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Progressing the World Expo '88 Vision
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Expo Corner

World Expo 88 – Arguably the biggest picture taking event Australia has ever seen
Andrew Mason


April 30th 2003 marked the fifteenth anniversary of the opening of World Expo 88 in Brisbane, Queensland. The event ran for six months from 30th April until 30th October 1988.

An Expo is a world’s fair, where nations and corporations gather together to review and predict man’s cultural and
technological evolution through exhibitions and demonstrations of their achievement. Unlike a trade fair, exhibitors at an Expo do not directly sell their goods and services.

The $600 million plus event was fully sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions based in Paris, and ran
with theme “Leisure in the Age of Technology." World Expo 88 was spread over 40 hectares on the South Bank of the Brisbane River, within 800 meters of the CBD.

The total attendance for the six-month event was 15,760,000. (over 85,000 a day)

Hanimex – Fuji as the official suppliers of Film and Cameras to World Expo 88 were responsible for the set up and
running of three (3) on site one hour minilabs as well as the photographic media center.

The on site official media centre was set up for use by accredited photographers for the duration of World Expo 88.
On site processing and printing of black and white and C41 compatible color negatives was available, while E6 reversal film was processed off site by F-Stop color laboratories via regular courier runs organized by the media centre.

Black and white processing and printing was handled at no charge with C41 and E6 services made available at
tax-free prices. A full range of color and black and white film (as long as it was Fuji) was also available at the sales and service counter.

The Hanimex – Fuji minilabs were operational from 30.04.1988 to 30.10.1988 - a total of 184 working days. During
this time the three minilabs processed in excess of 74,000 rolls. The hours of operation were 10:00 to 22:00. (These hours were laid down as part of the agreement with World Expo and could not be altered.)

Each outlet (with the exception of the media center) was very small only 16m square. In this space room was made
to fit film and paper processors, counters, two cash registers, paper/chemistry, stock, drums for photographic effluent and the most important ingredient - up to five (5) staff members at any one time.

Of the three on site minilabs one site K420 handled almost 60% of all rolls processed and films sold - this lab
processed over 44,000 rolls during the 184 days and sold in excess of 100,000 rolls of film. In fact on most days the cash registers were recording 3.2 transactions per minute. This minilab may well have had the record for the busiest minilab in the world during the duration of Expo 88. On average this minilab was processing and printing a roll of film every 2.5mins and sold a roll of film every 1.1 minutes.

Service times of one hour were impossible to achieve other than those people who visited the shops in the first 30/45
 mins of Expo opening, this was not too much of a problem because the Expo offered so many photo opportunities for visitors. In fact our research indicted that the average visit generated 2.4 rolls of film (over 57 exposures) being exposed. From these numbers you can see the total rolls processed on site was quite small by comparison, and even allowing for rolls being processed interstate/ overseas this event was one enormous film processing feast for Brisbane, Queensland, and Australia.

World Expo 88 saw the introduction of the Fuji Quicksnap (single use camera), with over 5000 of these units
processed in four (4) months.

With the exception of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Australia has not witnessed such a huge picture taking
opportunity as World Expo 88. I feel that it is up to the photographic industry to promote picture taking and importantly printing of these images at key times of the year such as Christmas, holidays, birthdays, Mother's Day, school functions etc. For instance how many parents photograph their children’s first/last day at school and how many families have photographs of two, three or even four generations on the same print.

World Expo 88 was just a fantastic picture taking opportunity for all who attended. I got a huge amount of pleasure
in helping all those who visited the on site minilabs capture precious memories of Expo 88.

Importantly if Expo were held again this year how many precious memories would be printed and saved for
posterity?

Some interesting numbers from Expo 88:

- 80 - the percentage of rolls that were 100 i.s.o.
- 61 - the percentage of rolls that were 24exp.
- 74 - the percentage of customers who could either not load or unload film from 135mm cameras.
- 300,000  - the number of season passes sold all bearing the message “Image by Fujifilm”.
- 1.1  - the percentage of sales that required a credit card transaction.
- 7  - the percentage of rolls processed with a second set of prints.
- 22.6 – the average number of frames per film.
- 2.4 - the percentage of reversal rolls processed.
- 1.3  - the percentage of films that were blank.

We processed enough film, which if laid end to end would stretch, from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.

We produced enough 6 x 4 prints to cover the sails of the Sydney Opera House twice.