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View Full Version : It's official, Kodak is selling its film business.



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PKM-25
08-28-2012, 11:47 AM
I could be wrong, but I think color is going to be a tough sell, it has been riding on the coat tails of color motion picture stock for some time now.

After 2015, it is hard to say how that will look. I'd say given the coating complexity, storage requirements, lack of labs and lack of popularity of color over black and white, it stands about a 50/50 chance of being viable 2016 onward...

Felinik
08-28-2012, 12:34 PM
I think for the right buyer this entire Kodak sell out of film manufacturing could become a great business. Obviously they must know exactly how the development curve for sales has been decreasing during the years, and a new owner that doesn't need to feed 50k employees, could be very flexible and make sure there's always room for profit in the end, no matter how small batches they need in 5, 10, 15, 20.... etc. years...

Prof_Pixel
08-28-2012, 01:35 PM
... a new owner that doesn't need to feed 50k employees, could be very flexible and make sure there's always room for profit in the end, no matter how small batches they need in 5, 10, 15, 20.... etc. years...

I think the problem is that the production coating machines that are still in service aren't suited for producing small batches. As I understand it, the smaller, research coating machines that were designed for small batches have been 'decommissioned'. I'm sure PE will have more to say about what coating machines are still left.

Steve Smith
08-28-2012, 01:39 PM
As I understand it, the smaller, research coating machines that were designed for small batches have been 'decommissioned'.

Whilst not trivial, it's not rocket science either. Coating machines are not exclusive to film production and could be built to the correct scale.

I suspect that coating is a minor issue compared with consistent manufacture of the emulsion.


Steve.

nickrapak
08-28-2012, 01:46 PM
Whilst not trivial, it's not rocket science either. Coating machines are not exclusive to film production and could be built to the correct scale.
note: Emphasis added

Therein lies the problem. Yes, new smaller coating machines could be built, but that costs a lot of capital, something that is at a premium in a declining market such as film photography. Not only that, but every new coating machine requires the film "recipe" to be tweaked to ensure consistent results. This tweaking (I assume) must be done in whole batch runs, so there is a lot of waste to R&D before a single square inch of new retail-quality film could be coated.

RidingWaves
08-28-2012, 01:46 PM
I also agree that perhaps it's best for Kodak film to have someone owning it that is as passionate about the product as the people who work in the Kodak film division, someone who can expand the wonderful fun factor of using film, perhaps to a broader audience."

I nominate Thomas for advisory board. If I can run marketing. ):

Prof_Pixel
08-28-2012, 01:48 PM
I suspect that coating is a minor issue compared with consistent manufacture of the emulsion.

Perhaps for simple, B&W emulsions, but for more complex color coatings, the coating machine is very much 'part of the equation'. Scaling up or down is not a simple matter.

An example that comes to mind is Disc film. The initial coatings that all the evaluation test used were made on research machines and the sky granularity looked good. Unfortunately, when things were scaled up for the large production coating machines, they were unable to achieve the same low sky granularity until just about the end of Disc film.

Again, I'm sure PE will have more to say.

Kevin Kehler
08-28-2012, 01:51 PM
I think the more scary situation is where Kodak cannot find someone to pay the price they want or they want the buyer to take on certain responsibilities that make it fiscally impossible for the new company to operate at a profit. Kodak then uses the lack of a sale as justification for closing film production. I deal with this occasionally with some of my clients "I want $100 for X" "we are offering $50" "for that price, we are going to throw it out because of the cost and difficulties of transferring X over to you".

I think Steve is right in that it is not rocket science, it is money. Someone has to be willing to spend the hundreds of thousands to build and test the machine - the technology is proven, the science is old-technology but who is willing to spend the money now?

dbuscher
08-28-2012, 02:11 PM
buy all the tri-X you can....

Photo Engineer
08-28-2012, 02:26 PM
Well, an emulsion or a film coating can be scaled up or down. We did it regularly from the research 10L scale up to 2 larger scales. In these cases, the formula had to use different mixers and mixer speeds, different methods of delivery, but we know all of that and had models for it. All of the hardware was off-the-shelf.

For coatings, it was a bit harder. If you slowed down the machine or sped it up, you had to change the formula. Sometimes a little and sometimes a log.

It is easier to coat on a more restricted schedule than it is to change speed or batch size.

And, when you do make a change, it requires testing which is expensive.

PE

Alan Johnson
08-28-2012, 02:39 PM
PE,

Do you know how the remaining Kodak coating machine compares in size with those at Inoviscoat and at China Lucky which are apparently running now mainly on non silver halide coating?
Is there a market for non silver halide coating in the US?
Thanks.

SilverGlow
08-28-2012, 02:42 PM
This thread is filled with so romanticism of Kodak, irrational opinions, and irrational love for a particular medium that I wonder what happened to their alleged love for photographic pictures, if they even ever had that love. Reading this thread is laughable, and one wonders if the same person wrote all these postings in some illicit weird desire to make good comedy.

Well, it worked!

kuparikettu
08-28-2012, 03:04 PM
This thread is filled with so romanticism of Kodak, irrational opinions, and irrational love for a particular medium that I wonder what happened to their alleged love for photographic pictures, if they even ever had that love. Reading this thread is laughable, and one wonders if the same person wrote all these postings in some illicit weird desire to make good comedy.

Well, it worked!

If you replace Kodak with oil paint and photographic pictures with just pictures, what changes? Is it still good comedy?

Sorry, I own DSLR and have used many digital cameras with good results, but it just isn't the same thing. It isn't the same workflow and the result is different. What is so irrational about it? The medium can be one part of the art. The feeling it delivers.

Sure, you can use some flashy plugin to turn your digital photos to "oil paintings". Still some people want to buy real oil paintings. Why? Why does that matter to some people? Are they also just irrational, incapable of seeing the picture behind the medium?

Photo Engineer
08-28-2012, 03:49 PM
PE,

Do you know how the remaining Kodak coating machine compares in size with those at Inoviscoat and at China Lucky which are apparently running now mainly on non silver halide coating?
Is there a market for non silver halide coating in the US?
Thanks.

IDK, Probably the Rochester machine is larger, but the one in Colorado was about 1.5x the width of the Rochester machine.

IDK. Probably very little at that thickness.

PE

mikendawn
08-28-2012, 04:32 PM
If you replace Kodak with oil paint and photographic pictures with just pictures, what changes? Is it still good comedy?

Sorry, I own DSLR and have used many digital cameras with good results, but it just isn't the same thing. It isn't the same workflow and the result is different. What is so irrational about it? The medium can be one part of the art. The feeling it delivers.

Sure, you can use some flashy plugin to turn your digital photos to "oil paintings". Still some people want to buy real oil paintings. Why? Why does that matter to some people? Are they also just irrational, incapable of seeing the picture behind the medium?

No, it just means they want some good Comedy! :)

56199

kuparikettu
08-28-2012, 04:40 PM
No, it just means they want some good Comedy!
:)

56199

Well, somebody has to, otherwise they'd starve and wouldn't that just be cruel? :)

SilverGlow
08-28-2012, 06:13 PM
If you replace Kodak with oil paint and photographic pictures with just pictures, what changes? Is it still good comedy?

Sorry, I own DSLR and have used many digital cameras with good results, but it just isn't the same thing. It isn't the same workflow and the result is different. What is so irrational about it? The medium can be one part of the art. The feeling it delivers.

Sure, you can use some flashy plugin to turn your digital photos to "oil paintings". Still some people want to buy real oil paintings. Why? Why does that matter to some people? Are they also just irrational, incapable of seeing the picture behind the medium?

You miss my point. The irrationality I wrote of earlier was not the love of photography, or even film, but rather the love of Kodak specifically, and the thinking that the death of Kodak would be the death of photography in general.

As to your using oils and paintings as a parallism, it does not apply because there are many companies that make the oil paints, not just one.

I realize nobody can give the look of specific Kodak films, but if there is a will, there is a way to use another film, tweek the development, the printing processes. Films can come and go, but it should be the photography that will stay with us, through whatever products, chemicals, etc that are available today.

A true lover of art, should not care so much who made the "paint"....the pictures (photographs) should be the focus.

Photo Engineer
08-28-2012, 06:19 PM
It does not look like God chasing that kitten!

PE

zsas
08-28-2012, 06:41 PM
Silver glow - although your analogy is fair, in other art communities, when XYZ Manufacturing stops making Z material (eg some kind of oil paint, or a color of stained glass) there are usually a few other makers. With film/paper, gosh, we are taking a mere few....

Plus, when a manufacturer did announce a discontinuance of a paint, um, just check out this thread from our fellow art brethren at the forum wetcanvas.com:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1172272

Photo Engineer
08-28-2012, 06:48 PM
The use of Cadmium Yellow pigments is more akin to the use of Potassium Thiocyanate used in some alternate photographic processes. It is not a good choice and people are working to eliminate both chemicals. It does not eliminate the process however.

PE