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Rajavel Olhiveeran

What if KODAK stops manufacturing FILM?

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Many many years to go before Nolan and Spielberg are cut off. And you just know they will purchase a vault full of film stock to hold them over when the crack is cut off.

 

:lol:

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whats going to happen to the film fanatics, such as Pfister, nolan ad many more? will the be forced to switch over?

 

Well, I guess those will be the very last ones to "surrender", and hopefully by the time it happens, digital cameras will be better than what they are now.

That doesn't mean film going away is a good thing, at all. I'm with Richard on this (as are many others), and I'd really love if film stuck around and kept being one of many choices we have at our disposal. If it goes, well, I believe we'll lose something truly beautiful and invaluable, but we live in a world where the commodity of immediacy paired with a need to push an economy of obsolescence can't be stopped, no matter what you have to give up. A lot of people, even in the love-digital/death-to-film "camp" will realize what we're going to lose when it will be unfortunately too late to do anything about it.

 

Just got this bit of news via Twitter (American Cinematographer):

"Birns & Sawyer, Hollywood’s longest operating Motion Picture Camera Rental facility will auction off its entire 16 and 35mm Film Camera inventory October 19th. Motion Pictures are no longer being captured on film in sufficient numbers (according Birns & Sawyer Owner William Meurer) to warrant keeping any film cameras. "

 

http://www.theasc.com/asc_news/News_Articles/News_374.php

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Prices on 16mm cameras are dropping fast. A bargain today may be a foolish investment to the buyer in three months.

 

What the hell do I know? I just dropped $240 on a Super8 camera and will likely spend $100 getting is serviced and later, $500 for crystal sync. B)

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exactly

 

 

 

 

Yeah, of course mine was a very theoretical scenario. In the end, what i was trying to say, is that technology matters relatively very little when all is said and done. If you're good, you're good, if you're not, you're not, regardless of the tools.

 

Of course, some camera manufactures have a HUGE interest in saying that "now, even YOU can shoot with the same camera that was used on the latest blockbuster", but no one tells those customers that it's almost the same as saying "now you can drink the same coffee in the same kind of paper cup that was used on the latest hollywood blockbuster".

 

Yep, thats just like saying that budget has little to do with whether or not the movie is good or bad. I just remember back in the 90's if you had film on your reel, that meant you were working on something with a higher budget usually and you got looked at more seriously than if you didn't. I get a kick out of the commercials that brag that the spot was shot on the camera they are advertizing.

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I smell a new Starbucks marketing campaign.

 

 

 

 

To be fair, I think Solo has that end of the market.laugh.gif

CoffeeCups2.jpg

 

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Matt: That was too much to spend almost ten years ago.

 

I spent far too much on 16mm - $400 back then. I'm amazed (though personally happy) to see 16mm packages going for $10K today. It's easy to see the cycle that devastated every other silver halide market but ours repeating itself. Owning film equipment is an even more surefire way to lose money than a new car.

 

 

And, sorry, I may be from the East Coast for a 24-year chunk that only briefly ended in June, but who the hell is Birns and Sawyer Co.? I've heard of ARRI, I've heard of Panavision, and I've heard of Otto Nemenz. . .

 

 

 

Not that the sky ISN'T falling for us at this point, but who CARES what Wallstreet bankers who don't know that silver halide is still one of Kodak's biggest sectors, or reporters who say that Kodak has stopped making film cameras in 2004 (plastic point and shoots; it hadn't made a PROFESSIONAL model in probably at least 30 or 40 years prior) have to say?

 

THe half-informed speculation is for the ignorant masses.

 

 

 

Not to come off as arrogant or snide, but who the hell cares what sh** is being shoveled to sell newspapers - or kindles - at this point? Our industry has kept silver halide industry alive, when almost every single market besides ours has told it to bend over and get f*&%ed. If any industry can save it, ours can. We are one of the few industries that values a superior looking product.

 

Doctors have sacrificed imagery for ease of access at the cost of patients' lives. Still photographers have looked at profit margins. We've kept our eyes on the sparkles of silver that have been dancing around on the screen since the beginning. There'll be a bitter end here too I'm sure, but we aren't going to sell our beautiful beginnings out for a 10% margin, I'm sure. We'll sell them out when they lose the race for the best quality finish.

 

 

 

I'm comfortable with Phil's number: As they say in Star Trek, a lot can happen in 10 years.

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The other thing about this is that film has not been widely replaced until the replacements are really pretty creditable.

 

Of the best current digital acquisition systems, several are reasonably competitive in all areas, and exceed film in at least some.

 

It's a rare example of an industry being able to hang on to a traditional approach in the face of much more convenient alternatives. As has been said so often, the end has been prophesied many times before and it never came until the easier option was decent. Be happy; film beat off all comers for much longer than I'd have predicted had I been here in, say, 1975.

 

For similar reasons, much as I feel a degree of nostalgia for an approach I barely used professionally before it began to be phased out, I'm not too depressed about it. I don't violently object to digital cinematography; it's now good enough that anyone claiming it's preventing them from doing something is being apocryphal, and it is, let's be realistic, a lot easier to use. Certainly I have no time for the rather self-important and gushing artist whose work currently graces the turbine hall at the Tate Modern, who described film as "completely different" as an artform.

 

As a technical approach? Of course it is. But as an artform, sorry, no. You're being overwrought. It is very fractionally different as an artform in ways most people wouldn't even understand, let alone be able to visually identify, or you're doing it wrong.

 

So of course there is nostalgia for a complex technical process and I have sympathy for the jobs that have been lost and will yet be lost as a result of the end of film. But is it going to completely change filmmaking? No, of course not, it's going to save some producers some money.

 

P

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Owning film equipment is an even more surefire way to lose money than a new car.

 

and yet I keep thinking about buying a 16mm camera...I must be completely crazy... :blink:

 

And, sorry, I may be from the East Coast for a 24-year chunk that only briefly ended in June, but who the hell is Birns and Sawyer Co.? I've heard of ARRI, I've heard of Panavision, and I've heard of Otto Nemenz. . .

 

Strangely enough, I live on the other side of the world and I have heard of them..don't know why, maybe in books or American Cinematographer. Anyway, they're selling 12 (twelve) film cameras. And that leads to....

 

Who the hell cares what sh** is being shoveled to sell newspapers - or kindles - at this point?

 

and that's so true, Karl. But I suspect the amount of press this kind of topic gets is also fueled by those companies which have huge interests in the demise of film, as if saying film is dead over and over and over again will somehow make it happen.

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Well, I guess those will be the very last ones to "surrender", and hopefully by the time it happens, digital cameras will be better than what they are now.

That doesn't mean film going away is a good thing, at all. I'm with Richard on this (as are many others), and I'd really love if film stuck around and kept being one of many choices we have at our disposal. If it goes, well, I believe we'll lose something truly beautiful and invaluable, but we live in a world where the commodity of immediacy paired with a need to push an economy of obsolescence can't be stopped, no matter what you have to give up. A lot of people, even in the love-digital/death-to-film "camp" will realize what we're going to lose when it will be unfortunately too late to do anything about it.

 

 

 

well said

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Agfa came out with wonderful motion picture stocks XT 320 being one of them but were forced out of the market by Kodaks dominating the American market.

 

Time to resurrect Agfa!

 

Oh gosh, that would be the ideal scenario for the future. If Agfa really could rise from the ashes and produce movie film stocks again, things will look brighter for two companies in particular. Imagine Fuji and Agfa together on a level playing field with the yellow giant no longer dominating the motion picture market. Fuji and Agfa side by side, heading into the future. Sure it will be the end of an era for Kodak but also the beginning of a new era for film production.

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The Chinese are still very much into film production. Like Bollywood, their audiences tend to want bright, saturated, noise-free colours, which, while it is not impossible to obtain these with video cameras, it's simply easier to do it with film. They also have a gigantic cinema base which has thus far seen very little digital penetration. If Kodak decide to stop making film in the US, it will probably be because they've shipped the plant off to Shenzhen or somewhere similar.

This is the African-American in the Archaic Fuel Sequestration Installation that everybody keeps overlooking: There is a gigantic user base in the developing world that is not going to be switching to digital anytime soon. While that market exists, there will be print film made. While print film is still made, there will be skinflint cinema operators in first-world countries who will continue to order prints.

The Chinese are into making everything. Just about all the world's TV sets are now made in China, but there are also Chinese companies who make vacuum tubes, including some who make 1920s battery triodes! (I presume they're for vintage radio enthusiasts, although they don't actually say why).

If people want film, they will be able to get it, one way or another.

 

You may wonder what sort of image quality you are going to get from Chinese 35mm negative. But here's something to ponder: Just about all current film stocks are designed to produce optimum results through 4 stages of optical contact printing. Has any manufacturer given any thought to producing stocks specifically designed for Digital Intermediate?

 

When you look at what can be done from scans of 50-year old colour negative of 60s sitcoms, it makes you wonder whether we need quite the same level of colour fidelity that has been demanded in the past. It would seem that dynamic range and sharpness might be more important attributes now.

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Has any manufacturer given any thought to producing stocks specifically designed for Digital Intermediate?

I thought Kodak had (or may still have) a very low-con stock they called "scan film", but it may have been exceeded in grey, murky gutlessness by their current Vision 3 stocks.

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I believe that as '99 from Vision 2. as I understood it you have to use special kodak software at the telecine stage? It always seemed an Odd Duck, wherein you'd use software later on to emulate the response of other film stocks.

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Regardless of what "line" it was, taht was a real attempt to make a digital-compatible film stock that takes full advantage of film to file.

 

 

For some strange reason, cinematographers simply wanted nothing to do with it, even though practically every television show and movie is finished digitally, and the stock supposedly had some real latitude advantages over the standard orange mask.

 

 

 

 

But if no one buys it, Kodak has to stop making it. This was their second attempt. There was a Primetime 640T (which was supposedly far grainier and maybe tarnished '99's chances), so Kodak very much wanted it to catch on, that they tried unsuccessfully to introduce it twice.

 

 

 

As far as having to use a special box, I think that was more a Kodak attempt to sell their proprietary software and device to post houses. From the ASC articles I read on '99, it was fairly simple (in some ways simpler than with standard ECN) to invert and balance the colors.

 

 

Basically, what they are/were trying to do was increase latitude by lowering the gamma of the film even further. So, yes, from John's perspective, it was the most "flat digital looking" of them all.

 

I know Kodak made some very successful low contrast films, and John is a big fan of the Agfa, the first innovator of that type of look in movie film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keith: As far as your woodpile joke (aren't they African Islanders or something outside of America?) I don't think it is such a good idea. Kodak pulled the plug on their cooperation with China Lucky for employing the old Chinese standby tactic of stealing technology and not honoring its agreements.

 

 

They are/were making print stock, maybe some archaic ECN-2 compatible neg. stock or C-41 (which would run fine through an ECN process but far from ideal even in correct chemistry compared with modern films). Agfa Geveart makes print stock. Neither of them is going to come in and pick up slack. They've already largely gotten out of the business.

 

 

 

Patrick: Your hopes are almost silly. The only thing loss of competition is going to do is bring up prices and stifle innovation, selection. I reall;y don't want to see the days of one stock only. . . Seems like some of you are almost eager for it though! It really helps to learn even a modicum of economics before making such tall, silly statements about business. Supply and Demand? Economy of Scale? Diseconomy of Scale? Monopsony vs. Monopoly? Anyone?

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If Kodak decide to stop making film in the US, it will probably be because they've shipped the plant off to Shenzhen or somewhere similar.

 

Back in the 1970's, Technicolor shipped the Hollywood IB plant to China. Does anyone know how that worked out? What became of the equipment?

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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Briefly resurrected then shut down (scrapped?) I think it was used, over there around the same time IB tech was briefly revived in the late '90s, early 2000s. I think I am quoting someone quoting an article of ASC :-)

 

Second time today I've witnessed the fora re-teaching themselves information :-)

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[quote name='K Borowski'

Patrick: Your hopes are almost silly. The only thing loss of competition is going to do is bring up prices and stifle innovation, selection.

 

Yes, the notion of Agfa producing camera stocks again (in motion picture film) is rather silly. That was more of a fantasy of mine. However, I'm puzzled as to why you think that I am against competition between companies. If Kodak does disappear off the radar, then some healthy competition between Agfa and Fuji (although pure fantasy of course since Agfa is past the point of no return) could be beneficial with regards to product innovation and competitive pricing / special deals for customers etc. Well, things were going rather swell when Kodak and Fuji were the two primary companies in the market (although Fuji would have wanted a larger share of that market.) If Agfa was somehow resurrected (again pure fantasy) then the number of companies within the market would remain the same - two.

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Right, so you lose a real company and you don't gain any competition. That leaves a monopoly.

 

 

Do you see where, fan of either company, that could stifle development of product improvements, allow prices to rise far more rapidly, and diminish selection of film speeds?

 

Agfa makes a fine product, as far as print stock is concerned, but they don't even want to send me a sample. Hardly an entity interested in promoting and maintaining any sort of marketplace presence, just milking the dying cow. . .

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Briefly resurrected then shut down (scrapped?) I think it was used, over there around the same time IB tech was briefly revived in the late '90s, early 2000s. I think I am quoting someone quoting an article of ASC :-)

 

Second time today I've witnessed the fora re-teaching themselves information :-)

At the time, if I remember correctly, the parent company decreed that by 2005 (or whatever) the entire world would be 100% digital projection!

 

The Dye Imbibition process has a lot to recommend it:

  • The "prints" are actually "printed" using fairly standard inks.
  • You're not restricted to any available chromogenic dye colour gamut
  • The process is "dry" and takes place in normal lighting.
  • The environmental and real estate "footprints" are much smaller
  • Since the final image is available instantly, the printer can use the same realtime negative feedback techniques that are used for modern paper magazine printing.
  • The print is not based on fragile gelatin films, so it's much more durable.

 

The hardest part used to be making the yellow, cyan and magenta printing mattes, but an Arrilaser fitted with an excimer (UV) laser should be able to turn them out as quickly and easily as conventional negatives.

 

If companies stop making print film, (unlikely for the forseeable future), I can see some somebody stepping in to fill the vacuum. We could wind up with the absurd situation of all-digital acquisition, with the majority of screens (worldwide) still projecting film.

 

After all, for a very long after the introduction of CDs in 1981, and for some time after LPs had become effectively extinct, virtually all recording studios still used 24- and 48-track analog mastering....

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Keith: As far as your woodpile joke (aren't they African Islanders or something outside of America?)

Somebody told me the original phrase wasn't politically correct, so I ran it through the Google PC translator (Beta) :lol:

 

I don't think it is such a good idea. Kodak pulled the plug on their cooperation with China Lucky for employing the old Chinese standby tactic of stealing technology and not honoring its agreements.

Things have changed drastically in that area.

Compliance checking labs for consumer electronics items generally only used to have to worry about Electrical safety, EMC (FCC) and misleading advertising on the giftbox.

 

Now we have to have energy efficiency audits, environmental audits, green waste-disposal audits, factory quality and ethical edits (no teams of 6 year old children working on dirt floors under kerosene lights and so on), and now: IP audits!

 

The company I work for has a whole team devoted to the latest lot of requirements, but they rarely ever find anything. The Chinese have really cleaned up their act, but of course you never get to hear about anything as boring as that!

 

Also, Kodak aren't quite the company they were...

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[*]The environmental and real estate "footprints" are much smaller

Actually, the Hollywood IB line was quite a bit larger than a conventional processor. Lynn Trimble worked there in the 1930's, he said it was 100 feet long and three stories high. The building they built for it is still there, Gold's Gym is on the ground floor now....

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I don't see why everyone is so resistant to just accept that film is dying? Things change. Technology gets better. New tools become available that are designed to make us better storytellers.

 

The new digital cameras should be embraced....they are are tools that allow you to MAKE YOUR FILMS BETTER. All my experiences with shooting film had so many inconveniences and constraints that it was hindering my storytelling. Sure, Spielberg and Marty can jackoff all they want about the nuances and poetry of the magical celluloid...but 90% of the rest of the world doesn't have the resources and personnel to make the celluloid experience such a joyful one. And let's be honest, the difference, visually, between RED/Alexa and 35MM is almost impossible to tell to anyone who isn't a professional cinematographer...and even then, I've seen DPs wrongfully guess that a show was shot on 35MM when it was Alexa. I'm quite familiar with different cameras and the images they produce, and I'm always surprised when I watch a show and take a guess, then look it up online and find it was shot on something completely different than what I thought. Even if there ARE noticeable differences...they are so tiny and insignificant that it shouldn't even be worth such a big debate. I know the die-hard film people will disagree with me....but that tiny difference in image quality is not worth holding on to for the massive difference in convenience and technological advancements. Sorry, it's not.

 

I think the perfect comparison can be made with Vinyl vs. Digital DJing. I used to DJ a few years back when the new digital DJing equipment was first becoming available, and there was the same split in opinions...there were a lot of die-hards that were insisting vinyl sounds better...but really, all they were doing was holding onto something because it was classic, not noticeably better...and trying to be among the few outsiders who could feel cool when they tell people they still play vinyl, and make pretentious remarks about how it's better. I used vinyl records for a while, but anytime I wanted to play a new song (that's right, ONE SONG), I had to head downtown to the record store, and pay 15-20 dollars for ONE SONG on a record. And then when that song became played-out or outdated, I was stuck with an old record that cost 20 bucks. Then I saw the new technology created by Pioneer, the CDJs, which played CDs and MP3s....and that was it for me...after suffering from the inconveniences of vinyl, and being held-back creatively by an archaic technology, I gave in and bought some CDJs. I could download new songs whenever I wanted, and burn CDs with hundreds of songs on them...and the technology on the CDJs was emulating the 'feel' of vinyl records quite well, while having tons of new features that allowed me to mix much more easily, and do cool new things liked loop certain parts of a song to mix with another song. Sure, people will still say vinyl sounds better than 320 kpbs MP3...but 99% of people could never tell the difference. It's exactly the same as film vs. video. The new video technologies allow you to do the same things as film and much more.

 

I have no doubt that film will be completely dead in 10 years....there may be the odd person like Quentin Tarantino who will go out of his way to assert his coolness by forcing his crew to shoot film....but the digital technology will be so much better by then he will only be depriving himself of tools that could be making his storytelling better.

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they are are tools that allow you to MAKE YOUR FILMS BETTER.

 

Really? I would be fascinated to know how?

 

Digital cameras improve writing and can make the actors perform better, amazing!!!

 

R,

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Really? I would be fascinated to know how?

 

Digital cameras improve writing and can make the actors perform better, amazing!!!

 

R,

 

 

So writing and actor performances are the only things that make a film good?

 

 

Even if that were true, shooting digitally helps those things to be better.

 

You can shoot more takes with your actors, which doesn't always mean it will be better, but it definitely helps. Some actors don't really get rolling with a scene until it's been done a few times, and on a low budget film, you can usually only afford like 2-3 takes of a performance shot on film. And if you're shooting digitally, you can not only shoot more takes, you can experiment with your performances, and get your actors to try things differently, and give you a different range of emotions, or even try improvising a take or two.

 

You can experiment with your shots as well...trying really longs takes, or trying elaborate camera moves that might take several takes to pull off. You can playback a take to see if you really got it...with film you have to just hope it was good and wait until you get your dailies to know for sure. If you playback the take and notice a problem, you can do it again and get it right. I would consider little advantages like that to be helping make your film better. There are tons of examples like that.

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Really? I would be fascinated to know how?

 

Digital cameras improve writing and can make the actors perform better, amazing!!!

 

R,

Sometimes I think we are forgetting that were here to photograph the writing and acting. And, most of all, to tell a great story. Both film and digital can accomplish these goals.

 

And, yes, soon we will have no more film, but there's nothing we can do about it so go out and make some great movies!

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