Fifty one year old Kodak documentary

Discussion in 'Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating' started by Sal Santamaura, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Apologies if this has already been posted on APUG; I did a Google Advanced Search under apug.org and couldn't find it. Narration in Dutch, of which I speak not one word, isn't much of an impediment to understanding for those who live film.

    I suspect that, other than updated machines with more elaborate control systems, it's done pretty much the same today. Ron, please correct if that's wrong, and enjoy your trip down memory lane. Can you identify the buildings? :wink:

    http://www.super8.nl/howfilmismade.htm
     
  2. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I would love to hear that with English narration. At least I could figure out when silver nitrate was mentioned. It's very nice to see a video about film production which doesn't mention 135 film!
     
  3. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    What a great movie, thank you Sal!

    Richard Wasserman
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Thanks Sal.

    I didn't need narration. :D

    However, the trough coater shown was obsolete in the 40s from what I was told. In the 50s they were using all extrusion hoppers.

    PE
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That was great!

    And that's exactly how Ron does it in his workshop, except nowadays the big silver ingots come by truck, and we have to polish our shoes by hand.
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Obsolete or not, a great bit to watch. Thanks so much.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    BTW, the film casting machine uses an extrusion hopper at the top of the wheel to apply the cellulose acetate to the wheel. You can see the entire drying section with cabinets.

    In the photo of Kodak Park, the low building in the foreground on the corner of Lake and Ridge was torn down to make room for the new coating machine that reaches for nearly the full block running west (towards the left in the photo). The new building is much higher as well, probably 5 floors at least.

    PE
     
  8. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    Thanks for a real treat.

    :smile:
     
  9. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    It was good BUT it looked as though film wasn't light sesitive. I know film is~!!What part of the process does the film have to be require to be without light. The emulsion process looked as if it just was regularly added with lights on and guys in white suits cutting and inspecting without fear of exposure. It was probably mentioned verbally but that part was unavailible to English speaking observers.
    I'm going to watch again to see what I missed.
     
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  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The lights go out the minute the Silver Nitrate is being added to the kettle of salts and gelatin. They stay out until the film is packed in the paper backing and sealed.

    What you saw was probably a film of a test run or pilot run at full scale of the equipment. We do this even today, sometimes with dummy chemistry and sometimes with just water. I ran a lot of pilot "water runs" to test new equipment or software.

    Sometimes I ran real stuff in the light just to see if things went the way I wanted them to and the result was an analysis of the grain and things like that.

    PE
     
  11. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Ok thank you I knew their had to be an explination.That is probably the part where they had a drawing of the large wheel. I knew there had to be complete darkness after a certain stage. The part that really stood out was when it was being rolled upon the reels under full light I knew then that was NOT right.

    I sure like the sound of the language that they use. It seems so smooth.

    I would be so excited being around SO MUCH film !! The best I got was being around my freezer with 4 -100ft rls and 4 bulk rollers about half full !
     
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  12. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    PE,

    The film shows some reasonably sophisticated control technology; I presume achieved with gearing and other electro-mechanical devices. Do you know when computers started to be integrated into the process control systems?

    In the film, the technician seems to be mixing the emulsion "by hand", e.g. pouring a solution into the kettle at a particular time etc.

    Tom.
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tom;

    That is pretty much how I dated it to the 40s. In the 50s, the plant began using pumps and in the 60s they used a hand controller for salt. In the 70s they used a mechanical device and pumps and in the 80s everything was fully automated. We had a small lab unit run by an IBM PC and a Burr Brown board. We had a medium scale run by a home made 6809 microprocessor. It was used a lot for the first Wey and Whitely experiments. It was later upgraded to a 68000 system from Motorola.

    The next size was run with a room sized kettle and a room sized Taylor computer or a Westinhouse computer. Those were pilot labs. The next higher was production. Thats about it.

    Full automation was complete in the mid 80s and interconnection was ongoing at that time. The systems were connected via the modeling software which prepared disks for each scale on request. The last of the hand run stuff was gone though by 1970. It was more a matter of how fast and how much would it cost.

    As for coating machines, the trough coaters were passe in the 40s. In the early 60s everything was either extrusion or slide and going to curtain coating.

    The big wheel shown has nothing to do with making or coating the emulsion. That is the film support casting wheel. It used an extrusion hopper to extrude the thick cellulose acetate onto the polished wheel at a fixed rate for uniformity.

    The control equipment today looks more like a Space Shuttle cockpit. The operator for most of this is in a seaparate room. Everything is set up by a team, and then someone pushes a button. The one exception is that everything is watched and there is always an operator on the front end of a coating machine.

    PE
     
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  15. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    A very interesting film, industrial archeology, but I really would like to see how it is done today, just to compare...
    Is this possible, PE?

    Thanks a lot,

    Philippe
     
  16. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    Whose your Monster Master?

    Thank you Sal for bringing this film to my/our attention!
    I have seen a few of these an this one is pretty good!

    I too speak no Dutch, but for those like myself who think Dutch resembles German, I LOVE the section in the near exact middle... between the addition of Cherry Kool-aid and the "Restricted Medicinal List" sections where we learn that...

    "Here, as at all other stages of the work, the quality is determined by the hand of a Monster!" :D
     
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  17. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    I think that the larger you go, the less you will see.

    I have seen (or been in) production or controll rooms for 5 or 6 different companies now and it is similar to what PE described... 1-3 seats for the "pilots" and walls of lights, switches and gauges!

    Not very interesting, actually.

    But I agree, I wish we could see more... I just never found them to be very "photogenic".
    Perhaps PE knows the ideal vantage points for the creation of
    those truly "sensitizing" portraits!
    :wink:
     
  18. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    This is an excellent opportunity for cooperation between APUG Forums... we have a Dutch Forum... Why don't we enlist their help?:wink:

    Ray
     
  19. photo8x10

    photo8x10 Member

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    Great!!!!

    Stefano
     
  20. Woudschim

    Woudschim Member

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    Great movie!

    Being dutch, I understood the voice over. (although he is speaking with an awefully dated accent. :tongue:) The lights are on just to show it in the film, in real process, everything is done in (near) dark. In one part, a controller uses an infrared device to check the film.
     
  21. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    At one point from what I could discern, the narrator seems to mention radioactivity, but I'm not sure where or if radioactivity would come into the film manufacturing process.

    Tom.
     
  22. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    I believe that would be air quality control... as a counter measure against atomic testing or whatever - radioactivity in the vicinity of sensitized materials is not good and could be very costly... I wonder if PE has any stories or further info about this.
    It seems that paper base too might somehow become impregnated with tiny radioactive material... which causes much head scratching in the absence of any testing.
     
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  23. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Hi guys, I am Dutch too, but wouldn't it be far easier if PE or someone else with (former) contacts within Kodak asked Kodak if they can dig this film up from their archive???

    Since all the illustrations and text are in English, the film must originally have been made in the US. I guess someone within Kodak or at the George Eastman house must be able to dig it up, especially if they have this Dutch track / film as an example...

    The voice is of our classic Polygoon news agency narrator, Philip Bloemendaal, who did this kind of narration for nearly forty years, from 1946 to 1986, the 1958 copyright notion is also in accordance with that.

    The Polygoon news was initially started in 1918 as film news in film theatres. As there was no television at the time, this was one of the few sources of news (at least in moving images format), and as such remained important until the dawn of television in the 1940's and '50's.

    And if we really want "home-made" narration, maybe Keith (Keithwms) can step in, he knows Dutch as well due to having lived here for a few years, but instead of having some horrible "Dutch-English" narration :tongue:, he should be able to do it in proper English. :wink:

    And as PE stated, the moment the Silver Nitrate is mixed, the Dutch narration mentiones that from that moment on, the lights should be out, but that they didn't of course show that because it would be a bit difficult... :D

    Another nice thing was that they also mention testing for possible contaminants that may spoil the film (mercury, silicons from clothing AND radioactive particles!, well, we sure were in the middle of the cold war with aboveground atomic blast going off about every day :surprised:)
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That looked like it was originally 16mm and converted by telecine. Even if Kodak has an English language copy in their archives, I wouldn't expect a digital conversion any time soon.
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Agfa animation of slide coating is pretty interesting. It has been posted here on APUG, but I have been unable to locate the video again.

    Radioactivity has indeed been a problem for Kodak. All buildings include a foot bath for shoes to wash off contaminants, and all lab workers have to change into clothing supplied by EK and laundered by their approved facility. We even have to use EK approved ink and pens. Some inks contaminate emulsions.

    The "pink cool aid" looks like the Rhodium Chloride solution used to adjust emulsion speed and contrast among other things. But, I did not catch them saying anything in particular there. My German is fading, but between it and English, I got a fair amount of the narration just by knowing what was going on.

    I firmly believe that this film was probably made at least 10 years earlier than the copyright date, due to the equipment in use. The stuff I saw in 1965, just 7 years later, was so so different, it would have taken major expenditures to update it all in that short of a time. We had modern control rooms, slide hoppers and pumped computerized making in paper manufacturing at that time. Forklifts run by computer ran on guided paths in the dark and the cold to pick up batches of chemicals in bakelite tubs and then computers automatically mixed them.

    Gelatin was rapidly melted in tubs by inserting steam filled rods into the container and the gel just liquified almost instantaneously. That is one of the things that impressed me. Seeing how fast gelatin could be melted. That was one of the things they showed us in the light.

    And, watching them begin a production run at slow speed, and then watching and then hearing (it went dark) the machine get up to full speed and knowing that this huge master roll was winding out in back of you and winding up coated in front of you was pretty amazing.

    The fork lifts removing master rolls had to move fast to get the old one off and get a new core onto the pillow blocks to allow a smooth transition before running out the slack in the line. All of this was like a ballet. I too wish they could show it all. I doubt if they ever will.

    I think what they did show was frozen at the level that was captured by the Germans during WWII actualy. It reminds me a bit of what I have seen of those old plants.

    PE
     
  26. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    It is fascinating to contemplate how things could be actually made, with such precision, in such quantities. I have had a long fascination with industrial-scale undertakings like this. Elegant and beautiful.