View Full Version : Fifty one year old Kodak documentary

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Sal Santamaura
02-02-2009, 02:12 PM
Apologies if this has already been posted on APUG; I did a Google Advanced Search under apug.org and couldn't find it. Narration in Dutch, of which I speak not one word, isn't much of an impediment to understanding for those who live film.

I suspect that, other than updated machines with more elaborate control systems, it's done pretty much the same today. Ron, please correct if that's wrong, and enjoy your trip down memory lane. Can you identify the buildings? ;)


02-02-2009, 02:45 PM
I would love to hear that with English narration. At least I could figure out when silver nitrate was mentioned. It's very nice to see a video about film production which doesn't mention 135 film!

Richard Wasserman
02-02-2009, 03:06 PM
What a great movie, thank you Sal!

Richard Wasserman

Photo Engineer
02-02-2009, 03:33 PM
Thanks Sal.

I didn't need narration. :D

However, the trough coater shown was obsolete in the 40s from what I was told. In the 50s they were using all extrusion hoppers.


David A. Goldfarb
02-02-2009, 03:48 PM
That was great!

And that's exactly how Ron does it in his workshop, except nowadays the big silver ingots come by truck, and we have to polish our shoes by hand.

Mike Wilde
02-02-2009, 04:11 PM
Obsolete or not, a great bit to watch. Thanks so much.

Photo Engineer
02-02-2009, 04:15 PM
BTW, the film casting machine uses an extrusion hopper at the top of the wheel to apply the cellulose acetate to the wheel. You can see the entire drying section with cabinets.

In the photo of Kodak Park, the low building in the foreground on the corner of Lake and Ridge was torn down to make room for the new coating machine that reaches for nearly the full block running west (towards the left in the photo). The new building is much higher as well, probably 5 floors at least.


02-02-2009, 04:53 PM
Thanks for a real treat.


02-02-2009, 06:11 PM
It was good BUT it looked as though film wasn't light sesitive. I know film is~!!What part of the process does the film have to be require to be without light. The emulsion process looked as if it just was regularly added with lights on and guys in white suits cutting and inspecting without fear of exposure. It was probably mentioned verbally but that part was unavailible to English speaking observers.
I'm going to watch again to see what I missed.

Photo Engineer
02-02-2009, 07:00 PM
The lights go out the minute the Silver Nitrate is being added to the kettle of salts and gelatin. They stay out until the film is packed in the paper backing and sealed.

What you saw was probably a film of a test run or pilot run at full scale of the equipment. We do this even today, sometimes with dummy chemistry and sometimes with just water. I ran a lot of pilot "water runs" to test new equipment or software.

Sometimes I ran real stuff in the light just to see if things went the way I wanted them to and the result was an analysis of the grain and things like that.


02-02-2009, 07:16 PM
Ok thank you I knew their had to be an explination.That is probably the part where they had a drawing of the large wheel. I knew there had to be complete darkness after a certain stage. The part that really stood out was when it was being rolled upon the reels under full light I knew then that was NOT right.

I sure like the sound of the language that they use. It seems so smooth.

I would be so excited being around SO MUCH film !! The best I got was being around my freezer with 4 -100ft rls and 4 bulk rollers about half full !

Tom Kershaw
02-02-2009, 07:43 PM

The film shows some reasonably sophisticated control technology; I presume achieved with gearing and other electro-mechanical devices. Do you know when computers started to be integrated into the process control systems?

In the film, the technician seems to be mixing the emulsion "by hand", e.g. pouring a solution into the kettle at a particular time etc.


Photo Engineer
02-02-2009, 07:55 PM

That is pretty much how I dated it to the 40s. In the 50s, the plant began using pumps and in the 60s they used a hand controller for salt. In the 70s they used a mechanical device and pumps and in the 80s everything was fully automated. We had a small lab unit run by an IBM PC and a Burr Brown board. We had a medium scale run by a home made 6809 microprocessor. It was used a lot for the first Wey and Whitely experiments. It was later upgraded to a 68000 system from Motorola.

The next size was run with a room sized kettle and a room sized Taylor computer or a Westinhouse computer. Those were pilot labs. The next higher was production. Thats about it.

Full automation was complete in the mid 80s and interconnection was ongoing at that time. The systems were connected via the modeling software which prepared disks for each scale on request. The last of the hand run stuff was gone though by 1970. It was more a matter of how fast and how much would it cost.

As for coating machines, the trough coaters were passe in the 40s. In the early 60s everything was either extrusion or slide and going to curtain coating.

The big wheel shown has nothing to do with making or coating the emulsion. That is the film support casting wheel. It used an extrusion hopper to extrude the thick cellulose acetate onto the polished wheel at a fixed rate for uniformity.

The control equipment today looks more like a Space Shuttle cockpit. The operator for most of this is in a seaparate room. Everything is set up by a team, and then someone pushes a button. The one exception is that everything is watched and there is always an operator on the front end of a coating machine.


02-03-2009, 01:59 AM
A very interesting film, industrial archeology, but I really would like to see how it is done today, just to compare...
Is this possible, PE?

Thanks a lot,


Ray Rogers
02-03-2009, 03:17 AM
Narration in Dutch, of which I speak not one word;)

Thank you Sal for bringing this film to my/our attention!
I have seen a few of these an this one is pretty good!

I too speak no Dutch, but for those like myself who think Dutch resembles German, I LOVE the section in the near exact middle... between the addition of Cherry Kool-aid and the "Restricted Medicinal List" sections where we learn that...

"Here, as at all other stages of the work, the quality is determined by the hand of a Monster!" :D

Ray Rogers
02-03-2009, 03:44 AM
A very interesting film, industrial archeology, but I really would like to see how it is done today, just to compare...
Is this possible, PE?

Thanks a lot,


I think that the larger you go, the less you will see.

I have seen (or been in) production or controll rooms for 5 or 6 different companies now and it is similar to what PE described... 1-3 seats for the "pilots" and walls of lights, switches and gauges!

Not very interesting, actually.

But I agree, I wish we could see more... I just never found them to be very "photogenic".
Perhaps PE knows the ideal vantage points for the creation of
those truly "sensitizing" portraits!

Ray Rogers
02-03-2009, 03:59 AM
Narration in Dutch, of which I speak not one word

I would love to hear that with English narration.

This is an excellent opportunity for cooperation between APUG Forums... we have a Dutch Forum... Why don't we enlist their help?;)


02-03-2009, 04:28 AM


02-03-2009, 05:02 AM
Great movie!

Being dutch, I understood the voice over. (although he is speaking with an awefully dated accent. :p) The lights are on just to show it in the film, in real process, everything is done in (near) dark. In one part, a controller uses an infrared device to check the film.

Tom Kershaw
02-03-2009, 06:25 AM
At one point from what I could discern, the narrator seems to mention radioactivity, but I'm not sure where or if radioactivity would come into the film manufacturing process.