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Thread: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

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  1. #1

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    "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_film_s_fade_out

    Quote:

    But with the film market shrinking by more than 20 percent annually, most other signs point downhill. Analysts foresee Kodak offloading its still-profitable film division sometime in the next half-dozen years as it battles to complete a long and painful digital transformation.

    Kodak will churn out a variety of films as long as there's sufficient demand for each of them, says Scott DiSabato, its marketing manager for professional film. It has even launched four new types since 2007.

    While digital has largely closed the image-quality gap, DiSabato says a top-line film camera using large-format film "is still unsurpassed" in recording high-resolution images.

    "The beauty with film is a lot of wonderful properties are inherent and don't require work afterward" whereas digital can involve heavy computer manipulation to get the same effect, DiSabato says.

    "In the extreme, they call it `stomped on,'" he said. "But a lot of photographers want to be photographers, not computer technicians. And some prized film capabilities — grain, color hues, skin-tone reproduction — can't quite be duplicated no matter how much stomping goes on."

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  3. #3

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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    We should just have a single thread dedicated to such news items re film doom and boom!

  4. #4
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    Kodak will churn out a variety of films as long as there's sufficient demand for each of them, says Scott DiSabato, its marketing manager for professional film. It has even launched four new types since 2007.
    I'd like to hear an analysis from someone close to the industry. It would seem that considering Kodak's scale and the kinds of facilities they have to handle it, they would hit that threshold sooner than a smaller producer.

    I just don't know what's involved for a company that wants to make film on a smaller scale for a more specialized market.

  5. #5

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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    The quality of the film product is what is paramount and high quality takes sophisticated equipment and exacting QA.

    Consistent preparation of the silver emulsion in B&W and in the extreme with color requires a chemistry supply that is consistent over time. The coating process whether done by spin coat, meniscus coat, spray coat or dip coating has to be phenominally controlled.

    Starting from scratch would require a clean room throughout the process from incoming paper/film, paper/film prep, coating, drying, cutting, packaging. Separate line for B&W film, B&W paper, color film. Development costs for color would be extremely high unless a process could be bought along with the dye coupler specs. QA lab would have to be an integral part of the operation.

    So here's a wild guess:

    10,000 sq. ft. of class 100/10 clean space - 20 million
    Equipment (much custom) - 30 million
    QA space and operation - 2 million
    Development and qualification - 20 million
    Production per 1 million ft. sq. B&W film - 4 million
    Production per 1 million ft. sq. color film - 15 million

    So perhaps 100 million would get you a somewhat slick operation.

    Buy an old IC fab and the price goes way down.

    Of course a job shop operation could be drastically less expensive.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  6. #6

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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Potter View Post
    The quality of the film product is what is paramount and high quality takes sophisticated equipment and exacting QA.

    Consistent preparation of the silver emulsion in B&W and in the extreme with color requires a chemistry supply that is consistent over time. The coating process whether done by spin coat, meniscus coat, spray coat or dip coating has to be phenominally controlled.

    Starting from scratch would require a clean room throughout the process from incoming paper/film, paper/film prep, coating, drying, cutting, packaging. Separate line for B&W film, B&W paper, color film. Development costs for color would be extremely high unless a process could be bought along with the dye coupler specs. QA lab would have to be an integral part of the operation.

    So here's a wild guess:

    10,000 sq. ft. of class 100/10 clean space - 20 million
    Equipment (much custom) - 30 million
    QA space and operation - 2 million
    Development and qualification - 20 million
    Production per 1 million ft. sq. B&W film - 4 million
    Production per 1 million ft. sq. color film - 15 million

    So perhaps 100 million would get you a somewhat slick operation.

    Buy an old IC fab and the price goes way down.

    Of course a job shop operation could be drastically less expensive.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.
    Just wondering how the Chinese are putting out pretty good quality film seemingly from out of nowhere? Maybe they are old film factories.

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic
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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    This again? Yawn...

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    The end of the world has been officially rescheduled on Oct 21st.

  9. #9
    Ray Van Nes
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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    Remember that journalists are not impartial and they live by hyperbole. The "biggest", "worst" - "ahhh , the sky is falling!" To create interest, this writer needed paint the picture blackest by quoting unsubstantiated opinions and carefully selected facts or statistics. " There are lies, damned lies and there are statistics."

    The second article had a different hook. Neither writer cares whether film exists or not, they just want something to write about.

    I do not think anyone can predict how things will fall out. My own personal view is that there will still be some bloodletting but eventually the market will stabilize and there will be some small companies will cater to what will be to them , a healthy market. Take the example of Bostick and Sullivan who supply materials for processes that ceased to be commercially viable before the Second World War.

    The best we can do is go out and buy fresh materials from our suppliers and try to support them in any way we can.

  10. #10
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: "How much longer can photographic film hold on?"

    Does anyone has the facilities to efficiently make film in smaller quantities? I think the writing's on the wall that Kodak and the other big guns are going to get out of the business sooner or later. I'd want to know what the barriers to entry are for small companies who want to form a cottage industry.
    Last edited by paulr; 31-May-2011 at 17:51.

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