Frontline Systems, the leading independent developer of photolab web and workflow software, and Durst Phototechnik, the leading provider of advanced photo printing systems, today announced the release of an online ordering system known as the ThetaWeb. This turn-key solution is designed to provide Durst’s popular Theta multi-lab printers with a web ordering interface that labs themselves can control and administer directly.
In strong contrast to traditional photo-ordering websites which are hosted and operated outside the lab’s control, ThetaWeb is an in-house solution that is owned and operated by the photolab and directly projects an URL address which can be easily configured or linked to the lab’s existing website. This in-house feature gives the lab total flexibility and control regarding all aspects of the program including its layout, design, customer database, products, pricing, etc.
"The photo labs of today, who have invested in diverse hardware and have years of experience really need to evolve their services so they are within easy reach of the growing digital market. This cannot come at the costs of inefficiency and needs to operate with as little manual labor as possible to allow for the greatest amount of profit"
Helmuth Munter, Durst – Segment Manager Photo.
ThetaWeb consists of several key software components and is available immediately, with a suggested retail price of € 5,700. Frontline and Durst are exhibiting in Hall 10.1 of the Photokina trade show and giving a live joint demonstration at the Frontline booth (C018).
The ThetaWeb server is an in-house web server that is responsible for the customer view of the system. Customers upload their images (the system supports industry standard JPEG, TIFF and PNG formats) and are immediately provided with a streamlined and easy to understand interface where they can choose to print their images in the wide range of print sizes the Theta is capable of. Administrative variables include support for multiple paper media types, multiple types of output printers, mounting and lamination services, as well as pricing, payment, and delivery options, amongst many others. There is also a convenient view for borders that can be applied to the images after uploading, as well as the file specifications, such as those which ICC color profile is embedded.
"The attraction of the ThetaWeb was to provide my amateur customers with the same convenience of printing on my Durst printers as it is to print on their own home printers, as well as offer my professional customers with the freedom to print in their desired sizes and not be confined to using fixed sizes. We saw an immediate jump in our production because my printers are now open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week"
Håkan Holmberg, President of Crimson Photolab in Sweden.
Another key feature of ThetaWeb is that customers can upload images from a Macintosh or PC computer directly through their existing web browser, and there is no need for any client software to be installed on their computer. Not requiring any client software opens the lab up for much quicker growth potential as new customers with no previous connection to the lab can easily log in and start being productive immediately.
Image and Queue Management
On the back end of the ThetaWeb is an advanced and unique image and workflow management system known as Frontline. This system is responsible and flexible enough to allow the user to take full advantage of the Durst Theta features such as Auto Correction, ICC profiling, sharpness adjustment, Auto Nesting and Auto Spooling, as well as supports the optional Auto Cutter and Sorter machine. Orders are placed in a processing queue that may be managed by the user but ideally, the system is designed to run transparently and in a hands-off fashion. This can allow the lab to create a second tier of printing prices which takes into account the lower labor costs of an automatic workflow.
The ThetaWeb also seamlessly integrates ICC input and output profiles, and also offers its users with linear color support. This linear support feature gives professional photographers the ability to correct their images at home, and then print their images directly without having any color management applied. High-production manual color adjustment software is also provided known as the ColorStation. This software can be installed directly on the Image and Queue Management computer or any number of network connected workstations, and operates in a pass-through mode, allowing the actual processing to take place on the Image server and thereby saving valuable time. Various tools are provided for cropping, before and after toggle, soft-proofing ICC profile and Auto Correction adjustments, as well as high, midrange, and low color adjustments of RGB tones. In addition, because the ColorStation’s adjustments can be saved and easily extended to an entire batch of images through its user friendly layout, the highest levels of productivity can be reached with very little operator training.
Flexibility and Growth
ThetaWeb’s standard configuration already supports multiple Durst Theta printers, but in addition the system can also be configured to incorporate additional Durst printers such as the Lambda or Epsilon, as well as other manufacturers’ printers to increase your online assortment. Several modular options are also available to allow your system to grow, including a Design module which extends the Web interface to offer customers with customizable package layouts such as calendars, albums and greeting cards.