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Is NFL Films Still Shooting 16mm This Season?


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#1 Karl Lee

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:14 PM

Does anyone know if NFL Films is still shooting 16mm this season?  I've only seen a couple of preseason games, but the few photographers I have spotted on the sidelines wearing the NFL Films vests were carrying around what appeared to be Alexas instead of SRs or XTRs. 

 

While I certainly hope not, I'm curious if NFL Films is planning on slowly phasing out 16mm in favor of digital, or if their ultimate goal is to shoot both mediums.  I believe I read somewhere that NFL Films was Kodak's largest client in terms of 16mm film sales.

 

I'm reminded of a "NFL Films was here" photo I posted here back in early 2007.  I took this photo (albeit with a digital point & shoot) while walking the sidelines of the now demolished RCA Dome in Indianapolis after working a Chiefs vs. Colts playoff game.  For the record, this was a remnant of 7218 (Vision2 500T).

  L5DtB5Knd.jpg


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:24 PM

http://nofilmschool....014-arri-amira/
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#3 Karl Lee

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:48 PM

Thanks for posting the article, David.  For people like me who have an affinity to film over HD video, this is definitely a bummer, especially when it comes to NFL Films which had held on to film production for so long.  I had always enjoyed playing "spot the 16mm camera" or "spot the Harrison changing tent" on the sidelines when watching NFL games, but playing "spot the AMIRA" just won't be the same :)  Still, even after what I'm sure was a nice volume discount with Kodak on purchasing 16mm film, I'm sure film stock was a huge expense considering how much film they went through across the country on any given gameday.  Not to mention that they shot quite a bit of slow-mo, so you can only imagine how much film they burned through at each game.  

 

I'm curious what the future holds for the NFL Films lab in Mt. Laurel, NJ.  I actually contacted them earlier this year about film processing and transfer rates, but (at least at that time) they were offering processing and transfer services to students only.  If they choose to keep the lab up and running, perhaps they'll expand their services to more outside clients.   


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#4 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 08:21 PM

While I'm not really into football, any abandonment of film is reason enough to be disappointed.

 

I can't imagine they'd keep the lab open. The whole purpose of them having a lab was to be able to get their footage quicker. Now that they're switching to Amiras (one of the reasons cited was to be able to get their footage faster than is currently possible), that doesn't really seem necessary. Of course, I hope I'm wrong. But it would be a surprise.


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 08:42 AM

One has to remember that Kodak isn't doing anything to promote the use film, so it's not that hard to understand why large operations like NFL Films decide to switch to digital, to say nothing of the lack of education Kodak gives to budding film students.  It's all a matter of marketing - and Kodak hasn't done anything to put their product into the consumer's consciousness to say "This is why film trumps digital."  They are nowhere near production of an 800 ASA stock which was discussed shortly before they filed for bankruptcy, and a replacement for 5/7231 is even more of a stretch of the imagination.  Their customer service is horrific - I've been trying to chase someone down to set up an account since July.  Why?  As Gordon Willis said in one of his last interviews, they simply don't want to make film anymore.

 

Eastman Kodak has a history of bad business decisions from its inception and they are right back to their old tricks.


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#6 Heikki Repo

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 09:42 AM

One has to remember that Kodak isn't doing anything to promote the use film, so it's not that hard to understand why large operations like NFL Films decide to switch to digital, to say nothing of the lack of education Kodak gives to budding film students.  It's all a matter of marketing - and Kodak hasn't done anything to put their product into the consumer's consciousness to say "This is why film trumps digital."  They are nowhere near production of an 800 ASA stock which was discussed shortly before they filed for bankruptcy, and a replacement for 5/7231 is even more of a stretch of the imagination.  Their customer service is horrific - I've been trying to chase someone down to set up an account since July.  Why?  As Gordon Willis said in one of his last interviews, they simply don't want to make film anymore.

 

Eastman Kodak has a history of bad business decisions from its inception and they are right back to their old tricks.

 

On Twitter they are active (https://twitter.com/Kodak_ShootFilm). If just buying film from them was as easy as following them...


Edited by Heikki Repo, 28 August 2014 - 09:42 AM.

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#7 Dan Dorland

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 11:13 PM

One has to remember that Kodak isn't doing anything to promote the use film, so it's not that hard to understand why large operations like NFL Films decide to switch to digital, to say nothing of the lack of education Kodak gives to budding film students.

To be fair, Kodak has some very useful and in-depth information on film technology for newcomers.

http://motion.kodak....tions/index.htm


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#8 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 07:21 PM

To be fair, Kodak has some very useful and in-depth information on film technology for newcomers.

http://motion.kodak....tions/index.htm

 

Yes..on their website.  Where else?...


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#9 Dan Dorland

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 11:46 PM

 

Yes..on their website.  Where else?...

Not sure what the problem is. The information is accessible by anyone with a dial-up connection or better. They also have a scholarship program. Are you expecting something like a Kodak University? Not defending Kodak here, just saying, what else should they be doing education-wise?


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#10 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 03:32 AM

There is absolutely zero mass marketing. None! Film cameras are SO cheap these days. Look how well super8 does with just a little bit of kodak and pro8 marketing behind it. Why can't it be the same for the rest? Film is still "cool" but many don't even know how to begin working with it. The problem with film, largely, is that barriers to entry remain that don't for other digital formats.
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#11 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 09:11 AM

Not sure what the problem is. The information is accessible by anyone with a dial-up connection or better. They also have a scholarship program. Are you expecting something like a Kodak University? Not defending Kodak here, just saying, what else should they be doing education-wise?

 

Dan,

 

It's not so much a problem of education as it is marketing.  When you have a product that you want people to purchase, you drum that product into the collective unconscious of the consumer until they see it in their dreams.  You don't advertise what has been your bread & butter for over a century only on the company website and the back cover of American CInematographer - you put it EVERYWHERE.  Kodak has not done that for years becasue, as I said, they simply don't want to make film anymore.  And they are only concerned with turning a profit, which I fully understand since they are a business.  But they were used to mass-producing their product and getting mass returns for so long that they allowed their own arrogance ("We are the kings of film and nothing will ever replace it or us") to completely blind them in making prudent business decisions.  We are talking about a company that had superior printing technology than Xerox at one time, but they decided not to pursue it.  Look at where Xerox went.

 

But I digress.  Back to the marketing/education issue...

 

Yes, they have the Kodak Educational Programs and what not which is all well and good.  And no one - including students or faculty - would ever know anything about them if they didn't look on the website.  See what I mean?  Kodak is not "out in the world" trying to compete with ANY digital technologies whatsoever.  They are only interested in selling in big numbers, which is why (without a student discount) their prices are still so high.  They are continuing to price FILMmakers out of the market in an attempt to have us say "Enough!  I'm going digital!"  They are just waiting for the interest in celluloid to dry up.

 

The annoying part is that they still make the best product.  But I am at the point where I'm hoping FILM Ferrania really takes off simply so that I can deal with a bettter company.  I give Kodak a maximum of 2 years before they close their doors.


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#12 Pavan Deep

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:31 AM

They do make the best product, but I agree they need to advertise more. On a recent shoot I was using some Kodak film, a student who was working with us was surprised and said ‘…Didn’t they make printers?’ It’s ironic that a film student asked that question.

 

Pav


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