State of Film chat session at Atkins

Discussion in 'Australia' started by polyglot, May 9, 2011.

  1. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    from today's spam from the local pro lab (Adelaide):

    Might be of interest to some here, particularly their observation about film use growing. I will try to make it but it's in working hours and therefore quite difficult for me.
     
  2. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I saw that as well. I'll be looking at trying to get an early minute or ten on that date and going for a chat.
     
  3. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    This is my unscientific observation of this trend of more film being shot.
    I think the 20 something kids with walking around money "hipsters" are rediscovering and possibly over-hypeing the analog fromats. Film, audio recordings, single speed bicylces, single malt liqure, Pabst Blue Ribbon.

    I also think is is because the gee-whiz of the latest electronic stuff is getting stale. To show up to the PBR drink night with a TLR, gets the attention of the babes. Darkrooms are cool and sexy?

    No flaming me on the "hipsters" they are what they are, and I am happy to see all kinds of people.

    I predict film with hang on at present slightly elevated level for 23 months... then drop off over 19 months and then become an uber niche product... Kodak will be gone (film) before 2017. Fuji will hang on slightly longer. B+W films will stay around for quite awhile manufactured in Easter Europe.
     
  4. kwall

    kwall Member

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    You forgot vinyl LPs, Converse All-Stars, and chinos. :smile: Seriously, this would be the first time in my life that I've even been remotely hip. I'm stoked. :cool:
     
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  5. bwrules

    bwrules Member

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    B&W film?

    I think Fuji will go first very soon. They already discontinued Neopan 1600, 400 was discontinued in medium. Kodak, will sadly be next (very sadly, since I think they have the best stuff - Tmax). Ilford maybe last.

    When the demand as low as it is and dropping, what can we expect?
    The days when B&W was widely used by newspapers and fashion/wedding photogs are far behind.
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    You can bet your Caffenol that the anti-film brigade will be there to saddle up their hobbyhorses and make it clear that digital is superior. Yeah right. Another Dr. Christmas Jones story...

    Good luck to the APUGgers over in Adelaide going along to keep balance in a potentially unbalanced discussion.
     
  7. bwrules

    bwrules Member

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    What's this anti-film brigade I keep hearing about?
     
  8. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Their name starts with K and ends with odak.
     
  9. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I can loan you a hearing aid if you need it. :smile:
    You can find the guys constantly saddling up their hobbyhorses over at photo.net .
    The rest of them you might have the misfortune of bumping into when you're minding your own business beavering away in analogue but they are not.
     
  10. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Check any other photography forum but APUG.

    My money's on Fujifilm calling it quits first. A lot of locals here don't have much confidence in them sticking around in the film business forever.

    No one's mentioned Ilford yet - they'll be around for a while, won't they?
     
  11. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Well, I am...let's just say that twenty is a tiny speck in the rear view mirror of my life. But I think PBR is a fine beer, I drank single malt instead of bourbon on derby day; and the other day I hooked my old turntable up to the stereo and got out some old records. But I do need all 18 speeds on my mountain bike to stay in motion.
     
  12. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    This is great no put downs yet!

    I am just an odd ball... (or a 45 year old hipster), but still use some film, built my own sailboat, I do ride a single speed fixed gear bike from time to time, I don't drink enough to care or talk inteligently about what I drink, and lastly I do buy old $2 and $3 jazz albums to listen to on the Marantz. I CAN tell the difference between a MP3 file and analog recording (aside the clicks and pops).

    I also consider myself an armchair economist. I do worry what global calamaty man-made or otherwise with put the economy further in the tank (who knows this might help film photography or NOT). The current upward blip in film use will either level off or fall off (I predict the later). I do think Ilford might be around the longest... and Adox and the other niche people will raise prices because of shrinking but devoted demand into the next decade.

    PE might open a film coating business with his grand-kids sometime in the next decade.
     
  13. MattC

    MattC Member

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    I know there will be some interesting information to be had at this event, so well worth the effort to attend I reckon.

    Matt
     
  14. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I don't see all this doom and gloom here at all. When I enter the Optics shop under my parent's house, I see the ordinary assortment of films. When I buy one (I bought some negatives there) they just give me the film, there is no chat about how rare it is to find people who uses film, that means it is not rare. Pretty much everywhere you can have your films developed by a commercial laboratory, be they slides or negative.

    Last time I went to my "professional" laboratory to bring slides to develop (that must have been summer 2007) I asked them how business was going regarding film, and they told me it was going as strong as ever, they did not notice any sign of crisis (!).

    When I go around taking pictures some film aficionado chats me up, but I never saw anybody "intrigued" by the use of a film camera, and I do see other people with film cameras around.

    Film cameras are certainly more widespread than tripods, and nobody is fearing the end of the tripod industry. Looking into the future is hard. I have no crystal ball myself, but I would not bet at all on the end of film for the next 100 years. Certainly a restricted offer for some years, but the end, no, not at all.
     
  15. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    Well I personally think that film, at least B&W, will outlive me. I mean, it becomes more and more prevalent to see people my age on here setting up their own darkroom, learning how to do the analouge stuff. The whole thing about hipsters is slightly true, but then again, its not just the hipsters. Digital makes sense for the people who want instant results (90% of the population), but for all the romanticists, nothing can beat the beauty of analouge. I personally will never buy a digital camera. If I can no longer shoot film, i will no longer shoot at all. If they do stop producing film, i will probably start coating my own. But i really think that B&W film will stick around. I believe that kodak will be down to like 2 or 3 B&W films, and 2 color films, there will still be many of the re-branded stuff (arista, etc.), but i think ilford will dominate the market, which is fine by me, they have the best films, in my opinion. Either way, i think film will still be around forever. Especially the large format, considering a 4x5 negative is equivalent to about 150 megapixels, and the cost is so incredibly small compared to a digital back, it's cheaper to buy a scanner and a ton of film. Anyways, look at how many users there are on here, almost 50,000 the counter says right now. So theres some proof that film will stick around, there will always be people like you and me. The day they stop making film will be the saddest day of my life.
     
  16. bwrules

    bwrules Member

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    I think the good news is it will be discontinued starting with the stuff people use little - slow medium format, then slow 35mm, then medium speed medium format, then 35mm. The problem is how they discontinue it. Fuji discontinued Neopan 1600, my favorite night-time film, suddenly and without warning, the remaining stock was sold out quickly and its price skyrocketed.

    The fact that there is little demand and high prices for enlargers and scanners, and silver gelatin paper doesn't help much either.
     
  17. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    I wish people would give the 20-somethings, hipsters or not, a break. Support them, don't dis them. Be nice and encouraging. Some of them will tire of photography at some point and find other things that interest them, but some of them you'll meet on these forums eventually.

    My 20's were a long time ago, but I was shooting film back then and I don't recall getting anything but encouragement from the other film shooters I ran into. That was pre-internet. Maybe people were nicer then?
     
  18. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    People nowadays have more technological options than previous generations, and it's also the case that some new technologies are maturing. Somebody who grows up in this environment, or takes advantage of it, is a hipster.

    A hipster is often a derogatory term for someone who is bold enough to take advantage of the vast technological options available to him. You can tell this because of the way the term is applied.

    If a person indulges enthusiastically in the newest new technology (iPad, smart phones, bluetooth headset, twitter, etc) then they are not necessarily a hipster because people have historically used the latest technology and liked it, because it has always been better. To the older generations, it's a given that new technology will come out, and you will use it, and the old technology will become obsolete and become unavailable. So someone who uses the latest technology just because it's newer is not a hipster. There are lots of old people like this, and they aren't hipsters.

    If a person indulges enthusiastically in old technology for some reason and avoids new technology, that person is just a luddite. There are lots of old people like this, and they aren't hipsters.

    If a person looks around him, sees the largest amount of technological options available to him that have ever been available to a person in history, and uses or doesn't use those technological options according to his own whims and vision, or sometimes, fashion, that person is jealously labeled a hipster. Someone who wears canvas Vans(1980s technology) while tweeting on his iPad (2010 technology) with a Holga (20th century technology) around his neck while driving his SMART carb (2000s technology) to the skatepark to pick up some vinyl records (1930s-1980s technology) that he found on craigslist (1990s technology) can be called a hipster, because he lives in period which is a post-technology explosion. He doesn't use or wear the newest. He doesn't use or wear the oldest. He doesn't listen to or play the newest music or the oldest music based on some kind of generational allegiance. He does whatever he wants.

    A hipster is usually young, because young adults are more flexible than old adults who are set in their ways, but they have more freedom than children who do what they see others doing.

    The idea of a "hipster" is just a manifestation of generational jealousy. It's also evidence of a post-internet age, post Moore's law technological slowing.
     
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  19. jford

    jford Member

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    In the 1980's CDs sounded the death knell for vinyl. A guy I know bought the last record pressing plant in Australia and established Corduroy Records. Everyone said he was mad. Then along came techno and DJs everywhere wanted to spin and scratch and mix it up. He couldn't keep up with demand, even though techno was his least favourite form of music. Something similar will happen to film.

    Read 'The Long Tail' by Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired Magazine. This medium- the internet- allows people to sell to the tail, not just to the mainstream. Let the digi-folks have the mainstream. Retail shops have finite floor space and they have to cater to the mainstream. The film tail is wagging online with a whole lot of smaller companies, facilitated by internet distribution, doing reasonably well. Those with the imagination, like Nick at Corduroy Records, will go far in their niche, however tiny it is.

    John.
     
  20. bwrules

    bwrules Member

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    Unlike records and CDs, film is extremely hard to make, the recipes are patented, and the machinery is several stories tall and needs to run IIRC for a long time to reduce defects. IOW, it's MUCH MORE complicated than pressing records or CDs. There will be no niche as long as the demand is poor as it won't be possible to make film runs economically.
     
  21. jford

    jford Member

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    True. The Lodima experience is a case in point. Michael and Paula have had to do an immense amount of work to keep a silver-chloride based paper going after the demise of Azo. But they've done it. I hope there's enough smaller companies like Foma and Lodima out there who can tap into worldwide distribution networks to keep it going. I think they prove you don't have to be a red and yellow gorilla to survive.
     
  22. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    This session is starting approximately right now. I'll be there in probably 45 minutes or so...
     
  23. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Crap! I totally forgot about it....

    Put in a good word for us Polyglot. I am trying to wing it out of work, but it's not looking promising that I will make it.....
     
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  24. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Well, I went along, though I got there about halfway through. It was a very civilized discussion, with everyone there having had some (often significant) film experience. About half commercial types, half amateurs, including one 4x5 guy. Of course, they spent most of their time talking about digital stuff but there were a few interesting points raised - one guy was sure that unless you were raised on 'chromes you didn't know how to expose and someone else was convinced that learning to shoot at a newspaper with a Crown Graphic would force you to choose your shot carefully.

    They all did agree that digital provides much more accurate colour much more easily and would get you The Right Result with less effort (modulo whingeing about Canon implementing histograms differently on several DSLRs, leading to confusion and bad exposures), but I think everyone there who wasn't actively shooting film was missing it. There was a bit of discussion about stitching vs larger formats and trickery like focus stacking of scanned LF images. We talked about the availability of film and Paul (Atkins, the lab owner) was very very confident in Kodak at least - way more confident than anyone here on APUG seems to be even though I raised the spectre of Kodak no longer getting to sell miles of motion-picture prints for distribution.

    Paul mentioned that he'd recently been to a cinematography event and points out that they are now hitting the same heated film-vs-digital arguments that went through the stills world about 10 years ago, now that high-res, high-rate digital video is becoming cheaply available. For commercial reasons that means people shoot digital and there were apparently a horde of younger cinematographers whingeing that they would never get the chance to shoot film professionally.
     
  25. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thanks for the report Polyglot.