Great report, Henning. I'm struck by the number of people who told you that it all depends on demand. But I'm left wondering: if the film doesn't exist, if it has been discontinued or not yet produced, how can a company know how much demand there is? Demand is usually measured by purchases, but if Ektachrome or some other film is no longer available, how can they measure demand? Oh, I supposed they could ask photographers, but if I were a company I'd know that it's easy for someone to say they'd buy X amount of film if it were available, but quite another thing for the person to open their wallet and make a purchase.
Four weeks ago I and my wife Kate, a painting artist, had an exhibition here in our combined home/studio/darkroom from friday to sunday. Kate stayed in her artist studio showing people how she worked and I stayed in my basement darkroom to show the working process for analog black and white photo. The interest was immense ! Many middle aged persons became very sentimental when they remembered working in school darkrooms or when dady or grandpa used the enlarger in the bathroom or the basement. All were very happy to see that analog is still alive. Many thought it was completely dead. Quite a few children of different ages also turned up and they were amazed when I showed them what a negative is and how you can get a print from it. Most of them had only been in contact with digital photography. I don't know how many that really will switch to analog, but at least an old interest may come alive again and a new one can come up. Somewhere on the line there may be a new analog photographer.
Originally Posted by Henning Serger
There was a really intense discussion down in the darkroom and on those few moments when I could get a sip of the coffe that my daughters had brought down from the kitchen, it had already turned cold. After three days of darkroom demonstration, my feet and my voice reminded very much of Donald Duck, but what an experience.
The word has been spread !
Thanks for the further explanation.
Somehow missed this until now. Thanks for taking the time to write out such an engaging report. It is encouraging.
Thank you for this detailed report! You made my day!
Why? Is it really so surprising?
Originally Posted by Trask
The main problem of the film manufacturers is that because of digital imaging the film sales have crashed in the last decade.
The demand for film is much much lower today compared to 10-12 years ago. Current global film sales are about 10% of what they've been in 2000.
So yes, demand is the main problem for film manufacturers. All other problems can be solved.
But what is absolutely necessary is a stabilised demand. And if the demand is significantly increasing, then the doors are open again even for new products. Evidence:
New Fujifilm Instax Camera, re-introduced Neopan 400, new Harman Titan Pinhole 8x10" camera (because of the great success of the 4x5" model), new Adox Silvermax, Reverso Super8 and Colour Implosion film.
Well, interesting topic. Let's have a closer look at it, and let's take your example of Kodak Ektachrome and the above mentioned example of Fujichrome Astia 100F:
Originally Posted by Trask
Imagine you are an Ektachrome shooter and you want it to be produced again. What can you do to show demand:
1. If possible, buy the remaining stock of Ektachrome and shoot as much as you can. If the Ektachrome stock is drying up quite fast, Kodak see a demand. But if it takes a long time to get the Ektachrome stocks depleted, then Kodak of course will think not enough demand for a potential new production in the future.
Here in Germany e.g. the Ektachrome stocks are already almost depleted. Ektachrome has always been very popular here and the Ektachrome fans showed their demand and stocked up.
2. Get in direct contact with Kodak and tell them that you want Ektachrome film in the future. Silent and inactive customers will never have any influence. Be active, say the manufacturer what you need, show your demand.
3. The point 2. is also valid for your dealer / distributor: Tell him that you need Ektachrome film in the future. The wholesale distributors are in very close contact to the manufacturers. And if the distributors are getting so much feedback they will give this information to the manufacturers.
4. Intensify your voice by common, public action, like this: http://www.change.org/petitions/fuji...-50-sheet-film
Of course there is no guarantee for success. But it is at least a bit more likely to have success with such activities in a bigger group than doing nothing.
If you fight you may loose. But if you don't fight, you have already lost indeed.
In 2007 such public action has been successful in bringing back Velvia 50.
5. Shoot Fuji slide film as well, the more the better. Why that? Why shooting Fuji slide if I want Ektachrome back? Well, two reasons:
a) As said at 3., there is close contact between manufacturers and the big wholesale dealers. If the wholesalers see increasing demand for Fuji slide film, they will tell that Kodak as well. A revival or new trend will not remain a secret. If Kodak see a recovered market for slide film, then there is at least the possibility that they think about a new production.
But if the market is weak for Fuji, then it will be of course not attractive for Kodak to enter this market again.
b) With buying Fuji reversal film you keep reversal film alive. That is of course the most important point in the current market situation.
Yo can transfer all these points almost 1:1 to the case if you want Astia 100F back:
Improving the chance of getting Astia 100F back means shooting as much as possible Provia 100F and 400X, and simultaneously asking Fuji (and the distributors) for an Astia revival.
A sound (increasing) demand for Provia 100F (and 400X) is necessary, those films who are most similar to Astia 100F (only an increasing demand for the Velvias would probably not encourage Fujifilm to think about a new Astia 100F production).
And of course what is very helpful: Being a "film ambassador", spreading the word and getting new photographers interested in the unique characteristics and strenghts of film (in our case here: especially in slide film). Multiple your own personal demand by getting new photographers hooked.
I see this when I show my best slides in projection on a big screen: Young photographers (grown up with only digital) are overwhelmed by the outstanding quality of slide film projection. They've never seen that. They are only used to the inferior quality of their computer monitors (and beamers with their extremely low resolution and problematic colour reproduction).
Show others what (reversal) film can deliver.
That is supporting demand.
Originally Posted by K-G
excellent work! Such activities are indeed needed.
Please carry on with it!
Thank you for the excellent precis of the show. Most informative.
Excellent writing on how to show demand and how to spread the word!
May I ask your permission to quote your post in another forum? I'm thinking in some Flickr groups where this subject has been raised on the last weeks.
Thanks, Henning, for putting together some thoughts in response to my inquiry about demand. I guess the plethora of responses and the fact that I discounted them shows why I'm not in the world of business. I guess I better get buying!