cart and 5 carts respectively from USA to Canada would double my cost, while they could actually be sent together in one flat rate envelope.

Can you beleive me what I asked to Krystal?.

Here it was "Krystal I have 3 carts from Spectra, can I use your address and when they arrive you send together with my other 5 carts processed by Dwyane in one envelope".

You know what was the answer ? "No problem".

So Krystal held my 5 carts until my 3 Spectra carts arrived and consigned together. No additional cost!

I am always satisfied with Dwayne and never think to use other labs.

Just share my experience.

--------------------
Winbert

 |  IP: Logged

Bill Phelps
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1453
From: USA
Registered: Jan 2009


 - posted July 25, 2012 08:00 PM      Profile for Bill Phelps     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I too have always had good dealings with Dwaynes. I used them many times throughout 2010 when I was using up all of my K40. They were always helpful and friendly whenever I spoke to them over the telephone.

It's too bad that spectra and pro8mm can't learn something from them.

Bill [Smile]

 |  IP: Logged

Bill Brandenstein
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1624
From: California
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted July 26, 2012 03:37 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's a lot to be said for a 'can-do' attitude, and attitude is everything.

Also, a good business will treat all jobs as equally important - no job is too small.

My experience with Pro8mm has been fair, not horrible, but I do get the impression that they're happier dealing with the studios than independents and hobbiests. On a couple of occasions I've tried Spectra and had a good experience with them. But my favorite lab for B&W and E-6 color processing, and the best customer service this side of Dwayne's, is Yale Film and Video.

 |  IP: Logged

James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1374
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted July 26, 2012 06:43 PM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've always had very good experience with Dwayne's Photo.

As far as Pro8mm- I dealt with them once or twice back in the 80's, when they were Super8 Sound. They were more expensive than other dealers.

I did get what I ordered at that time, but I do remember one odd thing- They sent me some professional-looking printed material (like a news letter or someting), and it was laced with profanity! [Eek!]

I thought, "Hmmmmm, Thats different".

But yea, they seemed a little arrogant even back then.

James.

 |  IP: Logged

Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

Posts: 3063
From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted July 26, 2012 07:34 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
The newsletter James was probably the customers feedback!
Hence the bad language.

 |  IP: Logged

Mark L Barton
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 614
From: Bristol, South Glos, England
Registered: Mar 2009


 - posted July 27, 2012 06:53 AM      Profile for Mark L Barton   Email Mark L Barton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK this reply may ruffle feathers but...and much as I love and respect America and Americans....I sometimes get the impression that some Americans individuals and firms seem to look down on Europeans. Thats purely my subjective view and I would be nothing but friendly and courteous to our American cousins, its just now and again this slightly 'better than thou' attitude pops up, think Mitt Romney and his multiple fuax pas regarding the London Olmypics.
Regarding Pro8mm, I cannot ascribe any negative, or pro comments as I have never used them. I do received their electronic news letter and much as I see a company highly interested in super 8 I do see an excessive pricing policy. I know they supply reconditioned super 8 cameras but I have my own rather good crop of super 8 cameras that cost a fraction of one of tehirs, and yes mine all work and very well too , thank you.
I think Pro8mm had something to do with JJ Abrams Super 8 feature film, so they may be resting on their laurels, slightly big headed about working with Hollywood. Yes thats good but I have shot super 8 for the BBC...thats THE BBC..the finest broadcaster in the world.
Richard, note you are in Bristol, snap me too, do you know anything about Caffenol super 8 processing?
Cheers to all, and please my American cousins do not take umbridge at my comments, I love you really.

 |  IP: Logged

Bryan Chernick
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 649
From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Mar 2010


 - posted July 27, 2012 11:21 AM      Profile for Bryan Chernick   Email Bryan Chernick   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark, please don't judge Americans by what Mitt Romney says! I don't think most Americans look down on Europeans but some may out of ignorance. You are right about the prices Pro 8 charges for cameras. I guess if you've been burned by ebay cameras or don't want to take the time to search for a good one at thrift stores and garage sales Pro 8 may be the way to go for something guaranteed to work. I have several great working Super 8 and 8mm cameras, most purchased for $10 to $20.

As far as processing lab I use Dwaynes for still photography film and have been happy with the service. I send all of my movie film, 8mm and Super 8, to Alpha Cine in Seattle. I'm very happy with the quality of the processing and the customer service. Living near Seattle I can mail a roll of film on Monday and have it back by the end of that same week. When I worked close to them I would hand deliver my film. The lady behind the counter was amazing, she was very helpful and after only going in a few times she could remember who I was, how to spell my name etc. The only problem with them is they don't do Telecine for 8mm film. They did recommend Light Press in Seattle but I have not used them yet. If anyone has any experience with them it would be nice to know how they did.

 |  IP: Logged

Mark L Barton
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 614
From: Bristol, South Glos, England
Registered: Mar 2009


 - posted July 28, 2012 11:18 AM      Profile for Mark L Barton   Email Mark L Barton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Cheers Bryan, I appreciate your comments. I most definately did not want to tar 99.99% of Americans. A minority of Brits here do more damage to our nation than anything else possible, you know the type.
I will always enjoy the company of Americans and the great land itself. All the very best to you Bryan, Mark

 |  IP: Logged

Pasquale DAlessio
Film God

Posts: 3523
From: Bristol,RI, USA
Registered: May 2010


 - posted July 28, 2012 11:46 AM      Profile for Pasquale DAlessio   Email Pasquale DAlessio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey Mark

I live on your counterpart of Bristol. I live in Bristol, RI USA. My wife is from Kent and we try to visit her family every year or two. I love it there and all it's people. I also enjoyed the opening of the olympics last night. The Brits did it up well. I have been to London and done the Londog Eye and the Euro Star to Paris. Truly highlights in my life.

Cheers!

PatD

 |  IP: Logged

Joe Balitzki
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 529
From: Charleston, SC, USA
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted July 28, 2012 04:07 PM      Profile for Joe Balitzki   Email Joe Balitzki   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But have you Dated a Bond Girl, Pat?
[Smile]

--------------------
Movie Lovers Do It in the Dark

 |  IP: Logged

Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

Posts: 3063
From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted July 28, 2012 04:18 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Pat didn't just date one Joe,he married her.

 |  IP: Logged

Joe Balitzki
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 529
From: Charleston, SC, USA
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted July 28, 2012 04:26 PM      Profile for Joe Balitzki   Email Joe Balitzki   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why am I not surprised?
[Smile]

--------------------
Movie Lovers Do It in the Dark

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Visit www.film-tech.com for free equipment manual downloads. Copyright 2003-2019 Film-Tech Cinema Systems LLC

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2