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CGW
05-12-2012, 03:44 PM
That was obvious from the ongoing behavior. Thus my futile attempt to explain why it should.

So why did you even bother?

Sal Santamaura
05-12-2012, 04:01 PM
So why did you even bother?Futility wasn't guaranteed in advance. There was a chance, albeit small, that something might get through and it'd start costing you sleep or, better yet, motivate more appropriate interactions.

With futility now confirmed, my miniscule Ignore List will grow by 100%. To others reading this: Please don't feed the troll or quote it in replies!

CGW
05-12-2012, 04:20 PM
Futility wasn't guaranteed in advance. There was a chance, albeit small, that something might get through and it'd start costing you sleep or, better yet, motivate more appropriate interactions.

With futility now confirmed, my miniscule Ignore List will grow by 100%. To others reading this: Please don't feed the troll or quote it in replies!

Truly no loss to me.

Leigh B
05-12-2012, 05:29 PM
Film, as a product, suffers from a major problem:

The unit selling price is quite low, but the equipment and infrastructure required to manufacture it economically are quite expensive.

The long-term viability of film will depend ultimately on someone inventing a cost-effective way to manufacture it in smaller quantities.

- Leigh

Brian C. Miller
05-13-2012, 04:45 PM
The long-term viability of film will depend ultimately on someone inventing a cost-effective way to manufacture it in smaller quantities.

A cost-effective way which allows a positive return on investment.

According to the PDN article, Kodak E-6 was no longer commercially viable, so it was discontinued, never to be seen again. I've read that it was 1% to 5% of their film production. The amount of chemicals used to make it had to be mostly wasted, as nothing was shared between E-6 and C-41/ECN processes. The C-41/ECN processes share chemicals, so there's some synergy there.

Lomography is growing, but at 2 million rolls in the last year (of rebranded non-Kodak film), I don't see how it's going to be a serious replacement or source if, say, Kodak reaches the point of non-viability. If Kodak loses, say, 75% of its motion picture footage sales, will that leave it in a position to still be viable? Or will the film division collapse, leaving Kodak with no profit?

It takes millions of dollars of investment and years of development to bring a modern film to market. So far, there's one ex-Kodak engineer in Australia who build a coating machine in his garage, from scrounged parts, and some new parts. Good B&W, but no color. AFAIK, nobody else has built a home coating machine. There are some basic materials that are problematic to purchase, like the base material for coating.

Currently x-ray film is plentiful and cheap, very cheap. But of course you have to shoot LF to take advantage of it, and it can be a problem to work with it.

So far, it appears that the best source in the realm of the established manufacturers. The old Agfa machines are still running, and Fuji's plant is much smaller than Kodak's plant.

RattyMouse
05-13-2012, 10:20 PM
It would seem to me, from an uneducated point of view, that there is still a significant amount of people around the world who want to and do shoot film. At the same time, the dinosaur companies like Kodak are just incapable of supporting such a small number of people because they have enormous legacy costs because of the once greater demand.

All film users need is ONE surviving company to be able to make and sell film while remaining a strong profitable company. Hopefully, this one surviving company could produce enough volume to keep costs reasonable and allow this hobby to flourish.

It is very hard, almost impossible to see Kodak being that company, even as a spun off entity. They have been so mismanaged that they are lucky to be around today. Fujifilm, on the other hand, seems to keep making film without very much drama. Sure they discontinue films but that is because of decreased demand. Should Kodak cease to exist, film users will flock to Fujifilm (among others) to get their fix.

For the sake of film, stability is desperately needed. Much like the real estate market, the bottom to this drop has to be found so that the recovery (as it were) could begin.

It would be nice if some legacy of Kodak could remain once they are gone. It appears unlikely due to the specialized nature of film, but if Kodak could sell off their formulations to Fujifilm or who ever is the survivor, that would be best.

Film just cant get the economy of scale needed in the fragmented market of today. The slow consolidation seems to be hurting film use, not helping so acceleration to the bottom is needed.

Just my uneducated thoughts.

wblynch
05-13-2012, 11:43 PM
Say you have three machines that can make 10,000 of something a week and replace them with one huge machine that can make 50,000 things a week. Of course you melt down the smaller 3 because you can't save money if you store and house them.

The 50,000 machine makes a lot of sense until you can only sell 10,000 Then the 3 little machines make better sense.

Someone lost their sense.

Brian C. Miller
05-14-2012, 10:20 AM
... if Kodak could sell off their formulations to Fujifilm or who ever is the survivor, that would be best.

Unfortunately, sometimes a formulation can't be move between factories in a single company, let alone another company. The process is that full of "magic." When a formulation process is created, it is created for a fixed batch size. Any other batch size is a completely different formulation. Reformulating the E6 process for a small batch size wouldn't see a positive return on investment. It took a long time for the E6 process to come up to par with Kodachrome.


Film just cant get the economy of scale needed in the fragmented market of today.

Film already has an economy of scale, but it is eroding. People keep picking up digital, and now the movie theaters are faced with getting digital projection rammed down their throats. I read that the theater association is upset about this, but I don't know how well they can push back against the movie producers.

CGW
05-14-2012, 11:11 AM
We're sliding OT here. The issue of the economies--and dis-economies--of film production have been beat to death already. Why replay it? Nothing has fundamentally changed--for the better, anyway. Check EK's 2012 Q1 results.

I'd like to see time series data from the PMA on film sales volume(not $)from 2000 to 2011 or later. The oft-cited PMA figure of 1 billion rolls sold in 1999 shrank to shy of 20 million in 2010.

Mainecoonmaniac
05-14-2012, 05:48 PM
Since film is no longer a high profit, high volume consumer item, will developing countries like Czech Republic take up the slack in making film? It's little money for richer countries like US, UK and Japan, but it's a lot for the Czechs.

RattyMouse
05-15-2012, 06:04 AM
Since film is no longer a high profit, high volume consumer item, will developing countries like Czech Republic take up the slack in making film? It's little money for richer countries like US, UK and Japan, but it's a lot for the Czechs.

Good point. Everything else has moved to China, why not film?

CGW
05-15-2012, 07:15 AM
Good point. Everything else has moved to China, why not film?

Demand? Relative to smartphones and digital p&s, how many film cameras do you see along the Bund?

RattyMouse
05-15-2012, 09:00 AM
Demand? Relative to smartphones and digital p&s, how many film cameras do you see along the Bund?

Probably more than in most places. Shanghai has a very active used camera market. And a very active film users group.

I walk by stores that have dozens of Contax G2's lined up. Dozens of Contax film SLR's and lenses. Hundreds of Canon's, Nikon's, folders, Rollie's, Seagulls, you name it, it can be bought here. The main camera mall here has several floors of used gear with a huge amount of that analogue equipment.

How's this for a sight for this group?

51036

CGW
05-15-2012, 09:21 AM
Probably more than in most places. Shanghai has a very active used camera market. And a very active film users group.

I walk by stores that have dozens of Contax G2's lined up. Dozens of Contax film SLR's and lenses. Hundreds of Canon's, Nikon's, folders, Rollie's, Seagulls, you name it, it can be bought here. The main camera mall here has several floors of used gear with a huge amount of that analogue equipment.

How's this for a sight for this group?

51036

Given a population of 24 million I'd expect that. Friends at Fudan tell me anyone with sufficient cash tends to throw it at digital, much like N. America, but there's a large rear guard. They think prices are high on used film gear and tell me it doesn't move that quickly. What's your take?

Diapositivo
05-15-2012, 09:45 AM
I don't know if I understood the article correctly, but it seems that the formulas used and the chemicals used have each of them their own optimal scale of production.

Firm A produces film AF using chemicals X, Y and Z which are economically produced for quantities starting from 100 SUMs (sum units of measure).

Firm B produces film BF using chemicals U, V and W which are economically produced from quantities starting from 1 SUMs.

Kodak is like Firm A. They cannot "downscale" not just because of the relative lack of small coating machines but also because the chemicals themselves require a large productive scale.

A Firm B, like let's say Agfa, can produce colour film in much (much, very much) smaller quantities and still be profitable.

This leads me to see both halves of the glasses:

Empty half: one cannot just move production of the existing Kodak slide film to another factory. Besides problems in duplicating production, there are the scale production problems. Chemicals in Kodak products were thought, since the design stage, for a large scale production.

Full half: production of colour film is possible in relatively small quantities. Fuji and Agfa can remain profitable for a long time. A new entrant might attempt some colour film production. He'll have to start as a small scale producer, but it's feasible.

Maybe PE can clarify whether really the production scale is dependent on the chemical "recipe" used by the products.

Fabrizio

Mainecoonmaniac
05-15-2012, 09:51 AM
Given a population of 24 million I'd expect that.
In China, if a photographer is told he's one in a million, it's not a big deal. With a population of one billion, there are a thousand of them. Hopefully they're film shooters ;)

CGW
05-15-2012, 10:04 AM
In China, if a photographer is told he's one in a million, it's not a big deal. With a population of one billion, there are a thousand of them. Hopefully they're film shooters ;)

The scale of Shanghai is...scary. Especially for Canadians who live in the world's second largest country with only 34 million--more people live in California alone.

kb3lms
05-15-2012, 10:22 AM
Hopefully the Chinese will keep making color film after Kodak goes out next year.

wblynch
05-15-2012, 12:32 PM
I don't know if I understood the article correctly, but it seems that the formulas used and the chemicals used have each of them their own optimal scale of production.


I think that has to be business double speak.

Certainly they had to be able to make smaller batches and runs for research and development.

And certainly, the production runs had to meet the standards set by the pilot runs.

I have worked inside enough huge American corporations (and seen and heard plenty of confidential information) to know they lie a lot. (well, mostly lie)

The problem is once they scale up they can never imagine scaling down.

kb3lms
05-15-2012, 01:03 PM
I have worked inside enough huge American corporations (and seen and heard plenty of confidential information) to know they lie a lot. (well, mostly lie)

The problem is once they scale up they can never imagine scaling down.

Or, most of the time, management doesn't really understand the issue anyway so they just avoid it and check out rather than adapt. At my current company, everytime there is a minor problem with a product it becomes "OMG we can never make one again." Usually engineering fixes it in a day or so and the world goes on. I'm sure most companies and industrial processes are much the same.

At least at Kodak they have an excuse - the nucular reactor fried their brains. Maybe that's been the problem all along. Some random neutron blew apart the critcal brain cell and the place went to hell in a hand basket.