Can China Save Film?

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by RattyMouse, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Since China has a film producing company, they must immediately go to the front of the line in the list of companies that can save film. Why? Their costs must be very low. I dont know how old Lucky is, but they arent as old as Kodak and never grew as large as Kodak or Fujifilm, so they dont have the legacy problems that these two companies are facing. Of course, their products are not as good (i'm guessing), nor as diverse. But they can get there if there is a real market for film. They could hire PE as a consultant and shoot right to the top in no time.

    Lucky Film, imported into the US and other western countries! Hopefully soon.
     
  2. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    I've never been to China but one of my friend who lived there from 2008-2010 said in China people still use film a lot. Is that true?
    Oh I used Lucky film in the 90s and they were far from quality of Kodak/Fuji/Konica/Agfa
     
  3. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Certainly with my generation - and definitely in China ('flush times') - there seems to be a sense of collective entrepreneurship. Something has to happen before the end and if not, hopefully a phoenix from the ashes. There is enough passion surrounding film that another Ilford popping up has to happen? But something tells me it depends on how slow 'the death' is. If it passes over us, we submit, if films are dropped quicker (although horrible in the short term), it's more of a shock to the system - a motivator for those with the facility to do something about it? With this phasing out I feel we're being manipulated into acceptance. I don't like it.
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Just a pity that PE has a working knowledge of Japanese instead of Chinese. Fate should have decreed that he was stationed in Formosa in his formative photographic years instead of backing William Holden when attacking "Bridges at Toko Ri". Mind you I don't suppose knowledge of Korean would help with the Chinese language:D


    pentaxuser
     
  5. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Hopefully not. If Kodak goes away, my sincere hope is that the current users of Kodak products who are serious about analog processes migrate to Ilford's products, which are second to none. I suppose there will always be people who want to use cheap crap, but I'd rather that stuff stayed the way it is, so that Ilford and Kodak might survive and continue to make the venerable materials many of us consider important.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2012
  6. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Ilford can't help film users who desire color.
     
  7. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    One doesnt need to know the the Chinese language to work here. I've been here 3 years and do not speak Chinese. Not much anyway. If I can do it, surely PE can too.
     
  8. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Hard to say how much film use there is here. I never see anyone who is obviously using film during my walks around here. I did see one day a guy with a 4 x 5 camera once. But for the most part, film is not easily found here.
     
  9. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    When a 3rd or 2nd world country modernizes it doesn't go through the stages that a 1st world country went through.

    The technology path goes straight from where they are to a level that is on a level with or ahead of the technology of the 1st world.

    China will not go through a period of upgrading Lucky film to the level of Kodak's final technology but will leave film development behind and go straight from Holgas to the 12MPix 24x zoom P&S's that are built into their G4/G5 phones, with a commensurate leap in the professional market.

    Shen Hao and Chamonix cameras and TWSBI fountain pens are examples where China & Co. have been willing to but modern technology to use making retro product. It is very possible that Lucky will go the same route - as you say, they don't have all the baggage to weigh them down.

    Ilford had to go through bankruptcy, a split and buy-out of the assets [liabilities, more like] of the B&W bit of the business - and they are now introducing new papers and even cameras [well, more a glorified cigar box, but its the thought that counts (Bloody hell it does)]. I think many here are hoping for the same to happen to Kodak now that it is in bankruptcy court.
     
  10. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Exactly, you, along with friends in Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, have all filed similar reports of not much film and even less processing worth the money(HK is the exception). Why would they tool up to supply a small, probably shrinking export market?
     
  11. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Lucky had a working agreement with Kodak from 2003 to 2007, when Kodak pulled out as they perceived a shrinking market in China.
    But Lucky gained know-how.
     
  12. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Excellent point! But ultimately disheartening... and I guess it depends on the influence that a resurgence of film in the west has on their own culture and development. Something we're all responsible for. If only it was Japan.
     
  13. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I don't feel China will save film - the're going smart phone with camera instead.

    If you want to encourage film use, have you considered being a photography merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts? See http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Photography for the US description.
     
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  15. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    ERA film was far superior to Lucky and did Kodak not have something to with the demise of ERA?
     
  16. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I am one, and have introduced several Scouts to analog. The requirements don't require film but the principles (f/stop shutter speed) that are required are easier to demonstrate with a camera that you can look through.
     
  17. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    Kodak had a partnership with Lucky for a while, and then Kodak pulled out when they realized that the people with the disposable income were buying cell phones and digital cameras instead of film cameras. I don't remember what the write-down was, but it was absolutely huge.

    No, China won't save film by itself. If Kodak stops selling film, don't expect anybody to take over their equipment. It will get scrapped out, and then business will shift to other surviving manufacturers.
     
  18. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Well, the hope among all of us here is that the film market isn't shrinking anymore, has found bottom, and maybe ticking up a bit with a film revival.
     
  19. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    I didnt mean that Chinese consumers would save film, but rather Chinese manufacturers. China could manufacture film in a cost effective way for export to the west. Something Kodak cannot do even after a decade of trying.
     
  20. Discoman

    Discoman Member

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    Hopefully. As people turn to alternatives for film, those alternatives tend to improve in order to retain their customers. Chinese films will improve.
    Maybe if we are really lucky, Shanghai or Lucky will release color, slide, and b/w LF films. And if we are really lucky, maybe we will even see an instant film in the future.
    Hang on, time to write letters to Lucky and Shanghai.
    I don't care if I have to order film online from the company that makes it. Instead of shipping to stores, just have the customers order it and pay for their shipping. Yet another way to cut costs.
    Then again, maybe I just like shooting film enough that I don't want to complain about who makes the film.
    If a Chinese company makes affordable LF film, I'll shoot it and be thankful that there are still plenty of options for LF film. Hell, if Kodak went under, I'd try and get a hold of some of the processing stuff and start production of a cheap film in china.
     
  21. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    There is a big profit for Chinese companies. Electricity and wages are at 1/10 level of western countries and they can produce everykind of machine 1/30 the price. If they could sell TriX clone for 6.5 dollars a roll , company owners would be very very rich in China. And all doesnt depends on Chinese investors , one of old AGFA , Fuji , Kodak engineers could collect some money from investors and build a industry in China.

    China , 6 HP Diesel engine comes for 150 dollars , motorcycle costs 250 dollars etc etc.

    I am thinking to live at Singapore at Future andlearn chinese than immigrate to China. Every year China produces
    10 000 000 university graduates , Greece size. If European Union would give 300 billion dollars not to Greece but this 10 million kids , it would turn to 100 trillion dollars.

    Idiot Europeans.
     
  22. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Film was saved when Ilford restructured and continued to engage with their consumers (product wise and on a human level, eg Simon). Color is a different matter that Fuji just reaffirmed their commitment to....not sure what is to save when nothing appears to be at risk of being lost....

    Convergence of manufacturers is much different than obsolescence (eg vinyls vs 8 tracks respectively)...

    Lucky will just be one of the converged
     
  23. zsas

    zsas Member

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    However one addendum, without a face to engage (eg a Simon from Ilford), they will not get the loyalty needed to preserver
     
  24. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    In the past they make color film and today they produce a C41 B&W film.
    If everyone else stopped making color film I am sure they could give it a try.
    With Kodak and Fuji still around I do not think they could make any money on it as there is no way they could compete on price or quality. I remember that in the past I read that Kodak had more people in the film R&D department then Ilford had in total enployees.

    Since Kodak is selling most of their patents. Perhaps if they were to quit film they would offer the formula for Portra and E100G to the highest bidder. Still It would take quite a bit of work and money to get similar films to be made on another companies equipment. Some film and paper formulas just can not be made without the original equiment.
     
  25. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

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    The issue is not whether a profit can be made, but where the most profit can be made given the abilities and resources of the company.

    There are never enough resources to do everything. So the must be allocated to the projects that can bring the highest return. I work for an international company. The company is profitable. However, if the company does not see a path to be one of the three top players in the market, we will not go there. Any farther down the food chain, and you cannot drive the market, you can only follow. So they have even sold of divisions making a good profit, because the risks of being a market follower are much greater than being a market maker.
     
  26. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    China is such a huge market that at the moment is basically what make the Ferrari or the Bösendorfer of this planet work. If a Lomo craze emerged in China, that would lift many Ilfords, and if colour film gets a renewed interest, that would keep colour film alive alone.

    A Viennese friend of mine who often goes to China for work told me of an order of 100 tail Bösendorfer pianos from the same conservatory (which is basically a small town) when in Vienna the University or Conservatory would take years to decide to buy one.

    The potential market is huge, just like the "if" is a huge "if".

    What Nicholas says in post #9 is certainly true, and if film were something which can be totally substituted with digital there would be no hope for film. But film is something that cannot be totally substituted by digital, and - I hope - this is why we use it, and the huge number of potential Chinese users would use it for the same reason we use it.