No announcement yet.

Derann Labs.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Derann Labs.

    Continuing the discussion about Master and Commander in the sales section, I thought I'd start a new topic here.

    Brian points out that;

    "Lab North seemed more careful than Rank as there were not many "reversed image" prints sold off at reduced priced after they took over."

    Which is a very fair point. I think I'm right though that the main guy who did the printing moved to Northern Labs as Rank closed, so it was the same person responsible for printing. I'm sure Derek stated that in a newsletter at the time. This is where we need Ged Jones to clarify!

    Personally, I just found increasingly prints that were off center, suffered more bounce or were just not the right colour balance from Northern. I still enjoyed buying lots of new films from Derann of course, despite the glitches.

    I think Northern were owned by Granada Television (big tv company in the UK at the time) and that the ultimate closure was due to UK drama productions moving from 16mm negative capture to digital formats. At least we still had them for a while, even if they did seem to me to get a bit "slap-dash".

  • #2
    I had read it mentioned before that Derann's best prints were in the early 1990's although Ged Jones seemed to dispute that when I mentioned that to him on Facebook.


    • #3
      Now, sincerely, I am not an expert on what makes for the best prints. Derann prints from about the middle 80's to the mid 90's really did seem like a "golden era", but I really didn't seem to hear of the really excessively bluish prints coming out until the late 90's until the end. I remember one of my overseas friends showing me a comparison between a mid 90's Mary Poppins and an excessively bluish late print. The difference was staggering! A sadly terrible example was Fantasia 2000, of which I have never seen a good, non-bluish print, being so bad that the scenes with human intros, the facial tones were almost non-existent. Was this drop on released prints due to the loss of one of they're key employees?


      • #4
        -talk about slap-dash!

        The very last new Derann print I bought was "Terrier to Wooton", which was shown in their catalogs something like "280 Feet on a 400 Foot reel".

        The print was fine, but they shipped it on a 200 Foot reel. There was a good half inch of film above the flanges.

        In our world there are cored prints and there are prints on reels. This is the only print I've ever heard of that succeeded in being both!

        All due respect to Derann: if it was a bigger problem than this one, they always did their best to make things right.


        • #5
          Yes, Derann always did their very best to put problems right without hesitation. They just had the right attitude toward the customer as far as I was concerned and Derek, Ged, Gary and all of the staff were always helpful and understanding. Which is just one more reason that they are so fondly remembered.

          But they themselves were the customer of the lab, and sadly I don't think the lab always delivered, especially approaching the end. It's the lab I'm personally questioning, not Derann, although everyone makes the odd blunder.

          Of course the pre-print material was always important which is why so many of those Disney releases in the 90's are so spectacular.

          And then the move from wet-gate printing to dry-gate in the early 90's. What a world of issues! A super sharp print of "Predator" bought in the mid-90's marred with wet-gate fluid blotches. Of course, that was Rank and I totally understand the reasons. It was always best to try and buy a first run print. It was like unwritten collector's lore back then.

          That said, we don't know what kind of pressures the lab and staff would have been under towards the end. So all of this is just observation, not criticism.

          I have a beautiful print of "The Reptile" printed in 2004 with a big white line down the right hand side.

          But you just have to push the black velvet masking in a bit further...
          Last edited by Rob Young; June 28, 2021, 10:09 AM.


          • #6
            In July 2001 I bought reel 3 (600ft) of "Fantasia 2000" brand new from Derann (£68.99) on Agfa Geveart stock which has no date code.

            I have just checked it and the colours are as good as when I bought it. The colour chart has no lab identification, although it shows all colours as they should be. There is a young dark haired lady also shown.


            • #7
              Ged has written up the story of the history of which labs Derann used from the early days to the last in thethe facebook group The Derann Vaults. I think they once used FIlmatic but didn't really like the results then moved to Rank and Buck. When pre-striped stock was discontinues Buck said they would stripe it but only if Derann used them exclusively. That was when Derann bought the striper from Studio Labs. When Rank closed the 8mm department it went to Yorkshire TV in Leads with the then head of 8mm printing (I wish I could remember his name) moving north to continue the work.


              • #8
                Maurice! Is there any possible way that you could do some screenshots from that Fantasia 2000? This gives me hope of finding an agfa print, as I had always assumed they were all LPP prints!


                • #9
                  The Reel problems surfaced when they had to pick up the striping the first casualty being Carry on Screaming where the paste stripe fell off between your fingers. Del took my print back quickly returning it a few months later and they tried to work out a mag stripe mix that was workable.
                  Despite the hype all was not always well.

                  As much as I love the memories and i do the finest prints are being released today with the gorgeous Kodak stock and modern striping methods.

                  Put a print of Star Wars up against the new 2021 prints and witness the difference, yes you will be surprised...


                  • #10
                    I would have to be really surprised, as I own one of the first day release prints of Star Wars, and the image quality and the color is really good. It didn't look like a release of a 70's film!
                    Last edited by Osi Osgood; June 28, 2021, 05:09 PM.


                    • #11
                      I recall the return of Kodak LPP in the 2000s coincided with the release that featured the Mr Bean intro + 'The Spirit of America', so that would have been around 2002. So I expect quite a few of the 'Fantasia 2000' prints were Agfa. I returned mine for credit as I couldn't get used to the blue bias. I think this should be viewed as a separate issue to the bluish copies of other titles because - strange as it may seem for a Disney title - the fundamental problem was the negative. I definitely recall hearing that Derek had said that every effort had been made to correct the colour, but it was beyond the lab's capabilities to fully correct it. If anyone has a print that the lab failed to apply the corrective settings to, I suppose it would be 100% blue! Frustratingly, the trailer has very nice colour.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for that info, Adrian!


                        • #13
                          Brian, yes of course it would have been Yorkshire TV not Granada that owned the lab in Leeds. I live near Manchester, so I think I just had Granada on my mind. That and a dodgy memory. My mistake.

                          Those early Star Wars prints from 1989 are great, but I know what Lee is saying. I recently ran my print all the way through and although it is a belter in 'scope and stereo, it is reasonably soft. I guess some of that is a result of being wet gate printed, although a slight lack of sharpness is certainly better than lots of negative damage showing. Apparently the negative wasn't in the best shape to start with. And it is very grainy in places. Of course it's still hugely enjoyable and that Kodak pre-stripe stereo recording by Derann is just belting.

                          Oh and wasn't the lab guy called something like Peter John?? I'll have to get my old film for the collector out and check.