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How long will film last for?


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#1 Mario A. Peraza

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 03:54 PM

I want to buy an analog film camera for my own personal use. I really value film as a medium to record images for it's raw use, I don't really value it as a competitive attribute for films against digital. 

 

I want to know if it will last and if it will be in the market for a while. There's a bunch of film cameras that are, unfortunately, relatively expensive but still at the sub $10,000 level. It makes me think they are still in demand for people who still have a desire to shoot in analog film.

 

Does it make sense to buy for personal long term use?


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#2 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:53 PM

No.. a couple of years at the most..buy a Sony A series camera for personal use.. or equivalent..  there might be some other opinions :) 


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#3 Uli Meyer

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:34 AM

No.. a couple of years at the most..buy a Sony A series camera for personal use.. or equivalent..  there might be some other opinions :)

What makes you so sure? Do you have any inside information?  According to someone I know at the Kodak lab, there is an upward trend for shooting on film in the UK. I hope it'll last.


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#4 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:59 AM

My sources .. I can't mention names of course .. assure me that all film production will cease after Brexit.. Arri and Sony will make a massive stock market attack on Kodak via the Frankfurt bourse on the 2nd of April..  and then shutter the whole operation.. warehouse stock will be sold at a huge premium till supplies run low.. the last of which will be dumped in the Thames under cover of night.. my brokers are of course ready to pounce .. please keep this information within this forum.. and I must inform you that insider trading is illegal .. and I will in no way or form, take responsibility for any finical losses you may or may not  incur .. should you not decide to act upon aforementioned information..


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#5 Uli Meyer

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 02:09 AM

My sources .. I can't mention names of course .. assure me that all film production will cease after Brexit.. Arri and Sony will make a massive stock market attack on Kodak via the Frankfurt bourse on the 2nd of April..  and then shutter the whole operation.. warehouse stock will be sold at a huge premium till supplies run low.. the last of which will be dumped in the Thames under cover of night.. my brokers are of course ready to pounce .. please keep this information within this forum.. and I must inform you that insider trading is illegal .. and I will in no way or form, take responsibility for any finical losses you may or may not  incur .. should you not decide to act upon aforementioned information..

Haha, very funny. By the way, what are "finical" losses?


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#6 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 02:46 AM

Haha, very funny. By the way, what are "finical" losses?

 

 

Its old English and rather finicky... you have to have gone to LSE to really understand it.. 


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#7 Uli Meyer

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 02:59 AM

 

 

Its old English and rather finicky... you have to have gone to LSE to really understand it.. 

...and only those who attained a degree in finical finance.


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#8 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:08 AM

...and only those who attained a degree in finical finance.

 

 

Maybe.. maybe not.. could be.. not exactly sure.. its possible .. hard too pin down.. 


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#9 Robert Ante

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 02:25 PM

Getting back to the topic. I shoot film (16mm &Super8) because, relative to digital, it’s permanent. Digital is great for certain purposes. And of course now commercial theaters project digital, even if original was shot on film. A feature film on a cd weighs a lot less than a bunch of 35mm print reels.
On the other hand, storage costs are a lot less for film than digital for archival purposes. A great deal cheaper. That is the reason Hollywood contracted with Kodak to guarantee film production. Digital is transferred to film.
Rapid changes in digital technology is both blessing and disaster. Cameras made 75 yrs ago can still make movies. What ever happened to High 8, VHS, Beta. How long will digital cameras use memory cards?
Technology moves forward, but does not obliterate the old.
I have movies I tool 50 yrs ago. I have floppies, digital tapes and disk drives with inaccessible data.
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#10 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:06 PM

Few things. Kodak's motion picture division is permanently solvent. When they rebuilt the park, they now lease the buildings on the property and that excess money is what they need for kodak to stay around forever.

There are already two new film manufacturers in process of making film. Yes it will take them a while to get off the ground, but in the next 5 years we should see all new film stocks to compete with Kodak.

So film is staying...

In terms of owning cameras. Let me say for the record, I own various Super 8, 16mm and 35mm cameras and at least one of them is on rental constantly. Most of the labs are very busy processing and transferring new shows, most of them commercial/music video and short narratives. So yea there is a brave new world of people owning film cameras they once could only dream of having. I don't think everyone can rent, but if you build the right package, they will come.

Remember, it's great to own a camera, but the accessories and lenses are the hardest, most expensive part.
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#11 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 07:35 PM

Film is on the way out.. lets face it.. just look at the last 20 years of professional production.. from corporate video,s to the biggest budget feature films.. the percentage shot on film has taken a massive nose dive..this is an undeniable fact.. there is only one company even manufacturing it.. and that was a very close call... no company is permanently solvent BTW.... yes technology advances.. and a good thing too.. I like the look of film.. but its no more permeant than digital .. where did that idea come from... it would make zero sense for a 20 year old freelancer starting their career  to invest in a film camera .. as their main money maker.. and another major move forward.. look at the price of camera,s these days ! .. just over $40k for a Sony Venice !!..way less than a digibeta 15 yrs ago.. under $10k for a Fs7 II.. film is already a niche market.. and its on a very tight rope even now.. yes its a bit sad.. people hated close ups ,people hated talking movies, people hated color movies.. people hate digital even when they can't even tell them apart.. its nostalgia for some . and fear of the unknown to others ..but really empirical logic has it writ large .. the age of film is on the way out.. already a niche market.. it only takes a couple of new directors on the board of Kodak, down turn in the film industry ..big theatre chain goes bust..

 

Sorry guys but already in only a few years Netflix et el have taken over the industry.. times are changing.. for good or bad but they are..  when the already few big hitters who demand to shoot on film retire to Palm Springs .. sun sets.. roll credits ..


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#12 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:25 AM

Film is on the way out.. lets face it.. just look at the last 20 years of professional production..


Three things that killed film:

- AFTRA merged with SAG, which meant films could be shot with "video" cameras which wasn't the case prior.
- 3D films happened, which forced theaters to buy digital projectors, negating the necessity of film prints. The studio's put a hard date on film prints ending, which wasn't fought hard enough by Kodak. Management at the time wasn't strong enough to keep things going like they are today.
- Kodak filed bankruptcy, which scared everyone into thinking film would die.

Kodak was unhealthy from years of horrible management. They never consolidated their assets until AFTER the bankruptcy.

Today Kodak is super healthy and for the first time in years, we saw 45 theatrically released films shot on film in 2018 (up from 33 in 2017) world wide, 17 of them US features. Plus a myriad of television, promotional, commercial, industrial and music video products. I have my finger on the pulse of the labs and frankly, all of them are doing pretty good. None fantastic, but that's because the print business is dead. If that were ever to come back, even in a small form, everyone would be doing great.
 

no company is permanently solvent BTW....


Well yes, an act of god could happen. Kodak no longer needs contracts with the studio's to stay alive. They've got a lean and trim business model which is working. They aren't going anywhere.
 

I like the look of film.. but its no more permeant than digital ..


Film has more dynamic range, with softer roll off and far better natural/smoother skin tones then any digital camera. If all you do is manipulate the crap out of your image, like every single show you've enamored about that shoots on the Sony cameras, then who cares what you use for a capture device. Soderbergh uses iPhones, for his heavily manipulated shows. I've seen both of them, they look no different on my display streaming online then anything shot with a fancy digital cinema camera. It's all about how much time is put into lighting and grading in post.

May I remind you that when they went to re-master Star Wars Episode II and III, they couldn't do so off the digital masters. The BluRay's are off film prints because in what, in the last 15 years, technology has advanced so rapidly, they couldn't even re-constitute the tape's. Today, technology is moving WAY faster then 15 years ago. Who says DNX, XAVC or even Pro Res will be around 20 years from now? I can tell you right now it won't be. Plus, do you know how many shows original masters are being saved? Try 5 - 10%.

With film, it sits on a shelf forever and unless you purposely throw it away, in 100 years the medium will be seen by the naked eye. So digitizing it is still possible because it's analog. Same can be said with any physical analog medium like Records.
 

it would make zero sense for a 20 year old freelancer starting their career  to invest in a film camera .. as their main money maker..


This I agree with, but then again, I wouldn't suggest anyone spend more than 2 grand on a digital cinema kit when they start out. I think having a digital camera to start with is much better because you can see instant results and it's not about a particular "look", it's about shooting a lot without spending a lot so you can get your skills down.
 

Sorry guys but already in only a few years Netflix et el have taken over the industry.. times are changing.. for good or bad but they are..


Where I agree streaming is the future for the average consumer, I also think film in theaters will come back once someone can figure out how to market/amortize it as something "special". Here in So Cal every time there is a print showing of a new movie, it's sold out screenings. It's simply taking that and pushing it across the country with advertising and making sure projectionists are trained properly to give excellent presentations. Netflix is in serious financial trouble BTW and Amazon video isn't too far behind.
 

when the already few big hitters who demand to shoot on film retire to Palm Springs ..


WOW, I guess you have no idea who shoots on film. Why don't you take a second and google search the people who shoot on film. Nearly all of them are young filmmakers and the list is growing fast. I know this because well... I rent my cameras to those shows. My XTR Prod is on a theatrical bound feature right now, done by young people, the DP is 28 years old and only shoots film.
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#13 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:06 AM

Yeah no technology humans have invented has ever really disappeared and certainly there is quite a demand for film and as long as there is human civilization there will be film.

 

Kodak is doing ok and there are now several other film manufacturers.

 

And people are building new film cameras.

 

And on and on.


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#14 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:16 AM

Well its not only an act of god that will make a company go bust !..  I don't think you will find the term "permanently solvent " in any economics study.. less still in our great capitalist system :) 

 

But to the point .. digital now has the same DR as film.. the image can be manipulated way more that film.. rent out a Sony f5/55 with the recorder ..16 bit Raw !!.. I mean really this old drum beat is now a thing of the past.. it just doesn't stand up to scrutiny .. Im not arguing that film is better than digital or not.. just that its very obvious that film is very much on the decline.. I would guess 98% of TV is shot digital .. and 100 % of corporate .. I have no dog in the race.. its great you guys are shooting film.. all power to you.. but you have to be living under a rock to not see that globally.. there is absolutely no denying ..film is on the way out.. Ive seen it myself from my very first job as camera dept runner in the 70,s.. as soon as its not economical it will go ..a cheaper more efficient,easier technology has taken over and constantly being refined.. the fact you know a 28 year old DP who only shoots film is not really going to be of any concern.. except to him/her who will have a pretty short and or limited career ..


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#15 Uli Meyer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:49 AM

Film is a niche thing but it will not go away as soon as some are predicting. Anything that needs archiving is recorded on film for posterity because it is the only lasting medium that you can rely on. Last week I saw a brand-new 65mm camera at the BSC being introduced. on the lab front there were two companies, Kodak and Cinelabs offering their services. Last year 6 million feet of film was shot professionally. Whilst that is nothing compared to the old days, it is enough to keep going. I'm sure this same conversation will crop up again in ten years time, just as it did ten years ago.


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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:58 AM

But to the point .. digital now has the same DR as film..


Yea but does it really or are we limiting the dynamic range of film through the scanners we use to capture the image. There is no arguing the crisp blacks of digital are amazing, if you like underexposing, digital is the way. If you over-expose to get a more contrasty image, digital is not the way to go.

the image can be manipulated way more that film..


I shoot and edit more film today then I've ever expected and our scans aren't the best. Yet during the initial scan, there is so much more data there then digital. I've always been shocked how much recovery in the scanner I can do. Literally shots that are 8 stops + over exposed in the highlights (by accident) have detail. That's not possible with digital at all. Once you over-drive the imagers pre-amp's, your image is toast.

Big crew, lots of effort to make the image perfect with monitors on set, fine... digital looks great. Little to no crew, no time and gorilla filmmaking style, it's a toss up.

I would guess 98% of TV is shot digital .. and 100 % of corporate ..


Yea I mean what's the point? The cost to shoot film is silly for television and corporate. I for sure wouldn't bother. Nobody is going to care in the long run and most industrial/corporate films have a super short life span anyway.

but you have to be living under a rock to not see that globally.. there is absolutely no denying ..film is on the way out..


Film died in 2013 when Kodak filed bankruptcy. Since that date, film has been on the rise again. Rental houses are re-buying cameras. There is a whole movement of new technicians servicing film cameras. There are more professional film cameras in the hands of people like me, who rent them to young people who wish to shoot film, then ever before.

It's hard to see these things if you aren't here, so at least I give ya some credit, nobody cares about old technology in Japan. Fuji sure doesn't, they closed down all their film manufacturing, it's just not cost effective. Still, Europe and America has been having a renaissance and the amount of shows being shot on film, commercial or consumer, is increasing. Will we ever get back to the pre 2013 days of shooting on film? I doubt it, but it's not dead.

Ya gotta remember something. Economics have nothing to do with passion. If a passionate filmmaker wants to shoot on film, nobody is going to say no if it's cost effective and funny enough, it really isn't that expensive at all. People make a big stink out of it, but reality is the cost is just down to efficiency. If you shoot like most digital shows do, endless forever takes, ya it's going to cost a lot to shoot on film. If you get into the 12 - 10:1 ratio's, it's very doable.
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#17 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:00 AM

Last year 6 million feet of film was shot professionally.


In europe! In the world, Kodak had their best year for over a decade.
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#18 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:35 AM

Yes no doubt there are the people who love film.. there are people who are nuts about valve radios.. and steam engines.. and I think that's a very good thing.. but they dont make them anymore..  its the film business.. not the film passion.. I hate to break the bad news but yes.. it is all about money..  down to the last cent.. I agree it could be a niche market for many years.. maybe only 65mm .. there are still vinyl record shops.. (actually huge ones in Japan) but they are all old records.. but you can't shoot without the film.. and the labs.. there is a reason fuji stopped making film.. they dont give a flying melting banana about DR ,film weave.. or Chris Nolan,s a great guy... they just see ¥en signs.. and really I,d say the board of Kodak is the same.. these are business people not film fans..at the pointy end ..  

 

And purely artistically .. yes Beta SP was not as good as 16mm.. your grandmother could see that.. but thats all changed now.. every one shoots log or Raw.. (better to over expose FYI)   Cineon goes well beyond 14.5 stops.. its only sensors that is holding that back..  REC 2020 is around the corner.. sensors are advancing by the month ..thats where the changes will come.. its the way forward there is no doubt.. I know I bang on about Roger Deakins.. but wow if ever there was an example of a film guy who was not scared of the new.. and embraced it to full potential .. who has said himself he often cant tell.. I mean there is hardly any need for more proof if the best living DoP on the planet says it.. no ? 


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#19 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 05:33 AM

I don't know. I think there are some assumptions being made about "progress". Many tend to assume a progressive outlook on life ... things advance. However I think that very sentiment is becoming outdated. Evolution? Everything evolving all the time? Good God that's a boring idea.

 

Some things are just cool. They stick around. Thank heavens.


Edited by Jon O'Brien, 11 February 2019 - 05:36 AM.

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#20 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 06:20 AM

I don't know. I think there are some assumptions being made about "progress". Many tend to assume a progressive outlook on life ... things advance. However I think that very sentiment is becoming outdated. Evolution? Everything evolving all the time? Good God that's a boring idea.

 

Some things are just cool. They stick around. Thank heavens.

 

 

I think your reading a bit too much into it Jon.. :).. its just economics and the march of technical progress.. but yes everything does evolve all the time .. what's boring would be that it doesn't .. not that it does ..


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