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Nicholas Grillo

Kodak Incompetence and 7222/7266 16mm stocks

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I've never dealt with such an incompetent company in my entire life.

A few weeks ago, I ordered 40 rolls of B&W negative 7222. The total came to $3540. The next day, I realized Kodak charged $8000 to my card. At first, they insisted that all of the charges were correct. It took several hours on the phone for them to understand their own mistake. Then, it took an additional 2 days of calling their credit department for them to actually reinburse me for their incorrect charges. In the end, they canceled part of my order (13 rolls), so I had to re-order it.

What happened next? They sent me 13 rolls of 7266 Tri-X reversal film. I recieved them yesterday evening. I called them up today, and they said that my order was indeed for 13 rolls of 7222, not 7266. I told them that my production is just two weeks away from shooting, but they're waiting to hear back from the plant that shipped them out.

Everybody is shocked by how they've been handling my order, especially since I made it clear that this will be my first project on film (they should WANT my business, not treat me like garbage). In addition, NONE of the boxes, which were shipped via FedEx Ground, had "Do Not X-Ray" stickers on them. My DP said that I shouldn't have much to worry about, and I forgot to ask Kodak about this (after dealing with all of their other screw-ups, it slipped my mind). Anybody care to chime in? I've heard Fed-Ex never x-rays their ground shipments, and that a company like Kodak should have some kind of agreement with them.

Anyway, I feel as if I need to start preparing to work with what I have, which is basically a perfect balance of the two stocks (I could use the 27 rolls of 7222 for interiors, and the 13 rolls of 7266 for exteriors, in order to keep some form of consistency). Is the difference going to be distracting? Has anybody tried to mix these two stocks for a single project? This is my first feature, and I'm spending over $20,000 (out of pocket) on this film. The last thing I want is for it to be ruined by something so ridiculous.

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Never had that kind of problem with Kodak, but they need to rectify that immediately. Your 7222 should be over-nighted to you and Kodak should absorb the shipping charge. They should also provide you with a shipping label so that you can return the 7266 at your leisure. That is completely unacceptable.

 

And if you're spending that kind of money, why would you settle on a stock that you didn't want to use in the first place? Especially since one is negative and one is reversal. I don't think the difference would be glaring, but if you ordered 7222, make sure you get 7222.

 

I wouldn't worry about the x-ray. I had 7222 shipped down from Rochester (with no x-ray labels) and it was fine. As for the carriers, I spoke to UPS and they told me that they do x-ray ever since one of their planes exploded a year or two ago. So I would just assume that FedEx does the same. On the bright side, I've shipped exposed film overnight from NYC to Burbank and I've had absolutely no issues.

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As for settling for the unwanted stock, I figured they'd want me to ship the 7266 stock back before they ship out the 7222. And I fear that they would say they never recieved my return, or something utterly insane. Who knows. I mean, people are legitimately flabbergasted when I tell them about this whole ordeal. And as the shooting date draws closer, I'm slowly losing my mind. I'm going to have to make some demands tomorrow, I guess. I've tried my hardest to be patient and cordial over the phone with them.

 

As for the x-raying, thanks for the clarification. I guess I'm just petrified because of the costs associated with this project. I'd be tempted to jump off a bridge if Fotokem calls me next month, saying that my film is fogged and destroyed. Apparently, some x-rays are stronger than others? I've visted tons of other forums (although most of the posts are from 5-15 years ago, mind you), and most people claim that x-rays used by US shipping couriers are far less harmful than those used by airport security.

 

It's a shame that there's hardly any labs left in the country. I'm from Detroit, so it'd be pretty difficult for me to drive to Fotokem in LA, to say the least.

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As for the x-raying, thanks for the clarification. I guess I'm just petrified because of the costs associated with this project. I'd be tempted to jump off a bridge if Fotokem calls me next month, saying that my film is fogged and destroyed. Apparently, some x-rays are stronger than others? I've visted tons of other forums (although most of the posts are from 5-15 years ago, mind you), and most people claim that x-rays used by US shipping couriers are far less harmful than those used by airport security.

 

It's a shame that there's hardly any labs left in the country. I'm from Detroit, so it'd be pretty difficult for me to drive to Fotokem in LA, to say the least.

If you're that concerned about it, you could always just avoid the x-ray's entirely and send it via ground (provided you can wait that long.)

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As if sticking a label Do not X-ray on parcels will keep them from being X-rayed. Parcels are routinely not x-rayed at all. Certainly not domestic and if x-rayed it would because it is a suspect parcel. Even next-day delivery when within reach of long-haul truck transport will be send by truck.

 

Beside from that one or two x-ray exposures are not going to affect the film at all.

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We get daily shipments from all over the globe, mostly by Fedex. Never had a X-ray problem with them. Plenty of X-ray problems with people who carry their stock in checked luggage.

 

Mixing 7222 and 7266 is not a good idea, avoid it unless you want the effect. Speak to your lab first and test first. Most of my customers expose 7222 around 125 ISO to start.

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I've not had good experiences with Kodak UK but Ive always understood the USA version of Kodak was light years better.

The 2 different stocks are likely to be a big problem for you as aside from the fact they look wildly different,they are also two very diffferent processes at the lab to boot. You really do need to sort this out with Kodak. Personally I think they should just suck it up and send you the rest of the film you need and gift you the TriX but who knows what they will do.

 

Once again it's a shame John Pythak is no longer with us as he would have it sorted out like magic.

 

Freya

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I wonder if it's a little premature to post a complaint before Kodak have had a chance to say what they're going to do about it.

You've no grounds to assume fraud.

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I wonder if it's a little premature to post a complaint before Kodak have had a chance to say what they're going to do about it.

You've no grounds to assume fraud.

 

I think you have misunderstood the posting.

The OP didn't say anything about fraud, they just talked about incompetence.

Hopefully it will get sorted in time for the shoot.

 

Freya

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The OP didn't say anything about fraud, they just talked about incompetence.

Quote: And I fear that they would say they never recieved my return, or something utterly insane. Who knows.

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Okay, so here's a quick question. According to the Kodak price catalog, 7222 is $35.43 for 100' and $118.10 for 400', so 40 rolls should either cost you $1417.2 or $4724. You said your total was $3540? I know there's tax and shipping, but all of those numbers seem confusing.

 

Even the 13 rolls doesn't make sense. I'm not sure where the 27 rolls came from either (except that 40-13=27), but 27 x $118.10 = $3188.70, which plus tax and shipping seems like it would be close to your total. Which if that's the case, it seems like you paid for 27 rolls of 7222, and then somehow convinced them to send you 13 rolls of tri-x for free? I'm confused. Do you have a receipt or invoice we can look at?

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Sure, here's a copy of my original invoice (I received their 30% student discount, which explains the lower price): http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/t488/nicholasgrillo1989/kodak_zps51391c45.jpg

 

I'm definitely not accusing them of intential fraud, but I am accusing them of blatant incompetence. Originally, they charged my card about five times for all sorts of different amounts, and denied any wrongdoing, even after seeing my order on their screen and the list of charges. And they made it sound like I was the one making the mistake. However, they did rectify the situation (although, like I said, it took 3 days of non-stop calling, and I had to get my bank involved). And after all that, they sent me the wrong stock, and aren't in any rush to figure the problem out.

 

I've been told that my student status might be on the reasons why they're not "prioritizing" my order, but that seems a bit strange, considering they regularly give student discounts (and have done so for decades). And it's still no excuse for their behavior.

 

Thanks for making me feel a bit better about my x-ray concerns.

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Quote: And I fear that they would say they never recieved my return, or something utterly insane. Who knows.

 

 

Ah! You are interpreting that to mean that they would deliberately claim to not have recieved his return but I think he more means that they would lose track of the return and really believe it had never been returned as he has had such a bad experience with Kodak being disorganised.

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Their credit card system is definitely a bit weird. I recently ordered some 7203 and some 7266 Super 8. The charge for the total amount appeared on my card, but because the Tri-X was backordered, the charge disappeared and they charged me again just for the color neg. Then when the Tri-X was ready to ship, they charged for the balance. The total added up to the same amount, but it was confusing to see the charges appearing and disappearing from my account.

 

 

Kodak, sadly, is totally old school on customer service and ordering, preferring to do everything over the phone - why they haven't set up proper online ordering is beyond me. It would save them money and it would be a hell of a lot more convenient for most people. I would recommend getting the name of a CSR who is helpful, and make sure to ask for them whenever you call so that you're dealing with the same person every time - it'll make resolving issues like this easier. Get their email address, too.

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I just spoke with them again, and they said that they'd call back "within the hour." They gave me two choices: return the film and they'll ship out the 7222 when they recieve it. Or, they'll ship out the 7222 now and charge my card again, then return the money upon reciept of my returned 7266. I inquired about the boxes not having stickers, and the woman over the phone said, "Oh...really?" As if she knew it could be a potential problem. She replied, "I'll have to check with the warehouse about that."

 

Insanity. I mean, I'm a little less worried about x-rays based on the responses here, and my DP's own words. Still, though, the people over the phone seem like they'd be better suited for a job at McDonald's. It's pretty sickening.

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We have never seen any X-Ray issues on any film stock shipped by FedEx (including 500t Color Negative) and 7222 is less susceptible to X-Ray issues, and we run allot of both ECN and B&W film.

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Nicholas, try ORWO (www.orwona.com) if you still have the option, or for the future. Their UN54 80/100ASA stock is gorgeous and replaces the discontinued Plus-X. Their N74 is a faster/grainier stock that's a good match for Double-X.

 

If it's a large order, it may take a bit longer because their inventory is kept low. And, it's one individual running it, so you know exactly who you're dealing with. Prices are probably better than Kodak as well.

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Kodak, sadly, is totally old school on customer service and ordering, preferring to do everything over the phone - why they haven't set up proper online ordering is beyond me. It would save them money and it would be a hell of a lot more convenient for most people. I would recommend getting the name of a CSR who is helpful, and make sure to ask for them whenever you call so that you're dealing with the same person every time - it'll make resolving issues like this easier. Get their email address, too.

 

They used to have online ordering!! Just a couple years ago! Why they got rid of it is beyond me, it seemed way easier than taking orders over the phone. Even on their side.

 

Nicholas, I'm sorry you're having such a terrible experience with them. I've only ever had good experiences with Kodak, but I always bought my film in-person in Hollywood. But now that that's closed, when I have to get more film I'll have to be ordering over the phone, so your experience definitely has me concerned. Hopefully they sort everything out for you, but even still, you'll probably hesitate to shoot film in the future, which is unfortunate and totally on Kodak.

 

Also, holydamn, those student discounts are amazing! I forgot it was discounted that much.

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Okay, I finally got it resolved, I hope. I spoke to a person named Steve, and he is overnighting the shipment of 7222, and arranging a pick-up for the 7266. No charges to my card. That's what I want to hear. That's what a company is supposed to do, no matter how big or small (ironically enough, I just had a customer complain on eBay: I sold a $15 CD, and part of one song skipped. He wanted a $5 refund, so I sent it over to him. Keep the customers happy. And I'm just some random guy on eBay, not a multi-billion dollar company).

 

I also asked about the x-raying, and he is contacting the warehouse (about not placing the stickers on the packages). I asked if there was any possibility of damages to the film, and he said, "no." I recorded both of my calls with them today.

 

Thanks for the input, everybody. Looking forward to posting about the actual film (my DP loves celluloid, and is quite accomplished, so I know it will look fantastic).

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I really don't think the X-Ray thing is a problem unless you are sending packages international airmail or something like that.

 

Everything else sounds a bit bonkers but a lot like what ringing Kodak UK used to like although back then it was a bigger company with a lot more products and you needed to find the right people in the motion picture department. If you have found someone there who is really helpful I would remember their name for the future. :)

 

Glad you didn't give up and it's almost sorted now!

 

Freya

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Yeah, that's good to hear. It's all domestic US shipping (the 27 rolls came in via FedEx ground, these 13 rolls are being shipped overnight air via Fedex).

 

Trust me, quitting (switching formats) was never an option. I decided the shooting format before I started writing the script (Detroit's gloomy winter belongs on grainy B&W 16mm film)! I shot a test roll of 7222 with my SR3 and loved every second of it.

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Hopefully you got Steve's contact info; since it's nice to have your own rep there. I am quite sad the primary rep i used for years, and has the pleasure to dine with a few times, moved to another company. So it goes, I suppose. (also sad since he handled east coast, when i moved out west-- le sigh).

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Trust me, quitting (switching formats) was never an option. I decided the shooting format before I started writing the script (Detroit's gloomy winter belongs on grainy B&W 16mm film)! I shot a test roll of 7222 with my SR3 and loved every second of it.

Nice! I like the sound of this already! Good luck and post some shots when you can!

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