"I was told once that overnight processing is the only processing that can be done with no color correction which is something I demand in developing my Lomo prints."
Having worked in a professional photo lab during college, and later in an overnight processing environment, I could really empathise with Dawn today over her overnight processing woes. Being a Fine Arts major studying photography, working in a professional photo lab during college really had it’s benefits. I enjoyed processing film for our (quite loyal) customers. We catered to their every need, processing their photos to the best of our ability. We did do color and density correction to our "premium" customers rolls of film. This amounted to correcting color and density to a "believeable" level. Not super-saturated greens and blues. When I say premium, I mean the 1-hour, 4-hour and overnight processing. In the mornings, we also did overnight (cheap-o) processing for another location, who sold their processing on quantity and pricing, not quality. These rolls of film were generally put on the printer, hit PRINT, cut negatives and shoved into the envelope.
Later on, after graduating, I had planned on moving to Arizona. The company I was currently working for also had locations in Arizona - only of the overnight processing lab type, no custom lab. So after moving, I thought I would give this a shot. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Working in a high-volume, overnight environment was nothing like working in a custom lab. Of course I hadn’t planned on it being exactly the same thing either.
Film which usually goes through a small processor in the 1-hour labs, is spooled onto large movie reels with hundreds of other rolls of film. This is all done in a pitch-black darkroom. Then, the film is fed through large processing tanks at blinding speeds and spooled up on large reels on the other end of the tanks. Once this is done, the roll of film is matched up with the customers envelope and spooled to be printed.
My first week at the facility, I was given the task of printing the "damaged rolls" of film. These are the ones where the film may have jumped the sprocket or come off of one of the reels and ripped lengthwise down the roll of film. These are also the rolls where you are told that, "your camera probably ripped it inside" or that YOU were at fault. I couldn’t believe the lack of quality control in the place from being what I was used to. That job lasted about 2 weeks for me until I couldn’t handle it anymore.