Laboratory Work

Nowadays, it’s easy and common to edit videos on mobile phones, merging, cutting and speeding up images, adding effects and subtitles. However, this type of production is generally intended for informal sharing among friends, family and social media. When it comes to corporate, business or more serious videos, professional treatment only specialised laboratories can comply with the technical specifications required.

To better understand the evolution of this technology, we need to look back at the history of Cinema.

The cinematograph, invented by the Lumiére brothers in 1895, marked the beginning of cinema. This machine recorded a series of fixed snapshots, or photograms, creating the illusion of movement. It then projected the animated images onto a screen or wall.

Before the digital age and the emergence of portable video technologies, all films were made on celluloid. Today’s image editing programmes were just a distant mirage and in order to cut and “glue” scenes from a film, technicians needed to physically manipulate the film using scissors and glue. For many years, films were mainly intended for cinema and television. It wasn’t until 1977 that video films came to the fore.

In the 1970s, Betacam and VHS formats emerged, allowing for recordings of more than 3 hours. While television networks and professional studios widely adopted the former, the general public embraced the latter to enjoy films at home. However, before the 1990s and the introduction of non-linear editing software, editing a video was a complicated process, involving linear editing that cut the film in a destructive way.

This process was carried out sequentially to create the final impression of a film. Linear editing was fundamental to create the film format we know today and is still used in television news and in preparing film prints for movies. However, with the evolution of technology, films have been converted to digital format, allowing for more flexible modifications. Modern software and hardware make it possible not only to cut and paste scenes, but also to adjust the speed of the film, add effects and insert subtitles, among other possibilities.

Revisiting this history leads us to reflect on CristBet’s beginnings. 

When the company started informally in 1988, through the initiative of its founder Cristina Bettencourt, many of the innovations mentioned were still a long way away. However, video was already booming in Portugal.

At the time, production companies were releasing a huge number of films, mainly Hollywood productions, and the need to translate and subtitle these films into Portuguese was on the rise. It was then, in an unusual scenario, that the founder of CristBet, with her exceptional command of English, was invited to translate films at an international meeting by the director of the now extinct CCI video lab, Carlos Viseras. This was one of the first video labs in Portugal.

This unique event marked the beginning of the journey towards what would one day become CristBet. After that initial start, Cristina Bettencourt quickly built a vast and growing portfolio of clients, including video producers and distributors. And so it went throughout the 90s. 

In the mid-1990s, these audiovisual clients were joined by the Portuguese Catholic University, with its School of Economics and Business Sciences. The work began to include translating and subtitling countless videos by finance, management, and economics gurus from the best universities in the world. 

In 1999, Cristina Bettencourt decided to set up a company with the name by which she was affectionately known by her clients, “CristBet”. And so, what would one day become CristBet, Lda. was born.

In the meantime, in 2000, satisfied clients invited Cristbet to translate for SIC Television’s new thematic channels, which required the laboratorial work of Betacams.

Initially Cristbet outsourced this work, but in 2003, Cristina took the decision to acquire her own Betacam machines, as well as other image editing and subtitling equipment, also taking on laboratory work. A specialized technician was hired. With these in-house resources, CristBet not only continued to work for SIC Television on a daily basis, but also gained many more clients, several of whom remain to this day.

The company has been able to evolve with the sector over the years, investing in increasingly sophisticated equipment and technicians to meet growing demand. The company currently works on projects ranging from short clips for websites and social media to institutional, family and commemorative films, with or without subtitles, effects and image processing. 

If you’re looking for professional file conversion treatment, talk to us. We look forward to transforming your projects.

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