Ascent Media has merged its Todd AO and Soho Images facilities and branded the new company Soho Film Labs.

The new business, which will operate out of Soho Images' Meard Street facility, will be given a£1m upgrade as part of the move.

Vice-president of operations Simon Constable said of the move: “Our customers said they wanted a lab in Soho, and being close to Ascent 142 [its digital facility] will benefit our features and drama clients.”

As a result of the merger, around 19 of the 140 combined staff have been made redundant.

Senior director, business development David Barrett said Ascent Media tried as much as possible to minimise the number of job losses. “We lost staff where roles were duplicated across the buildings, but were able to move a number of people into new positions within Ascent 142,” he explained.

Soho Film Labs, which will combine Todd AO's broadcast TV experience with Soho Images' film and commercials expertise, will aim to make use of “the best practices of both”, according to Constable, who will run the facility with Barrett and chief technology officer Adrian Bull.

The£1m upgrade sees Ascent upgrade its negative developer, invest in new Photonet machines and upgrade its Telecine suites. Of the two processing machines, one is brand new while the other is eight years old, which according to Ascent's Constable “is fairly new for this type of machinery”.

About£250,000 has been spent on cleaning, redecoration and upgrading the air handling system within the building. Work started four weeks ago and should be completed within a fortnight.

The new facility will offer developing for colour, black and white 35mm and 16mm negative, printing and video transfer and an HD and SD rushes service for feature film, drama, light entertainment, music, documentaries and commercials.

It will also provide services for sound syncing and digital and photochemical restoration.

The operational success of the lab will be the responsibility of new recruit Oliver Ronicle, who has been appointed to the role of director of film services. Ronicle joins from Universal Studios where he was director of technical operations.

The Todd AO building in Camden, of which Ascent owned part and leased part, has been sold for redevelopment.

A second phase of development will see the relocation of a DI theatre in order to create space, which the company may use for administration purposes or as cutting rooms.