Die Tokyo Laboratory, ein japanisches Unternehmen, das 1955 gegründet wurde, wird Ende November nach 68 Jahren Betrieb schließen. Das Unternehmen plant, alle Originalfilme an seine Kunden zurückzugeben, konnte jedoch einige von ihnen nicht erreichen. Aufgrund der immer stärkeren Umstellung auf digitale Kinoverbreitung stellte die Tokyo Laboratory im November 2022 ihr Verarbeitungsgeschäft ein. Ihre Geschäftsbereiche digitale Bildbearbeitung und Videoediting wurden an das Toho Studio übertragen, während ihre Archivierungsgeschäfte an eine neue Archivierungsgesellschaft übergeben werden, die von TOHO gegründet wurde. Die Tokyo Laboratory hat an zahlreichen Anime-Projekten gearbeitet und war für Videoediting, Filmentwicklung und Archivierung verantwortlich. Im September 2021 bildeten Toho und IMAGICA Lab. eine Geschäftspartnerschaft, die sich auf die digitale Videobereitstellung konzentriert.
Community’s Reaction and Official Responses
Upon hearing the news of Tokyo Laboratory’s closure, many members of the film community expressed their sadness and nostalgia. The company had become a cherished institution, known for its exceptional work and contributions to the industry. Film professionals and enthusiasts alike took to social media to share their memories and express their gratitude for Tokyo Laboratory’s impact.
Industry insiders have praised Tokyo Laboratory’s dedication to preserving the art of film processing and archiving. They acknowledge the challenges posed by digital advancements but emphasize the importance of maintaining a balance between new technologies and traditional practices.
In response to the closure, Tokyo Laboratory released a statement expressing their gratitude to their staff, clients, and supporters over the years. They acknowledged the changing landscape of the film industry and expressed hope for the continued growth and success of the Japanese film community.
The Japanese government has also recognized the significance of Tokyo Laboratory’s closure and the need to adapt to digital cinema distribution. They have announced plans to support the development and training of professionals in digital film technologies, ensuring the industry remains competitive in the global market.
The Future of Film Processing
While the closure of Tokyo Laboratory signals a clear shift towards digital cinema distribution, it does not spell the end of film processing entirely. Some filmmakers and enthusiasts continue to champion the use of analog film for its unique aesthetic qualities.
There are still niche markets and specific artistic visions that call for traditional film processing. The demand for film originals and the services of specialized labs may decrease, but they are unlikely to completely disappear. Film festivals, art-house cinemas, and certain filmmakers will continue to embrace the medium for its distinct look and feel.
Additionally, companies like Kodak and Fujifilm are committed to the production and development of film stock. They continue to invest in research and innovation, ensuring the availability of high-quality film materials for those who prefer the analog format.
As the film industry evolves, a hybrid approach may emerge, combining the advantages of both analog and digital technologies. Filmmakers may choose to shoot on film and then digitize the footage for post-production, allowing for greater flexibility in the editing process.
Tokyo Laboratory’s closure marks the end of an era in the film industry, highlighting the industry’s transition from analog film processing to digital cinema distribution. The company leaves behind a rich legacy and a lasting impact on the world of cinema, particularly in video editing, film development, and archiving.
While the closure may be seen as a somber moment, it also represents the industry’s ability to adapt and embrace new technologies. The transfer of Tokyo Laboratory’s services to Toho Studio and the establishment of a new archiving company by TOHO ensure that vital aspects of film production and preservation will continue.
The future of film processing lies in a combination of analog and digital approaches, providing filmmakers with a range of options to suit their artistic vision. As the industry continues to evolve, it is important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of institutions like Tokyo Laboratory, which have shaped the history of cinema.