DuArt started in 1922 as a film lab in New York City, and has continued to evolve as a post production facility that specializes in broadcast post-production, editing, finishing, equipment rentals, and other services.
They got the lab, perched in the 12th floor penthouse of an automobile garage, but the racks were missing from the developing tanks - the auctioneer had pulled a fast one. Gottleib and Young were unfazed and set about establishing their fledgling enterprise, christening it under the enigmatic banner "DuArt Film Laboratory, Inc."
The two partners added a third, Jack Goetz, who established the DuArt Film Titling Service. Through Goetz' connections, DuArt enjoyed a steady stream of business from Paramount, Loews and Universal.
Both Gottleib and Young came from similar backgrounds, poor and striving. Whereas Gottleib developed extravagant tastes in the ensuing years, Young became the heartbeat of the lab - the operations partner responsible for the technical and personnel management of the whole operation.
Al Young's education in the embryonic technology of the motion pictures was all practical, learned at the Erbograph Company studio and lab, where he worked briefly as a printer and editor, prior to founding DuArt. His experiences garnered him an omnibus grasp of chemical mixing, sensitometry, developing, exposure, film cleaning and repair, and printing.
Young's enthusiasm and knowledge also offered him a sense of innovation, a virtue of DuArt that remains to this day. The reality of the early lab work was that it was messy and labor intensive, with much of the process done by hand. In the late 20's, Al Young and DuArt revolutionized the lab work by designing and constructing one of the first continuous 35mm processing machines - a modern process still in use today.
In 1922, Harding was President, WEAF was broadcasting the first radio commercials,
George Eastman was fixing to introduce 16mm and some business partners, led by a former lab developer, named Arthur Gottleib and a young film editor, named Al Young, were bidding at auction for a film developing business on Manhattan's West 55th Street.
In the early fifties, that opportunity availed itself with Eastman Kodak's introduction of color film. Al Young knew the future of film processing was color and his decision to build a color lab lead Young to hire away a young engineer from Kodak, John Scott, to be his Vice President of Engineering and Al's son, Irwin, re-joined DuArt upon graduating from Lehigh with a degree in engineering.
Together with chief engineer, Fred Bray and Paul Kaufman, DuArt was able to design and build the first color negative/positive processing machine and scene to scene color correction printer. By the mid fifties, with Al Young ready for retirement, the day-to-day operations was passed onto his son, Irwin, longtime employee, Paul Kaufman and newly appointed Head of Operations Bob Smith.
As the silent era of cinema faded, Young and his engineers set to prepare the lab for the
newest advancement in motion pictures by designing and manufacturing sound modules for their contact printers. At the end of their first decade, DuArt was enjoying a steady stream of business from the motion picture industry, despite the onslaught of the Great Depression.
Innovation wasn't limited to technology. In the early thirties, with the help of Gottlieb's connections, DuArt was able to garner the work on the era's popular boxing matches at Madison Square Garden, a fast-turnaround process that predates the techniques used in later years for news film footage.
As the bulk of the lab's business revolved around the major studio accounts, Al Young also began a production business in the late thirties called "Movie Sweepstakes" to provide animated horse race trailers to theaters, a move to offset any slump in business from the major studio accounts. This was followed by the 1938 war documentary, The Fight for Peace, which earned Young and DuArt well deserved notoriety.
Following the war, Gottlieb, Young and Goetz, began a second joint venture, this time a film lab in Toronto headed by Gottlieb, but in the midst of the post-war slump, the business floundered. Therefore, Goetz decided to end his association with DuArt and move the Title Department to the competition. Gottlieb sold his shares in DuArt to Al Young and bought DuArt's shares in the Toronto film lab.
Faced with the challenges to survive the film lab business, Al Young looked towards the industry's next breakthrough to distinguish DuArt from his competition.
This bright young team looked to the future to fuel DuArt's next period of much-needed expansion. What they looked towards was television and, in particular, television news.
To facilitate the quick turnaround requirements of televisions news, DuArt examined new processing approaches to utilize machines that had industry-leading short negative development and drying cycles.
In 1960, with the passing of Al Young, Irwin was named Chairman of the Board and Paul Kaufman became President. In the ensuing years, Bob Smith was named to the Board of Directors and made Vice President, and Tom Salvatore emerged from the lab as one of its most valued timers. New challenges arose as the motion picture and later the television business siphoned off to the West Coast.
A new direction emerged from Irwin Young, in his decision to introduce the industry to 16mm reversal overnight dailies, using 16mm Ektachrome and imported Agfa Gevachrome Print Film.
DuArt's ingenuity secured another decade's worth of network news, while opening the possibilities for an industrial film market and independent productions. By the mid sixties, with DuArt offering full services in both 16mm and 35mm, color and black and white, negative and reversal processes to the motion picture and television community, the lab was in dire need of space to expand.
DuArt divested itself of all outside operations in order to purchase the former automobile garage that had been its home, on West 55th Street, since its inception. DuArt had come into its own.
The next decade saw rapid developments in the technology of film and video that would forever change DuArt's outlook.
In 1968, Rombex, DuArt's video postproduction division, began operation with Richard Markus at its helm. Kodak's later enhancements in color motion picture stocks led Irwin to establish the DuArt Optical Printing Department, with the purchase of Cinema Research Products optical printer, and work was started to create a computerized frame count and cueing system for negative preparation, timing and color correction. The undertaking earned DuArt a 1977 Technical Academy Award.
DuArt's unique capabilities allowed it to offer extremely high quality 35mm blow-ups to independent productions and solidified the lab's distinction as the home of independent filmmakers.
Seminal films from this new market, such as Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning documentary, Harlan County U.S.A., brother Bob Young's Cannes Camera d'Or winner, Alambrista, John Sayles' The Return of the Secaucus Seven, to the films of Spike Lee, Susan Seidelman, Robert Altman and Errol Morris, achieved a public life, in small part because of DuArt's expert abilities in offering the highest quality 16mm blow-ups.
Only DuArt offered complete services in all formats, including the Super-16 introduced in the eighties.
Foreseeing the trend of video production and post production, DuArt led the industry in the film-to-tape services, being first in the U.S. to import a Rank Cintel Mark III flying-spot telecine, thereby achieving the goal of diversified and complete services for film, video and audio, all within the ten floors of the DuArt building.
By the end of the eighties, Rombex, now renamed DuArt Video, had become the largest telecine facility on the East Coast. In 1992, DuArt's film lab had become the largest in New York.
With this new leadership position in the industry came new challenges and increased demands from the independent film community that had come to rely on DuArt ingenuity for solutions. The decade of the nineties brought digital processes to the lab with the installation of Avid editing rooms and the creation of DuArt Digital, in 1992, with its assortment of powerful workstations, film recorders and the first Cineon Gensesis Plus Scanner.
DuArt's sound department got a complete makeover in 1997, creating a state-of-the-art mixing facility, complete with digital workstations, surround sound capabilities and digital dubbers with both film and video synchronization.
Alongside the old workhorses of the film lab, its younger siblings in the video division, DuArt Film and Video is forging new ground with its digital division, building a facility ready to offer integrated services.
DuArt has evolved from a premier film lab to the high technology media services provider it is today. Under the leadership of Linda Young, President & CEO, DuArt serves a diverse group of clients that includes producers, distributors, Fortune 500 companies, and independent filmmakers, DuArt remains committed to responding to the needs of its clients.
DuArt's service offerings support the latest trends in global broadcasting and digital monetization. Services including language localization production, digital asset management, audiobook production and 4K digital post production all add to the turnkey services approach at DuArt Media Services.
With a continuing commitment to the community of content producers, as well as the filmmakers who it has supported in the past, DuArt has entered the next era in its history with the same vigor that has driven it for over 90 years. Look to DuArt to continue its legacy and move ahead as a premier media services company.
DuArt's leadership in the field lead to a major account with CBS News and by the end of the fifties, the lab had achieved prominence servicing the greater television industry in New York. During this period, the business was diversified to also include commercial work and early video-to-film transfers, known as kinescopes, while maintaining its longstanding motion picture accounts.
Irwin Young receiving the Academy Award for Technical Achievement (Oscar), 2000.