Here’s an archive post I found on how I developed FBN’s Super-8 footage inexpensively. I haven’t posted it until now.
I processed the majority of the Super 8 footage I shot for FBN at the great Walmart. “Walmart is evil” said an FBN cast member of mine and yes, Walmart IS evil. I acknowledge this. They’re probably going to mess up the entire world eventually in the same manner that Best Buy will most likely screw most of the independent dvd labels and hence, most independent filmmakers within the next twelve months but I really don’t want to get into debates about big business using their market dominance to kill far more considerate and nicer companies and then when they get the biggest piece of the pie they’re all nasty and they do bad things. I’m not insensitive to the suffering which these big businesses cause but you know one of the reasons Kodak cited for their discontinuation of Kodachrome was the massive cost involved in cleaning up all the toxic chemicals involved in the Kodachrome developing process so come on, if you want to draw your line in the sand on this point I really don’t have a good answer for you. I’m sure there’s a greener way to go about all this and I’m totally not against it at all, believe me. Instead of Wal-Mart one could perhaps find a local drug store or food chain which sends their film to Fuji for developing.
All of my film arrived back in a little white box on a nice white spool, the same as it would if I’d sent it directly to Dwayne’s in Parsons, KS, the only U.S. lab left which can process Kodachrome Super-8 and 16mm. You see what Walmart does is ship it to Fuji who in turns ships it to Dwaynes (http://www.k14movies.com) and then sends it back through to the store. Most Walmarts which use Fuji seem hip to this; all one had to do was write “Process K14, Super-8 Film” on the mailer but I’m not sure of the procedure now that Kodachrome has been discontinued. Also it used to be $4.88 but they may have upped it to $8 now, I haven’t really tried it using Kodak’s Kodachrome replacement stock but Dwayne’s will process either one. They’re nice people.
Ulitmately it was a good deal, four bucks and change with no shipping cost versus nine dollars plus shipping if you sent it to Dwaynes directly and despite what one may think of Walmart or their photo division most of the work is really in Fuji’s hands and Wally World never lost or screwed up a single roll I sent them which has actually happened to me before when I sent things directly to a lab (not Dwayne’s but some other place for plus-x). Of course dealing with a lab directly and using expedited shipping cuts down on the risk factors involved so that should definitely be taken into account.