View Full Version : How Does Kodak Make Film?

16-May-2011, 11:10
Check out this 2 part video Kodak made of the complete manufacturing process - from obtaining the cellulite to the packaged product. Check out the "40 tons" of pure silver that was used weekly in the plant! That's over $46 Million US at todays prices or about $2.4 Billion yearly!



17-May-2011, 12:23
Does this film make my a** look big?

John Schneider
17-May-2011, 12:48

cellulose acetate

17-May-2011, 16:35
My bad. But nevertheless a very interesting video presentation by Kodak on how film is truly manufactured. It may come in handy if and when film does disappear frrom the shelves. Here is a Wicki Link that may be of interest:



17-May-2011, 17:35
My, how this thing gets around. Makes a person proud. The original film was first uncovered by Marco Boeringa. Marco developed the subtitles and my husband, Louis Ross, made the film internet compatible. It was first posted on The Light Farm (http://thelightfarm.com/cgi-bin/showvideo.py) and then on Marco's personal site. I think it got pirated to YouTube almost immediately (without accreditation) and then it was everywhere. Marco and Louis (and Ray Rogers) put so much work into making this film available, I thought it was kinda nuts at the time, but its ubiquitous durability has proven me wrong -- and very happily so.

Whether or not photographic film disappears, The Light Farm is a resource now and the more people involved now, the better the likelihood that film will never disappear (not to mention great silver-rich paper and glass dry plates.) I think it's being taken for granted that the information will be available forever/whenever. Unfortunately, nothing happens by accident or magic -- as the tale of this little film strip proves. Not to put too fine a point on it, but more people need to get involved -- and sooner rather than later.

Denise Ross

17-May-2011, 18:23
Rather relunctantly, it seems like at times...

D. Bryant
17-May-2011, 21:30
Whether or not photographic film disappears, I think it's being taken for granted that the information will be available forever/whenever. Not to put too fine a point on it, but more people need to get involved -- and sooner rather than later.

Denise Ross

All things must pass Denise including film. Not a lot of people can commit to the production of home brew film and paper. Those that can will reap the reward of their efforts. Those who can't but are interested in photography will use other technologies.

Don Bryant

18-May-2011, 07:49

It feels like a whole essay could be written around the theme of the 'disappeared' heart of my second paragraph. For the sake of rigorous honesty in quoting, I suggest at the least the use of ellipses.

More importantly: I fully embrace digital for many, if not most, photographic uses. But, I also have a love and deep respect for the history of photography. I am grateful beyond words to the people who have brought back to life wet plate, platinum, gum...you name it. When 'Keepers of Light' was published in the 1970's, it was like an alchemy book had been published and the art made from those first recipes was rudimentary (this is a charitable assessment.) Today, silver gelatin is in a similar situation, but unfortunately the cultural climate seems to have changed. Make fun of the 70's if you will, but there was an atmosphere of fun and an open-hearted acceptance of diversity and challenge, rather than today's stark either/or, my camp/your camp mentality, and may I say, defeatist attitude.

I constantly read someone saying, 'someday I'll pour my own plates/ make my own paper/ or film'. I have to believe these people aren't accepting that all things must pass. I just think that they need to be reminded that 'someday' will happen only if a few people commit to today.

d (who is now going to go out for a walk on the beach with a Canon Powershot and homemade film in a Yashica D :))

Steve Gledhill
18-May-2011, 13:46
Thanks for posting this Thomas. Brings back all sorts of memories for me - but they are from Ilford, not from Kodak. I worked for Ilford, in Brentwood then in Mobberley between 1974 and 1986. For the first few years I worked in engineering and throughout the film and paper making processes - in emulsion making, coating and film and paper finishing. There aren't too many ways to make these products so although this Kodak film was made at least 16 years before I started, everything is recognisable. And, I bet it's not too different now either!

Several times they mentioned the fact that the processes take place in the dark, but the real impact and consequences of that doesn't really come over in the film as it was filmed in the light - of course! There are huge implications for the safety of the workforce working in total or near total darkness. It meant that at the top of all of the engineering design criteria was employee safety. Automation played a big part but manual handling and manual intervention played a significant part throughout the dark processes from emulsion making onwards, which is where it goes dark.

And, mentioning the price of silver - shockwaves went through the photographic industry in 1979/80 when Nelson Bunker Hunt and his brother speculated in the world silver market and drove its price to astronomical levels, before it crashed. These links will tell you more ...

Nelson Bunker Hunt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Bunker_Hunt)
Silver Thursday (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Thursday)

For a while the soaring silver price was set to mark a dramatic change to the whole of the photographic industry.

Happy days ...

19-May-2011, 09:27
Thanks Steve.

And a big thank you to Denise and her husband for making this film available!


19-May-2011, 13:14
Thanks back atcha , Thomas! I'll pass it on to Marco and Louis.