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Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 09:21 AM
Here are some thoughts based on the above posts:

1. Kodak has the most efficient production line in the world for making film. It is also the fastest.

2. Labor costs in the US are higher than China and Japan.

3. China has good products but still cannot match the quality of the Kodak or Fuji products. They are more like EFKE with a modern plant!

4. As noted earlier, the US is not training a good technical base for the next generation. We have plenty of bean counters though!

5. Digital is killing E6 faster than C41 due to color quality and duping issues with E6 films. Color neg is better. MoPic is supporting color neg and will for some time.

Etc. Basically, within a few generations, the US has the chance of becoming a 3rd world country with a huge uneducated class of poor.

PE

Brian C. Miller
08-31-2012, 10:16 AM
Guys, PE is simply saying that there just isn't the market for the product, no matter who is producing it. Here's the thing: why would any company buy the Kodak still film division if it can't be made to generate a profit by itself? American, European, or Chinese, the product has to sell well enough to generate adequate ROI. Yes, IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo, and Lenovo is very happily producing them at a nice profit. But the film business isn't the notebook business.

Lucky Film is currently producing C-41 color and B&W film. The only thing they might want from Kodak is the brand label, not the emulsions. Do you think that they care if you get the same Kodak-formulated emulsion? I doubt it very much.

From what I've seen, film is now in the hands of its devotees, but that doesn't mean that there's enough of us to really make a monetary difference. Let's pretend for a moment that the membership between, say, LFF and APUG is unique, so 82,133 people. To buy $1,000,000,000 of film, each member would purchase $12,175 of film, $1,014 per month. Anybody feel up to that challenge? No?

It doesn't matter who buys the Kodak film division, because in the long run, without the support of the movie industry, it's going away, like it or not. The only way that film would survive in the movie industry is if people put their money on the IMAX theater showings, and nothing else. But that's the problem, isn't it? The consumers have power, real monetary power, but getting them to buy A instead of B just isn't easy. It's not getting them to part with the money, it's getting them off their butts in the first place. And getting them to buy from a first-world or NATO/EU country means that they have to have the product choice in the first place to do it. If the alternative simply doesn't exist, then it can't be purchased.

In order for Kodak film to survive, it would have to be reformulated for a small-run machine. But is that profitable? According to Simon, a master roll produces 85,000 rolls. Master rolls of support have a minimum purchase requirement of four rolls, so that's 340,000 rolls. Producing a master roll each day means 22,100,000 rolls of film.

Now, where's the market? If the above "unique" members all purchased an equal share of that, it would be 269 rolls, or 22 per month, and at $10/roll (factory direct to consumer) it would be a gross of $221,000,000. Far short of $1B, would it be adequate for a film business? The machine itself has to be designed and tested. And you have the overhead for the people and building, yadda yadda yadda, etc., etc. I'm guessing that $250M per year gross may not be enought to support a mini-Kodak.

voceumana
08-31-2012, 10:40 AM
Here are some thoughts based on the above posts:

Etc. Basically, within a few generations, the US has the chance of becoming a 3rd world country with a huge uneducated class of poor.

PE

Rather an interesting thought--if USA becomes 3rd world, then our labor rates will go down, companies will move production here to take advantage, competition for employment will rise, and pay scale will increase.

Charlie Strack

DREW WILEY
08-31-2012, 10:54 AM
Given the success of places like Wal Mart and the popularity of pure hot air on our various media,
including alleged news organizations and all the obnoxious political diatribes we've got to suffer thru for the next couple of months, I think it pretty safe to say the USA is already an uneducated third world country.

railwayman3
08-31-2012, 11:00 AM
So what if Kodak's still-film business could be saved moving to Chinese production?

It wouldn't be the first time a company in the western world does the math and understands the longterm effect of globailzation.

By co-incidence a friend gave me an old 35mm film this morning to see if it was of use to me...Kodak Max Versatility 400 ASA, expired 11/2006, and printed "Supplied for Camera Packs only, not for individual sale".

Interestingly, the carton says "Film Made in China by Kodak (China) Company Limited, Product packaged by Kodak (Australasia) Pty. Ltd, Melbourne, Australia".

Conclusions to be drawn there? :(

DREW WILEY
08-31-2012, 12:28 PM
Most of the time (note "most", not always), moving a product to China equals its extinction. What
comes out instead is something bait and switch of significantly inferior quality, merely cannibalizing
some American brand name. I don't blame the Chinese any more than I blame the mgt jerks who have betrayed American mfg and labor in order to pad their own bonuses and golden parachute contracts. But I do get tired of hearing the mantra that things will slowly improve in China. Yeah, it
did in Taiwan too, but it took half a century to get there. I won't be around that long. "Globalization"
is all too often a smoke-and-mirrors trick term for scorched-earth extinction of US industry. Right now a lot of so-called mfg corps don't own anything more than a label - the factories, skilled labor,
and tooling are all gone, and they're dependent upon a long unreliable supply chain. That's not good
long-term strategy. But lots of these jerks don't care. To them it's slash and burn economics - get
a huge crop for a year or two, then nothing of value every grows there again.

BradS
08-31-2012, 12:47 PM
DREW WILEY, your last two posts are spot on...thanks for posting.

Wonder how long it will take for the masses of uneducated, under-employed Americans to wake up to the reality and take back what the Corporate Chiefls have stolen and given away.

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 12:55 PM
Brian;

Kodak can coat master rolls faster than one per day. They can make enough for the whole world in one day!!

Charlie;

If the US becomes a 3rd world country, there will be a learning curve to climb back up just like any other country. Education first, along with food.

The list goes on.

PE

BrianShaw
08-31-2012, 01:03 PM
That's not good long-term strategy. But lots of these jerks don't care. To them it's slash and burn economics - get
a huge crop for a year or two, then nothing of value every grows there again.

That is exactly right. The investment sharks are driving their Bentley, living in the mansion in the gated community, flying to meetings on their private jet, and partying on their yacht. Why should they care? :confused:

It's so short-sighted it's sickening.

DREW WILEY
08-31-2012, 01:08 PM
Unfortunately, once the former middle class becomes an underclass, they become desperate, an easy herd to spook, panic, and stampede exactly the opposite direction from the pasture they need.
Congress is in deliberate gridlock, convicted stock market crooks pay fines less than a sales tax on
their illegal earnings, etc ... So what do I plan to do? Put more real film in my freezer and get back
out on the trail ASAP where at least the world of coyotes, squirrels, marmots, and pikas is still sane!

BradS
08-31-2012, 01:10 PM
Kodak can coat master rolls faster than one per day. They can make enough for the whole world in one day!!

PE

Isn't this the heart of their "problem"?

Ian Grant
08-31-2012, 01:23 PM
Isn't this the heart of their "problem"?

We tend to forget that Kodak has already scaled down very drastically.

Kodachrome was coated in the UK as well as the US as were other films. Before WWII Tri-X and Super-X were coated in the US, Canada, Great Britain and Hungary.

Ian

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 03:16 PM
Unfortunately, once the former middle class becomes an underclass, they become desperate, an easy herd to spook, panic, and stampede exactly the opposite direction from the pasture they need.
Congress is in deliberate gridlock, convicted stock market crooks pay fines less than a sales tax on
their illegal earnings, etc ... So what do I plan to do? Put more real film in my freezer and get back
out on the trail ASAP where at least the world of coyotes, squirrels, marmots, and pikas is still sane!

Drew, we are having a spate of rabies here so even the wildlife cannot be trusted!

PE

SkipA
08-31-2012, 03:17 PM
Trying to make film cheap is the wrong tactic. Make it as good as possible, make it the thing to shoot, make it popular, and people will pay for it. You're never going to compete with the marginal cost per shot of digital, which is basically free once the equipment is purchased. So don't try. If people want it they will pay what it costs (I am not talking, obviously, about $50 a roll and another $50 for processing or anything like that - within reason) and if more and more people want it there will be competition and economies of scale and the price will come down, at least some. That can happen, but obviously not to the degree of the old days.

I disagree Roger. Even if it is as good as possible, the thing to shoot, and popular, most people, even many die-hard film lovers, will not spend $20 (your example cost of film, processing, and shipping, which doesn't even include scans or prints) per 36 exposure roll to shoot it. The full cost of getting images (prints or scans) from film must be very cheap and the products must be very well advertised before it can hope to regain popularity.

The reality is that you do have to compete with the marginal cost per shot of digital in order for film to make a comeback. The majority of the advantages for most people lie with digital. Digital cameras capable of excellent images are inexpensive and within nearly everyone's reach, there is no cost of film and processing, no waiting for processing and scans or printing, no cost disincentive to clicking off hundreds of snaps a day, virtually for free.

And that is why film will never be mainstream again.

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 04:50 PM
Rather an interesting thought--if USA becomes 3rd world, then our labor rates will go down, companies will move production here to take advantage, competition for employment will rise, and pay scale will increase.

Charlie Strack

Already happening. Mercedes and BMW built plants in the US because labor rates are waaay lower than in Germany.

RattyMouse
08-31-2012, 04:52 PM
Brian;

Kodak can coat master rolls faster than one per day. They can make enough for the whole world in one day!!

Charlie;

If the US becomes a 3rd world country, there will be a learning curve to climb back up just like any other country. Education first, along with food.

The list goes on.

PE

PE, is that really true? Kodak can make 1 year's worth of film in a single day??? If yes, there is no hope that Kodak can ever downsize enough. Too sad!

DREW WILEY
08-31-2012, 05:07 PM
Ron - the rabies outbreaks seem to be a natural way of controlling overpopulation of certain species
on odd years. This year there's a problem among foxes on our mid-coast. Other years it's been skunks, bobcats, or bats. I just wish some hedge fund manager would get it and go around biting all
his Wall St buddies! That crowd could use some thinning.

Chan Tran
08-31-2012, 05:10 PM
I think the Kodak film division would be bought by a chinese company if it would be sold at all. I don't like the fact but that is what I think will happen because I don't have the money to buy the business nor any of us here.

zsas
08-31-2012, 05:15 PM
Drew, we are having a spate of rabies here so even the wildlife cannot be trusted!

PE

No kidding...

Rabid beaver attack: Boy Scouts troop leader attacked, Scouts stone animal to death
http://www.wtsp.com/news/watercooler/article/268046/58/Scouts-stone-rabid-beaver-to-death-after-attack

Photo Engineer
08-31-2012, 06:57 PM
PE, is that really true? Kodak can make 1 year's worth of film in a single day??? If yes, there is no hope that Kodak can ever downsize enough. Too sad!

There is an old story (about 20 years or so old) that the National Geographic photo division were visiting EK and they asked about Kodachrome. They used a LOT of it back then and wondered how long it took for Kodak to coat their years supply. The tour guide told them "we just did". It took about 15' to coat the years supply of Kodachrome for Nat. Geog.

So yes, Kodak can coat a years supply of certain products in just a few minutes. It depends on individual demand. E6 films was one of the product types that had very low demand, and Kodachrome was another. Kodak was coating Kodachrome once every 2 years (IIRC) at the end. They were coating enough in one day to supply the world with Kodachrome for 2 years.

Now, understand, coating time is NOT prep time. For example, for nine weeks before the run, nine emulsions are made and tested and then combined and tested. Sensitizing dyes and other items are tested, so basically it required say 2 - 4 minths of prep for a day of work making the material. This is why film making is deceptive.

PE