Culture, Creativity and Disappearing Celluloid
mediaposted on 24.02.2021, 15:45 by Sean Holmes
Culture, Creativity and Disappearing Celluloid, July 2014
The aim of this video essay is to highlight the historical significance of the film laboratories: the processes that took place within them; the rich work cultures that they fostered; and the technological changes that finally rendered them obsolete.
Rooted in the intellectual traditions of the ‘new social history’, this video essay draws upon a wide range of archival sources, footage of production processes shot in the Deluxe Film Laboratory, and extensive interviews with industry veterans. The researchers decided to document the history of the British film laboratories in a visual form, in order for it to be accessible to the men and women whose working lives it examines.
The essay documents in an audiovisual form the processes that took place in the film laboratories, foregrounding hierarchies of skill and gender and capturing the final days of a production facility that had been in continuous operation since the 1930s. More significantly, it provides the workers who earned their living in the film laboratories – a group whose role in the productive process has been largely ignored by film historians – a space in which to reflect upon the significance of the labour processes in which they were engaged and the work culture they created.
Andrew Dawson, University of Greenwich
Sean P Holmes, Brunel University
Researcher: Phil Windeatt
Archival footage: A Day At Denham (Alexander Korda, 1939) ITN Source / ITV Studios
With Special Thanks To:
All the staff at Deluxe Film Laboratories, especially:
Deluxe still images kindly provided by Alan Brazier
Additional Thanks To:
Hazel Mae Dawson
Danny Santos Amaral
BECTU History Project