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The end of chemical film is coming soon


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#1 Wolfgang Troescher

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 12:28 PM

Hi!

It seems the end of chemical film is coming soon: Kodak is preparing for bancruptcy.

It´s sad that such an old established company has obviously no future in the digitalized world.

Wolfgang
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#2 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:05 PM

Very sad indeed if it does happen so quickly. If it does and Fuji is smart, they will rally with cheaper prices to try and lengthen the diminishing use of Film in our industry. It's still being used but how long? 5 years? 10 years?
Arri would have been in the same boat if it had not developed the D cameras and the Alexa line of cameras.
It's a fast changing world. I haven't worked with a film camera in about 5 years, I truly miss it. The respect it commands on set is not matched with any digital medium. Because of it's cost, producers, directors, etc.. prepare and rehearse more than when capturing on digital, there is more care involved in my opinion.
Very sad indeed...
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#3 Tom Wills

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:33 PM

I'm actually picking up the last of my rentals for shooting a project on 16mm Kodak Vision 3 this weekend. The feel of the camera in my hands alone commands respect, and Osvaldo is absolutely correct - the whole cast and crew is taking everything more seriously.

I think it was quite telling however that on our trip to the rental house, although every digital camera (from 5Ds to REDs) were out, but they had 2 spare 16mm cameras sitting unused, and unrented.

Just sad to think that I may not have this opportunity much more in the future, and that operators who come after me may not have the experience at all.
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#4 RonBaldwin

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:45 PM

Unfortunately with the end of film use so comes (or continues) the end of all sanity on the set. Very sad to hear about the end of the era of filmmaking for the rise of the reality show like atmosphere of hd.
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#5 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:05 PM

Ahhhh, I like the sound of the RED fans in the morning....... :angry:
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#6 Chris Medico

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:49 PM

Very sad indeed if it does happen so quickly. If it does and Fuji is smart, they will rally with cheaper prices to try and lengthen the diminishing use of Film in our industry. It's still being used but how long? 5 years? 10 years?
Arri would have been in the same boat if it had not developed the D cameras and the Alexa line of cameras.
It's a fast changing world. I haven't worked with a film camera in about 5 years, I truly miss it. The respect it commands on set is not matched with any digital medium. Because of it's cost, producers, directors, etc.. prepare and rehearse more than when capturing on digital, there is more care involved in my opinion.
Very sad indeed...


I can give you some insight on what Fuji is doing. My day job is as an engineer for a biotech company here in North Carolina. We were owned by Merck but Fuji bought us along with some other pharma companies and started a pharma division. They want us to be a multi billion dollar contributor to the bottom line within 5 years. Currently we are less than $500mil/yr. Its going to be interesting to see that happen.

They also purchased a company that makes most of the ink you use in your inkjet printers. Their bigest customer is HP so that HP cartridge is filled with Fuji ink. Go figure.

Anyway, they are fully aware that film is going extinct. They are bringing in more baskets to spread their eggs around. I doubt there will be many eggs left in the film basket in 5 years.
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:14 AM

As a heretical counterpoint: while there are definite aspects of the filmmaking process that have been lost along the way in the transition to digital, I think it can be a little easy to get misty-eyed about the whole thing and forget the drawbacks that were simply accepted due to lack of alternative when most of us got into this game.

It's certainly true that HD has "democratized" the responsibility process on set; we've moved from the conventional operator being the only person who saw the "real" image through the eyepiece to everyone BUT the operator experiencing it via large, crisp monitors (and the poor operator getting a half-assed version of it in a questionable video finder). But in the case of Steadicam, it can't be argued that there is far more information available to the operator visually than any film camera ever provided (outside of that fiber optic video tap that CP developed--forgot what it was called...?). And the cameras are only getting lighter, outside of 3D setups. Film displacement with certain cameras, heavy power draws in the cold, torque issues with long throat mags, size and bulk (ever have to slide sideways through a door frame and wish you could remove the mag to make it easier?)...film wasn't perfect. And it was only in the past 15 years or so that the cameras got really dialed in for ideal Steadicam work. Easy to get nostalgic for a LWII or XL or Arricam LT--not quite as likely with a BL or Gold conversion or 535B.

On the shooting side, the quantifiable handicaps of HD have been on a steady decline as the resolution, latitude and sensitivity continues to improve. We are at the point where HD is matching or beating film in many regards. As we wax nostalgic for the look and texture of film grain, let's remember that that grain was not always desirable for every situation. Consider that it was a standard convention that night exteriors would require high speed primes, which encouraged focus issues and forced a shallow depth of field. Hard for any newcomer to the field wielding a 5D and f1.2 lens to comprehend that that might not be ideal, but having one eye in and one out of focus used to not necessarily be a good look. With ISO's stretching into the four and even five digits, it's possible to work at much more genteel stops if desired under light levels that are beyond the capability of even today's film stocks.

I'm playing devil's advocate to a certain degree. There are indeed things I miss greatly about film as well. Certainly there has been a devolution with the working practices on set as Ron indicated (I think we both have a particular TV director in mind who abuses the long roll to an epic level, no pun intended) but I can't help but wonder how much of this is actually dictated by the ever-diminishing budgets and increased pressure that seems to pervade every set these days. The dirtiest trick is when the rehearsal turns into "let's just roll on it" and then the roll continues for multiple takes, meaning no-one has any opportunity to make adjustments based on what first team is actually doing and it all becomes an exercise in compromise and mediocrity. I realized how far this has all come recently when working recently with a director who has never shot digitally; he called cut after every take, including partials where there was an issue. It actually felt jarring as I've become so used to just plowing right through it. Strange how quickly that has taken effect.

I don't miss sitting through projected dailies after a long day or sleuthing whether the scratches came from the camera or the lab or having to burn through short ends and hoping they don't roll out early etc. etc. For each of those issues, there's a corresponding potential issue with HD (I've had two projects in the past six months that have had lost data/corrupted files occur--very discouraging). Who doesn't miss the simplicity and speed of the physical camera setup of a film camera? But again, we are in the earlier stages of all this, so it's only fair to compare the status quo with an earlier period of film cameras, where the taps were mammoth and sucky and the viewfinders not so bright and sharp and high speed stock always represented a tradeoff (grain was often as much a dirty word as not).

Ultimately, it's all about what ends up on the TV or theater screen (or these days, iPad or laptop) and while there will always be those that champion the look of film, it's tough to argue that we are getting awfully close to recreating that with the new technology. Certainly the "unwashed masses" can't tell the difference any more, and I think even quite a few industry people would be hard pressed to identify one over the other in a blind testing.
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#8 Janice Arthur

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:36 AM

Hi all;

I'm missing the smell of film.

I always thought the smell of the film was neat.

It was the way to say you'd arrived at the pinacle of shooting when you were shooting film.
(Now you can shoot HD when you're four.)

JA

(How I pine for the days of heavy film cameras that would kill you.)
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#9 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:48 PM

I don't miss the day when the producer handed me 3-1000' cans. I said, "where are the 400's", he said I ordered the wrong size rolls, this is all we have....cut to....all day with my BL2 and the 1000 mags on the Model 1 steadicam. Fun!
Ozzie
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#10 RonBaldwin

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:19 AM

Charles is absolutely right (must be between rye binges)...the tech is getting better and is making many things more convenient. Jeez, the alexa is fabulous and I am happy to see one when I show up on set. I guess the handgrenade approach to directing can sometimes overshadow the positives for me. There seems to be fewer and fewer directors...just collectors, shooting anything and everything and sorting it all out later.

I miss the smell too
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#11 Lohengrin Zapiain

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 06:45 PM

It is great when you see your own feelings so well expressed in other persons words.

Charles, over the last years I have witnessed the dramatic change on the role of the camera operator. It's probably more dramatic for some of us that learned how to make movies with "old school DPs"

Sometimes it's more than frustrating to have people on video village correcting stuff on the frame that you sometimes barely noticed.

I used to feel proud of taking care of my focus pullers (as I was one of them once upon a time) and check focus for them all the time. Now a days those comments come from the DP via radio and I don't even know about them half the time.

But the most dramatic change I feel is the lack of rehearsals and proper correction of the problems related to the specific set-up. Usually we are rolling on the rehearsals (or blockings) because "it's all the same with HD"... well guess what, it is NOT! things use to be a certain way for a reason. If you are rolling you don't have the freedom to experiment of correct stuff because they might as well print the take.

at the end ists a changing world and it's time to adapt
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