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Real talk - can we find an alternative to silver?


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4 hours ago, Frank Wylie said:

There's no puffery;  the job is hellishly difficult to coat film to the standards Kodak has established over their History.

Think of the coating alley as a Giant steamship you have to have to push into dock with a small ski boat.  The inertia of the process is astronomical, the standards extremely exacting, the raw materials and chemicals must be totally pure and clean...

in 2012, the main coating drum of Efke Film in Croatia broke down (so I have heard) and they simply walked away from film production because they knew they could never recoup the cost of getting the coating alleys back up and operational.  Efke sole a fair amount of film and was well regarded in the still film industry.

Nothing is off the shelf, nothing is easy. 

As Phil Rhodes implies;  ask Ferrania how easy it is, even when you have some access to former employees and a small, preexisting coating alley (yes, in bad condition, but in place nonetheless).

 

 

I do appreciate the work involved. I was just pointing out that compared to say, creating CPUs or other nano-precise processes that must be done in negative pressure rooms, etc, that it cant be that hard to automate. Kodak isnt (or wasnt, at least) some small time operation that had to rely on manual labor for everything because they couldnt afford machinery. Am I to believe that creating film stock is more precise than creating a modern CPU? I would need some hard data to believe that.

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3 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

I do appreciate the work involved. I was just pointing out that compared to say, creating CPUs or other nano-precise processes that must be done in negative pressure rooms, etc, that it cant be that hard to automate. Kodak isnt (or wasnt, at least) some small time operation that had to rely on manual labor for everything because they couldnt afford machinery. Am I to believe that creating film stock is more precise than creating a modern CPU? I would need some hard data to believe that.

Frankly, I don't think you do; in fact I am sure you do not.

Having toured the color coating alleys in Rochester back in 2008, I can assure you the companies that build CPU manufacturing facilities would not have a fun time trying to replicate Kodak's color coating alley. 

But, please, be my guest and whip up an alternative.  I'll even put in the first order for 10K of good color negative stock.

35mm please.

Let me know when it's done.

I will have my checkbook ready...

 

 

Edited by Frank Wylie
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44 minutes ago, Frank Wylie said:

Frankly, I don't think you do; in fact I am sure you do not.

Having toured the color coating alleys in Rochester back in 2008, I can assure you they companies that build CPU manufacturing facilities would not have a fun time trying to replicate Kodak's color coating alley. 

But, please, be my guest and whip up an alternative.  I'll even put in the first order for 10K of good color negative stock.

35mm please.

Let me know when it's done.

I will have my checkbook ready...

 

 

No need to be testy. I am just asking about what makes it so difficult? You arent giving too many specifics. Are there any videos online that show this process? I don't think you are giving enough respect to how much tech. has advanced as far as automation and robotics. And 2008 was 14 years ago.

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47 minutes ago, Frank Wylie said:

But, please, be my guest and whip up an alternative.  I'll even put in the first order for 10K of good color negative stock.

35mm please.

Let me know when it's done.

I will have my checkbook ready...

 

 

I am not saying I have an alternative. But I am not Kodak. Kodak has a reputation for going with the status quo and not taking advantage of advances in technology. It is their business to figure out better/cheaper/etc ways to create their products. Most other industries that still exist have done just that but Kodak is supposed to get a free pass because why? I couldnt care less if they go out of business. If film can become a viable format again, someone will figure out how to make it work. 

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Not being testy; I am simply confident.

Your statement that Kodak has "a reputation for going with the status quo and not taking advantage of advances in technology" is totally unsupported.  You won't find a more advanced coating facility on the face of the earth.

An I don't think you are giving enough respect to the state of the art coating facility Kodak runs.   They are not ladling out goop in a room with pigeons flying around in the rafters.

Order a copy of this book, have a read and get back to me...

http://www.makingkodakfilm.com/

Of course, Shanebrook was not totally able to divulge everything about the process, but there is enough detail to realize just how incredibly difficult it is to make a multilayer color film.

 

Edited by Frank Wylie
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12 minutes ago, Frank Wylie said:

Not being testy; I am simply confident.

Your statement that Kodak has "a reputation for going with the status quo and not taking advantage of advances in technology" is totally unsupported.  You won't find a more advanced coating facility on the face of the earth.

An I don't think you are giving enough respect to the state of the art coating facility Kodak runs.   They are not ladling out goop in a room with pigeons flying around in the rafters.

Order a copy of this book, have a read and get back to me...

http://www.makingkodakfilm.com/

Of course, Shanebrook was not totally able to divulge everything about the process, but there is enough detail to realize just how incredibly difficult it is to make a multilayer color film.

 

I watched this video. It shows almost nothing, however, it seems interesting that everything in this video is just a bunch of automation going on and there was no talk of any special or difficult work being done. The coating was only momentarily mentioned and the only footage appeared to be machines doing their thing.

 

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14 minutes ago, Frank Wylie said:

Your statement that Kodak has "a reputation for going with the status quo and not taking advantage of advances in technology" is totally unsupported.  You won't find a more advanced coating facility on the face of the earth.

I can support it. I cannot say Kodak hasnt done well with producing film but I can say that Kodak has sat on gold mines in patents that they never took proper advantage of. Can we also talk about the elephant in the room which was the digital camera? Oops!

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4 minutes ago, Frank Wylie said:

I thought we were talking about making film.

The book... The book...

If you are unwilling to look at the actual evidence, I have no more to add to this conversation.

So are you taking your ball and going home?

You think I need to spend $48 (price + shipping) to understand what is going on and you refuse to divulge the details of your own viewpoint? I think not. What a ridiculous argument.

Edited by Matthew W. Phillips
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Matthew, I think what you're overlooking here is that yes, it's an automated process done by machines, but someone has to design, build, maintain and configure those machines. The thickness of the sensitised coating on a typical photographic film is in the single-digit micrometres (that's at least an order of magnitude larger than the smallest feature on something like a modern semiconductor, not that it's anything even remotely like the same process or in any sense directly comparable).

Variability in the thickness of the coating will immediately effect the optical performance of the film. Laying down a coating of an essentially gelatine-based liquid to the required tolerances is a very, very long way from trivial. One micrometre is a thousandth of a millimetre, significantly less than even quite high precision engineering tolerances, so even things like bearing wear in the mechanisms, tiny variations in pump pressures, fluid viscosities or ambient temperature and humidity can easily have ruinous effects. Modern colour negative has a lot of layers (several per colour, plus filters and separators) each of which has to be laid down with that sort of precision. Even to get to that point, you have to have made the plastic base to similar tolerances, and mixed the chemistry correctly. Tiny variations in the composition will affect sensitivity and thus colour balance; they'll have a staff of PhD-level organic chemists doing tests on the raw materials they're buying in and trimming the process at every stage to suit, plus hugely qualified and experienced engineering staff keeping the required precision going. All of this has to be done without introducing dirt or contamination in absolute darkness. Then you've got to cut it to the right width and punch the sprocket holes, both of which are dimensionally critical to image stability.

No matter what anyone does, this is never going to be cheap. Notice China hasn't chased it.

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Um, no it's around $115 for the 2nd edition, or you can visit a library and put in an Inter library Loan request to read it for free.

You're the one who is stating that coating can be done with "modern technology".

I have nothing to prove; I just hold up a can of Kodak color negative and it's all there.

Show me something.

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12 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Matthew, I think what you're overlooking here is that yes, it's an automated process done by machines, but someone has to design, build, maintain and configure those machines. The thickness of the sensitised coating on a typical photographic film is in the single-digit micrometres (that's at least an order of magnitude larger than the smallest feature on something like a modern semiconductor, not that it's anything even remotely like the same process or in any sense directly comparable).

Variability in the thickness of the coating will immediately effect the optical performance of the film. Laying down a coating of an essentially gelatine-based liquid to the required tolerances is a very, very long way from trivial. One micrometre is a thousandth of a millimetre, significantly less than even quite high precision engineering tolerances, so even things like bearing wear in the mechanisms, tiny variations in pump pressures, fluid viscosities or ambient temperature and humidity can easily have ruinous effects. Modern colour negative has a lot of layers (several per colour, plus filters and separators) each of which has to be laid down with that sort of precision. Even to get to that point, you have to have made the plastic base to similar tolerances, and mixed the chemistry correctly. Tiny variations in the composition will affect sensitivity and thus colour balance; they'll have a staff of PhD-level organic chemists doing tests on the raw materials they're buying in and trimming the process at every stage to suit, plus hugely qualified and experienced engineering staff keeping the required precision going. All of this has to be done without introducing dirt or contamination in absolute darkness. Then you've got to cut it to the right width and punch the sprocket holes, both of which are dimensionally critical to image stability.

No matter what anyone does, this is never going to be cheap. Notice China hasn't chased it.

Thank you, Phil. Unlike Frank's post, you actually defend your viewpoint with logic, details, and it doesn't cost any money out of my pocket.

Although I still feel that these things fall into the "cost of doing business", it does make a bit more sense where the money goes. I would be interested to know what the margin is on their film stock; say 35mm. Is film a high or low margin business (from Kodak's perspective)? What is the marketing budget like? What is the wholesale cost? I am not asking you this question but I am surely curious if there is a non-manufacturing way to "cut the fat out".

Even in the semiconductor world, they keep finding a way to lower the cost and increase performance. It is absolutely amazing how long companies like Intel, AMD, Nvidia, etc have kept up the pace of doing this. That is why I am a bit less forgiving of Kodak but I suppose it isnt completely comparable.

Has anyone considered the possibility that maybe film just isnt a worthwhile business at this point? Or is that blasphemy around here? Because it sounds contradictory to say, on one hand, "film cannot be cheaper! It costs so much to make!" but also say "yes, film is thriving and they are making record breaking profits!" 

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18 minutes ago, Frank Wylie said:

Um, no it's around $115 for the 2nd edition, or you can visit a library and put in an Inter library Loan request to read it for free.

My mistake. You wanted me to spend more than a Benjamin just to get the details that you could have told me for free. Thanks for that.

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Or request an inter library load for free.  Your local library can help you get the book on loan;  totally for free.

I paid the $115 and learned a lot, that's why I recommend reading the book.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Even in the semiconductor world, they keep finding a way to lower the cost and increase performance. It is absolutely amazing how long companies like Intel, AMD, Nvidia, etc have kept up the pace of doing this. That is why I am a bit less forgiving of Kodak but I suppose it isnt completely comparable.

 

I don't know much about semiconductors. Except that they went from TTL to CMOS ages ago. And we are now approaching hitting the 'quantum limit' where the gates can't get any smaller. However... you have made an assumption about semiconductor manufacturing. I would posit that CPUs take up less surface area than in the past, so that one wafer can hold more CPUs. I could not say if this process per se has become cheaper.

Now, film formats have a constant surface area. You could argue that a future emulsion technology will let you use a smaller gauge for the same quality. But film doesn't follow the progress curve of semiconductors.

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4 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

And we are now approaching hitting the 'quantum limit' where the gates can't get any smaller. 

I have been hearing about this for years. Sure, it is coming. But it isnt here yet and this isnt the only front that has improved. Finding ways to make the chip cooler has also slightly helped clock speed. Cache sizes have increased substantially as well.

4 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

However... you have made an assumption about semiconductor manufacturing. I would posit that CPUs take up less surface area than in the past, so that one wafer can hold more CPUs.

This is true...or can be. Not every chip on the market is an 8+ core chip. There are still low end chips that have only one or two cores. These chips fit in the same sockets as any other chip. They are less common because there is not much need to purchase these chips when multicore chips are so affordable.

4 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

I could not say if this process per se has become cheaper.

If the sell price is any indicator of the manufacturing cost then they are much cheaper. You can find entry level chips for around $60-80. These same chips might have costs several hundred 15 years ago (if they were available at all) and the modern versions run cooler. Also, chip manufactures continue to work on other things too like advanced pipelining techniques and caching algorithms to make the most of the hardware.

4 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

Now, film formats have a constant surface area. You could argue that a future emulsion technology will let you use a smaller gauge for the same quality.

Yes, there is a point here. I think one could make the argument that there should be able to be a way to make density of the grain larger and increase the quality per frame. But I am not even making that argument. I am only making the argument that due to the sunk cost of the machinery to make film, over time it seems reasonable to decrease cost (or at least not increase it) as you pay for the initial investment of the production equipment. Unless there is some massive ongoing cost that I am not aware of, it seems like Kodak is using the "Toll bridge" approach. The idea of the toll for the bridge is to cover the cost of making the bridge but when the bridge is paid for, the governments never seem to want to remove the toll.

4 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

But film doesn't follow the progress curve of semiconductors.

This is surely true. My question is why not? I have yet to hear what exactly it is about film creation that makes it have an upward pricing structure forever. The only products that usually have to be that way are 1) labor intensive jobs that cannot be automated or 2) products whose raw materials spike with inflation. Granted, film uses Silver but we have already discussed how, for the time being, silver is not a huge percentage of the cost of film.

Edited by Matthew W. Phillips
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On 1/3/2022 at 11:17 PM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

OP...don't know. But I subscribe to the policy of...if they could of...they would of. The Golden Age of Film is long gone. People are investing in digital innovations and not film innovations.  

Film is $ and I think it will continue its one way trajectory of higher and higher prices in the future. Ink for my inkjet printer has gone from $54 to $72 per cartridge. And I need 9 of them. Most everything has gone up OP. Gotta suck it up and move on. And if it gets too much pain for you...go digital OP. 

Shopping for ink today. Now it is $75 up from Jan 3 of $72. You don't like it...don't print. They got you by the proverbial balls.

Have you ever seen a long-term decrease in film prices OP? Aren't film prices more dependable on escalation than California real estate OP?

freestyle-ad-1963-daniel-d-teoli-jr-arch

Maybe China, Russia or India could help with film. Best bet is to propose it to them.  I remember using DVD's from India about 12 - 14 years ago. They died in dark storage very fast. If India ever makes film, I hope they have improved things.

Russia makes all out cheap steel cased ammo. Korea makes some cheap ammo as well. Oh...and Thailand makes the high-priced ink. Shop your new film hopes by those countries OP. 

The%20artist%20and%20the%20curator%20Nan

The Artist and the Curator - Nano

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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On 1/11/2022 at 4:18 PM, Frank Wylie said:

Um, no it's around $115 for the 2nd edition, or you can visit a library and put in an Inter library Loan request to read it for free.

You're the one who is stating that coating can be done with "modern technology".

I have nothing to prove; I just hold up a can of Kodak color negative and it's all there.

Show me something.

People need to invest some $$ in education. If you can't get it from the library, buy it and resell it after you read it. If you take a little loss, so what. It is cheaper than going to USC.

I spent a lot of $$ to experiment with IR flash for 4.5 years. Sometimes you are successful, other times not. But you gotta try if you can swing it $$ wise. 

Beining in a capitalist world, don't the film devotees think if it was possible that probably someone would have come out with a film that is 30% cheaper than the market? Back in the day I would use Ilford to undercut Kodak's prices for BW film. But those days are long gone. Any way you cut it...film is $$.

s-l1600.jpg

Now, even without silver, acetate leader is $$.

16mm acetate leader | eBay

We used to have maybe 10 colors of leader. Now you are lucky to find white acetate. You can get the poly leader cheaper, somewhat. But it has a static problem and attracts dust like a magnet. That is the beauty of acetate. No dust magnet.

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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