FilmNeverDie Unveils the CP800, a Modular All-in-One Film Processing Machine

Melbourne, Australia-based professional photo lab & retail store FilmNeverDie has announced the new Compact Processor 800 (CP800) through a Kickstarter campaign. The new automated rotary drum film processor is capable of handling black & white, color, slide, and motion picture film.
When it comes to film photography, the development process tends to have two extremes: it’s either done by hand in small batches or with large, expensive machines.

“Not only do we want to look after our customers better by having our own machinery, but we want to give labs around the world the right tools & infrastructure to support film photography as a whole,” says FilmNeverDie co-founder Gary Wong. “By committing to a future in both film lab hardware & software we are ensuring film photography remains accessible. There are so many new film labs opening it’s difficult to keep up, we love to watch the community grow.”

The company says CP800 was designed to address the shortcomings of outdated and overused film processors by increasing reliability and reducing the cost associated with film processing. The large capacity processing drum of the CP800 can efficiently process 8×135 or 4×120 rolls at a time. Film reels (it’s compatible with Paterson, AP, and Jobo 1500 reels) are loaded onto spindles which are mounted inside a semicylinder wherein the film is agitated through the chemistry. Film development chemicals are delivered to the development cylinder via a set of 12 hoses (six inlet and six outlet) that run from removable two-liter and five-liter storage receptacles. The machine offers the option to salvage chemicals that can be used multiple times and dump single-use chemicals.

Between each step of the development process, the CP800 performs a one-minute rinse cycle to prevent cross-contamination of chemicals. This rinse also doubles as a maintenance step to keep the machine clean running smoothly.

The CP800 offers built-in presets for various film stocks and chemicals, but nearly every setting can be customized with help from the onboard buttons and LCD display (because, as FilmNeverDie notes, touchscreens don’t work with wet hands/gloves). There are also onboard sensors to alert you when there isn’t enough chemistry.

The machine is also designed to be extremely modular. It can be used as a desktop machine or ordered with a mobile stand. It can also be hooked up to external tanks if you don’t like the idea of manually filling and emptying the tanks each time. ‘You could plumb CP800 to an Olympic-size swimming pool if you like’ says Mike Liu, Product Developer/Project Manager at FilmNeverDie. ‘We also have the ability to stretch our processing drum [10x paterson reels] in the future’.

As for why FilmNeverDie decided to build this rather niche piece of machinery, it says the following:

‘We have endured the trials & tribulations of running a film lab in the 21st century – there are simply no service technicians to call on & spare parts are thin on the ground. In fact – CP800 was first conceptualized in 2019 when our ‘faithful’ Photo-Therm Super Sidekick-4 kicked for the last time. A suitable replacement was difficult to come by, the large majority of secondhand/classifieds were incomplete, untested & or harshly overpriced. Instead of rolling the dice on another obsolete processor, we decided to make our very own.’

FilmNeverDie co-founder Gary Wong
FilmNeverDie Product Developer/Project Manager Mike Liu

The CP800 Compact Processor 800 is available to back on Kickstarter for as low as $2,525 (AU$3,500) just to support the project, or as high as $2,750 (AU$3,800) for a “retail” CP800 Processor Module and chemistry storage system. FilmNeverDie estimates shipping of the first batch of finished units to begin in May of 2022 with the last units shipping in September 2022. This is of course provided the project meets its funding goal of $257,799 by September 18th, 2021.

More info on FilmNeverDie Kickstarter’s page.

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