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Technicolor to close North Hollywood film printing plant

November 19, 2010 |  7:02 pm

In another blow to L.A.'s entertainment economy, Technicolor Inc. plans to shut down its film release printing plant in North Hollywood next year, the company told employees this week.

The film-processing giant said it would shutter the plant because of the rapid acceleration of digital cinema, which has lessened demand for film prints. Operations will be transferred to a Technicolor facility in Mirabel, Canada, outside of Montreal, although Technicolor will still provide some "front-end" services in Los Angeles, such as processing dailies.  

Technicolor said it was unclear how many jobs would be affected, saying that depended on the outcome of negotiations with local unions, but the move is expect to result in 100 or more job losses. Between 300 and 400 people work at the plant.

"We could not afford to maintain two facilities given the decline in film and growth of digital," a Technicolor spokesman said Friday. The Hollywood-based company recently lost a print release contract with Universal to its competitor, Deluxe.

Although it remains one of the largest processors of film in the world, the company has been repositioning itself in recent years to become more of a digital production services business, investing more than $200 million in digital postproduction and visual-effects facilities, including in Bangalore, India, London and the company's new Hollywood headquarters.

Technicolor's announcement, first reported by Variety, was the latest hit to L.A.'s postproduction industry. This week, Venice-based visual-effects company Digital Domain announced it was buying Westlake Village-based 3-D conversion company In-Three Inc. and that it plans to move most of that company's 70 jobs to Florida, where costs are lower.

-- Richard Verrier