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Tim Tyler

Hurt by Weak Film Sales, Kodak Trims Work Force

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Everyone shouldn't get too worried over these layoffs. As far as their Film business, it is still holding up well compared to Digital.

Here's an interesting segment from Kodak's earnings report. Kodak made fully $77 Million Dollars in Profit from their Film Sales in the 3rd Quarter (July to September 2008), but only made $23 Million in Profit from their Digital Sales! Digital Revenues were $820 Million which means they only made a measly profit of 2.9%! Film Revenues were $764 Million which made 11.2% profit!

 

In the 4th Quarter of 2008, Kodak LOST $40 Million Dollars on Digital -- down from a $91 Million Dollar Profit in 4Q 2007. Yet, they made a $39 Million Dollar PROFIT on Film in 4Q 2008 -- up from $17 Million Profit in 4Q 2007! They made 6.3% Profit on $652 Million in 4Q Film Revenues, but lost 4% on $958 Million in 4Q Digital sales.

 

For the Year 2008, Digital sales were $3.088 Billion, and Film sales were $2.987 Billion Dollars. Digital sales are barely ahead of Film, and, if they're able to make profit on Digital, it is peanuts compared to Film profits! The Mutual Funds who control Kodak are more obsessed with 'revenues' instead of 'profits' because it makes the company look bigger, and props up the Stock value. As David noted, these layoffs are also about maintaining Stock value. This is what is most important to these Funds. These Mutual Funds don't care about Kodak beyond how they can profit off of it. General Motors is a company with a lot of 'revenue', but no 'profits'. Digital will never be a very profitable part of Kodak's business. Computer electronics are very expensive to manufacture, but must be sold for little profit because of cut-throat competition. Even Antonio Perez called Digital "junk". So, nobody should get paranoid about Kodak getting out of the Movie Film business. Without it, they're broke!

 

However, because of these Mutual Funds, bad decisions are being made by Kodak. They are closing down their Qualex Photofinishing subsidiary at the end of March! This is an incomprehensibly stupid action. It will make it more difficult for Super8 and 16mm users -- as well as Still Photographers -- to find inexpensive professional Film processing in North America. I hope a buyer can be found for Qualex before it closes.

 

 

 

I remember seeing guys in hazmats suits dumping barrels into the Genesee River at 3 AM. I also remember that someone managed to develop film in the lake...(don't know how well it worked though...). I remember dead fish covering charlotte beach on Lake Ontario. I remember having to drive an hour west to be able to swim in the lake.

I remember the smoke stacks spewing out thick white clouds 24/7 (it was fun to watch the shapes in the smoke like they were clouds or something )and the paint getting eaten off of cars. ... So I am ambivalent towards Kodak as a whole...

Thankfully, those days are over. The modern chemicals used in Film manufacture and processing are monumentally more environmentally-friendly. Today we also have companies that recycle chemicals, and render them safer for disposal.

 

 

 

I'm pretty worried about film now. Gordon Brown is now referring to things as a depression now, and not a recession, and he really is onw for glossing over things.

Mattie, Gordon Brown is a walking "depression"! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

P. S. to Richard Boddington: Now Richard, do you really think that it would be smarter for Canada to have gone through a Civil War? I mean, seriously, the Government pays the Bloc Quebecois about $5 Million Dollars per Election. That's a lot cheaper than a Civil War! Just today the Quebec separatists are bitching about the British Conquest from fully 250 years ago! Can you imagine how long they'd bitch over a Civil War. About 1000 years!

 

P. P. S. to Ira Ratner: That is a 'great' Kodak Story! Although I'm younger than you, I can remember those little Fotomats. They used to be situated at Gas Stations. The attendants must have been freezing here in the cold Canadian winter!

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Hey, you bring up an uplifting point:

 

They only shot film during the Depression, right? So maybe this economic free-fall repeat is a GOOD thing for the medium.

 

I know--bad joke--but you never know.

 

I don't quite know what to say there...

 

...oh wait! I do...

 

 

OLOLOL0L!!! ROTFL!! LMFAO!! HaX0Rr!1!!! ;) -_- :) :P :mellow: B) :rolleyes: :ph34r: :blink:

 

 

Though idiocy aside you have a point. Except today it's MUCH more likely to video only. :P

 

 

I expect I'll get a bollocking off Karl Borowski for this post, but it was worth it.

Edited by Matthew Buick

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FINALLY! A story about a company that is hiring!!

 

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/090216/cana...obs_company_rim

 

And the company is even in Canada, they say they need 3,000 new employees. And these new employees won't be cutting down trees or pumping oil, that must be another first for Canada!!

 

I'm amazed the media even covered this story, I mean it's not about mass layoffs at all.

 

They will probably yank this story once they realize their mistake :)

 

R,

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People are worried about the long term viability of Kodak, but I wouldn't write them off yet. Like many companies, they are taking the actions they need to do to survive in what will likely be a tough economic year. You might find it interesting that a week ago, Bill Gates filed documents with the SEC that he had acquired 5.2% of Kodak with positions held by both Cascade Investment, his investment arm, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Obviously, Gates sees something there worth buying.

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A little aside as well. In the Jan '09 issue of "In Camera," I came across an add announcing 2 new Vision 3 stocks from kodak. 1 for your camera and 1 for your post, it read if memory at midnight serves. . . a spot of hope? I think so (after using some '19 and being surprised by how well it handled an unlit night ext in Philadelphia. Granted, the stock proper was a bit life-less, but it got me plenty of recorded information which could be-- shall we say modulated-- later on.)

 

Viva Film!

 

16.jpg

(quick grab of it off of my prores version, resized for economy)

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That's not the relevant way to look at it:

 

I'm making up numbers here, but let's say their film sales were a billion and made money, but the other stuff was 25 billion and lost money.

 

Doesn't matter that film made money--the future of the business is in the other stuff, the products that will keep them alive and viable..

Depends. There are still Horse and Buggy firms around, along with Steam Engine manufacturers. While yes, both are smaller than their heydays, they continue to produce a solid profit for their shareholders.

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Depends. There are still Horse and Buggy firms around, along with Steam Engine manufacturers. While yes, both are smaller than their heydays, they continue to produce a solid profit for their shareholders.

 

Agreed! I believe over the next five to ten years film will become one of those specialist products (the recession hastening this change). These sort of things survive because they have something so special about them, they also have a scene. One quick look in a branch of W.H Smith and there are loads of these sorts of magazines around, horse riding, steam enthusiasts, furniture restoration, the list is endless. Film will survive. Quite simply because it's unmatched in it's beauty, spontenaity and soul. Just look at this forum! Too many people love film to see it go, no matter what!

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Horses & buggy whips, carriages, etc. don't require a large-scale industrial operation for their manufacture.

 

As for train engines being niche, maybe here in the United States, but world-wide train travel is still a dominant form of tranportation.

 

So all of these analogies are flawed. And "wishing only makes it so" in movies and '40s songs. . .

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It does not take a huge industrial work to manufacture modern film. Agfa-Gevaert, EKC, Fuji Photo Films, all of them have small pilot facilities on which everything can be made. In the nearer future the units will become smaller and more flexible. That is all for good. How many Big Boys have been braught back to operation? I don't think many, but Pacific railroad engines are restored by numbers.

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It does not take a huge industrial work to manufacture modern film. Agfa-Gevaert, EKC, Fuji Photo Films, all of them have small pilot facilities on which everything can be made.

 

Simon, while this is true, I don' think you get my meaning. Even if the facilities have gotten smaller and more flexible, they can hardly keep making film if the demand drops to 5,000 cartridges of S8/year.

 

Even the most efficient infrastructure probably requires in excess of a billion feet of consumption per year to remain profitable, let alone allow for improvements in stock quality.

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they can hardly keep making film if the demand drops to 5,000 cartridges of S8/year.

 

Now that's hardly realistic. For that sort of amount sold you'd proabably only have to have 500 - 1000 shooters of Super 8 worldwide, look at the super 8 infrastructure, filmshooting.com, Straight 8, Kodak's five stocks, Spectra, Con8mm. That's hardly an empire built upon 500 users, more like 250,000! Possibly more. And I can't see that dropping significantly, even in a recession. And that's hardly the entire film market. It's not as if every film user and enthusiast on earth is going to start worshipping the great god digital. Look at people in India or China, or a place like that. Their living standards are improving sufficiently for many of them to look at taking up a hobby, and photography is a popular one. These places hardly have the infrastructure, even less the will, for internet and high speed computers and all that. With all that's needed for film shooting being batteries for in-camera light meters, a small amount of money, and a postal service, I could really see film taking off in these places. There is going to be a big market for film emerging over the ensuing years, which can only be a good thing.

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Film isn't going anywhere, in fact I am going to make a prediction that film is going to come full circle and expand to even lower budget projects in the next few years. The main "problem" with film isn't the cost of the stock or the processing costs, those are relatively cheap in my opinion. The budget issues come into play with getting a telecine quality that rivals current digital acquisition formats for the price.

 

$1million Telecine manufactures and $800/hr post-houses are not sitting on the sidelines watching these new digital acquisition formats gain popularity, we are going to see film post come down in price to rival high-quality/low-cost digital acquisition prices.

 

How is that going to happen? Two ways, first we are going to see rates come down with existing film equipment at post-production facilities and second we are going to see new film-post equipment aimed square at the high-quality/ low-cost digital acquisition markets.

 

You can already see it happening with P+S techniks "Steadyframe" scanner, which rivals the quality of the pin-registered Arri scanner according to the product manager (who is actually the former product manager of the Arri Scanner, but now works for P+S technik) The Steadyframe costs less than $150,000. Other film-post manufactures and post production facilities that want to stay in business while taking ahold of a new market will follow suit.

 

I'm hoping to see some surprises in this area announced at NAB and to see the emergence of the high-quality/low-cost Film to Digital pipeline. Film isn't going to die, its just going to have to adapt to the changing markets.

Edited by hunter richards

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Film isn't going anywhere, in fact I am going to make a prediction that film is going to come full circle and expand to even lower budget projects in the next few years. The main "problem" with film isn't the cost of the stock or the processing costs, those are relatively cheap in my opinion. The budget issues come into play with getting a telecine quality that rivals current digital acquisition formats for the price.

 

$1million Telecine manufactures and $800/hr post-houses are not sitting on the sidelines watching these new digital acquisition formats gain popularity, we are going to see film post come down in price to rival high-quality/low-cost digital acquisition prices.

 

How is that going to happen? Two ways, first we are going to see rates come down with existing film equipment at post-production facilities and second we are going to see new film-post equipment aimed square at the high-quality/ low-cost digital acquisition markets.

 

That is a nice prediction, but I doubt it is going to turn out that way. Fortunately, price isn't the top prioritty in cinematography, as it tended to be with stills, but the market for scanners is much smaller in cinematography. That tends to keep prices high.

 

The lack of a cheap, fast, quality scanner is what effectively killed film photography in many still applications, and the market there was much, much larger.

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Actually what I could see happening is a scanner that just outputs some high quality dpxs which are then later dealt with @ home in programs such as Apple Color.....

Biggest problem in such a pipe-line is the road-blocks in moving that much data effectively off of a telecine/scanner and onto and then off of again, let us say a 7200prm FW800 drive.... Perhaps SSDs and a baster interface bus could come in here.. but I don't know enough about the size of such "pipes" in terms of throughput to speculate too far out...

Maybe RED should make film scanners? How ironic would that be?

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Well, the reason why RED, along with the other video camera manufacturers, are never likely to make such a scanner, is that they compete with the far-more-profitable video camera market. That is obviously a conflict of interest.

 

Kodak, again showing an example of criminal mismanagement, is really the company that needs to step in here, or even a Kodak-Fuji partnership. It is in THEIR best interest to make film as accessible as possible in the least amount of time for the least amount of money.

 

However, making an assumption that color correction and home editing are easy to do, or skill-less, is a huge fallacy. The skill of the operator is a significant part of the equation. Colorists and lab technicians that are skilled at what they do are worth their weights in gold!

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NO, quite true to that Karl, quite true. The colorist/op is VERY important. I in fact use the same one. But, at the same time, if one were able (and I'm speaking as a low budget producer here) to shoot on film and only pay for a scan which could then give them 1) something to edit off of (after converting on their own time at home) and 2) something which could then be graded at home, again their own time (read, free) then it would move more budget money into being able to afford film as an acquisition medium.

I would wager, that having the ability to do that without a substantial loss in quality (e.g. a best light to DVCam/DVCProHD/ProRes) from a film negative would cajole some projects to opt for a BL as opposed, to, lets say an HVX and adapter...

Just a theory. Not the best practice, obviously.

 

As for RED, it would open up another revenue stream. RED doesn't want to (so they say) kill film. Making a scanner for film neg would just allow them to make profit off of the people who want to shoot on film still and in the end, I don't think it would eat into their profits from their digital cinema division too much.

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Karl-

 

Your totally right about price not being a top priority in cinematography, thankfully! But there is an emerging market that weighs heavily on price AND quality, they want both and its not necessarily determined from the camera dept. but from the people paying out the money (smaller production companies). If film wants to take part in this huge and growing market (keeping in mind that some of the people in this market are going to be "bigger boys" in a few years, they need to get film in the hands of their productions and fit it within the means of their smaller budgets.

This will require some forward thinking companies and a group effort in the film community.

 

I fully agree: "The lack of a cheap, fast, quality scanner is what effectively killed film photography in many still applications, and the market there was much, much larger." I hope people are listening to that.

 

Adrian-

 

About your idea regarding a high-quality scanner that outputs dpx format, the steadyframe does just that at 2K resolution and with 35mm 2/3/4-perf and s/16mm, with an LED RGB backlight! Thats why I got so excited to see something like that for $150k, its not realtime yet mind you but it is upgradeable to 24/25fps in the future.

 

I'm really looking forward to post facilities stepping-up and offering top quality for lower rates and using forward thinking technology like the steadyframe scanner can make that a reality. When you lower the cost of a room from $1.5 million to $200k, and get the same talented people in there, your going to get high quality but at a much lower price, with less overhead.

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Now if P&S can do a film recorder at the same price :)

 

As for colorists, honestly if those on Adrian's Low Budget producer list want to keep shooting film, those really commuted, might just have to acquire some of those skills as a survival mode, some boats you have to sail yourself --

 

-Sam

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Ha, I wish I had a Low Budget Producer List, Sam ;)

 

Of course the problem with "desktop colorists," is that often they put the really talented colorists out of work..... Which is something, as someone now who gets to, on occasion, sit in a 2K spirit suite. . . I never want to see happen (think of all the free coffee from their kitchenette we'd all miss out on!)

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...

Kodak, again showing an example of criminal mismanagement, is really the company that needs to step in here, or even a Kodak-Fuji partnership. It is in THEIR best interest to make film as accessible as possible in the least amount of time for the least amount of money.

...

Hi Karl,

You don't need to be so worried about the future of Movie Film which by far exceeds Photographic Film sales. Kodak and other manufacturers nonetheless produce new Photographic Films! (There are also all kinds of new STILL Cameras being sold!) Movie Film is even more important to them.

 

The prospect of a merger between Kodak and Fuji would not be a good idea. I wouldn't want those Kodak Executives ruining a good Japanese Company with its great renowned Japanese commitment to its customers. Don't view the future of Film as absolutely vested in Kodak. Maybe one day Fuji will buy out Kodak's Film division -- that will be fine. Even low-selling niche Films and Papers survive with companies like Ilford Imaging. I recently recommended to them that they buy out some of Kodak's discontinued niche Films, and also Kodachrome. Kodak is interested in large-selling products, and a company like Ilford can serve niche markets. It's not that expensive to produce niche Films -- it's just a matter of will.

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Of course the problem with "desktop colorists," is that often they put the really talented colorists out of work..... Which is something, as someone now who gets to, on occasion, sit in a 2K spirit suite. . . I never want to see happen (think of all the free coffee from their kitchenette we'd all miss out on!)

 

True enough, I have Apple Color but don't have the way cool Jura-Capresso Impressa S9 that Shooters does; Davinci Schaminci, dime a dozen, but that is one rockin' coffee machine :rolleyes:

 

-Sam

 

 

http://www.1st-line.com/machines/home_mod/...so_machines.htm

 

Note it has a render bar ! "2-line Alpha/Graphic LED display with graphics bar that indicates progress of the brewing process."

 

Hmm marked down to $ 2399 Shipping Included......

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The prospect of a merger between Kodak and Fuji would not be a good idea. I wouldn't want those Kodak Executives ruining a good Japanese Company with its great renowned Japanese commitment to its customers.

 

Hey Terry,

 

I never said that.

 

I said it was in both of their best interests to ensure that better (i.e. higher-resolution) scanners become available, and that maybe the two companies could collaborate on something like this.

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Yes, I do get your meaning. You ought not compare apples to oranges. Super-8 was the biggest business of the EKC ever but today its input-output ratio dictates changes. Let's stay with the mileages of 70, 65, and 35 mm film they sell. Ay, there's the rub!

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Hey Terry,

 

I never said that.

 

I said it was in both of their best interests to ensure that better (i.e. higher-resolution) scanners become available, and that maybe the two companies could collaborate on something like this.

Thank goodness Karl,

I was worried that you were suddenly getting confidence in Kodak Executives. :P ;)

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There is a company that still makes 1/4" and 1/2" reel to reel audiotape. They bought the equipment from BASF I think.

 

Anyways, my question is: let's say Kodak and Fuji stop making motion picture film next week.

 

Would it be possible for a small niche company to buy the equipment and continue to make the stock.... or is it so complex that you would need a major company doing it?

 

Let's take it a step further.... let's say we live in a world where there is only a couple million feet of 35mm sold every year. Would a small company or even a three man operation be able to produce that and make a decent profit, and perhaps because of low overhead, offset a price increase a little??

 

I have the slightest idea how film is made so that is why I am asking. I do think it is cool as hell that a small company still produces audio tape, it would be nice to know that such a thing could be done with film as well.

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