Jump to content
Alessandro Machi

Should Kodak Invest in Low Cost Super-16 Camera Production?

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

I strongly object to the idea that film requires no more crew than video. To achieve a comparable level of ease and convenience, any film shoot needs at least one more person, a focus puller/loader.

 

Phil

 

Phil,

 

Tell that to David Samuelson. He shot newsreel with a 35mm Mitchell BNC on his own.

 

Stephen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, in short, he fired people with experience in the core business and brought in outsiders with ZERO core business experience?

I hardly consider former HP executives clueless about generating profit from imaging technologies. They were the masterminds who came up with the $35 inkjet cartridge and said it was good for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi,

 

I strongly object to the idea that film requires no more crew than video. To achieve a comparable level of ease and convenience, any film shoot needs at least one more person, a focus puller/loader.

 

Documentary shooters don't have focus pullers and they also don't have loaders. And if you're talking about fully crewed productions, going to a video camera doesn't lessen the need for a focus puller if you actually want to have accurate focus racks during moving action. And it doesn't lessen the need for a tape/data/cable/video wrangler, which would be the video equivalent of a loader.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hang on a moment! I think you're wrong.

 

When I last checked Kodak's annual reports (about a year or so ago), their motion picture film is turning a very healthy profit because they have relatively little competition.

 

I fully realize that Kodak is making healthy profits from filmstock. I was simply stating that motion picture filmstock is not (or at least, was not) their primary profit maker, thus they have not been as motivated to dramatically lower student pricing in order to maintain that market. But they should.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hardly consider former HP executives clueless about generating profit from imaging technologies. They were the masterminds who came up with the $35 inkjet cartridge and said it was good for us.

 

The only HP exec is the CEO. The rest were from other fields and companies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alessandro, I'm just guessing, but I think the marketing of a movie camera is a little bit different than the one of a car, simply because is not aimed at a very broad market. The amateur looking for something cheap can find lots of digital cameras that are very affordable, although I totally believe that video quality in the prosumer range is light years away from the quailty of film.

 

The choice of producing a cheap film camera would have been a good choice by Kodak 30 years ago, when video cameras where not as popular as today.

A large company like Kodak could very well manufacture a cheap 16mm camera, but they wouldn't do it unless there was a huge demand for it, and unfortunately there is not.

 

Don't fall into the trap of thinking a Kodak Super-16 camera has to sell as many cameras as a Panasonic DVX. I heard that as of a couple of years ago that Panasonic had sold 26,000 DVX cameras, perhaps by now that number has doubled.

 

Kodak does not have to give away 50,000 Super-16 cameras? How about between 1,000 to 5,000 cameras within a 2-5 year period. Do you think that is unrealistic? Remember, a Panasonic DVX camera pulls 5 dollar 1 hour tapes through it's transport, a film camera can pull significantly more than that in film costs.

 

I think Kodak never considered making their own cameras, I also don't think it's too late to reverse that thought process. As I stated in my first topic post, a Super-16 camera can easily run a lot of film through it on a yearly basis. Creating a relatively large ownership base of affordable Super-16 cameras has never really been attempted before. Being able to reward someone with a free Super-16 camera if they can corral a project that will purchase 50 grand in film would create a level of excitement in younger filmmakers previously not seen before.

 

Heck, the bigger feature film productions could start donating cameras with the amount of film they purchase, and don't think for a second that that would not make colleges and film students salivate for such a cameras.

 

Clearly the marketing of film is failing because the film people themselves actually think all the people shooting digital like it that way. Don't forget all the energy that digital projects spend trying to make their digital video look like film, that should tell you something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my opinion is similar to another poster in this thread.

 

My two cents about Kodak making cameras. - I don't think they would be any good...

 

However Kodak has a very good investment in CCD/CMOS technology with the Kodak Easy Share and their Image Sensors from DSC-14mp nikon/canon clone.

 

With this technology, Kodak can produce a cheap (compared to Spirit), fire wire based - tele-cine device for 16 and Super-16 mm film.

 

I think having such a film scanner would boost their sales of film much more than a cheap camera would.

 

People avoid shooting film for 3 reasons.

 

1) They are not experienced and video allows them to see what they did, right on the set.

2) Film + Processing is costly

3) For efx, titles and so on they'd need to scan it, with DV/HD they have the frame in digital already.

 

If film to digital conversion would be more accessible and it would boost film stock sales.

 

 

Film is also expensive and needs to drop in price:

 

- I paid $43 USD for Kodak 200T 16mm 100' daylight roll (with NYC sales tax - shipped from Kodak via UPS, No internet orders, you have to call and speak with someone.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think Kodak never considered making their own cameras, I also don't think it's too late to reverse that thought process.

"Too Late baby, much too late - though we really did try to make it.."

 

Back whne I was a kid, we would sometimes see Wildlife films on the "Wonderful World of Disney". They often included shots of the fellow swating in the jungle taking Pictures, with a long lens on his _KODAK_ 16mm Camera.

 

Kadak made a great Profesional Camera way back in the days. interchangeable Magazine load, Great lenes, rugged as all get out. They moved on because they were more interested in units that they could make a profit on. About 5 Years ago, they closed down the section that made much of the "apparatus" as Kodak calls Cameras and projectors. At least as far as film cameras go. They now have digital things made in Asia by a company they bought out for the purpose. If they were to try to build a Movie camera that would have to re-build the capability. That would require a Big investmnet in Infrastucture.

 

As I stated in my first topic post, a Super-16 camera can easily run a lot of film through it on a yearly basis. Creating a relatively large ownership base of affordable Super-16 cameras has never really been attempted before. Being able to reward someone with a free Super-16 camera if they can corral a project that will purchase 50 grand in film would create a level of excitement in younger filmmakers previously not seen before.

 

yes, but besides what would amount to subsidising film schools and relative of producers, what would they accomplish that they could not by just directly subsidising the film schools with say discounts on Film? There are many Bolex, B&H, Arri, Elclair, and Anton cameras swarming arround the equiment lockers of Film schools. If a program was in a pinch, I am sure the Kodak rep would try to get new cameras installed by solicitig donations.

 

Heck, the bigger feature film productions could start donating cameras with the amount of film they purchase, and don't think for a second that that would not make colleges and film students salivate for such a cameras.

 

If this was an ongoing thing, handing out free cameras, unless it created massive extra saled of Print stock, the price of negative film would have to go up to cover the program, and some already think that movie film is expensive.

 

I would guess that Kodak and Fuji spend on the negative stocks to increse their prestige, and cross subsidise that business with the sale of Print stock. JUst note that Print stock is still made by AGFA after they gave up on Camera negative. I doubt that the camera nagative profits would be a business that they would break out and show in detail to their shareholders, even though the overall Motion picture business proably does OK, if you take in everything right down to the print destruction unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leave camera and optics to companies that specialize in such things. Asking Kodak to build a modern Super-16 camera that is the equivalent of an Aaton-XTR Prod (and then give it away for free or under $10,000 per unit) is like asking Arri to start making film stock and giving it away for free in order to boost camera sales.

 

Movie cameras are not all-electronic and require precision machining & assembly, and that costs money since they cannot be mass-produced since the market doesn't need that many movie cameras.

 

Besides, film stock is part of an overall business that includes other equipment and service providers, so trying to drive down the profits of Arri, Aaton, etc. by undercutting them with dumping high-quality but cheap or free movie cameras is hardly going to make them want to stay in the movie camera-making business -- they would feel pushed to accelerate a move into digital technology just to get away even with Kodak.

 

Like I said, the problem isn't the lack of existence of low-cost movie cameras, it's the cost of stock, processing, and telecine.

 

However, I'm not so sure that I want Kodak to shut down its Rochester, NY plant and move movie film production to some third-world country and pay workers peanuts just so we can get cheap movie film stock. Besides, if that were such a great business idea, some other company would be doing it and selling tons of cheap stock in the U.S. to students and whatnot. Truth is that movie film is not a particularly profitable business and has been riding on the backs of the other more profitable products & technology that Kodak and Fuji sells. So I don't see much chance of movie film getting cheaper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Leave camera and optics to companies that specialize in such things. ........... Movie cameras are not all-electronic and require precision machining & assembly, and that costs money since they cannot be mass-produced since the market doesn't need that many movie cameras.

David is right. It would probably cost Kodak $10 Million Dollars to just design a quality "bug free" Movie Camera, and then they have to manufacture the Cameras and also manufacture a supply of spare parts. It would make a whole lot more sense for Kodak to purchase a bunch of Arriflex's "top quality" Super 16 Cameras, and give those away for free to Film Schools and College Film Departments around the World. It would take about one school year for the Film sales from those Cameras to reimburse Kodak their costs of the Cameras. After that their Film sales would be profit, and they would be ensuring that the young generation is being instructed in modern "top quality" Film Cinematography.

Like I said, the problem isn't the lack of existence of low-cost movie cameras, it's the cost of stock, processing, and telecine.

However, I'm not so sure that I want Kodak to shut down its Rochester, NY plant and move movie film production to some third-world country and pay workers peanuts just so we can get cheap movie film stock. ............ Truth is that movie film is not a particularly profitable business and has been riding on the backs of the other more profitable products & technology that Kodak and Fuji sells. So I don't see much chance of movie film getting cheaper.

This is correct, and it should be pointed out that the manufacture of "Movie" Film is not separate from regular "Photographic" Film. The reason Movie Film prices would increase is because consumer and professional Film sales have dropped massively in the last 5-7 years. If the manufacture and sale of consumer Film should increase in the future, then the overall price of "all Films" will decrease. Average people are buying Digital Picture Cameras because they erroneously believe Digital is better than Film. If they were to become aware of Film's virtues, they would go back to using Film. In this scenario, the cost of Movie Film would come down as well as the cost of the Developing chemicals. It's simple supply and demand, and it's the masses of consumers who dictate demand. The profits from Movie Film are small compared to the former profits from consumer Film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Leave camera and optics to companies that specialize in such things. Asking Kodak to build a modern Super-16 camera that is the equivalent of an Aaton-XTR Prod (and then give it away for free or under $10,000 per unit) is like asking Arri to start making film stock and giving it away for free in order to boost camera sales.

 

Movie cameras are not all-electronic and require precision machining & assembly, and that costs money since they cannot be mass-produced since the market doesn't need that many movie cameras.

 

Besides, film stock is part of an overall business that includes other equipment and service providers, so trying to drive down the profits of Arri, Aaton, etc. by undercutting them with dumping high-quality but cheap or free movie cameras is hardly going to make them want to stay in the movie camera-making business -- they would feel pushed to accelerate a move into digital technology just to get away even with Kodak.

 

Like I said, the problem isn't the lack of existence of low-cost movie cameras, it's the cost of stock, processing, and telecine.

 

However, I'm not so sure that I want Kodak to shut down its Rochester, NY plant and move movie film production to some third-world country and pay workers peanuts just so we can get cheap movie film stock. Besides, if that were such a great business idea, some other company would be doing it and selling tons of cheap stock in the U.S. to students and whatnot. Truth is that movie film is not a particularly profitable business and has been riding on the backs of the other more profitable products & technology that Kodak and Fuji sells. So I don't see much chance of movie film getting cheaper.

 

 

The whole Arriflex, Panavision angle intrigues me. Both companies basically plowed their company profits that were created from film, into video. So neither company can play victim or be "upset" if Kodak wanted to see new Super-16 camera production. Think about it, these companies made huge amounts of money off of motion picture film, and then they tried to pre-predict the shift to video. Rather than start up a sister company that had to survive on it's own merit, it appears that Panavision and Arriflex simply raided their own existing film profits to start up a division that would be in direct competition with film. They aren't saints. My first job in the industry was working for a commercial production company that had five umbrella companies under it's wing. The goal was for each company to make a profit, not hide under the wing of another company, a concept that seems to be foreign to both Arri and Pana.

 

Kodak was too nice a few years ago when these film camera companies started siphoning their film profits towards technology that would actually undermine Kodaks film division. But the die is cast and I'm not so sure Arri or Pana would be upset if Kodak tried to get new cameras made. However, the problem is Arri or Pana might be the ideal partners to help make lower cost fully featured 16mm cameras, but there is no incentive for either one of them to want to help. These camera companies already have the camera inventory they need to keep making huge profits for the next few years, and they have also have the ability to keep diverting their film profits to invest in newer video technologies which are accelerating films demise because there is no new affordable film cameras being released.

 

As for the lower cost 16mm cameras already on the market. Come on guys, they are not the same thing. The low cost used 16mm market, are those really the kind of cameras one would use on an actual lower budget but fully crewed movie set, are those the kind of camera that would excite a young filmmaker?

 

When it comes to lower budgeted 16mm cameras, I think it's a completely untapped market in terms of what the cameras currently offer. While 16mm cameras are amazing tweeners between 35mm and Super-8 in the quality they can produce, they generally don't have very many features and can be clodhoppery in design. They don't impress or excite the huge, young filmmaking crowd, nor should they.

 

As for film being expensive. Compare being given a new, state of the art Super-16mm camera for free, versus the huge start up costs for a legitmate Hd camera. One could shoot and transfer a significant amount of film and still have spent less than an Hd camera.

 

Again referring back to my first post, I gave a link to a company that went against convention and started shooting weddings on film, and they've made a huge dent in the market and have now expanded

to many other cities. If I had proposed such an idea, it probably would have been laughed at as being naive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The whole Arriflex, Panavision angle intrigues me. Both companies basically plowed their company profits that were created from film, into video.

 

actually, ARRI invested into ONE digital cinema camera, the D20, but also bought Moviecam, put on the market a brand new 16mm film camera, the 416, and new lenses, so I'm not really sure it's safe to say both companies shifted heavily towards video. They had to expand into the digital camera business because they realized there was an increasing demand for that. In a way, they didn't miss the digital train as Kodak did a few years ago.

 

Think about it, these companies made huge amounts of money off of motion picture film, and then they tried to pre-predict the shift to video. Rather than start up a sister company that had to survive on it's own merit, it appears that Panavision and Arriflex simply raided their own existing film profits to start up a division that would be in direct competition with film.

 

This is just my humble opinion, but I don't think ARRI nor Panavision see digital as the enemy: they manufacture cameras, i.e. imaging tools for filmmakers. Their goal is to sell and rent cameras, whatever technology is involved. If the market asks for digital cameras, they have to be ready to provide them, just like ARRI is now providing a new 16mm camera due to the increasing demand of the format in the last few years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus Arri has introduced the ArriScanner which requires film origination in order to be useful :D

 

Not to mention ArriLaser for some time now which implies film prints....

 

etc etc

 

-Sam Wells

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The whole premise is basically flawed because Alessandro seems to think that a modern Arri 416 (crytsal sync, mirror shutter, quiet, 400' mags, etc.) basically can actually be made on the cheap and given away -- and that Kodak can make an Arri 416 in the first place without spending years building up a movie camera division or outright buying a movie camera company.

 

Alessandro is not willing to accept older 16mm cameras and he's not willing to accept a stripped down modern camera like an Ikonoskop A-cam -- no... he wants Kodak to somehow give away state-of-the-art $30,000-50,000 movie cameras, or miraculously make them for a couple of thousand a piece.

 

Since when have professional-grade, expensive-to-make, precision machines been made and then given away by a company that doesn't even specialize in such technology?

 

It would make more sense for Kodak to give away what they DO make in the first place, film!

 

This proposal is up there with the one about getting studios to shoot more features and TV shows on 16mm Kodachrome in terms of impracticality.

 

You can't get away from the fact that high-quality movie cameras with professional features are expensive to make. As someone else said, Aaton strains to sell the A-Minima at its price point.

 

I'm not sure why we are all even still arguing over this premise, it's not even in the realm of possibility. If I proposed it to a Kodak executive, I'd get laughed at. "OK, sir, here's the plan to sell more 16mm film... you somehow create a new movie camera division... make a modern Arri-equivalent professional Super-16 movie camera... listening?... and then you give it away! Then all those people with your free movie cameras will spend money that they now magically have to buy more film! What do you mean that's ridiculous? Why are you walking away from me..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Too Late baby, much too late - though we really did try to make it.."

 

if you take in everything right down to the print destruction unit.

 

Errr, what is the print destruction unit? Sounds scary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a good Idea!!!! why you want a cheap super 16 camera, when ,1, you already can buy cheap Super16 cams, and 2, you can always rent really expensive cams for your project

 

Good lUck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
actually, ARRI invested into ONE digital cinema camera, the D20, but also bought Moviecam, put on the market a brand new 16mm film camera, the 416, and new lenses, so I'm not really sure it's safe to say both companies shifted heavily towards video. They had to expand into the digital camera business because they realized there was an increasing demand for that. In a way, they didn't miss the digital train as Kodak did a few years ago.

 

This is just my humble opinion, but I don't think ARRI nor Panavision see digital as the enemy: they manufacture cameras, i.e. imaging tools for filmmakers. Their goal is to sell and rent cameras, whatever technology is involved. If the market asks for digital cameras, they have to be ready to provide them, just like ARRI is now providing a new 16mm camera due to the increasing demand of the format in the last few years.

 

But clearly this is a catch-22. While it can be argued that film has a termination date somewhere in the future, it certainly has been accelerated by the lack of an exciting new Super-16mm camera for the younger film students. If they could take a Eumig 881 PMA super-8 camera and make an identical clone to that camera in Super-16, and bring it in for under 15 grand (preferably 10 grand), I would be all over it. The same might be true for the Canon 1014-XLS.

 

 

Errr, what is the print destruction unit? Sounds scary.

 

Yes, I was wondering the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, I was wondering the same thing.

From: http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/hse/recycleInCam1-02.jhtml

"This recycled stock won't necessarily be used for motion picture film. It can be used for any Kodak film product, including professional and X-ray films. In other words, the polyester from a print you saw in a movie theater last year could be in the base of the X-ray film used by your dentist today."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for the lower cost 16mm cameras already on the market. Come on guys, they are not the same thing. The low cost used 16mm market, are those really the kind of cameras one would use on an actual lower budget but fully crewed movie set, are those the kind of camera that would excite a young filmmaker?

What about the Eclair ACL? On eBay, they can be had for around $1500. The Super16 conversion runs (at most) $2-3K, then BAM you have a modern Super16 camera with interchangeable lenses (PL, Nikon, etc.) for around $4K. Isn't that the camera you're talking about? A crystal sync, reflex finder, mirror shutter, 400' mag Super16 camera on the cheap? I can't think of any reason not to like it as a first camera purchase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What about the Eclair ACL? On eBay, they can be had for around $1500. The Super16 conversion runs (at most) $2-3K, then BAM you have a modern Super16 camera with interchangeable lenses (PL, Nikon, etc.) for around $4K. Isn't that the camera you're talking about? A crystal sync, reflex finder, mirror shutter, 400' mag Super16 camera on the cheap? I can't think of any reason not to like it as a first camera purchase.

 

That sounds pretty good. Is it quiet enough, or does that become a deal breaker? Can the power be mounted onto the camera or does it run off of external power only? Could this basic camera model be moderned up a bit with a few more options of the kind that were found on Super-8 and then a run be done of them?

 

I'd still like to see some of the aggressive options that were put on some of the higher end Super-8 cameras in Super-16 camera, such as multiple filming speeds, single frame, time-exposure, time-lapse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That sounds pretty good. Is it quiet enough, or does that become a deal breaker?

At 32db, it's as quiet as an Arriflex 16BL, which was the standard for many years, before the SR series.

 

Can the power be mounted onto the camera or does it run off of external power only?

I'm not sure. I think it uses an on-board re-chargeable. Most cameras do.

 

I'd still like to see some of the aggressive options that were put on some of the higher end Super-8 cameras in Super-16 camera, such as multiple filming speeds, single frame, time-exposure, time-lapse.

Based on what little I've read about the ACL, it seems capable of filming speeds from 8 - 75fps, depending on what motor you have. I'm not sure about the intervalometer feature. But, that doesn't really seem like a basic requirement in a movie camera. Indeed, even the top shelf Arri SR3 doesn't have that function built-in.

 

Could this basic camera model be moderned up a bit with a few more options of the kind that were found on Super-8 and then a run be done of them?

Based on modifications done to other cameras (see slowmotioninc.com), I think the ACL could probably be updated with an electronic control interface and intervalometer functions -- but it would cost about $6-10K per camera. To manufacture a camera of this quality today would cost about $35,000. Skilled labor of the type needed to make stuff like this is expensive. Otherwise, why would anyone choose it as a career choice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I'd still like to see some of the aggressive options that were put on some of the higher end Super-8 cameras in Super-16 camera, such as multiple filming speeds, single frame, time-exposure, time-lapse."

 

A Bolex H16 has all of those features! Time lapse of course is all manual but there's nothing to stop you from purchasing an interval timer. When I first started doing time lapse in super 8 with my Canon 1014E, I had to expose single frames manually while looking at a stop watch for reference. It took me a few months to get hold of an accessory interval timer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While it can be argued that film has a termination date somewhere in the future, it certainly has been accelerated by the lack of an exciting new Super-16mm camera for the younger film students.

 

Alessandro, I doubt that the new wave of hd digital cameras is somehow connected to the lack of a cheap 16mm camera.

Even if there was such a camera, and even if it costed less than 10 grand, there are additional costs that are simply too high for any film student who wants to shoot 24/7.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, he's coming from his heart, but I do feel that he's going off into left field. If Kodak were to do such a project with 16mm, yes they should be laughed at. Now, I do see potential for a Super8 camera, heck even a Super8 disposable camera for learning with. Modify the premise behind those one-time-use cameras, and you have something you can learn with. Just need a low-cost S8 scanner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not a good Idea!!!! why you want a cheap super 16 camera, when ,1, you already can buy cheap Super16 cams, and 2, you can always rent really expensive cams for your project

Good lUck

 

For ehampe of idea to buy cheap Super 16 camera, the users have possibility to buy modified Super 16

professional cine camera Kinor-16 with Arri PL lens mount now.

 

Prof Movie camera Kinor Super 16 , PL mount , ARRI

Ebuy Item 150085817418

 

- Professinoal russian cine cameras Kinor-16 SX-2M with Super 16 film gate, over-centered ground glass.

- The transport mechanism of Kinor have registration pin and precision of frame stability 0.01 mm.

- Arri PL lens mount, centered for with Super 16 film gate.

- Crystal sync speed motor with 6 speeds : 8, 12, 16 , 24, 25 , 29.97 fps

- Battery, charger,

- 2x 100 ft, 2x 400 ft film magazines,

- 16OPF-1-2M zoom lens 12-120 mm with 0.75 front attachment ar set ( the zoom lens with 0.75 attachment will have zoom rate 10-100 mm )

- prime lenses 10 mm, 20 mm, 75 mm

- universal mate box with holders for filter,

 

The starting bid $1850

 

This is exaplme of high precision mechanism and modern microprocessor control.

This can be good choose of cheap Super 16 camera ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Wooden Camera



    Tai Audio



    Just Cinema Gear



    CineLab



    The Original Slider



    G-Force Grips



    Serious Gear



    Abel Cine



    Glidecam



    Paralinx LLC



    FJS International



    Visual Products



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Metropolis Post



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Ritter Battery


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...