July 31, 2014

Filmmakers & Studios Join Forces to Ensure Kodak Continues Producing Film

Kodak Motion Picture Film LogoIt's been a long and bumpy road for Kodak and their film division. While they've emerged from bankruptcy, film sales have been in a free fall since 2006, and the company has considered closing its film production plant altogether. But a new proposal from studios, with support from filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and J.J. Abrams, will likely ensure that filmmakers at least have the choice to shoot film well into the future.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

“After extensive discussions with filmmakers, leading studios and others who recognize the unique artistic and archival qualities of film, we intend to continue production. Kodak thanks these industry leaders for their support and ingenuity in finding a way to extend the life of film," Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement Wednesday.

Essentially, the studios will agree to buy a certain amount of film over a number of years. The numbers have not been released, but Kodak seems to feel it's enough to keep their business going. From the Wall Street Journal:

Kodak's new chief executive, Jeff Clarke, said the pact will allow his company to forestall the closure of its Rochester, N.Y., film manufacturing plant, a move that had been under serious consideration. Kodak's motion-picture film sales have plummeted 96% since 2006, from 12.4 billion linear feet to an estimated 449 million this year. With the exit of competitor Fujifilm Corp. last year, Kodak is the only major company left producing motion-picture film.

Film is certainly not dead, but it's been on life support for some time now, especially since medium and lower budget productions have mostly moved to digital acquisition. Less film production has also meant the closure of developing labs, and part of this deal is making sure that Fotokem, the last remaining 35mm motion picture lab in Hollywood, will remain open.

After this pact is over, it will be interesting to see what Kodak does with their film division, or whether the studios will band together again and help keep it alive. CEO Jeff Clarke hopes the division, which is only 10% of the overall company, can become profitable again by 2016.

Either way, the crisis has been temporarily averted, and we'll still be getting plenty of movies shot on celluloid at least for the next few years.

[via THR & WSJ]

Your Comment

70 Comments

This is great. I'd really like to shoot on film before it goes away forever. I'm not afraid of a light meter (I shoot stills on film all the time) and it just seems like part of my filmmaking education is missing without the experience.

July 31, 2014 at 11:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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+1

July 31, 2014 at 12:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Martin

:)

August 1, 2014 at 10:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rodrigo Molinsky

Rather than killing it. Make it super affordable. Make it compete with today's 4k cameras. While there's no other way around the workflow, I'll just make sure it's convenient for the filmmaker. It's just ridiculous how pricey it is..buying film, renting a film camera, transferring it to digital, and etc. NLEs and Camera are almost 1/4 of the price of what they use to be 5 years back. Why not film?

July 31, 2014 at 12:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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>Rather than killing it. Make it super affordable. Make it compete with today’s 4k cameras.

Keep dreaming. Kodak already proved they won't change their ways, ever. Find a solution to make film in smaller quantities on demand for "big fans" like Tarantino? Nope. Well, it worked with vinyl. Help filmmakers to scan their reels cheaply at least in 4K? Nope, if it wasnt for Blackmagic, we would never see a relatively affordable Cintel 4K Film Scanner.

July 31, 2014 at 1:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

As with all technology that becomes "outdated" we've already experienced the "affordable" era of film. Technology only becomes less expensive when a) there is competition in the market, b) it becomes widely accepted or c) demand drops and nobody wants it. Film stock is already as affordable as it can be, and photography processing is already cheap. On the other hand, monition picture processing was never widely accepted and was always a specialty market. Thus, it never became less expensive, it was always costly and expensive to process large amounts of high quality celluloid.

When tech becomes outdated like this, in favor of something more immediate, less costly, and of the same or higher quality (I'm looking at you RED) then the medium only sticks around for connoisseurs, or hobbyists. If you don't believe me, then look at typewriters, GPS', CRT or Tube TVs, and even more relevant - Movie Theaters.

Movie theaters are already feeling the squeeze of digital platforms and delivery. Opening a film nationwide is very costly and we see that reflected in the types of risks movie theaters want to make. You'll start seeing the price to visit movie theaters become too prohibitive for everyone but the most wealthy or hardcore theater goers. This crash happened once before in the early 1900's thanks to television and it will happen again, only this time it will be devastatingly crippling.

The only advantages film as a medium has over the digital medium is the analog resolution, which will soon be matched - and it's archival properties. Once a more reliable archival medium is developed, there will be no reason to shoot on film besides tradition/education/preference.

It's a shame they never developed cheaper ways to democratize film, it is/was the ultimate medium; assuming we don't have a massive loss in technology or power, it will eventually become extinct.

July 31, 2014 at 2:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jose

Jose,

Film has many advantages over digital:

Rolling Shutter: You'll never see skewed vertical lines from a pan or partial flashes from an on-camera camera on film. Yes, you now have digital cameras with global shutters that prevent rolling shutter artifacting but global shuttered cameras like the Sony F55 have less dynamic range than their rolling shuttered counter parts (like the F5)

Dynamic Range: The dynamic range of a modern film stock is around 15-16. The best DR for a digital camera is the Arri Alexa and it is around 14+

Color Rendition: Even the best digital cameras can't reproduce colors the same way film can. Yes, a very few cameras come close (Sony F65 and Alexa) but they're not the quite there.

Archiving: As you mentioned, archiving film is much cheaper than archiving digital footage.

However, the demise of film is emanate. Filmmakers and audiences have accepted digital. While film may have secured itself from certain death for the next few years with a guaranteed purchase amount from the studios, there's no money being put into film R&D. I don't think we'll see any new film cameras or stocks coming out anytime soon. It's like a race where film has stopped running and digital has gone into a full blown sprint.

July 31, 2014 at 6:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kurt

July 31, 2014 at 6:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kurt

Film has no advantage over digital. Any DP... from Deakins to Seale will tell you this. Maybe, a few hipsters hanging out in a cafe might try and argue that it does.

July 31, 2014 at 8:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Truth

You're a moron. There are plenty of filmmakers - but ESPECIALLY DPs - who would prefer to work with film. As a cinematographer you have much more control over your image (and your crew) if you choose to shoot on celluloid. Colour rendition, texture and dynamic range are still superior to any digital equivalent. Whilst studio cameras are certainly closing in and will no doubt match film stock very soon they're still essentially two very different formats. I'm happy there will still be the option either way.

July 31, 2014 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ON

@ON

Actually, you're showing your ignorance. Especially, since film is scanned in digitally. I'll take ARRIRAW any day of the week for its latitude in post.. DPs are mostly shooting digital now. Film is extremely niche oriented. And, it will likely not be affordable for non studio productions.

Off the top of my head (And, there are many more) - DPs shooting digital:

Roger Deakins
John Seale
Jeff Cronenweth
John Toll
Dean Semler
Amir Mokri
Emmanuel Lubezki
Guillermo Navarro
Robert Richardson
Don Burgess
Peter Deming
John Mathieson
Darius Khondji
Dick Pope
Steven Soderbergh
Caleb Deschanel
Dariusz Wolski
Seamus McGarvey
Chris Menges
Newton Thomas Sigel
Shelly Johnson
Trent Opaloch
Dante Spinotti
Harris Savides
Jo Willems
Peter Suschitzky
Claudio Miranda
Aaron Morton
Andrew Lesnie
Simon Duggan
Benoit Delhomme
Paul Cameron
John Schwartzman

August 1, 2014 at 1:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RidingtheDragon

Also, RIP Savides, etc. You are greatly missed out here.

August 1, 2014 at 1:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RidingtheDragon

@RidingtheDragon also Peter Jackson's choice of DP... (I don't know his Name) shoots in Digital

August 1, 2014 at 5:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bryce

Kurt - the problem here is that that 1-2 F-stop difference is rarely noticeable over the course of some 1,000 - 2,000 shots that comprise a feature length motion picture. And top digital cams may even have an advantage in the shadows, which is beneficial to those seeking dramatic type of lighting. And the digital cams outperform film in low light, resolution and the VFX too.
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As to the music tube vs. solid state comparisons. Tube based PA systems were basically done by the mid-70's because they sounded horribly compared to solid state powered systems that had separated the high frequency waves (aka tweeters) from the low frequencies (woofers). Since then, the PA progressed to the suspended curvilinear line-arrays and the very cool running Class D amps. Tube amps are only a source and rarely a clean one at that.

August 1, 2014 at 1:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

is nice, but the reel film days are numbered. It is like a cult they will keep on using, just because only A FEW CAN AFFORT TO SHOOT WITH FILM. NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T EVEN SEE THE DIFFERENCE; ONLY SOME
A GOOD DIGITAL RIG IS JUST AS GOOD PERHAPS EVEN BETTER IS SOME RESPECTS. iTS LIKE THE DAYS OF THE TUBE AMPLIFIER AN THE TRANSISTOR; WHAT ARE WE ALL USING TODAY?

July 31, 2014 at 12:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth Gooswit

I have a tube amplifier. Every major amp maker has a tube model. At Sweetwater.com right now, they have 174 tube amps for sale versus 104 solid state.

Research, my friend. Research.

July 31, 2014 at 1:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brian

you have special people and then you don't. the human ear differs from people to people to people,
most people are not hearing music tones over 12k; only exceptional people do. film is produced for the mases not for some wirdos; besides lots of the latest big movies are using mixed scenes from film and digital

July 31, 2014 at 5:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth Gooswit

You will not hear any difference when one day you heard a transistor amp and the other day you hear a tube amp, but in direct comparison, with matching levels and the same loudspeakers in the same room, even a half deaf guy will hear the difference. the same applies to tape vs digital.

August 1, 2014 at 9:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ask Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and David Gilmour if they prefer transistor or tube. If you don't hear the difference between the sound of one and the other, you probably can't see the difference between film and digital either.
Normal people don't even see the difference? If you think everybody uses digital things then I should suppose that you are not a normal person. It's like 'pro-digitalists' want to force things. I imagine them as people who claims stairs should be banned forever because now we have elvators.

July 31, 2014 at 2:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mark

you have special people and then you don’t. the human ear differs from people to people to people,
most people are not hearing music tones over 12k; only exceptional people do. film is produced for the mases not for some wirdos; besides lots of the latest big movies are using mixed scenes from film and digital

July 31, 2014 at 5:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth Gooswit

I with a bolex 16mm; still have it, but the efforts it took to make a commercial with film, iam more than happy with my bm 4k.

July 31, 2014 at 6:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth Gooswit

I started to make productions with a 3 lens bolex 16mm; still have it, but the efforts it took to make a commercial with film, iam more than happy with my bm 4k.

July 31, 2014 at 6:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth Gooswit

Yes, if you are a Guitar Player ,there is a Long standing (Debate?) battle over Analog versus Digital / Tube Versus Solid State. I like my Tube amp, but have had decent solid State and it is Certainly sounding better than ever. There IS a difference ,but your average Person just couldn't care less. It's rare they can tell the difference. Heck ,they don't even care that all that wonderfully Recorded Music is now Squashed down into MP3's ! They even think it's great to watch whole movies on a Tiny Phone Screen. They couldn't care less about the Quality.
Kinda Like the Old Raging debate - Mac Versus PC. Ridiculous ,but not to some of the Folks who use the stuff on a Daily Basis.
I remember when, as a Kid ,watching my Fav Sitcom & suddenly ,one week it looked Very strange to me. I hated it. I remember asking my Mother & Father what had Happened. Of Course ,they looked at me with that "okay ,what kind of a Kid did we Birth Look ". They could NOT see it. And I never (when Young) figured out what had happened.
Later ,when I learned about Film / Video / Tape versus Digital Recording ,I realized it was when they had switched over from Film to Video.

July 31, 2014 at 5:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dheep'

Most rock guitar players use a solid state effect box - fuzz, overdrive, distortion, etc. - and none of it sounds like a classic L-5 ... for that you have to listen to jazz.
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As to film, it's marginally better on the dynamic range and highlights roll-off than the top digital cameras today but that isn't likely be the case for much longer. "Deliver us from evil" shot on F55 looks really good and most people can't tell film from digital anyway. High budget feature film production is pretty much the only mini-corner of the globe still beholden to Kodak. But when 8K arrives, film will be gone.

July 31, 2014 at 5:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

but that solid state fx-box feeds into a tube amp.

August 1, 2014 at 9:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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it's also a decision of taste. if you need a super clean sound, a transistor amp may be what you want, but if you need that big rock sound you might be be better off with that marshall superbass double stack all up to 11. but then again - if it's jazz, everything should be possible.

August 1, 2014 at 9:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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With a heavy overload, everything will clip, including tubes. The entire "guitar god' era was basically due to a mishap in a Nashville recording studio when Grady Martin inadvertently blew up a guitar amp by playing a bass through it. That raspy clipping sound was caught on a running tape recorder and soon the first fuzz box was introduced. Without it, the electric guitars sounded a lot like the acoustic. With it, the sustain was born and 20-minute guitar solos became popular.

August 2, 2014 at 1:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Sometimes, as Holger Czuckay of krautrockers CAN puts it, the mishaps turn out to actually be the interesting/innovative part.

August 2, 2014 at 7:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gunnar

Your Grady Martin story more likely to be true, I prefer the story of Link Wray purposely taking a knife to cut in the loudspeakers to get that fuzz sound. This would be so much cooler. I think overdriven guitar sound just emerged because the amplifiers at the time (I'm talking the early to mid 50s here) usually had about 10 - 15 watts. In a bigger venue you would have to crank these little fellers up to actually get heard. tubes distort - people fell in love with that sound, that energy.

August 2, 2014 at 8:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gunnar

Now it's official, grandpa Kodak is on life support. Angels are waiting for him at the doorsteps.

July 31, 2014 at 12:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

It is more that they turned into a medium sized speciality printing company. They are now advertising platesetters and touch screens (wth?) on their website, and are into licensing their once famous brand and managing their real estate. If they can survive on this, I don't know.

August 1, 2014 at 1:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

The economics are not what they were. I use 16mm film 90% of the time. I can buy a really good camera for the equivalent of $100, get the stock I need, make a 30 minute film, get it processed, edited, scanned to digital and dubbed if I want to, or buy a Moviscope editor (my last one cost $15) and edit it, for less than the cost of the body of a Canon 5d Mk iii. Don't bother telling me I'm mad. I do it because I prefer it. Also, if something goes wrong with a Blackmagic on a shoot, there is probably nothing whatsoever you can do to fix it yourself. You shoot in a different way, you have to plan thoroughly, but the discipline is good for you. I for one am glad that they continue to make film. When they stop making it I will use digital, but while I can I will always use film.

July 31, 2014 at 1:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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A "really good" 16mm camera for $100!? Where can I find one of these kinds of deals? It's hard to find a decent 8mm camera for less than $200!

July 31, 2014 at 1:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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if they wanna survive they should start making cheap (under 3k) fully electronic film cameras marketed towards the new digital crowd, and make the film stock cheaper (make it in china) and not charge stupidly high prices for processing and telecine costs. give people an affordable and sensible option to shoot film, and not just because of "nostalgia" or because some old ass hollywood director shoots with it. because right now, you can easily make RED footage look like film if not better than, with vintage lenses and filtration and a good colorist

July 31, 2014 at 1:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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john jeffries

It's true that film was/is an excellent recording medium but it has had it's time. It's has so many disadvantages (footage lost because bad development, accidental exposure, mechanical damage, etc) compared to digital recording which isn't better but certainly not worse than film. It's more than 120 years old, you can't say it's too soon. I'm beginning to wonder how film is an artistic choice? Is it the grain, you can simulate that. Is it the resolution? A 6K dragon can match that. It's like saying 'using diskettes is an artistic choice, CD's are too clean and convient'. It's just a medium and indeed most people don't see the difference. They can keep film around if they really, really want too for purists/elitetist like Nolan and Tarantino but for most people digital seems like a very logical and natural technological evolution. In history there are always people who love to keep the things they are for no reason than 'tradition' for lack of a better term.

July 31, 2014 at 2:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jerghal

Amen!!!!

July 31, 2014 at 2:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Imani

Film looks a lot better. The skin tones are better. The behavior near overexposure is better. You don't have to be as precise in exposure. A higher saturation can be achieved while maintaining realistic saturation in skin tones. The motion quality is far superior.

Any cinematographer worth their salt can tell if a film used digital by looking at a dvd or a low resolution digital file. They can tell within a few seconds, the moment the first high dynamic range scene hits the screen. They can tell digital produces relatively monochromatic skin tones.

Yes, a blackmagic 4K can match the resolution, but it's missing about 6 stops of latitude. A Red Epic resolves more than film, but the motion quality and color is inferior and about 2 stops are missing in dynamic range. Alexa is great, but regardless of budget, the result will be inferior in terms of color, resolution, and dynamic range. And when we get to low end digital, the difference is far greater.

We don't have to pretend film does not look better:) And if we are not pretending, well, that's even worse. Digital has been good enough for decades now, but equivalent or better? No.

July 31, 2014 at 3:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DG

Interesting points. But why would motion quality be better? Digital does indeed mostly have a rolling shutter but on an Alexa it's minimal and mostly undetectable. Can you eleborate on how one would see this difference in motion quality?
The skin tones might not be as good on every camera but I think an Alexa certainly can match film. Arri spent a great deal of time making the Alexa a very film-like camera. And even if they were a bit monochromatic you could always color grade right?
On dynamic range an Alexa gets about 14,1 stops which is about the same as the most recent/best Kodak Stock.

I'm totally agreeing that the first digital cameras (Sony HDW-F900, Thomson Viper Filmstream, Sony CineAlta F23) were inferior to film but the Alexa (which is about 4 years old) is the first one that's gets it right and I think this is the reason it's the most widely used cinema camera today. And it's not only because producers are pushing the DP's out of cost reasons but I really think people like the image quality, workflow and ease of use of the camera.

I have seen plenty of 35mm and Alexa movies and I personally can't see a lack of quality, color or motion quality.

July 31, 2014 at 3:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jerghal

Rolling shutter does not look natural. The mobile phone generation is accustomed to it, but the problem is still there. We will all discover how important the problem is when the manufacturers fix it in most of their cameras and hit us with the comparison shots. Meanwhile, the motion quality of a mobile phone will do.

Film gives the photographer some room to move. A high dynamic range digital camera can look close in dynamic range, but it takes a lot of precision and use of low ISO. All those using dSLRs in very high ISO do not care much for dynamic range I guess, they are happy with the 9, 8, even 7 stops the cameras achieve in these modes. Even the press try to convince them that the 4 stop ISO1000000 mode looks fine in camera X. Somehow, the acceptable has replaced the best in art.

You can't grade your way out of monochromatic images. You can expand the range, but there will be holes and that will generally look like plastic.

Some recent films shot on digital do manage to look like film in some shots..

August 1, 2014 at 10:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DG

film is produced for the mases not for some wirdos; besides lots of the latest big movies are using mixed scenes from film and digital; some are all digital
what about the cinema. they are using dcp projectors to show digitized feature films that were shot on film
imo the guys who are using film i.s.o. digital cams wants to keep t like that, because they hate to see that even a teenager with an i phone can produce an interesting movie.

July 31, 2014 at 6:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth Gooswit

But after DV, only image quality was improved. How could that make a film good? Does a new house depend on a doormat?

August 1, 2014 at 11:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DG

The Alexa and the Red killed film collectively. The Alexa produces color so close to film (some say better) and it has essentially the latitude, the highlight roll off and similar skin tone quality to that of film that not just your average person can't tell the difference but experts in the field get stumped sometimes. This reminds me of Spielberg still cutting on a flatbed, does he do it because it's faster...no. Does he do it because it makes his post pipeline more efficient...no. Why does he do it, out of tradition...that's it. Does it work, obviously but is it as efficient as NLE's not by a long shot. Digital has come so far, so fast that in many ways it even bests film stocks on some fronts (even Nolan used the phantom flex on Inception because he can't shoot frame rates that high on film). Digital is in its infancy and the competition is so steep that each company is trying to out do each other. Even though Kodak will carry on, they most likely won't have the revenue for R and D, so film most likely has reached a pinnacle of quality and digital is just getting started. This announcement might as well be called Film is now on life support for the next few years because demand will continue to dwindle with future advancements.

July 31, 2014 at 3:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I agree. The only film stock used in the future will probably only be for color separation masters for archival purposes. Projection will be converted worldwide to digital within about 2 years. 35mm acquisition keeps dwindling which causes the prices to rise on the whole process and usage to fall even faster. So this deal will buy Kodak and film some time but once it ends it's probably the end of the line for film.

July 31, 2014 at 3:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jerghal

Nolan didn't use the Phantom flex shots for the final film. He tested them to see if they are good and chose to not use them.

July 31, 2014 at 10:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Henry

in L.A. KODAK FILM is still the word when it comes to stunning unsurpassed image quality according to famous Cinematographers…and Directors…in advertising it is used heavily…according to post houses…and for someone in school it's the best way to make your show reel stand out

digital (video) companies honor Kodak by spending billions trying to emulate film and they still can't match the beauty and texture of Kodak..

if you know how to plan your shots..it's also cheaper than renting out an alexa

July 31, 2014 at 4:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DIO

No doubt, film is still the best in terms of latitude and color, but I worked in advertising for a long time in LA, and we stopped using film years ago for the big budget stuff. Now that clients can keep the camera rolling past 7 minutes, and shoot endless takes with no recourse other than overtime. we are in a new era of creative wastefulness. Would love to go back to the film era, we definitely captured more quality stuff back then because it was shot with purpose. The fact that our resources (film mags) were limited, meant we all had to be on our top game all the time. Not so much anymore. Shoots can be sloppy and 'fixed' in post. Anyone with a new digital cinema camera can capture something that is 90% comparable and my mom couldn't tell the difference. Technology has democratized the industry is some sense, but has allowed bad habits to permeate.

July 31, 2014 at 4:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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M

The free market has spoken. The small market that can afford it have decided to fund it themselves to keep it alive and I'm glad they are. I hope it stays an option for decades to come!

July 31, 2014 at 4:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tyler

Film as a boutique format for a select few who can afford to subsidize it is a great idea. It should not be completely eliminated if possible.

July 31, 2014 at 5:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marc B

film is primairy telling a story with pictures. if the pictures are nice it could contribute to the story, but is the story is bad and the pictures have great dynamic ranges, the movie sucks. it get the other award, forgot how they call it. rashberry or somethings like that. A very popular movie like avatar, was it a digital production or not

July 31, 2014 at 6:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth Gooswit

Kodak should have jumped into the digital game. This arrangement won't last long. Film is dead.

July 31, 2014 at 8:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RidingtheDragon

There will be enough film for the niche oriented upper crest directors like Spielberg, Nolan, and Tarantino. But, that will be it. If Kodak doesn't get involved in the digital era -- it's over for them.

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/18/entertainment/la-et-ct-paramount...

July 31, 2014 at 8:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Truth

From David Mullen, ASC:

"Generally there is a principle that you should sample an image at a higher resolution than it contains. A 4K scan barely allows this; generally 35mm film seems to resolve around 3K in detail, which means it is best to scan it at 4K to 6K to avoid aliasing. Essentially you want to oversample it. Since the ARRISCANNER can do 6K, a lot of archival work is now done starting with 6K scans, which are then downsampled to 4K.

A number of D.I.'s involve a 4K scan that is downsampled to 2K for the rest of the work. The idea here is that even though the finished master is in 2K, a 4K scan insures that every bit of grain in the original is faithfully reproduced.

There was a even bigger reason to finish at 4K if one was going to film-out the results because there is some sharpness loss, especially if you were recording a 4K dupe negative but then striking an IP and then multiple IN's to make mass release prints, so if you had started with a 2K film-out and then went through multiple generations to release print, the results would be a bit softer (unfortunately a lot of movies did it this way.) But now most movies are released in a 2K DCP so the quality doesn't really drop further down.

And some studios (Warner Bros. mainly, perhaps Sony) are pushing more for a 4K finish because they want movies that went through a D.I. archived at 4K and there are plans for 4K distribution in the future.

Most D.I. facilities can work at 4K, it's just that it is 4X the data to handle, and they charge more for dealing with it. The other limitation has been that visual efx companies are adverse to doing the work at 4K, particularly if the movie is 3D because that's already 2X the work."

July 31, 2014 at 9:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Filmisdead

The word 'bailout' comes to mind.

I wonder how many of these great film aficionados will avoid the scan and digital intermediate process, and I wonder how many can insist on projecting film, when theatres all over the world have rapidly gone digital.

The speed at which digital cameras have evolved makes me think this is one last gasp attempt at assuaging a romantic obsession, postponing its death, or prolonging an indulgence not many can afford these days.

Commercially, celluloid acquisition won't make any more sense going into the future, but there are clearly some film makers who can operate without those constraints.

If I had this kind of clout, I'd be investing in new age companies that are doing amazing things in the digital domain, not chasing this notion of reviving film.

August 1, 2014 at 12:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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B S Kumar

You're absolutely right. It's basically studios doing Kodak a favor and bailing them out for a couple of years. Very few DPs are shooting film.

August 1, 2014 at 1:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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saywut

It wasn't uncommon to shoot on 4-6 different stocks. 'Seven' for instance, was shot on 5293, 5245, 5281, and 5287. They were nearly all developed with different processes. It definitely isn't cheaper. That era is over.

August 1, 2014 at 2:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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SomeDP

Film was great, but it's over. The big names you see trying to keep it alive are all from the old guard of Hollywood. It will eventually die. It's unfortunate, but unlike other legacy mediums, film requires a lot of expensive technology to keep it alive. It's also not ecologically friendly.

I would love to see film survive as a fine art medium, but I don't think it's going to happen.

August 1, 2014 at 1:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Spy Black

I want to add that the digital age really brought not only photography - with its smartphones - but the cinematography down to the masses. The fact that one can take a $500 camera (BMPC), add a sub-$500 lens (plenty of MFT primes) with some inexpensive media and them shoot, edit and deliver breath taking footage will create a lot more Tarantinos and Spielbergs that currently exist.

August 1, 2014 at 2:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Celluloid? Really? I'm not even in the business, but I know that celluloid hasn't been used for manufacturing film since the Fifties. It is highly flammable, and most film is now made with an acetate substrate.

August 1, 2014 at 2:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Remady Nishova

Cellulose acetate replaced Cellulose Nitrate and was used for ages until Kodak's Polyester in the 1980s. Polyester wasn't even really popular for prints until the 90s. Also, celluloid is used as slang. How often does someone refer to a common movie as a "film?" Nope, film is dead. We shouldn't call it a "film." We should call it a "movie." Instead of "filming" a scene now. I guess we should always say, "capturing."

August 1, 2014 at 2:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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huh

This is fantastic, because let's be honest, if film ceased to be produced right now, little-to-none of the moviegoers would likely notice. So even if this is a minimalist extension to film's lifespan, it's far better than the alternative.

August 1, 2014 at 6:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Agent55

I have to wonder whether small guage film capture will increase in relevance as digital moves forward.
Higher res scans of 8mm, S8mm or 16mm will mean a more transparent snapshot of the film, highlighting
it's desirable limitations, while not adding its own.

Much like recording through a Studer 2" machine into 96kz Pro Tools, the digital is so transparent, it just
"gets out of the way.."

August 1, 2014 at 9:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ruben Huizenga

Pretty well all the Kodak digital (still) cameras I've used were poorly designed. Bad ergonomics mostly. Almost like they just threw it together and slapped their name on it thinking their brand name would make it sell on that alone.
If they could get some good industrial designers making something that went a step beyond anything else then they might have something to sell. Still cameras are still nifty but smart phones have taken over most of the snapshot market. Now it would be cinema and action cameras and they've have to have something unique and better than anything else. I don't know if they're that kind of company to think that way though.

August 1, 2014 at 11:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The last gasping breath of a dying medium. Just let it die with some dignity.

August 1, 2014 at 2:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bertzie

I did some web search today and, while some of the scientific papers went way above my head, I was able to figure out that a digital sensor should be able to soon surpass the film not only on resolution (there are 16K, aka 133 megapixel, sensors out there already) but on the dynamic range as well. Some of the HDR capabilities come from new materials (purely organic sensors, graphene + metal sandwiches) and some from the better signal processing (superior forms of the exposure bracketing) . The argument at that point will surely become, "Sure, digital is better on specs but I still happen to like analog/film more". But then the studios will not be subsidizing Kodak - who helped create the digital revolution but then completely fumbled its foray into the market - and it will be left to wither and die.

August 1, 2014 at 4:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Film is dying because producers can't tell the difference, or they don't think the difference is worth paying for. They also love sitting in front of a beautiful HD monitor in video village and I can't blame them.

Many DP's would love to shoot film but there are so many issues that it can come with now. Crazy to think there is only one lab left in LA and one in NYC.

August 1, 2014 at 7:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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matt

Film is beautiful and gorgeous and blah blah blah, but I hope Kodak gets buried without their Luddite patrons.

August 1, 2014 at 9:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bruce

I'm starting to believe the whole shooting on film thing is about exclusivity and quasi elitism. A Bugatti and a souped up old muscle car can go super fast, butPeople buy Bugatti's cause it's rare and expensive. Shooting on film especialy Panavision anamorphic or IMAX are so few available rentals only the top tier in budget and reputation filmmakers can have access to them. I think the idea of eglatarian cinema of equal quality being in the hands of independents and god forbid eventualy the general public bothers some.

August 2, 2014 at 12:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

Forgot to add. There is a difference between elitism and professionalism. The democratization of camera tech I think is great, but really, if everybody had an IMAX quality camcorder tomorrow. if you think about it, you'd still have kids and families shooting shaky hand held wobbly home video. The camera has in the end almost nothing to do with the quality of a film. The top writer, actors, crews and studio equipment make for a top quality movie people will pay to see first run in a cinema in the future even if their webcam got 16K res. In my own opinion, 35mm in 4k digital projection doesn't look as clear as 4k native digital. Directors shooting film ought to do 5 pref 65mm, I actualy think is the best current format.

August 2, 2014 at 1:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

To this day I still haven't seen anything from the digital world that would be "better" than analog. Yes on paper the dynamic range, color sensitivity and etc on digital can have greater values but when you look at the picture you immediately start noticing the magic of analog. I'd say analog is still 30% better than Alexa - if the next Alexa gets to 100% where Analog is, I say let the analog film die.. but until then.. please let it live.

August 2, 2014 at 3:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pietro

I think what's probably going to kill film is not digital cameras, but cheap anamorphic lenses. There is a limited expensive availability of cine scope lenses, filmed in Panavision was sometiing reserved for a few tentpoles and prestige movies. There are lots of anamorphic adapters and even new lower cost cine glass available. When lots of people can shoot scope, I think many directors will switch because that look wont be special anymore.

August 2, 2014 at 7:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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mike