Kodachrome Processing in Texas??

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Iwagoshi, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    Here's my story. I am participating in the Kodachrome exchange so I have just shot two rolls of K-64. I put the first roll in an old pre-paid processing mailer and gave it to my local (Berkeley) camera store for processing. They put it another envelope and sent it to Swan Photo Lab who then out-sourced it to (I think) Dwayne's. I received the processed slides three weeks later at the store. The slides were in generic mounts in a black plastic slide box. The second roll I also put in an old pre-paid processing envelope but I addressed it to Dwayne's, put two stamps on it and dropped in the mail. A week later (today) lo and behold, I received the second set of processed slides, not from Dwayne's but from some place in Dallas, Texas. The slides came in a yellow and white Kodak slide box and in Kodak labeled mounts!

    What's going on? I thought the last places on Earth for K-14 processing was Dwayne's and some secret Gov't lab in the Rocky Mts. Well it appears that the Kodak plant at 3131 Manor Wy, Dallas, Texas (a lab address listed on the mailer) is still active.

    Terry
     
  2. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Anything is possible, maybe Dwayne's was extra busy, Kodak still had the equipment, so they filled up the tanks, and ran a few batches through, to help clear a backlog. If there is some special Kodachrome thing going on, they may have also temporarily opened a second lab, in anticipation of extra Kodachrome work to do.

    Personally I think what happened is a lot of people switched to digital a few years ago, found it wasn't the perfect medium:rolleyes: and are now starting to move back into film work again. If you spend hours trying to get a digital shot to look like Kodachrome, you might as well shoot Kodachrome in the first place and scan it. Don't tell me you can't scan Kodachrome, people keep yapping the same crap about traditional B&W, and I have dozens of rolls of B&W that scanned perfectly.....
     
  3. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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  4. Fredrik Sandstrom

    Fredrik Sandstrom Member

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    No, that's not possible. You don't just "run a few batches" with Kodachrome. Starting up the processing is a major undertaking, and you need trained people to do it. (An analytical chemist for one thing.) Besides, you need a fair volume to be able to get consistent results; that is one of the reasons all K-14 processing is now done in one place.

    Wherever the package came from, it was processed by Dwayne's.

    That's how they do it. Dwayne's are authorized to do "Kodak processing". Look at the bottom of the box. Does it not say "Kodak Licensed Product" and "Processed by Dwayne's Photo"?
     
  5. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I think it's more likely that either Dwayne's temporarily ran out of Kodak-labeled cardboard mounts and boxes or your K-64 order got mixed up with another E-6 slide order (which they also do) in the mounting area/dep't, and they just packaged it incorrectly.
     
  6. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    All my Kodachrome is mailed to Dwayne's in prepaid envelopes. They mount it in Kodak mounts and send it back to me with a Texas return address, but the postmark on the envelope is from Kansas, hence it was mailed directly from Dwayne's to me. If I mail Fuji mailers and Kodak mailers together to Dwayne's, they arrive the same day. The Kodak is in Texas return address envelopes with a Kansas postmark. The Fuji is in Dwayne's return address envelops with a Kansas postmark. Also, I mail Kodak print mailers to Dwayne's, but they really are processed in Texas and send back quite a bit later than the slide film with a Texas postmark...their print service is as crappy as can be, but the slide service is superb!

    It makes no sense, but I figured it out...dang Kodak playing with our minds!
     
  7. wogster

    wogster Member

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    How about a reality check for a moment. Suppose something happened to Dwayne's, fire, tornado, financial difficulty, mechanical breakdown, labour troubles, etc... It could very well leave Kodak with millions of dollars worth of film that they can not sell without a processing facility. I am sure there is a backup plant somewhere, and Kodak has the people to make that plant go. The other issue is that K14 is a processing machine, and Kodak probably has a bunch of them, it doesn't cost much to keep one machine hooked up ready to go, with an operational crew trained and ready, even if their normal duties is something else. Running a few batches through every year or two would make sure that the equipment and people are ready for the process to become operational if needed. This is the time of year to do it, because lots of people, who only use their camera once a year, will do so about a month from now. So, if Dwayne's has a backlog, then clearing it out now, makes sense. Even if Kodak loses money in the process, making sure they have an alternate is a good business plan.
     
  8. Polybun

    Polybun Guest

    See, the mistake there is thinking kodak gives a flying fuck! Kodak doesn't care, Kodak hasn't cared about film in years. Hell they have been trying to get us to stop using kodachrome for the past 40 years! They have been trying to get us to stop using film for the past 10. If dwayne's burnt to the dirt, I don't think the heads of Kodak would lose any sleep at all.
     
  9. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    Ahh..I did not check the postmark, just focused on the return address. So it would make no sense for me to send the next roll directly to the Texas return address? And why two different mounts and boxes from the same place? I thought it might have something to do with Swan outsourcing to Dwayne's but that makes no sense either.
     
  10. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Which is why they've spent R&D and geared up for production of new or improved emulsions like Ektar 100, TMY-2, improved Portra films, etc in just the last two years. And those are the reasons that they continue to produce a large array of films that are still in demand, or even have minimal demand like Kodachrome. Thanks for clearing this up.

    Lee
     
  11. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    Well Kodak R&Ded Kodachrome 400, but that was never released. Also, Ektar 100 was not released in 120, although Kodak could use the same base as 135 format. Actually, I would prefer Kodak to keep a film the same after it is released, since I get used to it and know what to expect, and instead focus on new films like...like...umm...oh, like Ektar 100...and...ummm...yeah, Ektar 100.

    I think Kodak is in it for the money, of course, but it is not that which bothers me (I am a Capitalist pig, myself), it is their attitude problem. Like when Kodak discontinues a unique film with a few weeks' warning before all existing stock is sold. I have a problem with that. Especially how they were saying that they were not going to discontinue Kodak HIE up until, BAM, the announcement that they had in autumn 2007. Fuji has no attitude problem...

    Foma, Efke, AGFA-Gevaert, and FilmoTec have/had no attitude problems.
     
  12. Polybun

    Polybun Guest

    My point exactly. I don't think the engineers are to blame, its the people at top. They want digital, they want that cheap investment with big returns, to hell with the quality.

    Fuji continue to blow my mind with the amount of new products and improvements they make every year. Every year its something new from them. To come along and make even a tenative commitment to picking up the slack where poloroid is leaving off, that really suprises me. Granted, Fuji were making a good portion of poloroids film stock for them anyway, but its still not something you see kodak doing is it!
     
  13. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Too truthy to refute.

    Lee
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You guys have never had any experience in the real world of business, have you? :D

    PE
     
  16. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I think that the biggest mistake management at Kodak ever did was, when they tried to shoot themselves in the foot over digital, and aimed at their head. They went from a business they owned to a business where they were the tiniest fish in the sea. The wonderful thing about Film, is that 90% of your business is consumables, and your customer is of the mindset that if it ain't broke don't fix it, you have it made. The horrible thing about digital from the manufacturers point of view, is that the only consumables are ink and paper, and 90% of your customers are going to walk into the store, and buy recycled ink cartridges, and the paper that's on sale that day, and usually that's at the discount business supply store.

    The problem for Kodak is that outside the USA the world has moved on, most B&W artists are shooting Ilford or one of those Eastern European films, Fuji is still big in film production. For Kodak if they try to go back to film in a big way, it's going to be an uphill battle, but some of their new products like Ektar 100 mean they might be trying.

    As far as Kodachrome is involved, you don't make emulsions in small batches, instead you make them in huge batches, what they probably do is brew up a batch of emulsion,
    set up a coating machine, run off a couple of miles of the stuff, cut it into usable pieces and stick it in a deep freeze somewhere. You then set up the machine for another emulsion

    When they need some, they thaw it out, slit some off and package it up. You also need packaging, which is not made in small batches either. So what do you do with a hunk of film a couple of miles long and 100' wide, when the only lab in the world that can process it, is just a pile of rubble?
     
  17. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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  18. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    Photo Engineer,

    I am a scientist who also dabbles in history and Classics. The extent of my business knowledge is how to write a grant proposal or order supplies from a catalog. There is no part of my brain reserved for the study of business. I make things and let the people who study business for 4 or 6 years make the decisions that make or break their company...I have enough stress. : )

    As long as I get my funding, I am content to do my research.

    -Alexander
     
  19. Fredrik Sandstrom

    Fredrik Sandstrom Member

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    They'd set up another facility to process it. I didn't say it couldn't be done, or that they wouldn't do it. But it's not what has happened now! Iwagoshi's film was processed by Dwayne's, period.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

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    Alexander;

    I have worked in industry, industrial R&D and academia on and off over the years but 32 years in industrial R&D. Things are not as simple as stated here and elsewhere on APUG, particularly where it comes to Kodak. Kodak today has more people on film R&D than Ilford has in their total company! But, when you make a mile of film and then only sell 1/2 mile of it within the expiration date, things get dicey when it comes to explaining that to the CEO.

    Try getting funding for some research that keeps failing! Betcha things stop getting funded and eventually no one will talk to you.

    Now, Fredrick, as for processing, Kodak has said that oney Dwaynes is now processing Kodachrome. I cannot personally verify this and have to rely on them myself, but they have said it and a rep has repeated this in a recent interview. What more can I say. I have to agree.

    PE
     
  21. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    Fredrik,

    You are correct, I turned the box over and there it is in two languages, French and English, under the Kodak logo, "Processed by Dwayne's Photo..." Apologies for my initial rash assessment, I was merely hoping upon hope that the demise of Kodachrome was greatly exaggerated.

    So it must be as Alexander has stated, Dwayne processes and packages under license and logo from Kodak when presented a Kodak pre-paid mailer.

    PE, do you know what, if anything, is going on at the Kodak - Dallas Texas location?

    Terry
     
  22. Photo Engineer

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    Nothing. But I do know that there is some graphics art work in OK. That is quite tiny though.

    PE
     
  23. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    Photo Engineer,

    That is true, but remember that the CEO has to explain things to the shareholders, many of whom do not possess a degree in business, so they may not fully understand what is going on except for numbers (profit earnings, share prices, dividends) and what their broker tells them. If they see a film giant doing things that do not make sense to the them, (but makes sense to the CEO and the board of directors) the investor loses faith in the corporation and dumps their shares. Or, in my case, does not purchase shares of Eastman-Kodak to begin with. As things are explained on APUG, the members get a "feel" for what is going on (perhaps it is incorrect, perhaps not) and makes investment choices (I am sure many of us on APUG own at least one share of something or another). Sometimes it behooves a corporation to go against what their college textbook in business suggested, so as to appease their shareholders and sell more stock. I highly doubt that shareholders and customers appreciate last second discontinuation notices (or other behavior deemed to be unsavory).
     
  24. Photo Engineer

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    Alexander;

    I have met and talked with 5 of the last 5 CEOs of Kodak. I've made presentations to two of them before I retired. In 2005, I had a chance to talk to Antonio Perez personally at a luncheon about the exit from the B&W paper business. Believe me, he was not happy over this, and none of them enjoyed cancelling products or projects after investing millions in them.

    Sometimes, you have to cut your losses.

    As the only person here speaking a little about what goes on within Kodak, I can say that things often have one meaning inside and another outside of the yellow jello (as we called it affectionately). On the whole, Tony Perez is doing his best with a very very difficult situation by trying to make the "elephant dance" as Walt Fallon said when he was prez of EK. So, I understand the POV of outsiders, but I don't go along with unfounded or unwonted criticism of choices which are actually the best of a rather bad lot when you get down to it.

    I think they are doing the best they can with the hand they were dealt, and the new Ektar 100 shows that R&D and new analog products are coming along. AAMOF, the total number of R&D people working on analog are about equal to the total number of employees at Ilford. This is no disrespect of Ilford. I use a lot of Ilford products. It is simply a fact. Kodak's analog program is larger than Ilford's and maybe even Fuji's.

    PE
     
  25. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    One aspect that has not been mentioned is the environmental impact of processing Kodachrome. I had heard that less strict environmental laws in Kansas is one of the reasons that the only K-14 plant is located there. Stricter laws in other states forced the closure of the other K-14 processing plants.

    PE, any truth here? Is the K-14 effluent problematic? Will we find the next K-14 plant located in Tijuana?

    Terry
     
  26. Polybun

    Polybun Guest

    Sounds to me like they have more managers than engineers. Honestly, at this point, the best thing that could happen to film photography would be for kodak to just stop and get out of the way. They have grown too large to serve any real usefull purpose. If anything, Ektar 100 proves that point. I don't think kodak really get it anymore.