UNIVERSITY PRINT UNIT MASTERS GRADUATION PHOTOGRAPHY WITH EPSON SURELAB SL-D3000
The Design, Photography & Print (DPP) unit at Lancaster University are experts in graduation photography. Producing around 2,500 graduation packs in their peak season alone, they know what it means to process photos in high volumes.
To improve efficiency, optimise the workflow and save costs, DPP decided to bring all printing in-house with the Epson SureLab SL-D3000.
Tetenal spoke to Design, Photography & Print Manager Steven Thomas to find out more.
Q: Can you give us a quick overview of the Design, Photography & Print (DPP) department at Lancaster University?
Steven Thomas: DPP sits within the Commercial Services division of the university. We are expected to generate a substantial financial contribution for the university as well as deliver great customer service and innovative products.
We are unique in that we deliver our graduation photography internally generating a substantial revenue for the university. However, costs need to be constantly kept under review in order to deliver a healthy bottom line year after year.
Q: After visiting Tetenal, why did you decide to put the Epson SureLab SL-D3000 at the heart of your print division?
Control over the print output generated at our graduation projects and cost savings were initial drivers which led us to investigate the possibilities.
We then found that the numbers made sense given the cost of external printing and also given that we already ran a print, photography and design service. It simply seemed like a logical step. When we investigated the options and found the D3000 gave us the quality we needed alongside a ‘What you see is what you get’ workflow through a calibrated EIZO monitor, the transition to the Tetenal solution was very straightforward indeed.
Q: How are you expecting the new equipment to improve your graduation photography work? We have already put the
We have already put the first graduation through the new system before Christmas and it went really well. Graduation ceremonies take place one day in December and four full days in July. In total we photograph around 3000 graduates and their families in our eight digital studios.
This means we print approximately 2500 packs in July alone, so there are huge savings to be made in bringing this in-house. Given our existing staff expertise in print workflow and delivery, it makes total sense.
Q: Why did you choose Epson over its competitor brands?
The main reason was the ease of use in terms of software and the EIZO front end. As someone who is old enough to have actually used a wet lab for colour hand printing in the past, I was amazed how easy and intuitive the system is to use. Any changes to colour correction, density, saturation and contrast are seen in real time on screen before you commit to print.
Q: What is your impression of the print quality and workflow?
We used actual graduation images from a range of cameras to test the Epson SureLab and the system just delivered every time.
At graduations we try to get images as near perfect in camera as possible by using custom white balances, lighting and backgrounds. However, we have designed a workflow in Adobe Lightroom which batch corrects all images and generates the custom packs in a really simple way. This negates the need for any other software in the workflow and it works well.
Q: How did Tetenal support you in the process of choosing new equipment?
The trip down to Tetenal’s offices in Leicester was invaluable as the print tests we did yielded very positive results with ease. Also, in meeting the team I was reassured that I was dealing with people who understand the industry and what I needed to achieve by making the investment in the new equipment.
Installation and training was a breeze, the Tetenal technician had us up and running in half a day and by the end of the day everyone was trained and good to go. This was reassuring given the tight turnaround we had from order to needing a working solution ready to deliver our December graduation orders.
Q: What have you planned in terms of promoting your print services across the university?
We are running an Open Day at the end of February when we open our doors to all staff at the university as well as selected external contacts.
I am also certain that there are other sporting and social events held across the year within the university where the new print solution will play a part.
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