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jrhilton
01-28-2011, 08:15 AM
There's another issue raising it's head which could have a more positive effect on Kodak's film division. There's now growing debate about the future of 3D cinema and whether it'll survive.

Regardless of the debate on 3D, it is already too late, cinemas are going digital and the pace of converting is increasing.

For example the three biggest cinema chains in the USA are all going digital and depending on who you believe will be almost fully digital by the end of 2012. Most large chains now have agreements with Sony, Barco etc to supply projectors for any new openings. A good example of this was back in September 2010 when Vue Cinemas here in the UK and across Europe announced that they had reached a deal with Sony to install Sony CineAlta 4K digital projectors across its entire network of 600+ cinemas.

If 3D film production ended today, cinemas will still continue to go digital. When it comes to duplication and distribution, production companies and cinemas prefer the lower cost options. Thatís one of the reasons why the majority of films that are edited on a computer are then mastered again to film at 2K and not 4K.

That is the problem facing the EK motion picture side, customers use it as they have to, not necessarily because they really want to. Digital is changing that, look what has happened to 16mm usage, and the same is now starting to happen to 35mm.

The continued trend to digital in cinema is also evident from the actions of the makers of movie cameras, when was the last time Panavision or Arri released a new film camera, I am pretty certain there have not been any in the last three years. They have released lots of new digital products though.

I honestly can't think of anything which is going to realistically come up which will stop and reverse this trend in cinema, and before someone mentions it, digital cinema in China is taking off too...

The next few years will be very interesting for industry observers, and possibly sad for many film users.

Tim Gray
01-28-2011, 08:47 AM
Regardless of the debate on 3D, it is already too late, cinemas are going digital and the pace of converting is increasing.


I think that was the driver all along. Forcing cinemas to replace projectors. Or should I say giving the theaters an incentive to replace them.


When it comes to duplication and distribution, production companies and cinemas prefer the lower cost options.

And it was cheaper for the cinemas to have their old film projectors. More expensive for the distribution companies for sure. But if the cinemas are told they have a product which they can charge an extra couple bucks for, and they need that product to stay competitive... Now the studios can save on the distribution.

Moopheus
01-28-2011, 09:39 AM
before someone mentions it, digital cinema in China is taking off too...


I'd guess that means Bollywood would not be far behind. Isn't India still the world's largest producer of films?

michaelbsc
01-28-2011, 09:53 AM
If 3D film production ended today, cinemas will still continue to go digital. When it comes to duplication and distribution, production companies and cinemas prefer the lower cost options.

Agreed. It's all about the money, and in the money arena digital wins.

MaximusM3
01-28-2011, 10:15 AM
Counting on the movie industry to continue to support film is pretty much futile. 3D is crap in my book but digital in general will likely take over, eventually. The bottom line is that a company like Kodak will probably quit film within 5-10 years, as it's just not cost effective for them to continue to simply supply a few hardcore users. On the bright side, when a big company goes, smaller ones pop up, pick up the slack, and flourish. There will always be enough film shooters to support a focused, smaller business, that can manage to be profitable and prosper. Living without Tri-X certainly doesn't thrill me and it would certainly be more of a heart-breaker than Kodachrome, but life will have to go on.

Kodak could also spin off the film division and run it as a boutique, niche market, and take some cues from Ilford, Rollei, etc. There are still ways to make money there but probably not in their current situation.

michaelbsc
01-28-2011, 10:37 AM
Kodak could also spin off the film division and run it as a boutique, niche market, and take some cues from Ilford, Rollei, etc. There are still ways to make money there but probably not in their current situation.

I think that for reasons obscured from us, and likely never to be revealed, this isn't an option for them.

Ian Grant
01-28-2011, 11:03 AM
I think that for reasons obscured from us, and likely never to be revealed, this isn't an option for them.

They need the profits the film division makes to pay Perez (http://247wallst.com/2011/01/26/americas-worst-directors-richard-braddock-of-eastman-kodak/) - $12.6 million in 2009.

Ian

lovetodraw
01-28-2011, 11:13 AM
I hope kodak as a company will survive. I really like their positive and negative and black and white films. I hope if kodak fails that some other company will buy their film business end and keep making colo as well as black and white films. If film dies all together I will retire photography as my main art medium and I wiil devote my time completely into drawing and painting and perhaps I will start taking lessons into wet plate photography. The digital camera will only be used as a supporting tool for orther art mediums. In the mean time I will shoot as much film as I can, and for certain, it will be a lot kodak film. Enjoy while it lasts. Digital does nothing for me . It is just more convenient, although, I think personally that computers and downloading images and keeping up with storage space is more of a hassle than it is worth it. All we can do is keep shooting film and spread the word.

Happy shooting.

railwayman3
01-28-2011, 11:31 AM
I remember a friend who works in the computer industry predicting to me that different technologies such as computers, photography, the internet, TV, telephones, cinema and home entertainment, would all eventually merge.

This was only about ten years ago, and it all sounded rather far-fetched then...but it's certainly proving correct much sooner than expected!

ntenny
01-28-2011, 03:43 PM
(on the possibility of a "Boutique Kodak" spinoff)


I think that for reasons obscured from us, and likely never to be revealed, this isn't an option for them.

I don't think the reasons are "obscured from us"---they've been discussed here frequently. When your infrastructure is scaled for extremely-high-volume production, it's somewhere between "difficult" and "impossible" to ramp down to boutique scale.

Assuming film sales don't stay at a level that justifies continued production at Kodak's scale, it kind of seems like the best outcome is that they spin off their formulae and some of their considerable "secret sauce" knowledge to an operation built from the ground up to run at a smaller scale. I don't know who that would be, though.

-NT

Wayne
01-28-2011, 07:12 PM
I think we should should storm the place and take all their equipment, engineers, recipes, stock, and start a new country offshore with PE as our exalted King.

michaelbsc
01-28-2011, 07:24 PM
I think we should should storm the place and take all their equipment, engineers, recipes, stock, and start a new country offshore with PE as our exalted King.

All hail Ron! All hail Ron!

aldevo
01-28-2011, 08:00 PM
I think that for reasons obscured from us, and likely never to be revealed, this isn't an option for them.

Their present production capacity (albeit massively downsized from a decade ago) is simply far, far too large to run proofitably as a "boutique".

It isn't at all like micro-brewing bear, unfortunately.

aldevo
01-28-2011, 08:06 PM
(on the possibility of a "Boutique Kodak" spinoff)



I don't think the reasons are "obscured from us"---they've been discussed here frequently. When your infrastructure is scaled for extremely-high-volume production, it's somewhere between "difficult" and "impossible" to ramp down to boutique scale.

Assuming film sales don't stay at a level that justifies continued production at Kodak's scale, it kind of seems like the best outcome is that they spin off their formulae and some of their considerable "secret sauce" knowledge to an operation built from the ground up to run at a smaller scale. I don't know who that would be, though.

-NT

I thin most of your analysis is spot-on.

But I don't see anybody who would provide the finance to for this venture when there are already (presumably) "right-sized" competitors such as Ilford, Efke, Adox, etc.

There is, to a small extent, an ability to produce film emulsions using coating technology that is primarily deployed to support microelectronics production (the forthcoming Adox APX films produced by Agfa-Gevaert are an example) - but the emulsion needs to be designed with this coating technology in mind.

EK took a stab at downsizing their film prouction capabilties about 7-8 years ago but their view of the equilibirum size of the market proved too optimistic, I guess.

Diapositivo
01-29-2011, 07:18 AM
I thin most of your analysis is spot-on.

There is, to a small extent, an ability to produce film emulsions using coating technology that is primarily deployed to support microelectronics production (the forthcoming Adox APX films produced by Agfa-Gevaert are an example) - but the emulsion needs to be designed with this coating technology in mind.

EK took a stab at downsizing their film prouction capabilties about 7-8 years ago but their view of the equilibirum size of the market proved too optimistic, I guess.

From the latest Morningstar report on Kodak:

As Kodak attempts to reinvent its business model, the film and entertainment product group serves dual roles. First, it funds investment in the digital capture and printing technologies that will determine the firm's profit and growth potential. Second, although basic film is a terminal product category, the division is unlikely to disappear as assets are repurposed for industrial uses such as printed circuit boards and touch screen films.

So there is some machinery in common between film production, circuit board production and touch screen production.

This is very interesting for the long term viability of film, because it means that even if production had to diminish to very low levels, the machines wouldn't be scrapped and, one day, could be used again to produce film. Actually that even means that circuit board producers and touch screen producers are potential future film manufacturers.

The decline of film can be reversed, there isn't a "no-return" point.

Fabrizio