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Digital Sports Imaging Bats Thousand


Photo File’s remarkable lab staff (l to r) Francisco Losada, Emir Yeje, lab manager Jim Spad, James Valez and Arturo Torres.  (Missing from photo Joe Lewandowski and Mauricio Melendez.)
The company is licensed by Major League Baseball, the NBA, the WNBA, NHL, NFL, their respective player associations, and thousands of individual athletes.
Francisco Losada at the Theta 50 Workstation.
James Valez at the Durst Zeta

Reilly says that Photo File has been quite fortunate by this turn of events. "An awful lot of people have come into our market over time," he explains. "An awful lot have tried and fallen by the wayside because they haven't been able to provide a complete package. Fortunately, in that regard, we've been able to sustain dominance in this particular field."

Advice from the Bullpen

Durst, he says, was especially helpful. "Durst had a salesman who saw the potential with us and was perfectly willing to answer every single question we had, every single day. We hit him with everything from managing the files to how a work station is different from a prep station." Photo File didn't want to make the mistake of buying digital machines without having an understanding of how to manage files, color-balance those files, or manage workflow after they came out. "Those are things we had already asked and answered before any machines were even purchased and came through the door."

Security is another area Reilly stresses. Photo File wholesales its photos at what Reilly calls "a very reasonable price," adding, "The idea is to make them so reasonable that it just doesn't make sense for people to copy the damn things." The digital world has made it increasingly easier for people to scan photos, and the company has run into this problem even though they place a digital hologram on every photo, supplied to them by the leagues. This worries Reilly, not only because of its effect on Photo File's profits, but also because of how it affects consumers as well. "We're concerned that the public often buys inferior-quality stuff because others take our hard work and make their own cheap version of it."

Worrying about counterfeiters and the sports photo black market, Reilly says, is what keeps him awake at night. "It's the people who produce photos unlicensed, the people who take our photos and copy them." His company's solution, he says: "to provide the best quality, the best service, and the best prices we can."

MAJOR CLIENTS: "All professional league teams are our clients. If John Hancock needs photos or Major League Baseball needs photos, that's what we're here for," Reilly explains. "Whoever the big sponsors are, if they have an athlete coming to do a charity event or an autograph appearance or a speaking engagement, they contact us and we custom-produce those photos. We put an awful lot of effort into quality--we're not a printing lab. We have real artists who are working on digital files, color-balancing and fixing them up perfect, doing whatever touch-up work needs to be done for any imperfections."

FIRST DIGITAL EQUIPMENT PURCHASED: "Our first digital printer was the Durst Theta-50. We now have three machines--the Theta-50, the Theta-51 and the Durst Zeta. If you look at the overall pie of what we print, a year-and-a-half ago, we were printing nothing digitally. Today, I'd say we're printing 80 to 90 percent of everything digitally, and if you're asking what the downside is, I don't really see one. As for shooting photos, we shoot zero percent on film. It's all digital now," he says

OTHER EQUIPMENT: "The 50 and the 51 have their own processors. We have two Colex processors from the analog equipment that we use with the Zeta as well. We also have two processors that we use for analog darkroom work. We have two Imacon scanners in our graphics department, but much of what we print is digital to begin with. We are converting older images over with the scanner, but for the most part, we're out shooting sports events digitally every day," Reilly concludes.

MAJOR CLIENTS: "All professional league teams are our clients. If John Hancock needs photos or Major League Baseball needs photos, that's what we're here for," Reilly explains. "Whoever the big sponsors are, if they have an athlete coming to do a charity event or an autograph appearance or a speaking engagement, they contact us and we custom-produce those photos. We put an awful lot of effort into quality--we're not a printing lab. We have real artists who are working on digital files, color-balancing and fixing them up perfect, doing whatever touch-up work needs to be done for any imperfections."

FIRST DIGITAL EQUIPMENT PURCHASED: "Our first digital printer was the Durst Theta-50. We now have three machines--the Theta-50, the Theta-51 and the Durst Zeta. If you look at the overall pie of what we print, a year-and-a-half ago, we were printing nothing digitally. Today, I'd say we're printing 80 to 90 percent of everything digitally, and if you're asking what the downside is, I don't really see one. As for shooting photos, we shoot zero percent on film. It's all digital now," he says

OTHER EQUIPMENT: "The 50 and the 51 have their own processors. We have two Colex processors from the analog equipment that we use with the Zeta as well. We also have two processors that we use for analog darkroom work. We have two Imacon scanners in our graphics department, but much of what we print is digital to begin with. We are converting older images over with the scanner, but for the most part, we're out shooting sports events digitally every day," Reilly concludes.


   







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