Someone I'm sure can help me out a bit here - I can see how the currently bouyant motion picture market helps the continued production of, for example, the super8 products (Kodak are offering two of the same emulsions in Super8), but how does it help the production of stills materials? Are they not coated on different lines, in differnet places and worked on by different people? Or does the Motion picture success simply support stills now in a purely financial sense? But surely the production of still materials has to stand alone as a profitable side to the business?
Be interested in the ins and outs here,
There are several aspects to it.
First, a film is what you make out of it. For instance the conversion of Agfa aero films into terestrial films, just by offering them to terestrial photographers; or that historic example just some posts above. Or the idea of modifying some `bulk´material for a niche market. Or just taking advantage of the fact that one has got the people, the expertise, the machinery, the sales structure. Let’s take Agfa again as example. They could have done all that Fotoimpex is struggling to do now from a much better position (once their people, expertise and machinery): Starting to produce MCC paper again. They just did not do it.
So, that all is much more complicated than simply saying bulk will be advantageous to the niche.
In many cases, the motion picture might run for 5 days a week (faked example but realistic enough) and color and B&W amateur and professional still for 2. If motion picture vanished, the plant would then be idle for 5 days/week.
This is a fictiional example of how things might work in this scenario.
As for the chemistry, these films have some items in common and other items are totally different. They can run on the same coating machines but at different amounts per unit area and at different speeds.
Oh, BTW, out of this example, hypothetically Kodachrome might run for 1 hour on one day, once per year. Azo paper might have run for 1/2 hour on one day every other year.
Fictional but reasonable examples for you to see what is going on.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
you are simplifying. And you look always at Kodak. Fuji is not as dependant on motion film as Kodak is.
1. It's a lot more still film, not only for single use cameras. AFAIK last year 800 mio.(CIPA numbers) in addition to single use, and in addition to the colour film production of Lucky, which is not included in these numbers.
Even if the motion picture industry will convert to digital in the future, they will not convert completely.
Most of us would agree that the motion picture industry converted to colour film some decades ago. Nevertheless BW motion film is still manufactured in great numbers. That is the main business of Filmotec for example.
Your look is too static, you look at the current production structures at Kodak. But markets are dynamic, flexible and very inventive in Hayeks sense (Wettbewerb als Such- und Entdeckungsverfahren).
If there is demand, there will be supply. The film manufacturers think according to their market research that we will see a stabilisation in about five to seven years (probably in the 400-700 mio range).
Even if the motion film production would be completely stopped (which is rather unlikely, in the TV industry lots of productions are made with film, too; Arri has developed new film cameras), it is economically reasonable to invest in new, smaller machinery with capacities fitting to the lower, but quite stable demand, especially if the old machinery is depreciated.
That is the economic challenge. It is difficult, but it is possible. I have very good contact to the paper industry, which have similar structures. In some special areas there have been similar transformation processes, and we've made the experience that such transformation in capacities due to much lower demand is possible, when demand has stabilised.
Perhaps in 15 years Kodak is coating film not in four plants as today, but only in one or two. Perhaps the film division will be outsourced, perhaps we will see a management buy out or other changes in the structures.....
But it is not inevitable that film production has to be stopped due to lower demand.
Ron, I hold you in very high regard for your knowledge in film technology and your engagement here on apug. I said it once, I say it twice: you are an excellent engineer.
But your knowledge in economics and market analysis is not so good. You were wrong with your assessments in this areas several times. So with the research at Ilford, the resurrection of Agfa MCC/MCP, the new T-Max 400.
You have often explained to us that such a project like the resurrection of the Agfa papers is so difficult, technologically and economically, that it is nearly impossible.
From my (economic) knowledge and experience in industry transformation processes like these we see in the photographic industry are hard challenges indeed, but they offer new chances and possibilities for flexible enterprises as well. Quite a lot is possible with the right staff and ideas.
I have worked in research for some years. Research activity is an completely open process. Success is not guarenteed. Sometimes you have success, sometimes you fail.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Hundreds of reaserches are working on nuclear fusion for decades. And it is still only a hope....
And don't forget that Kodak and Fuji (Ilford, Foma, Inoviscoat, too) are working on improvements of classical photo paper as well. Fuji has built a totally new research center. Fuji has said that most of the research there is about analogue materials.
Oh no, I understand your argumentation very well. But I think you miss some relevant economic points. And your argumentation is static (problem of linear thinking) and based only on Kodak. From my economic knowledge and experience there are more options and possible solutions. This year I've talked to some employees from different film manufacturers. They have confirmed my assessment. They are convinced that we will see a stabilisation and then a little retro trend back to film. And they said it is possible to adopt the capacities to the expected demand. For some it will be easier, for some it will be more difficult. And all are working on technology to support these transformation processes.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Dear Ron, I think it does not make much sense for us to continue this discussion here.
Let's wait. In 10 or 15 years we both will know..... .
I have simplified of course, and I do not know the current details at EK. As you say, Fuji is less dependant on MoPic. Fuji is more dependant on their digital and camera areas and on subsidies from the government which are not available in the US.
There are many many qualifiers in all of this. Many of them I don't know and others I know but prefer not to put forth. I do know that the above example is a reasonable scenario for description purposes, and will serve us for a demonstration here.
If you consider that example, loss of any significant motion picture production will severly contract Kodak's manufacturing capability. Also, Fuji will be hurt.
But, Bollywood and China both use a lot of color film and the adoption of digital is a long way away so as you say, lets wait.
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As one of those researchers, I have to admit, I enjoy taking pictures more than I do doing my 'work,' so don't hold out too much hope
Originally Posted by JanaM
Well, making a faster ink jet or laserjet color printer isn't quantum chromodynamics or string theory, so maybe we have a hope Tim.