How involved the process was was up to the crew who was doing it. It could range from just poking the button, to at least inputting the recommended color correction for the type of film in question, to actually looking at each individual negative glowing in the window and adjusting color balance and exposure based on what you saw there.
I prided myself on my ability to glance at a negative and perform reasonably good eyeball adjustments on the fly. The results were measured by the lack of prints that needed to be fed into the shredder and reprinted. This was easy to do on 35mm film with a bit of practice, but you know what was hard? This:
|Kodak EasyShare V1073|
|Nikon Coolpix S6500|
|Nikon Coolpix S6500|
|Samsung Galaxy SII|
It's like driving stick shift; in this day of twin-clutch automatic transmissions, there's no performance advantage to the classic manual, but a certain amount of interaction with the machine is lost. I suppose a vocal few probably lamented the loss of the magneto advance control on the dashboard of cars, too, claiming it was an essential part of driving. Maybe it was, or maybe the ideal machine really is the one that translates our thoughts into reality as transparently as possible. Which is the Perfect Vehicle: An MG-TD or Scotty's transporter? I don't pretend to have the answer to that question.
When I read these words at Leicaphilia...
"In 2013, 25% of all of these images made were taken with smartphones, presumably by folks who don’t think of themselves as “photographers.” As a result of this image explosion and the technological advances making it possible, photography is no longer a specialist language. it is now a universal language, spoken via social media, most of it inconsequential chatter. We have entered the fast food era of photography."...I had to wonder where he was when I was spending those Monday mornings after a big concert weekend, printing roll after roll of images consisting of a row of sharply-focused badly-overexposed heads seen from behind, with something going on only dimly glimpsed in the murky background far beyond them. I guess he was hanging out with photographers. Lucky bastard.