Paul Howson’s Website

A Film Restoration Diary

Seeking Telecine Services in a Post-Film Era

When the Sydney telecine company failed to deliver a useable scan, the search was on again for a quality film scanning service.

I called The Post Lounge again. They told me they were closing their Gold Coast facility and not running the Spirit Datacine anymore. They were planning to sell it. Apparently there was very little production happening at the Gold Coast and future productions would probably be all-digital, without using any film at all. The bottom line was: they were out of the film and telecine business.

Where to turn next? I had contacted Cinevex in Melbourne a few years earlier regarding film cleaning services. Did they still exist? At least they might provide some leads. It turned out they had been taken over by Deluxe. I called their Melbourne office. They had closed the old Cinevex lab in Elsternwick the previous year. Some of the equipment from Melbourne went to the Sydney office. They suggested I call Jan Thornton at Deluxe Sydney, which I did.

Jan Thornton turned out to be a very helpful lady. In fact, they had a Spirit Datacine in Sydney. We discussed costs and the process to follow. Then as an afterthought she said: “I think Cutting Edge in Brisbane has a Spirit machine”.

Brisbane! Just down the road. I called Cutting Edge and was put through to Justin McDonald their colourist and telecine operator.

Justin was happy to take my call and talk about telecine. Justin had worked in telecine for years, beginning with the old Rank systems. In fact he used to work for The Post Lounge, managing their Spirit Datacine. Larry had been Justin’s replacement.

At last, here was someone who knew their stuff and was willing to talk technical detail. And, yes, Cutting Edge had a 2K Spirit Datacine.

In the next post, we visit Cutting Edge, meet Justin, see the Spirit Datacine in action and make arrangements for scanning some film.