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Thread: How capital ($) intensive to make color film?

  1. #21
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    How capital ($) intensive to make color film?

    So, the final cinema product being shipped to movie theaters is positive, or chrome type film, right? If so, that is the high volume portion of the film used after a motion picture has been shot, right? If so, this is a good thing, assuming that final positive film we see in the movie theater shares some characteristics with photographic film. ?



    No, the final product is a positive produced by printing a negative onto negative film (in this case, specially designed for the release print, to carry both the image and the soundtrack), not a chrome. The motion picture industry doesn't use reversal films ("chromes", or diapositive films) in any capacity; they are and, except for a brief period just before, during and just after WWII when Kodachrome was king for documentary color, always have been strictly the domain of the "home movie" crowd. Even in 16 mm, only negative films are available in color, though you can get B&W reversal stocks; Super 8 and Standard 8 are the only motion picture formats that routinely use reversal film and they're used, even in indie filmmaking, only for special purposes (for instance, to insert a "home movie" internal to the story).
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  2. #22
    Big Negs Rock!
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    How capital ($) intensive to make color film?

    Hey WG,
    I beleive film has a future. The other comments posted about someone, or a group, or the people who work in the building that makes the film could step up to the plate and buy the building, which is a self contained film factory. This particular machine coats the film at high speed. I believe the rolls are 3 meters wide and thousands of feet long. (I forget the exact deminsions of the base.) There are other machines out there that work slower and less precisely, but still give good results. These other plants could be spun off too. Once the film is coated, then it needs to be slit and cut to length. I'm sure that process is easier than precisely punching the sproket holes that are used for registering the image in the MP world.

    I could be wrong, but I think most LFers who work in color use transparency film. In the MP world very few productions use reversal film unless it's for effect (like cross processing in ECN2 or C-41). It's very difficult to get the image into the normal workflow without a digital intermediate, besides costing about $1.85/ft (35mm film runs 90'/minute through the camera and it's not available in 16mm). So there isn't much of a benefit from the MP side for LFers in transparencies. As mendioned earlier, MP film is processed in ECN2, not C-41. That said, the film architecture can be similar. I know that there are film coaters that can do short runs that are amazing.

    As I mentioned earlier, these are "interesting" times with more tools to use, yet retaining many of the old ones. With the net, there is certainly a large enough market for someone to run a film coating machine -- maybe Ted's Best.

    Kind Regards,
    MW
    Mark Woods

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    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
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  3. #23
    Big Negs Rock!
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    How capital ($) intensive to make color film?

    LOL Jim.

    Rob, clearly other companies make film and don't infringe on the Kodak patents. Much of the R&D is in developing (!) new emulsions and other products in the work flow.

    Donald, the final release print is print stock, not negative. The traditional process is to cut the camera original neg, print it to an IP (interpositive = a negative image) that is where the timing takes place and the sound is married to the image. That timing produces an Answer Print viewed for timing purposes (often the best looking Shot Print), then a dup neg is made, then that is used to create the 1000's of release prints. When a DI (digital intermediate) is used, the camera original neg is scanned into 2k, 4k or now 6k format. Edited, then rendered on to dup negative stock, and the prints are struck from that.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
    Pasadena, CA
    www.markwoods.com

  4. #24

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    How capital ($) intensive to make color film?

    So, its safe to assume, that color chrome film stands alone, no signficant ties to MP film? If so, this is not good for the future of chrome photographic film.... is this right?

    Mark, I agree the building could be sold off, but Kodak would have to evaluate if the continued film sales would hurt their huge investment into digital, which as the CEO mentioned, is the future of the company. I doubt the sale of the building would be big influx of cash in Kodaks world. For this reason, sometimes they simply elect to, close the doors and send a strong signal to the world, it's time to go digital now, Kodak film is gone. Of course, this would not happen until Kodak was in such a position to benefit from the demise of film with their digital products waiting to be snatched up, which I doubt will happen, as the consumer / prosumer digital camera biz is being spread very thin over many electronics companies. Who would have imagined Sony selling more cameras then Kodak? That is the reality of the market today.

    In the end, IMO, LF film (maybe all photo film) will be at the mercy of some CEO who never even saw a sheet of film or a veiw camera and the pressure from the stockholders become so great, in order to perserve his 20 million dollar bonus, he just slashes the division!

  5. #25
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    How capital ($) intensive to make color film?

    as per the changes mentioned above taking place in movie distribution and print, see:

    http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2006/01/18/bubble-soderbergh.html
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  6. #26

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    How capital ($) intensive to make color film?

    Tim, what an amazing article. We think LF photographers have issues? Those movie theater ownners must be shaking in their boots. If the big movie makers find they can make more money going straight to DVD, those theaters will slowly become toast.

    But your point is well taken, no film is being used here, that is not good news.

    My stockpile scenario is not very useful if all color film is discontinued, as the chemicals would also be discontinued, thereby preventing processing of such film.

    Is there any color films that use the same processing as trans papers such as Duratrans. I have never seen such RA4 films, but it possible, this solve half the problem of preserving LF film usage in the future.

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