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End of an Era: Fuji Officially Ends Production of Motion Picture Film

04.3.13 @ 7:59PM Tags : , , , , ,

It’s seems like an eternity (or a brief instant, maybe) since Ryan first posted about the cessation of major manufacturers’ development and production of motion picture film cameras, and not quite as long since Joe updated us on the all the more tenuous vitality of the only two companies actually making celluloid film, Kodak and Fuji. What’s been announced before is now an all-but-undeniable reality for Fuji, who have just confirmed the company’s plans to bring its production of motion picture film to a full, complete, and permanent dead halt. Read the full scoop below before the ink fully dries on this fairly somber confirmation.

Straight from Fuji:

Discontinuation of Motion Picture Film production
April 2, 2013
As previously announced, Fujifilm has stopped production of the majority of Motion Picture Film products by March, 2013.

We would like to thank you very much for your patronage during the long history of manufacture, sales and marketing of these products which will continue to be available until the inventory is exhausted. Please contact our worldwide distributors for availability information.

Fujifilm will continue to provide products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and exhibition such as Recording film for Digital Separation [ETERNA-RDS] for long-term archiving, Imaging processing system [IS-100], and high-performance Fujinon lens for digital motion picture camera and projectors.
With an expertise in optics, image processing, storage and archiving, Fujifilm will continue to provide new and innovative products and services to contribute to the creative entertainment and broadcast industry.


Products in discontinuation of manufacturing

Color Positive Film
Color Negative Film
B&W Positive and Negative Film
Intermediate Film
Sound Recording Film
High Contrast Panchromatic Films
Chemicals (Japan only)

Not that this necessarily “spells the end” for Fuji or any other company with primary stakes in the business of physical film production — the company, as detailed above, has plenty of expertise from which imagery acquisition technologies may continue to benefit moving forward (and of course, as mentioned, they will continue making archival film for storage). I don’t think many of us could have foreseen the ‘fall of film’ that would come so very rapidly, but like it or not, here we are. We will also doubtlessly see some very interesting ‘last breath’ efforts to be made of what un-exposed film stocks remain, which will only progressively dwindle and become outright collector’s items in the meantime — just as we did from Steve McCurry in the last roll of Kodachrome (except in motion):

Link: Discontinuation of Motion Picture Film Production — Fujifilm

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  • Sad, but everything needs to come to an end. Everything.

    • But there’s always a bright new beginning! Think of where digital will be in the over 100 years that film had to mature. I’ll be dead, but I can’t wait to see what replaces image capture on a silicon chip! Maybe a bioelectrical living membrane of rods and cones? Cameras that are grown? Movies that you walk around in like a holodeck?

  • Still a lot of Hollywood movies I rent on Bluray were shot on film. They don’t look that good to me, and I don’t know if the hold-outs will hoard remaining stock. Get over it already. Celluloid to Bluray is fuzzy.

    • Personal opinion. IMHO film looks far, far, far better than any digital ever could.

      • “Ever could” Don’t be so closed minded.

        • Not narrow minded, just reality. Digital will advance in resolution and DR, but the look will always be the same.

          • Just admit you like mush and grain, it’s okay. It’s a separate style of it’s own now.

          • “but the look will always be the same” That’s being closed minded. You can see into the future? The track record of digital says otherwise. It will continue to evolve.

          • I love the grain on film and how the images movies and comes to life on screen. I don’t like excessive grain and would try to minimize it if I shot 35mm. I hate fake grain that you just slap on top of a digital video. And I hate “mush”. I also hate overly sharp, digital looking videos that look fake. I like the life and texture that film gives.

          • Gary Simmons on 04.4.13 @ 5:19PM

            How can you say that James when clearly not all digital cameras look the the same even now. They each have their own differences as the many camera comparisons on No film school have shown. And saying that it’s not going to be different in the future is always a losing bet as my 47 years of life has taught me. Never say never because eventually you will be wrong.

          • Yes they do. Shoot the 7D, BMCC, Alexa, and RED on a lit subject that doesn’t stress the DR or low light capabilities of any of the cameras. Sure, cameras like the Alexa will look a lot different out of camera, but graded the same way, they would look exactly the same. You can try to grade these cameras to look like film. But it still looks like digital and is nowhere near the beauty of film.

    • If you would have actually took into account that the fact that the movies you are talking about are older and the development process was of a lesser quality your argument would be valid. But sadly you have no point or merit to your statement. Rent Inception, Batman, and Star Trek (2009) on Blue-Ray. All shot on film. Then come back and tell me that the transfer is “fuzzy.”

      • I’m assuming that you mean older movies. I would fail to see what you were talking about in the least bit with newer movies.

    • You get over it retard. Most digital ”films” will never be successfully archived for the future. Only amateur idiots don’t understand that the ‘fuzzy’ picture visible on Blu-Ray is GRAIN you moron – which if desired, can be removed. It’s there for a fucking reason imbecile! Digital sucks and 35mm film is going nowhere.

  • So does this mean there is literally nowhere still manufacturing 35mm motion picture film? Surely Chris Nolan must be able to get his hands on some for his next picture.

    • maybe Christopher will start his own film facility ;-) … that or he’s already stockpiling

    • My thoughts exactly! Also, how much of this stuff is left? Just imagine how expensive it’s going to get…

    • Kodak is still making 35mm film. They should be coming out of bankruptcy this year.

      • Well God bless them. Hopefully Nolan, Pfister and Tarantino can keep them afloat. BREAKING BAD has finished shooting, so they can’t help anymore. MAD MEN still shoots film.

        • Not true — Mad Men switched to Alexa and hardly anyone noticed. Same great look, same wonderful color palette… With digital. That right there says a lot…

  • I find it odd that people are covering this release of information so much, since, as they stated (“as previously announced”) they publicly announced they were discontinuing their motion picture stock months ago

    • Because they didn’t give a firm date. Now we know. They have officially stopped the product lines that made negative film. Plus it’s historic, thousands of films have been shot or released on Fuji stock.

  • ZacharielJShanahan on 04.4.13 @ 1:51AM

    I just came back from Tokyo, more specifically, Retro Enterprises, an independent company offering their own quality well-priced Single 8, Super 8 and 16mm film, processing included. They provide great service and products for anyone interested in these formats and have declared to never cease producing them. 35mm is another matter entirely.

  • We just shot a short film on 16mm, the first day of shooting we found out that our country’s film lab is closing, what a bummer. Shooting film is a lot of fun and the end results are beautiful, technology marches on and convenience triumphs, but film is a truly beautiful medium, there will be a lot lost as it eventually becomes obsolete.

  • So sad to see such a beautiful art form come to and end. Digital will probably pass 35mm, and even 65/70/IMAX film in resolution sometime in the future (although it’ll have to reach 12-14K), but film will always be more beautiful. Tarantino says he’s leaving the film industry because of digital. I understand his sentiment. Saddens me that the world is moving to an uglier medium. Hope Kodak continues to make film for at least another decade.

    • How in the hell digital pictures that are sharp, colorful and painterly in contrast can’t be more beautiful than film or at least equally as beautiful? Take off goddamn nostalgia googles for folk sake. Film is good at many things, but it’s not the exclusive format for stills and movies anymore. Digital may look ugly FOR YOU and Quentin, but rest of us just want clean and pretty images without pains in processing, that’s exactly why digital is here for us.

      Actually, I’ve seen people like you being too easily tricked by professional-shot 5D footage with some creative tweaking. They were praising the short’s cinematography as “incredibly rich”, “truly cinematic” and “the quality only analog film could ever give you, no digital gizmo never ever can stand close”… It was fricking 5D, film lut and artificial grain. LOL ten times.

      We’ll see about Kodak’s motion picture department. Who knows, they might figure something out, eventually.

      • It’s just fact. Film is more beautiful and always will be. Just because it has higher resolution doesn’t mean it’s better looking. And I hate images from the 5D. Don’t know what you’re talking about. And I’m young. I’ve never shot on 35mm before. I hope I get to before it all disappears.

        • magic james turning opinions into fact like a true master

        • NOTHING is “just fact”. Facts can be proven with evidence. The look of film is OPINION.

          Since it’s all scanned and delivered digitally anyways, it really doesn’t matter.

          • Some people say computers and cell phones 10 years ago were better. Some people say the sky is red. Some people say Obama is a terrorist. All opinions, all wrong. Same here.

          • To a person with certain vision disorders the sky probably IS red. Just because normal people see it as blue doesn’t make them wrong. The fact is that the sky is neither red nor blue, the sky is a mass of invisible gases that refract sunlight to varying degrees. We only say it’s blue because that’s what we call the color that it appears to be.

            You cannot PROVE film is “better” as “better” and “worse” are non-quantifiable opinions. It might be better AT SOME THINGS, but it is NOT better at ALL things.In fact on some things it is inarguabley WORSE than digital. Like not being expensive, or being easy to use. Film is neither of those things.

            You LIKE film more than digital. That doesn’t make film BETTER.

          • Film looks better for almost all applications except unlit scenes at night. People sometimes use its low light qualities as an excuse for crappy lighting. And there are some people that think a 600 pound serial killer woman is more attractive than a hot 100 pound model with a sweet personality. But that’s the exception.

      • Daniel Mimura on 04.4.13 @ 10:16PM

        It’s not nostalgia…it’s the coldness and stillness of a digital array. It’s not just resolution or dynamic range and those things… The Aaton Delta may improve that dead look locked off still wide shots that look so cold in digital, but I think there is something about film that will forever have a pleasing feel watching it. There is something visually soothing about that specific aspect of film that digit isn’t doing a good job of replacing—I swear, it’s like that mesmerizing thing that makes people stare and campfires or babbling brooks…I truly think there must be some fundamental thing about our vision that this satisfies. (Some RED noise and C300 footage can have this feeling—this grain-like noise and built in randomness while still being incredibly sharp, but it’s still just a close faximile and will always be a substitute for the real thing.)

  • Film and Digital can survive together. Film is like painting with oil. It will still be around for a long time.

    • How exactly it still be around for long time? In the memories, maybe.

      • Kodak is still making motion picture film. Who knows, with all the die-hard film fans (I definitely feel an affection and nostalgia for it, but don’t hesitate to shoot or watch digital) it may indeed be around for a long time.

  • Environmentalists are cheering! If you love mother earth..you should hate film. Current digital cameras are good enough. Avatar was gorgeous and it was only shot in 1080p!

  • Tarantino must be shitting himself…

  • Jase the Muss on 04.4.13 @ 9:57AM

    you use a pot and not a microwave to make good rice

  • Dave Kendricken or Joe Marine, it might be worth adding a little blurb to the article explaining that Kodak is still making and selling motion picture film. Many of the comments here seem to not be aware of that. Especially because the article’s title starts with “End of an Era”, it seems to be giving the wrong impression.

  • Also Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and Russia make film.

    35mm film negative projected with DCP is spectacular! Film negative never looked so good..(that’s digital helping film.. working together!)

  • This reminds me a bit about the extinction of analog synthesizers in the early 80s.
    Today all the people want that sound and manufacturers starte making them with success.
    Maybe once film becomes truly exotic the crazyness will begin.

  • IMDB Pro top 10 films right now:
    The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – 35mm
    Admission – Alexa
    Spring Breakers – 35mm
    The Call – Alexa
    The Host – Alexa
    Olympus Has Fallen – 35mm
    Oz Great and Powerful – Epic
    Confessions of a Marriage Counselor – Alexa
    G.I.Joe – 35mm

    That’s still 40% film. It’s not just Nolan and Tarrantino. Also, this is just a small sample from the top ten right now. I’ve looked at other weeks and sometimes film is more than half, but rarely is it less than 40%.

    • Sorry, left of The Croods, for obvious reasons.

      • Pierre Samuel Rioux on 04.4.13 @ 7:17PM

        I preferred film… until now
        and i do not like to see a 2k film in the theater better to wait to watch it at home in cinema maison.
        For me it’s the first time in the movie history the image in cinema decrease in quality so they show a lot of 3D because they show 2 time the same image and this made a 2k +2K=4k people think they see a better image.
        Only one thing is better it’s the sound track… but the image suck.

        Film like Avatar and the last Hobbit when the scene came like a game specially with the CGI
        i unhook to the story telling and it’s like i saw a kid playing on a computer a game.
        After i need to hook back in the story must of the time after they came with more realistic
        image.

        A mount ago i watch a documentary in a small screen near 190 chair …. and the documentary was good.
        I speak after the show with the filmmaker how did the film and i buy a copy in DVD of this film shot in HD. During this time the projectionist bring back her file and i asking if he have a file in DCP for the digital projection… and the author tell me he do not have one, they project the documentary from the DVD directly.
        I know the Barco digital projector ( used in cinema 2k or 4k or the 2 of them ) could project from many source including DVD player but what i see and what i know i tell you the digital projection it’s better if you compare it to a regular 16mm projection in film. You improve if you scan the film in digital and finish it in digital.
        So digital surpass the 16mm film presently.

  • Daniel Mimura on 04.4.13 @ 10:33PM

    Damn…we all knew this was coming, but it sucks that it’s here. Now Kodak virtually has a monopoly so they’re gonna charge whatever they want. Fuji (and several years ago, Agfa) kept them honest. Both were cheaper and I personally preferred the colors. I preferred Fuji to Kodak based on color (skin tones and greens, particularly), but Kodak has always had the finest grained stocks…

    The irony is that it doesn’t even matter as much now b/c transfers have improved so much (look at Buffy Season 1-2, and first season of Sex and the City—both were 16mm, but Sex was just one year later but the look and quality difference is night and day better)…as well as the fact that people shooting film now and often doing it specifically *because* of the grain.

    Bye Fuji. You’ll be missed.

  • Very Sad.

    Don believe the digital myth – there is no “method”,”technology” and “workflow” to store digtal media over 30-100 years.
    the only way is still to make an backup on “35mm Film” for archiv storage. Period!