News: Hung Supply x FilmNeverDie Pop-Up
All photos: Morgan Rudolph / FilmNeverDie
Based in Melbourne, FilmNeverDie is a film lab and photography space run by a collective of photographers that share a die-hard passion for film photography. Since its inception, founder Gary Wong and the FilmNeverDie gang, have made it their business to preserve, nurture and grow the analogue shooting community.
In less than a decade, FilmNeverDie has assembled a cult-like following - uniting film shooters via photo walks, workshops, exhibitions, and the lab. Here at Hung Supply, we too have a mutual adoration for film photography and its devoted community, so it made perfect sense for us to link up with our pals at FilmNeverDie for our first-ever retail pop-up.
Our maiden dabble in the retail space, the exclusive pop-up at FilmNeverDie Melbourne is live in-store for a limited time only. So, for all of our Melbourne photo peeps and creeps, now is the ideal time to get your hands on some fresh Hung Supply kit. FilmNeverDie will be stocking our entire range of camera bags and sling goods, as well as the MOD camera strap, chain accessories and a limited run of 'Friends Overnight' t-shirts.
Oh, and for every camera bag purchased in-store, we'll also be tossing in a free roll of FilmNeverDie 35mm film. But that's not all, one lucky shopper will also have the chance to take home an entire brick of Kodak Gold 200, that's 10x rolls... or, literal gold.
To go into the draw, simply purchase any Hung Supply product in-store throughout the duration of the pop-up. How good! To check out the merchandise, swing past FilmNeverDie - 6 Watertank Way, Melbourne, and say hi to Gary and the team.
To further celebrate this union, we dialled up our buddy Morgan Rudolph, film and camera maven at FilmNeverDie, for a Good Chat chin wag in regards to the deathless nature of film photography.
GOOD CHAT: FILMNEVERDIE & MORGAN RUDOLPH
Heya Morgs, thanks for taking the time to chat... Firstly, for those that don’t know the biz, please give us the low-down on FilmNeverDie. What do you do?
No problemo... FilmNeverDie is a boutique photographic film lab and camera store based in Melbourne, Australia. Our passionate team specialise in developing and scanning film.
In the last decade film and analogue photography has seen a massive resurgence. Why do you think more people are opting to shoot analogue in a highly digitised world?
Funny you mention that—my better half is about to drop some coin on a Fuji X-Pro3. It’s a pretty trick kit with an optical viewfinder, concealed LCD display and film stock simulations. We joke that her photography makes her money whereas mine costs me money.
With this exception, the popularity of all things analogue is undoubtedly on the rise. The aforementioned digital cameras along with Lightroom presets can make for very convincing imitations. I’m personally drawn to the romance of film, both the tactile nature and delayed gratification. With a limited amount of exposures you’re forced to be more mindful when shooting.
What are some of the main industry changes you’ve noticed over the past five years?
Film shortages is the undeniable elephant in the room! The entire supply chain has struggled to keep up with growing demand.
We’ve also noticed an increasing amount of customers sizing up to 120 medium format film. The cameras are a little heavier and more conspicuous. However, the overwhelming consensus is—medium format hits different. There’s an incredible amount of detail you can pull from a larger negative.
Greater lab diversity. Photographic film labs naturally thinned out with the introduction of digital cameras. Now we’re spoiled for choice, and every lab has a unique point of difference.
What were your first interactions with film processing? How did you become a lab technician?
I applied for a retail position, despite having my heart set on the lab technician role, something about earning my stripes first. Based on my work experience and mechanical aptitude I was better cut-out for the lab.
For someone new to the world of processing film, what are the basic fundamentals? Can you give us the 101?
A thirty second crash course? Sure—it’s all about accuracy and attention to detail, like baking soufflés or croissants and slightly less like ANZAC biccies. Measure your chemistry with precision. Keep your temperatures stable, a sous vide machine is a game changer. Learn to dry your film without a squeegee. Work in a well-ventilated space with appropriate PPE, and above all else, don’t sip the chems.
What film formats do you process? What services do you offer?
35mm and 120 medium format. In terms of type/stock C41 colour is our main bread and butter, otherwise E6 slide and black and white.
For those first picking up a film camera for the first time, what are three film stocks you would recommend and why?
Assuming the camera is tested...
Kodak Portra 400. This professional grade colour film stock offers fine grain structure, warm colour palette and accurate skin tones. Widely considered the most forgiving and versatile film stock in production due to its wide exposure latitude, that is, the ability to over or under expose.
Lomography Purple. What can I say other than—‘it’s purple!’.
Kodak TMAX 100. This professional grade black and white film stock offers extremely fine grain structure and medium contrast. I’d personally reserve for shooting at the height of day with harsh light/dramatic shadows. Black and white stocks are typically more affordable.
And any hot tips for those first-timers dropping into the lab with a maiden roll of frames?
Without sounding like a Grinch—lower your expectations. Especially with untested cameras. It’s likely the light seals have perished with time. Any unwelcome light will burn and destroy your emulsion. Fortunately light seals are easily replaced; unfortunately, intimate photographs captured at your late Grandpa’s 99th birthday bash are not so.
And you refurbish and sell used analogue cameras?
Yes, we have a contracted camera technician. All of our cameras are sold tested with 1 month exchange period and 6 months warranty to provide peace of mind.
What’s the most requested camera people are constantly asking you for? Do you source cameras for customers?
The Canon AE-1 Program hands down! Arguably the most beginner friendly SLR readily available. The Program feature is like training wheels on a bicycle — ON allows for fully automated metered shooting; OFF allows shooting manually [Look Mum!]. Additionally, there are no shortages of prime FD mount lenses, flashes, motor drives and data backs if you’re looking to pimp out your AE-1.
FilmNeverDie is big on community and creative projects. Tell us a little about the Photo Walks?
FilmNeverDie photo walks run every quarter. They’re all about creating the opportunity for like minded creatives to rub shoulders. It’s very rewarding to watch friendships blossom over the course of the day. Back in February we chartered a bus to Daylesford in regional Victoria, and recently in May we boarded a Yarra River sightseeing cruise.
Will I catch you at the next event?
Hell yeah, you will.
The Film Vending Machines are an ingenious idea. Who cooked them up?
That’d be Gary our co-founder, he took inspiration from Japan.
How many do you have circulating at the moment? Where can we find them to feed them 20c pieces?
There are currently five machines in circulation, vending fresh 35mm, 120 medium format and Polaroid film stocks.
FilmNeverDie 6 Watertank Way Melbourne, VIC
Stupid Vintage Factory 1/40 Green St, Windsor VIC
Northside Food Hall 39 High St, Preston VIC
Alleyway Cartel 474 Neerim Rd, Murrumbeena VIC
House of Darwin Shop 15/35 Cavanagh St, Darwin NT
You are also just about to launch your own film processor, the CP800. Can you please tell us a little more about this project and some of the machine’s features?
The Compact Processor 800 is our fully automated rotary drum film processor, designed to address the shortcomings of discontinued equipment. Despite the revival we touched on earlier, most commercial labs depend on software and hardware dating back to the 90’s. I’m a ‘93 model myself and I’ve got my fair share of bumps and bruises. We’re thrilled to see this passion project come to life. We plan to have our sister store in Malaysia handle small batch production in the future.
We’ve clearly established film will never die. What perpetual future do you see for film photography and the lab itself?
It’s an exciting time! Kodak recently reintroduced their consumer grade stock Gold in 120 medium format. It’s a refreshing change from discontinuations. I hope to see more of this, take note Fujifilm! It's worth mentioning this editorial was shot on Kodak Gold 120, processed and scanned at FilmNeverDie on our Fuji Frontier SP-3000.
Name three other things we just can’t kill?
1. Clint Eastwood.
2. Share house sandwich toasters.
3. Northern Pacific Seastar.
If you could process a roll of film from any three photographers (dead or alive), who do you have dropping into the lab?
1. Jason Lee. Is there anything the man can’t do?
2. Charles Traub. His Dolce Via catalogue is a great source of inspiration.
3. Neil Armstrong. Precisely the Apollo 11 photographs.
Famous last words?
Thanks to the FilmNeverDie crew Gary, Wei Wei, Mike, Daniel, Teneille, Timothy, Stacey, Jacob, Alice, E-man, Frog, Jack, Natalie, Max, Kleeo and Jasveer.
Thanks Hung Supply for the Good Chat!
For all your film, scan and dev needs, hit up FilmNeverDie. Give them a follow on the gram: @filmneverdie.
Also, big thanks to Morgan Rudolph for his continued passion and contribution. Check out his dope photography HERE.