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September 5, 2013

Kodak Emerges from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Has the Future of Film Been Preserved?

stock-footage-film-projector-dolly-shot-slow-motion-closeThe recent history of film as a capture medium has been a troubled one. First, Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in early 2012. Then in the first quarter of 2013, Fuji halted production of motion picture capture stocks, thus leaving the financially troubled Kodak as the only remaining capture stock producer. Beyond these troubles, the rapid proliferation of digital capture has forced many processing facilities to shut down, and prices for transfers and high-resolution DI's have skyrocketed. However, on Tuesday Kodak announced that it had emerged from its Chapter 11 restructuring as a leaner and more focused company. What does this mean for the future of film as a capture medium?

In its newly designed business model, Kodak will focus most of its business on industrial imaging technologies. "We have emerged as a technology company serving imaging for business markets - including packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services," Kodak CEO Antonio Perez said in a statement on the Kodak website.

However, how does motion picture imaging fit into the future of the newly restructured Kodak? Andrew Evenski, President of the Entertainment and Commercial Film division at Kodak had this to say:

I want to first and foremost extend my sincerest gratitude to our loyal customers and partners in the motion picture industry for standing by Kodak throughout this process. We could not have achieved such a successful outcome without your ongoing support and faith in the Kodak brand.

Our motion picture film business will continue to be part of the company’s future. We are manufacturing film, we’ve inked contracts with six studios, labs around the world are dedicated to quality service, and, most importantly, filmmakers are choosing film.

So there you have it. Film as a capture medium is alive and kicking in spite of everyone's predictions that it would obsolete by now. In a post earlier in the summer, we discussed the fact that in spite of Kodak's financial troubles, that both studios and independent filmmakers alike were still choosing to shoot on celluloid. And from the sounds of it, the major studios will continue to do so.

At this point, since film is clearly not going to fall off the map as a capture medium, we as filmmakers are now able to choose the best format on which to shoot our projects, be it any flavor of film or digital. Of course, many working at an independent level won't be able to afford celluloid, but the fact that film is, and will continue to be an option is comforting.

What do you guys think? Are you surprised by the fact that film as a capture medium is alive and well? Let's hear those thoughts in the comments!

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122 Comments

There is still hope for this world!

September 5, 2013

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Luke

:)

September 13, 2013

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Guilherme

Amen! (In a non-religious way)

September 15, 2013

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ETgalim

This makes me happy. I prefer shooting digitally but I love the fact that the option to shoot on film will (at least for the forseeable future) continue to be an option. I just hope that this doesn't keep those ridiculous film vs. digital arguments going (even though I know that's next to impossible).

September 5, 2013

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Coty

Agreed, the arguments about one versus the other are pretty silly. However, I think most people at this point understand that they're two different mediums entirely, and that which one you choose should be dependent on the aesthetic needs of each individual project.

September 5, 2013

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Robert Hardy
Writer
Cinematographer / Editor
615

I'm not getting why film has to stay alive. Sentimental reasons?

September 5, 2013

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Gene

Some people think it looks better than digital.

September 6, 2013

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VinceGortho

I guess the best dynamic range, high light roll off, latitude, etc don't concern you then...if they did you'd understand why people want to keep shooting on film.

September 6, 2013

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Jerome (also..b...

Film DR did not hold up against higher K digital in the last Zacuto shootout. And the 6K Red Dragon was not part of that shoot out. The highest K used in it was 4K.

Part 1: http://vimeo.com/42806211

Part 2: http://vimeo.com/45757783

Part 3: http://vimeo.com/47582731

September 6, 2013

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Gene

Archival purposes. A strip of film will still be viewable in 100 years, long after the Thunderbolt technology that is built in to your hard drive is obsolete, or current video formats are unreadable.

September 6, 2013

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You are be saying everything on digital will be lost then? Do you think all video on hard drives and memory cards should be put onto film for archiving? Digital cannot be saved without film?

September 6, 2013

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Gene

Digital archive is a missing link, but it's not completely lost yet. The big killer is obsolescence. Formats come and go so fast, there isn't as much backwards compatibility as before.

September 9, 2013

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Vizar

This is great news!!!!!! I really love the look of film, and then as for digital. I think the arri Alexa is amazing. But to hear than celloid will still be an option is wonderful news, I read that IMAX film is somewhere north of 12K resolution. That's crazy. I hope 50 years from now we can still shoot celloid. There's something special in which each roll of film counts. Like it puts a positive challenge to the actors and cinematographers to get the scene done right vs digital....you can delete the takes right there and then. Look at the great filmmakers...Christopher Nolan shoots film, quentin tarantino shoots film. I I hope film makes a comeback

September 5, 2013

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Aaron Cabrero

Also check out this documentary and film vs digital by Keanu reeves. It's really good

http://youtu.be/aFGJY_NJwwg

September 5, 2013

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Aaron Cabrero

The "Side by Side" documentary can now be watched on PBS for free :-)

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365060569/

September 6, 2013

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F64

September 6, 2013

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F64

Red Dragon 6K is the sign post that film does not have a future. And even higher K's are on the way. Film cannot compete with these. There will be improvements in digital memory cards too. Film just cannot stay alive. Digital looks better now, not in the future. Which memory card company will make 4K and 6K acquisition easier? That is the vital question right now.

September 5, 2013

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Gene

He's right.

Time and time again we read about how "people love film" and "love the look of film" and are "glad film is still around." then you ask them what they use....and it's digital.

Money talks.

September 5, 2013

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Heather

Interesting. They use digital themselves.

As memory cards become easier to use it will make using film more and more cumbersome, time consuming. There's no developing time with digital. It's ready to edit straight from the memory card.

I don't get the trying to find reasons to cheer film having a future. But I suppose if I worked at Kodak I would wish for a future for film.

September 5, 2013

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Gene

No matter how fast memory cards become or what the next "leap" in sensor hype is... People will still shoot film.

September 6, 2013

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Why are digital sensor improvements hype?

September 6, 2013

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Gene

Very old people. And very old people will know how to develop it :)

September 9, 2013

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Vizar

You don't sound like someone who's ever shot on film.

September 5, 2013

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Richard

What is the future you see for film? Will the upcoming generation want film or digital?

September 5, 2013

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Gene

Probably both. I agree digital is more accessible and looks great today. But I defintely dont think its superior in every virtue.

September 5, 2013

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Richard

I have not worked with film. I have edited a lot of digital. Undoing an edit is so easy, a click. There's so much going on the plus side for digital.

September 5, 2013

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Gene

Editing has nothing to do with it. Films shot analogue are still edited in Avid. Just as easy to undo an edit...

September 6, 2013

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Kenneth Merrill

Will the upcoming generation want film or digital?

September 6, 2013

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Gene

Film can always be scanned and edited digitally, and that's what the workflow has been for quite some time. You can always go back and re-scan if necessary. If something is digital from the start, it begins to degrade from the first transfer. If a source file gets corrupted for any number of reasons...it's lost forever. Studios still print things shot digitally to film for archival because it's much more reliable than keeping it digital. Even video gets archived on tape instead of disk.

September 6, 2013

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Pat

That's very true and one thing film has over digital .Take for instance the Godfather restoration. They were able to go back to the original negative of a 40 plus year old film and clean it up to the point it looked like a pristine print. Will "Avatar " or "Star Wars Ep II and III" looks that good 40 years from now with it's HD shot sequences ? I highly doubt it as both films even now look like they were shot on outdated digital technology. You sure can't say that in regards to " Touch of Evil" or " I am Cuba".

September 9, 2013

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F64

Nobody on this website has ever shot on film.

September 6, 2013

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john jeffries

Not true.. :)

September 6, 2013

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Elias

Great blanket statement, John. Not true.

September 6, 2013

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Nope, 16 mill ftw! ;)

September 6, 2013

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MattN.

16mm

September 6, 2013

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Kenneth Merrill

I have! I did at USC film school, shot on 16mm and 35mm, and I currently teach a class with elementary schoolers where we shoot on Super 8 - here's last Fall's films from that class:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zONaTFasCAY

I'm not gonna lie, shooting on digital is easier in so many ways. Certainly editing digital is WAY easier (our Super 8 is datacine'd to a drive for digital editing) but shooting on film is a thrilling, visceral experience. It's working without a safety net, it makes you think about exactly what the film will be before you shoot it, and it forces you to be excellent on take 1 because you don't have the luxury of take 37. My kids absolutely LOVED doing it, and they felt so much pride in being able to do it - and they're 11!

September 6, 2013

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Marcelo

I've shot on film as well and I hate when people want to put the "it forces you to be serious" as if one can't reach that without the need of film. Discipline can come from a mindset of "let me get this right". Film isn't needed for that. I've met several people who are very disciplined and they never shot on film before.

September 6, 2013

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hmmm pretty sure I was loading 400 foot rolls into an arri 435 mag yesterday. Pretty sure I've shot numerous projects with the SRII and SRIII. Also shot a few music videos with the MovieCam 2 and tons of bits and pieces for music videos with a K3 and a bolex. I also have about 2,000 feet of 5219 and 5203 stock taking up all the room in my fridge...nope never shot on film before.

September 6, 2013

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Jerome (also..b...

Super jealous of your stock.

September 7, 2013

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Kenneth Merrill

DPed my first feature in film. Mostly 7298 and 7245.

September 12, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

Let me know when RED has a camera with more resolving power than 5-perf IMAX film. Dragon is not even close.

September 5, 2013

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Richard

I agree. I read that the resolution of IMAX film is over 12K that's amazing!

September 5, 2013

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Aaron Cabrero

Maybe when the Red 617 Monstro sensor (168mm x 56mm) comes out. I absolutely love the look of medium format 617 film.

I am still waiting for a digital film that is as breathtaking visually as 70mm projection of Baraka.

September 6, 2013

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Dan

digital looks better in your opinion. I like film better and could care less about resolution.

September 6, 2013

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VinceGortho

The pro film argument is not really about resolution but rather dynamic range, highlight roll-off and the way motion looks, particularly fast-paced motion in the frame and by the camera. Also price now comes in to play with shooting film being a bit less now then shooting raw digital.

September 6, 2013

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I get your points. But there's movie makers where money isn't an object. Big budgets will jump immediately to a 6K Red Dragon sensor, and other such digital improvements, because it will make their final product more fascinating. Who will be first in the dash to get the first 6K movie into theaters and wow people with its beauty? That will produce money for them. So paying more for the latest digital, instead of less for film, is actually not a higher cost but a higher profit---potentially, that is.

I'm not rooting against film. It's just I can't see anything that will keep it in the race. Kodak should have already started evolving into a different company. For example, they could have already started moving into memory cards for high K acquisition. They don't know how to do it? They can learn and roll with the changes. They could acquire a company that does memory cards and learn from them and expand. Memory cards are to the digital medium what celluloid is to the film medium. So in a way it's right up their alley. What I'm saying is they have to do something. Higher K's are on the way. The future is digital. The highest quality in memory cards could be their new game.

Or am I wrong? Tell me what you think.

September 7, 2013

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Gene

gene what's your problem. It's just a medium and some people think it looks pretty. Stop getting so mad just because kodak didn't go bankrupt. You are making yourself sound like an xbox or playstation fanboy.

September 7, 2013

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Brad

You perceive I am angry. But I am not. I am not angry, whatsoever. I'm at a loss trying to see how you got the idea I am angry.

xbox fanboy.... where did that come from? You must be joking and forgot to add a wink face.

September 7, 2013

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Gene

You seeing anger may be projection.

September 7, 2013

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Gene

You see how quickly this thread dissolved into digital is better, no film is better argument? Well, some very highly trained and professional people shoot on film. They prefer the look and they prefer the colour rendition, highlight roll off etc. There are highly trained individuals in the film industry who prefer to shoot digitally. Oh, what a surprise.

Film stock is still evolving though. Who knows where the chemical process may end up. Can digital emulate film precisely? No, it can't but doesn't mean it wont, just not yet. Does it have to emulate film? Well that's a complex argument and I lean towards saying no as digital will, as it has already, develop it's own look. The Alexa shoots a very different image to the Epic. But film still has a quality that impresses me and that's just my eyes. I would happily shoot digital too. If I had all the money to spend that I wanted I would shoot film. It's just a choice, not a matter of better.

September 5, 2013

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jPS

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