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SkipA
09-13-2012, 02:53 PM
I noticed that too, Ken. The cynic would say they are lying. Others might surmise that the death of MP film is not necessarily the death of all film.

Then again, it is color film that people mostly seem to link to MP. B&W seems to be able to exist on a much smaller scale, without the need for MP to support it.

Ken Nadvornick
09-13-2012, 03:17 PM
Then again, it is color film that people mostly seem to link to MP. B&W seems to be able to exist on a much smaller scale, without the need for MP to support it.

That's true. But Fujifilm's notification announcement seems to be saying they will continue producing all of their still films, including color.

Maybe they have multiple coating lines with one or more being dedicated solely to motion picture-related film types? And different one(s) dedicated to still film types? And the still film lines are capable of producing reliably in smaller runs?

If that's the case, then shutting down larger MP lines might indeed have less effect on any remaining smaller still lines.

Something in Fujifilm's model does seem to be different.

(Just speculating out loud on my lunch break...)

:)

Ken

Henning Serger
09-13-2012, 03:46 PM
Hello,

here is the official statement in English, that photo film production is continued:

http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n120913.html

And here the news that a new Instax instant film camera is introduced, due to increasing demand from China and other Asian countries:

http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n120912.html


I hate to point it out, but this does then call into question the current working assumption that the only thing holding still film's head above water is motion picture film. That without the latter's economies of scale, the former absolutely cannot exist on its own.

I've always had my doubts about this 'working assumption' (especially concerning Fuji), simply because motion picture film is not the analogue photo product with the highest production volume (based on m˛).
The analogue photo product with the highest production volume is RA-4 photo paper, a market with 800 - 900 million m˛ production p.a.. And a much more stable market than motion picture film (data based on market research by Schoeller, one of the biggest manufacturers of paper base for photographic papers; and based on numbers of CeWe, Europe's biggest photo finisher, running lots of mass labs in several European countries).

Fuji is by far the world leading manufacturer of RA-4, with the biggest market share. And has increased it's market share during the last years (at the expense of Kodak, DNP, Mitsubishi).
From a technical point of view, it is possible to coat both film and paper on the the same coating machines. Ilford, Foma, InovisCoat, Agfa-Gevaert, Fotokemika are all doing exactly that (or have done that). It is state of the art. Ilford is furthermore coating their inkjet papers also on the same line as far as I remember right from Simon's statements.
At least not impossible or unlikely that Fuji is coating film and paper on the same machines.
If that is the case, then the production stop of mp film would indeed have little or no impact on their still film production.

Kodak is coating film and RA-4 paper on different lines, film in Rochester, RA-4 in Denver.
Their long term stabilising / survival option therefore could be to transfer RA-4 paper manufacturing from Denver to Rochester.



Presuming that they are not intentionally lying in their notification release, what then is different about Fujifilm?

Ken

See above.

Best regards,
Henning

Ken Nadvornick
09-13-2012, 04:17 PM
Thanks for additional insights, Henning. I always appreciate the clear thinking and the references included to back it up.

So then it might resolve down to having still film benefiting from the economies of scale created by another non-film coated product that shares the same production line. That would then be the crucial difference in Fujifilm's manufacturing model, allowing them to continue still film production.

If this is true, then it begs the further question of why Kodak wouldn't do the same? Providing, of course, that Kodak really wants to maintain their still film production in the longer term. I can't imagine that Kodak's level of coating sophistication or capabilities would be any less than Fujifilm's.

Ken

Henning Serger
09-13-2012, 04:49 PM
If this is true, then it begs the further question of why Kodak wouldn't do the same? Providing, of course, that Kodak really wants to maintain their still film production in the longer term. I can't imagine that Kodak's level of coating sophistication or capabilities would be any less than Fujifilm's.

Ken

Well, Ken, maybe the production volume of RA-4 paper and film is currently still too big to be concentrated at only one production place, still too much volume for such a transfer.
Being it an option in the future at lower volumes.
But honestly, that' a guess.
As I've written in my first post, it could be an option in the long term.
We'll see.

Best regards,
Henning

Ken Nadvornick
09-13-2012, 05:16 PM
Well, Ken, maybe the production volume of RA-4 paper and film is currently still too big to be concentrated at only one production place, still too much volume for such a transfer.
Being it an option in the future at lower volumes.
But honestly, that' a guess.
As I've written in my first post, it could be an option in the long term.
We'll see.

I suppose, yes.

But there are those here who are warning—and not without justification, it would seem—that Kodak's long term future may be measured in terms of only weeks. If true, and they have any rabbits left to pull out of their hats, right now might be a good time to think about doing that.

As you say, we'll see.

Ken

Diapositivo
09-14-2012, 02:38 PM
But there are those here who are warning—and not without justification, it would seem—that Kodak's long term future may be measured in terms of only weeks. If true, and they have any rabbits left to pull out of their hats, right now might be a good time to think about doing that.


IMHO there's a bit too much panic regarding production of Kodak film in the future.

The fact that Kodak manage or don't manage to exit Chapter 11 procedures is important for Kodak shareholders, creditors and other stakeholders but is not material for the survival of Kodak film manufacturing provided that this business is and remains profitable.

If and when Kodak fails to emerge from Chapter 11 and "falls" into Chapter 7 (proper bankrupcty procedures, with sale of the entire firm to satisfy creditors) IF film manufacturing is profitable someone will take it at the final auction. Where there is a profit there certainly is a buyer in a normal world.

If, in that case, nobody is going to get the Film business it will be because there is no expectation that film manufacture can continue "in the long run" as an economically sustainable business. But that has nothing to do with the exit from Chapter 11.

The case may be that some potential buyer is actually waiting for Chapter 7 to buy the film business at a better price.

The fact that the Chapter 11 process will end by march 2013 or whenever in the short term does not mean that Kodak film is risking closure by that date.

Ken Nadvornick
09-14-2012, 03:19 PM
Where there is a profit there certainly is a buyer in a normal world.

I hope you're correct. As Henning said, we'll see.

I'm certainly not in a panic. I wouldn't have just spent ~US$2,000 for a brand new medium format camera if I was. It looks like Ilford/Harmen and Adox have black-and-white nicely covered. And if the worst happens with Kodak, it's now begining to look like Fujifilm may have color covered as well. At least for a while.

But I don't necessarily share your optimistic sense that business—especially American business—will always act in its own best interest. It's far too dysfunctional for the simplification that they will just follow the money. I've worked for more companies than I can count (well, 10 or 12 I think), and the majority of them went belly-up in some fashion due to failures to apply even the most easily-reachable common sense logic.* But this is a topic for another discussion.

Except to note that if Kodak had been acting in its own true best interests over the last five or so years, they wouldn't be in the position they find themselves in right now.

So we'll see...

Ken

* Umm... tell me why we're spending a quarter million dollars to upgrade our office space when we haven't even sold a single product yet? What do you mean we're doing it to impress the investment community? It was their money in the first place! (Out of business less than 12 months later.)

RattyMouse
09-14-2012, 05:24 PM
IMHO there's a bit too much panic regarding production of Kodak film in the future.

The fact that Kodak manage or don't manage to exit Chapter 11 procedures is important for Kodak shareholders, creditors and other stakeholders but is not material for the survival of Kodak film manufacturing provided that this business is and remains profitable.

If and when Kodak fails to emerge from Chapter 11 and "falls" into Chapter 7 (proper bankrupcty procedures, with sale of the entire firm to satisfy creditors) IF film manufacturing is profitable someone will take it at the final auction. Where there is a profit there certainly is a buyer in a normal world.

If, in that case, nobody is going to get the Film business it will be because there is no expectation that film manufacture can continue "in the long run" as an economically sustainable business. But that has nothing to do with the exit from Chapter 11.

The case may be that some potential buyer is actually waiting for Chapter 7 to buy the film business at a better price.

The fact that the Chapter 11 process will end by march 2013 or whenever in the short term does not mean that Kodak film is risking closure by that date.

If Kodak goes Chapter 7, the disruption to their business will be enormous. Employees, the smart ones anyway, will be bolting left and right. No one will want to stick around during such a gut wrenching process. I've been part of a corporate take over (on the receiving end) twice which is far less dramatic than a chapter 7 auction. Each time, the loss of employees who bolted was enormous. The stress of the takeover was huge and many could not cut it. Even the time leading up to these events caused many to leave. I am sure Kodak is having employee retention issues today.

As PE has documented elsewhere, Kodak has massive production over capacity. Any new buy has that enormous problem to overcome.

Going back to one of my corporate take overs, we on the receiving end were all very worried about our jobs. We were bought from a company on the east coast while we were in Chicago. Everyone used every power available to rationalize that everything was going to be OK. That the new company would move into our building and close down theirs. Our building was brand new with a lot of space, while the buying company's was old, decrepit and way short of space. For 9 months we hoped for the best, then the news hit. Our facility was to close and almost everyone lost their job. In retrospect, there were an infinite number of warning signs that all our hopes were misplaced and sadly, I think that is true regarding the situation at Kodak. We'll see that when the dust finally settles.

Diapositivo
09-15-2012, 06:01 AM
RattyMouse I see your point by in your case your firm was bought by a competitor who had to "rationalise" the workforce after the take-over to squeeze the benefit.

I suppose, and also hope, that the Kodak film business would be bought not by a competitor in the US (there is none) but by some large corporation like 3M, P&G, Dow Chemicals etc.

The scenario you fear would be most likely if it was Fujifilm to buy the Kodak film business, as they would have to merge the two activities trimming out any redundancy.

Rudeofus
09-15-2012, 07:08 AM
While MP film makes/made enormous volume, it might not make enormous margins. Just look at recent still film prices, I don't think Hollywood pays nearly as much for MP film although MP film production cost may not be all that much less. Hollywood and Bollywood certainly won't pay US$10+ for less than 2m of 35mm film like we still photographers happily (?) do.

SkipA
09-15-2012, 11:00 AM
The retail price for a 400 foot roll of Ektachrome 100D right now is $475 from Kodak. That seems to be the cheapest price around. It's even more expensive at places like Film Emporium, at $547 a roll.

How many 36 exposure rolls can you get out of 400 feet? Depending on your loader and how careful you are, anywhere from 72 to 80 rolls, based on 18 to 20 rolls per 100 feet. So at worst, that works out to $6.60 a roll. Definitely cheaper than buying remaining stocks of the Kodak E100 still films, but still pretty expensive.

I doubt large studios use a lot of reversal film or pay full retail price for it. The color negative films are far more commonly used, and are much less expensive than reversal film.