Thursday, May 31, 2007
Future Perfect - The Lab In The Digital Age
Once thought to be on the verge of a dodo-like extinction, labs have made a strong comeback as they gear up to serve photographers' digital needs
What can a lab offer that a computer cannot? That's really the question in an era when image manipulation is as convenient as learning a few keyboard shortcuts. Even labs seem to be asking themselves this question as online lab services like kodakgallery.com begin to infiltrate the consumer market.
“What the [digital] industry has pushed,” according to DigitalFusion, “is this do-it-yourself—we now have empowered you to do everything you used to do at the lab. And this has led to a certainty on the part of photographers and businesses that an assistant or an in-house tech is going to be able to provide you with everything you're going to need in terms of post.
“But we [the lab] have high-speed Internet connections for super-high-speed, coast-to-coast uploads, and massive storage capabilities so that entire archives can be ingested and stored there, and hosting facilities for that—all in one shot, where your Website and your archive and your edit and your online management tools exist in this one place. A corporation will make a huge technology investment, but it won't refresh that technology investment for two to three years minimum. And you have a digital lab whose sole purpose is to have the latest and greatest technology, so quality is maintained at the top.”
Labs have always provided something more than just processing; they also provide knowledge and experience.
“We're going to have some really smart, talented computer people,” adds DigitalFusion, “and we're going to have IT people, and we're going to know about Internet and speeds and technologies. We'll find the people who excel in those fields, bring them together in the lab and then we'll service the photographer correctly. And we do this every day, so we're going to be better than you.”
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