Technicolor lab goes dark

The last employees left Technicolor’s 40,000-square-foot lab in Glendale on Friday, as the film and post-production giant shifts into the digital age and shutters its local operation, where employees processed film.

The closure cost 39 people their jobs in an area of the city known as the “Creative Corridor,” which spans 700 acres sandwiched between Los Angeles and Burbank, said Claude Gagnon, president of Technicolor Creative Services.

Technicolor Inc. moved about 100 film-processing jobs to Glendale in March 2011, calling its proximity to DreamWorks Animation and Disney’s Creative Campus along the corridor — “a bright spot in an otherwise stagnant economy” at the time.

Technicolor moved those jobs to Glendale when it closed a facility in North Hollywood.

Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman said “it’s always sad” to see a major employer leave the city.

“It’s really a shame, but when technology changes, there are winners and there are losers,” she said. “I think Technicolor has been really happy here.”

The company has pared back its local workforce steadily since the Glendale facility opened because of digital technology’s new prominence in the film industry, Gagnon said.

While Gagnon acknowledged cutting 39 jobs is a loss, he said the company is still robust.

“I have 1,750 people working in different areas (of Southern California),” Gagnon said. “It’s just a different world. We need to adapt and change according to the technology shift in the market. Consumers consume their content very differently than they did five years ago.”

The Glendale operation was providing 65-millimeter and 70-millimeter prints for IMAX, Gagnon said.

“Over the last couple of years, most theaters have switched to digital,” he added. “It’s sad for the people, but [nobody was] surprised. We’ve had several discussions over the last few years.”

He said that around the world, 85% of movie screens now use digital projectors, 95% of them are in the United States.

“All the film labs have closed,” Gagnon said. “The one in Glendale was the last one. We still operate one in Bangkok, serving the Southeast Asian market, but even there’s a question if that one will last a month. It won’t be [open in] five years.”

The equipment in the Glendale lab will be removed starting early next month, Gagnon said.

Friedman said Friday’s exodus is a minor hit to the corridor, but not a fatal blow.

“We have entertainment companies who reach out to us all the time interested in the Creative Corridor,” Friedman said. “They’re looking to move here. We have a wide and dynamic grouping of creative uses in Glendale. With editing, post -production, other creative businesses like sound-recording facilities, there are other creative technology and film companies here.”



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