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

09.5.13 @ 9:00PM Tags : , , , , ,

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.

Kodak Motion Picture 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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Description image 125 COMMENTS

  • There is still hope for this world!

  • 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).

    • 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.

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

        • VinceGortho on 09.6.13 @ 1:29AM

          Some people think it looks better than digital.

        • Jerome (also..but not the other jerome) on 09.6.13 @ 2:18AM

          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.

        • 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.

          • 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?

          • 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.

      • Scott Johnston on 02.16.14 @ 1:51PM

        There are no digital mediums to replace 5×4 or 8×10 sheet film. Also, you would have to spend $50, 000. to equal the quality of medium format film and you do not get the dynamic range. You can buy a lot of film for $50, 000.

  • Aaron Cabrero on 09.5.13 @ 9:39PM

    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

  • Aaron Cabrero on 09.5.13 @ 9:44PM

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

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

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

          • 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.

          • Kenneth Merrill on 09.6.13 @ 1:43AM

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

          • Will the upcoming generation want film or digital?

        • 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.

          • 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”.

      • john jeffries on 09.6.13 @ 2:25AM

        Nobody on this website has ever shot on film.

        • Not true.. :)

        • Great blanket statement, John. Not true.

        • Nope, 16 mill ftw! ;)

        • Kenneth Merrill on 09.6.13 @ 10:54AM


        • 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:

          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!

          • 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.

        • Jerome (also..but not the other jerome) on 09.6.13 @ 7:29PM

          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.

        • Daniel Mimura on 09.12.13 @ 5:31PM

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

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

      • Aaron Cabrero on 09.5.13 @ 11:48PM

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

      • 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.

    • VinceGortho on 09.6.13 @ 1:31AM

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • You seeing anger may be projection.

  • 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.

    • I don’t think it’s productive to say the thread “dissolved”.

      Explain to me why you see film has a future. I am talking about staying attractive. Digital has become more attractive to use.

      I’ll ask the same question to you: will the upcoming generation use digital or film?

    • I don’t see digital needing emerge to from bankruptcy. The handwriting is on the wall for those who want to see.

  • Kodak has an agreement with all of the major Hollywood studios to supply film at least for several years to come. If you’re Hollywood filmmaker with studio connections and you still want to shoot on analog – you’re in luck, you’re getting it basically for free. For the little indie guy, I couldn’t care less. Labs raised processing prices again, not to mention telecine (scanning and transfer costs). In S35 realm I’m perfectly happy with the raw image from Sony and Epic (even more so – Red Dragon). If you can’t make it look as good as film (at times better) with raw “negative” from digital sensor TODAY – there’s something terribly wrong with you and your process.

    ‘Film, if not dead, is now on life support’ – Keanu Reeves.
    “There will be people who will cheapen digital. There will be people who will not only kill the goose that laid the golden egg but they’ll sodomise it first.” – David Fincher

  • VinceGortho on 09.6.13 @ 1:39AM

    Should there be a new term for those who make movies and never shot on film? Why call directors of today, “FILMmakers,” if they’re not touching celluloid?

  • Kenneth Merrill on 09.6.13 @ 2:00AM

    I find it typical that those who have never shot on film are the first to hail its demise and irrelevancy. Of course there are exceptions (Soderberg, Lynch), but on the nets it seems generally the case. While I don’t think not having worked with a medium precludes one from having an opinion about it, I do think that objections to film are rarely based on look and rather evidence of an emboldened vendetta against a film economy that has pushed out young dreamers in favor of familiar and favored faces.
    The primary benefit of the digital medium is its affordability. As such, it’s no wonder that experimental, independent, and aspiring filmmakers are rejoicing over its progress. However, there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. Film is a really remarkable medium in its own right–anyone that has worked with it or understands its properties must grant that. And while it may represent the old economy that has been somewhat prohibitive to aspiring filmmakers in the past, we shouldn’t be quick to discard the medium that has been used in a century of masterpieces by dozens of amazing, independent artists. If film was good enough for Godard, I dare say it’s good enough for me.
    I shoot digital, but I’m not threatened by the fact that film exists as an option for production. I’m very happy it will be around at least for a few more years.

    To me, running around demanding people to answer “what future does film have?” betrays some sort of insecurity and a misunderstanding of the art–or even art in general. The more media, the better. The more workflow options, the better.

    • This comment right here expresses my every feeling towards the subject.

    • I am not hailing the demise of film. And I am not insecure over digital. The post talks about the future of film. Film is not “alive and well”. Needing to find a way to come out of bankruptcy is not a signal of being alive and well.

      Digital looks better than some want to admit.

      I’ll ask the same question I’ve asked twice: will the upcoming generation use film of digital? Also, will the upcoming generation have sentimental feelings about film?

      • Kenneth Merrill on 09.6.13 @ 10:58AM

        I think they will use both. Also, I think they will have sentimental feelings toward film. Just look at the recent boom of vinyl sales in the music industry. Even young people like analogue.

  • Not caring whether film survives the digital revolution is kind of like saying you don’t care about Versailles because you will never go there or, whales because you might never see one.

    I shoot everything now, stills and motion, digitally but, there is nothing like successfully capturing an image on film. Film is demanding. Everything has to be pretty much right when you shoot. It doesn’t allow for much slop. You have to be on your game to shoot film. And when you get it right, the payoff is tremendous… image quality no digital camera will ever, likely, be able to match.

    If for no other reason, film should be kept alive as one of mankind’s greatest inventions.

    • I agree. One thing keanue reeves said is can’t compare digital vs film. They are two different mediums.
      Film- logjt passes threw the lense and hits the celloid film which causes a chemical reaction which creates a picture….those those photographs played at 24 frames per second creates a unique look.
      Digital is light hitting a computer chip that has pixels and that reates a image.
      There’s something beautiful of seeing movies shot on film….
      I hope film survives so we have a choice. Like drivingan electric car vs driving a 1960 ford mustang

    • You’re comparing saving film to saving whales? Come on, man.

      I just don’t think the upcoming generation that is using digital would say they’d want to switch to film if they saw how film is cumbersome and time consuming compared to digital. I’m pretty sure it’s only people that have used film and have nostalgic feelings about it that may want to say film needs to stay around. I’m thinking that once those that have that attachment to film have stopped using film then film will be gone.

      I can understand why some have those feeling. I saw a short documentary about Ansel Adams and how he had to be very, very careful about his one shot he would take with his camera. He would plan way ahead. Everything had to be set perfectly in place before he took the shot. But having to take care like that can apply to those using digital too. His care over getting the right shot is what needs to be preserved not the camera he used.

      One great advantage of shooting in higher K digital is you can shoot for a minute of two as you try to catch the perfect shot. You can look at all the individual frames of higher K video and find your perfect still image. But I suppose someone will find fault with that huge advantage too.

      • People that really know what they’re doing don’t need 6k go “fix it in post” and hide all of their amateur mistakes. But…whatever works for you, I guess…

        • Really? You don’t think professionals make mistakes either? Talk to a seasoned editor about having to edit around mistakes. The fix it in post mentality isn’t the way to go, but that option is there because of how many mistakes can be corrected.

      • I assume you bring the same spray-and-pray approach to photography as well?

        • Where did you get the impression of “spray and pray” from my comment?

          • Because your whole outlook is based on shooting, and then going in after the fact and re-framing in post because you’ve shot on a higher resolution than your output. Maybe it’s convenient and more affordable than shooting/reshooting on film, but taking out the step of actually composing your shot and thinking a shoot through, is on par (if that) with home movies.

          • Just shooting for a while and going back to pick your “perfect still”, is known in the photography world as spray-and-pray. It’s a really inefficient and amateur way of working.

          • Where did I take out composition?

          • You overlooked a paragraph in my comment. Maybe you rushed through and didn’t read it carefully. Or maybe you pigeon holed who you thought I was and didn’t register what I said as you read it.

        • “His care over getting the right shot is what needs to be preserved”

          This is where you got the impression of “spray and pray” from?

          • Working in publishing, processing photos on a daily basis is where “spray and pray” comes. And yeah, if they’re using that approach simply for photography, it’s “spray and pray”. If they are producing a film, and then pulling frames for promo, that’s a different story.

          • Taker a few minutes to watch this:

            [ ]

          • You are confusing me with someone else.

          • Please take the time to actually read my comments before replying.

          • Gene is simply a tool vying to evoke a negative emotion out of all of you. He’s posted on nearly every thread and is no more than an a-hole really with nothing but snarky replies and repetitive child like behavior.

            With that…Any company that emerges from bankruptcy is on a restructured path towards profitability. Otherwise they would be simply out of business if their shareholders and board members didn’t believe in the sustainability of the products or services the company offered. Digital film making is still in its infancy and still has a ways to go because the truth is that film is still, to this day, the best quality. Now you can say whatever you want about digital and future generations, 4k 6k 12k and blah blah blah…but film makers, camera operators, and directors are switching back to film because Hollywood has realized that digital is no more than amateur hour…just look at all of the glutten of crappy $5,000 cameras on the market…a money grab by companies like Sony…hence the re-emergence of Kodak. Both mediums will have a future in Hollywood. Even if digital one day surpases film…film will always be relevant as long as someone is willing to load a camera. Film’s shelf life and ability to store massive amounts of data is proven to last seventy-five years without degrading…with a single transfer digital has degraded.

            As more proof of the quality difference…the range of black and gray in digital is very small…with film it is near limitless. This is a problem that has been repeatedly echoed by DP’s. Gene…go be a child somewhere else.

  • Jerome (also..but not the other jerome) on 09.6.13 @ 2:24AM

    I wonder if half of these people posting in this thread claiming to love digital more than film have actually ever loaded a 35mm magazine? Have ever actually worked with 35mm film in a telecine or DI environment to actually see how much more you get with film…

    You go out and buy a DSLR and all of the sudden you think you’ve got it all figured out…ugh.

  • The look of film is what digital has aspired to all these years. The images produced from Dragon, Alexa and F65 owe their look to and have more in common with film than with (for various reasons) DigiBeta, the VX-1000, DVX-100, HPX-3700 or the F900, which are also digital. Starting with 24p and “cine” gamma curves, each new generation of HD and digital cinema camera came closer to the look of film without having to deal with its associated costs, logistics and inconvenience.

    To say digital looks better than film is, and can only ever be, an opinion. Currently, each one offers advantages over the other. For the most part, people covet digital cameras that look MORE like film, not less. The 14-bit raw ML hack isn’t being praised because it makes Canon DSLRs look more digital than ever.

    Just as it happened with digital audio, digital video will strive to regain the look and feel of the analog goodness that was lost when we first went digital. It’s happening already. I hope film stays around for at least as long as it takes for digital to equal it in EVERY way. I don’t understand why people seem to want it to fail when they’re not being forced to use it. Other than the environmental aspect I’ve seen mentioned, I can’t see what stake they have in its demise or what difference it makes to them.

  • Raphael Wood on 09.6.13 @ 4:51AM

    If only they found a way to create film cheaply and diminish laboratory expenses.
    Cause let’s face it, The reason film is dying is because it’s expensive compared to digital, who cares about our little stupid debates of film vs digital, it’s all about the money. Cheaper alternative would save film in this context.

  • ruben huizenga on 09.6.13 @ 8:09AM

    as an indie music producer turned video hobbyist, (mostly shooting dslr music vids,)
    I’ve really been enjoying shooting, learning, and experimenting with the different Kodak super 8mm
    film stocks. its a riot!
    its a completely different experience that forces you to be frugal with your shots,
    and pay attention to your exposures. I’ve messed up a lot, (low light colour neg shots can be pretty unforgiving!)
    I’ve jerry-rigged a projector, (using the sensor of my trusty ml equipped t2i as a screen) to frame by frame telecine. makes it affordable for me.

  • The question is not if it looks better or worse, the question iis: does it look the same? If not then you have a reason to keep the choice of creativity for filmmakers.

  • @ Gene and others

    Digital just doesn’t look as good — and it sort of CAN’T, owing to the nature of the technology. If you’re shooting a landscape or something (like a lot of “Gee, wow!” test footage that comes out) you’re okay. But the minute you cut to a human (like in, you know, an actual MOVIE or something) you’re in trouble… and the minute you cut to a close up, you’re dead. Especially if that closeup is of a woman. Digital is simply not flattering to human faces in any way, and particularly not flattering to women. All that resolution and sharpness and micro-contrast becomes a bug, not a feature. And post-prod efforts to minimize it are time-consuming, expensive, and ultimately not convincing. There are photographic effects achieved with underexposure and methods of processing, for example, that cannot be replicated digitally. In fact, I defy anyone to name a movie shot digitally that would not have looked better had it been made on film. There are none that I can think of.

    • Even before digital, some movies looked really bad in 35mm. It takes effort to make anything look good. It’s not magic. The fact is that a lot of filmmakers now don’t really test out techniques and ideas before they run off and shoot their features. Then they get caught spending time and money trying to figure out how to fix things. When you know what you are trying to achieve, it’s not as hard or expensive.

      Look at SkyFall, it was shot with Alexa. I doubt anyone would have really noticed. Roger Deakins said he may never go back to film again. Only time will tell.

      • I noticed. It’s okay, I suppose — Deakins is certianly no slouch — but digital capture brought nothing to the aesthetics, because it can’t. Easier from a production standpoint? Maybe, what with multiple shooting units in distant locations and vfx and the whole thing (though Nolan/Abrams/Spielberg/etc all seem to manage the logistics just fine). But I maintain the movie with that photography would’ve looked even better on film, simple truth.

        • When’s the last time Nolans/Abrams/Speilberg did anything under $100 mil.

          Film logistics isn’t hard, it’s been the norm for long enough. There are just no new developments happening in some of the areas like cameras, scanners and recorders.

          Your truth is someone else’s lie and vice versa. Film was the only option until this decade really. The 100 years of development of film is much more rapid for digital, but it’s still early. Let’s see what the end of the decade brings.

          • Daniel Mimura on 09.12.13 @ 6:04PM

            Lincoln was $65M…but I get your overall point.

            Film development has been incredibly rapid too, and I think it’s wrong to ignore the HUGE changes in film from decade to decade. Look at any almost interview with DPs from the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s…and time and time again they’re talking about faster stocks, and finer grained stocks.In the early 90′s, I’d consider 5298/7298 revolutionary compared to 5296/7296. 500ASA stock looked GOOD for a change, not just a compromise. People like me who were shooting for the first time could light things without tying in or having to accept really hard light just to get enough exposure. Just cuz the film cameras didn’t evolve rapidly didn’t mean film wasn’t changing at a fast pace. Digital may evolve faster b/c of Moore’s “law” being applied to cameras now, but that means buying a whole new camera and often a whole new infrastructure and not a new can of film, so I really doubt it will evolve that much faster. Arguably things evolving too fast lessens the “timelessness” of the motion picture industry. The fact that 24fps at 1/48th of a second has been around as a standard for 90-some years and now with digital, we suddenly get the atrocious look of the HFR Hobbit, and flashback-inducing long shutter speeds (Life of Pi and the last 3-4 of Micheal Mann’s films)…those looks are gonna be dead and look really dated in just a couple years. These is no need for camera technology to evolve too fast. Look at people writing books…you don’t have to lug around a portable typewriter and you can email backups, but it’s not like print medium is suddenly deciding, wait, we should print pages in color now instead of boring old white paper! Lets use trendy outrageous new fonts! No…there is a standard and a style that goes back to …well, Guttenberg. It’s not to say filmmaking should be stagnant, but there is no need to evolve too quickly either.

      • Well if they don’t test things out then that’s their problem. Making cinema, either features or a 30 second spot is very hard.

  • Thyl Engelhardt on 09.6.13 @ 1:34PM

    First of all I like to know what that message, and I mean the complete message, actually means. The complete message also includes that the selling of film distribution to the British Kodak pension fund. That “company” now acts under the name of “Kodak alera” or something like that. The films are however still manufactured by Kodak Rochester. So what is going on? And then:

    -Does the movie film stuff stll belong to old Kodak, or is it now distributed by Kodak alera?
    -If the latter is the case, could the new Kodak alera decide (like in 6 months) that they are not bound by old contracts that Kodak made, and stop producing film?
    -If not, what will happen if Kodak alera is not successful? Will that eventually kill all film production at Kodak Rochester?
    -What makes us believe that Kodak alera might be successfully selling lots of films to stills photographers where Kodak failed?
    -Or will Kodak alera be wildly successful and even restart producing Kodachrome (Wow!), using a new franchise system?
    -What impact will the decision to transform old Kodak into a completely different company eventually have on their film department anyway? Nothing has changed in this regard by ending the bancruptcy process. Actually, that process was ended _because_ Kodak got rid of film distribution and print finishing for consumers. They now build printing machines, competing with Heidelberg (or Canon, if you prefer).

    • kodak needs to market their products..I was introduced to film …by chance..a friend of mine wanted me to help him with his project last year…I showed up on set and he handed me an old bolex with no viewfinder and some 16mm film that had been saved in the film office’s refrigerator for who knows how long…well I helped shoot that day and didn’t expect much…when I did look at the footage a couple of weeks later…I couldn’t believe how great it looked!!!!

      it’s hard to tones are fantastic…it flatters the actresses…highlights are fantastic…there is another dimension you get with film …I’m in love with it…

      again Kodak has market their products…film still holds up…even when you are looking at a film shot 40 years ago…HBO t.v. series look fantastic…Tarantino…Nolan…Spielberg…etc….

      • It’s certain Kodak has been marketing their product. Issues in the marketing arena is not where their problem lay. Being overall less attractive than digital is where their problem lay.

        I use digital. I don’t HAVE to use film. I have an option that is, overall, more attractive. I can do it all myself, shooting, editing, rendering, burning to disc, uploading, etc., etc. And I can do things I wouldn’t have even contemplated if I only had film as a medium. We all are doing things we wouldn’t have even contemplated when there was only film. It’s a tough road ahead for film. I feel for those who work in film. They see their livelihood diminishing. As digital K’s go up, and come down more in price, it will get even tougher for film. I’m not down on film. That’s just the way it is.

        I hope Kodak, with all the people that work there, can find a new direction to head that will make them on demand in the digital world.

  • if you are a dp or a director and you want your work to stand out…you shoot on FILM.
    if you are doing an indie..and you want your work to be noticed by film festivals you shoot on FILM.
    producers want to save money..who cares what they want..I don’t compromise.

    kodak need to market their products…right now they do have 30 percent off for students…and then there is short ends for 35mm

    • Are you trying to market for Kodak? Because they already use that angle and it’s not working. The fact is that Kodak needs to not just market, but restructure the cost of buying and using film.

      The costs need to be like what Pro8mm does. They have package deals which include the stock, development and the digital transfer. If you as a filmmaker knew exactly what you were paying for each role, you go with film and not mind the wait of lab and telecine.

      The other question is, who wants to work in a film lab when it’s not as lucrative as it used to be. I think Kodak needs to think like a startup and reinvent some of the past practices.

      • they really lack in marketing…i’m a graduate film student in Los Angeles…who discovered film by chance..and was amazed how it worked and the shot I filmed was so beautiful….and really easy and without post. What you say in your post is something they should do…offer 200 foot 35mm loads that include the processing..
        they have the product but no marketing…they have a product that holds up after years and years…a product that is used by the best and most professional people….I’m part of the future…yet I’ve never seen any marketing..they don’t advertise on this website for instance…and if you’re not in LA how do you get a hold of the deals for film.

        they should check out red …that guy janard is master at marketing…it’s like a cult..they will drink whatever he serves to them

  • One medium isn’t better than the other. Film advocates have this condescending superiority attitude and Digital advocates have a lack of respect attitude. Both are disgusting.

    My take: Yes film is great when it comes to creating images (handles highlights amazingly, Digital wins in the shadow category). It also introduces a ton of on-set hiccups/headaches. The fact of the matter is Digital will be the future and it looks just as good. Do they look the same? No! It is our responsibility to take this new medium and bring it to the next level. We have to push it and innovate. Film has done its stretch. I personally think it is our responsibility as filmmakers to work and shape this medium.

    Film/anti-digital lovers sound like the anti-talkies/sound lovers back in the day. It took filmmakers to push and shape the tech to make sound what it is today. Same thing with cinemascope etc. Point is things change and not being apart of it is detrimental to the craft and yourself.

    Now digital has its own look and honestly it is not too far off from film. Truth is that it’ll continue to get better. Yes I’ve shot with film before. Some of the things film lovers bring up about digital images is nonsense to me. Things like “film makes you more serious” or “if you are a dp or a director and you want your work to stand out…you shoot on FILM” or “Digital just isn’t filmic enough” (no s#@*t, digital isn’t film. That statement is stupid). Digital lovers need to stop focusing on claiming film is dead and just help perfect the digital medium.

    Archival is where the arguments should be. We should be looking at how we’re going to preserve our films in lieu of debating formats.


    • Reasonable and nuanced discussion is not accepted here, sir!

      In all seriousness, though, good comments here, N.K. I likewise have shot both film and plenty of digital. Both can look spectacular, both have their challenges and headaches and benefits. I imagine for most of the readers here, though, digital makes more fiscal sense.

    • No. There are no “on-set hiccups/headaches” if you’re a working professional. If you’re a kid starting out, maybe it’s a little strange to you. But folks have been making movies on film for a century — the procedures and protocols are well-established, well-known, and are not really a problem. Digital may be the future, but it doesn’t look as good, sorry. (See also: CDs and definitely mp3s don’t sound as good as vinyl. We have ‘em, but it’s our loss.)

      • Actually many directors talked about not liking the wait for dailies and getting film back and being annoyed that the DP got his idea of a silhouette wrong (Shane talked about this). Sometimes momentum can be halted when film runs out etc. There are headaches and sure if you have a massive crew it is diminished, but it does exist. All you are doing is delegating i.e giving the headache to someone else. Doesn’t look as good is subjective. Some people hate film grain others love it. Your analogy falls apart, because you assume what you deem “good” or “better” is universal, it isn’t.

        We’re only talking about quality. Several other factors exist such as; practicality, ease of use, how it fits for a person, its character, the budget, locations, and especially the story.

        Visual Mediums are like a sword. Warriors picked swords that best suited them. We pick mediums that best suit the project and us.

        For example I like listening to vinyls when it comes to certain music and I prefer mp3s for other types of music.

      • How long can you keep saying it doesn’t look as good when every new generation of digital camera is significantly better than before. The reality is that visuals are subjective and needs to serve the story.

        It’ll be more interesting when a digital camera can create an image that would be impossible to create with film. We’re seeing some of this now, cameras that refocus after the image is captured, HDR and depth sensing.

        Where do you get the “no on-set hiccups/headaches if you’re a working professional” idea. There are plenty of hiccups and headaches. The thing is that no one on set has to deal with it, because it can be fixed in post. I’ve seen this since the 90s.

        The fix it in post situation will never go away because of all the clean up work that needs to be done to fix the messes and hiccups on set.

  • for me working with film this past year has been thrilling…I shot a very complicated set up and only had one take…with no post work …that one take (without any post) you could play in a movie theater it was just beautiful and professional looking…with digital it takes so much time in post and I still wasn’t happy with the image…is digital (video) even really cheaper than film..??? I don’t know anymore…how much is my time worth behind a computer correcting a digital (video) image..that at the end I still won’t be happy with(iyou can buy a couple rolls of 16mm cheap and test it yourself) …a friend of mine called me from Europe raving about an HBO t.v. series…I asked him since he didn’t speak English …how come he liked this series so much..and he told me it was because the image was so great! (the tv show was Breaking Bad filmed in 35mm) a beautiful image draws an audience into a story. It’s my job as a filmmaker to get the best image possible. That’s why I will only shoot on film..

    I don’t think anyone should compare film vs digital…the images from a film camera and a digital camera are made completely different. (film is a different medium using light and emulsion)

    For me when I shoot with film…(which now is 100 percent of my work) I feel like an artist…and I understand why Nolan..Tarantino and Spielberg…don’t compromise.

    I think film is like painting with oil for an artist…there used to be a time when everything was done in oil…now a painter can choose oil or another medium for his or her art.

    Kodak needs marketing!! Why isn’t there a Kodak banner on this website…They should show up at one of these conventions for digital cameras…and just play a clip…from Breaking Bad…

    (note:I have worked with all digital cameras in the past and worked with top post houses)
    also note: it’s up to the individual to test and work with all mediums and choose what works best for them..

    Film works best for me.. even though I have to fight for it ‘s worth it

    • I wonder if Roger Deakins feels like an artist when he shoots on the Alexa. Wonder if Bob Richardson felt like an artist when he shot Hugo. :/

      Not to mention the filmmakers you mentioned aren’t actually doing the shooting. The DP or camera op is doing that. Although it is an important choice for the director, if they are so closed minded they may not be doing the film justice. I.e If a film was taking place mainly at night, digital cameras handle that better for the most part.

      People need to stop making it about one medium is superior to the other. The “film is like painting with oil and digital is like painting with crayons” claim is old, tired, and ridiculous. Film advocates are very snobby and pretentious to me.

      “It’s my job as a filmmaker to get the best image possible. That’s why I will only shoot on film” Actually it’s your job to get the best performance possible and tell the story the best way you can if you are the director. Great images are irrelevant if the story and performances are poor.

      I’m not really attacking you per se. I understand you was talking about what works for you. I just see some of the things you said used as a fact by others and it isn’t so. I firmly believe that film isn’t superior and neither is digital.

      • “If a film was taking place mainly at night, digital cameras handle that better for the most part.”

        Nonsense. Kodak was making 800ASA stocks ten years ago. You can push their current 500-speed to 1000 easily. The advances that Kodak has made in photochemistry, while largely unheralded in an onslaught of Jim Jannards, is every bit as technically impressive as what has been achieved with sensors. There’s nothing you can’t do with film — available light? Gotcha. Little light? Gotcha. See in the dark? Got that, too. Plus you have the benefit of not having to see every pore on an actress’ face. How that became an “improvement” I’ll never know.

        • I know there are consequences for pushing film, because I have pushed 500 speed ASA before. You actually proved my point for me. I said “handle that better” not “film is incapable of shooting in low light”. Nonsense because 800 ASA stock exist when there are digital cameras that can reach 64,000 & 80,000 ISO? Give me a break. Just because it is possible to shoot in low light doesn’t automatically make it handle low light better.

          You really seem closed minded and that is unfortunate because every camera, stock, and medium generates its own look that can be used given the right story.

          Agree about how resolution has made every pore visible, but you can easily soften that.

  • Artists will never put down paint brushes and just comply with using their computers to develop art work and designs, filmmakers to film and musicians to actual instruments instead of software

  • Gee, another report on film that has devolved into “film is dead” or “digital is cheaper”.

    If anyone would look at the bottom line, the costs are about the same, once everything is said and done (except for archival, where digital has yet to begin to formulate a real strategy at all).

    The old, disingenuous arguments about editing on film or the cost of prints are stale and obviously untrue. If you don’t know why film can live in a digital age with NLEs, datacine transfers and such, I have to wonder about your true knowledge of digital moving images themselves!

    Tell me it takes a larger crew to shoot film and then prove it. It’s simply not true.

    10 DITs on a set with 3 tents and everyone clustered around monitors is in NO way cheaper than a traditional film camera crew.

    Talking about a small production? A one-person band? Can’t do it with film? Nonsense.

    The big issue, in my opinion, is that modern image makers lack the confidence it takes to trust their DP to get the shot, because they don’t have the discipline to do the work up-front, don’t know actually what they want and lean too heavily on post production to shape what should have been done BEFORE post production even occurs…

    Of course, there were (and are) mainstream filmmakers who worked the same way; hose down the scenery fifty ways from Sunday and then try to cut their way out of a wilderness of footage, but many have long argued that that IS NOT making a film, but something akin to cutting down a forest to make a matchstick.

    If you can’t take a camera of either kind out and shoot a coherent, unified story in an economical manner, the whole argument is just ineffectual wool gathering and blather.

    A vital tool in the artist’s toolkit has been rescued from oblivion and all visual artists should be grateful, but the self-absorbed and insecure will not have the generosity or foresight to see this for what it is, but will continue to complain about a medium that the probably will never use or are incapable of appreciating.

    Don’t like film? Don’t use it, but spare everyone the endless “film is dead” talk that has been around since the “VHS Revolution”; probably longer than most of those who post here…

    Oh the irony…

  • PS: Kodak is NOT the only filmstock manufacturer left standing!

    ORWO USA sells B&W 16mm and 35mm camera negative, intermediate and print stocks in the USA for their parent company in Germany.

    I time (yes, on a Hazeline) and print 35mm answer prints on this stock on a regular basis and its good stock.

  • John Orland on 09.12.13 @ 4:46PM

    Not one mention of the need for a quality screenplay. Until such time, both Film and Digital will remain memories of a bleak past populated with mostly crap.

  • John Orland on 09.12.13 @ 4:49PM

    Not one mention of the need for a quality screenplay. Until such time, both Film and Digital will remain memories of a bleak past that’s populated with mostly crap.

  • Addison Randall on 09.15.13 @ 10:49AM

    Film v Video? Oil Paint v Watercolor It just depends on what you like to shoot on. I’m glad to see that Kodak will contiue to offer the film medium to those who wish to shoot on film. Which one is better? Depends on who you ask. See above.