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Give Kodak a break


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#1 Scot McPhie

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 11:03 PM

I understand how the cutting of K40 is quite a shock - but I really think people need to take stock (no pun intended!) - if this were any other industry a small little niche thing like Super 8 would have been killed off once and for all ages ago.

I think Kodak should be complimented for their work in keeping Super 8 going - of course no organisation is beyond criticism but I think on the weight of it all we have a huge amount to be grateful for with Kodak and very little to be genuinely annoyed about.

I for one would like to publicly thank them for the support of the format and the great work they are doing in keeping it going. And no I'm not being paid by them for this! - and I've got plenty of reasons to be angry at them (the jittery cartridges I got stuck with on my feature) but on the balance of it all I and everyone here has got a hell of alot more to thank them for than to get up them about.

About the 64T and K40 issue - consider this: 64T has more exposure latitude, and can be developed yourself. That immediately makes it more desirable than K40 in my book. Having to send stock to Switzerland or the US if you don't live in Europe or North America is just ridiculous. The grain prospect isn't really worrying me either - if you don't want grain you should consider 16mm. And doesn't the K40 process have environmental issues as well?

When everyone says why are they canning it when it is their biggest seller - perhaps with the manufactur and processing costs together they aren't making as much money as their other stocks which only have manufacturing expenses - the volume of sales probably aren't enough if the overheads on K40 are so high. And it's fair enough they've got to rationalise their business - if they don't there'll be no Super 8 at all - they're not a charity!

I know it comes as a shock but if you think it's the end of the world or Super 8 then you're not thinking hard enough.

Scot
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#2 Nate Downes

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 11:16 PM

For me, I'm wondering why it took so long. Yes, I love K40 and will miss it, but I didn't get into filmshooting to limit myself to just one filmstock. I like variety, and frankly the K40 wasn't flexible enough for a lot of the work I was doing. This new E6 stock looks very promising. I'd still like to see V2 100T or even possibly 100D, but I'll take any victory where I can, and this is still a major victory for those of us in the trenches.
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#3 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 02:00 AM

I think it's a good step forward. I find K-40 to be the most limmiting of all existing stocks. when it comes to 16mm reversal, i'll shoot 100D over K-40 any day of the week, and am really excited for this new film. more labs will mean more availability, slightly lower contrast will mean slightly better transfers. K-40 was too slow in the winter, and too contrasy in the summer.. the extra speed will come in handy. Most of the bad publicity is coming from the cheap camera mailer/walmart people. I own 4 high end super 8 cameras that cost me less than a new miniDV.. they all notch for 64T, and I own a Sekonic. I work hard for my money, but would rather pay extra for good processing and prep. The updated Super 8 portfolio will seperate the men from the boys.
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#4 Robert Hughes

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 11:53 AM

I see that Kodak is promoting to CEO a man with business experience running HP's inkjet printer business. His plan is to shutter the photo plants and lay off 15,000 workers.

This looks like a "great move for the future"? For a historical parallel, just look at the success of Ilford in combining photography and printers (receivership). Or Apple Computer bringing in John Scully from Pepsi Cola to replace Steve Jobs (near collapse).

It's a rudderless ship. Buy film now before Kodak capsizes.

Edited by Robert Hughes, 11 May 2005 - 11:59 AM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 12:02 PM

I don't think it would be an easy job running Kodak these days and finding a strategy that continues with film yet transitions into a digital world. They can't pretend a transition to digital origination WON'T eventually happen, and they want to be a part of it -- YET they also can't be responsible for hurting film sales at the same time. It's a tough game to play. The consumer still market is moving heavily into digital, and Kodak is now the Number Three seller of digital still cameras in the U.S., so it would be nuts for them not to find a way to make that transition.

However, in the professional motion picture world, film is still heavily favored by the industry and will be for years to come. So Kodak has to deal with different markets responding to digital at different rates.
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#6 Nate Downes

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 12:58 PM

The way I put it is this:

Kodak is closing down marginally profitable divisions in order to consolidate its remaining film business. This is actually improving their films profits, and as a result they can point this out to investors going "See, we make $2 billion net profit from a cash outlay of $200 million, a 1000% increase of profit" making their investors happy. Kodak's made moves that shows a commitment to film production, such as new co-branding programs and partnerships, something that Kodak has ignored up till now. Yes, plants have closed, but those plants haven't generated profit for Kodak in decades, they were kept going to support the consumer film base, the same base which is going to digital. These plants never made much profit, it was the professional films that got the lions share. Now that the consumer film market is shrinking, but the professional is growing (thanks to new lower prices on prosumer SLR cameras), Kodak can safely close these less-than-profitable plants to focus on the cash-cow. But the consumer-range film is their best marketing gimmick, it gives the pro's the image of a full-service film company. It also gives up-and-coming photographers a chance to cut their teeth on Kodak film, and their consumer filmstocks have improved dramatically due to this consolidation as well. End result, a win-win for the film business, and you will not see film die off for decades if ever.
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#7 Byron Karl

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 03:48 PM

I agree that Kodak is sticking by Super-8, evidenced by prior moves. I posted this elsewhere....

I picked up 200T kodak super-8... I don't see how this means that kodak is abandoning super-8???

Though I dislike the notion of phasing out stocks, Kodak does this all the time. Like with the great EXR stock '98. But then they turn around and put out '18 (many years later).

The reality is, most people telecine their work, so negative makes more sense than reversal. Though Kodachrome has fine grain, its 1/2 stop of latitude either way dooms it for professional work.

I does have a certain look, as with all stocks and I wish it would stick around, but I DO NOT see how this can be interpretted as Kodak running away from super-8. Granted most post work is now digital with DI's, but the capture medium is stil film. I think in their shift to digital they still realize any clown can get a great image with film, whereas you have to really work to get video looking "professional." This is why super-8 sales will grow, in light of a growing DV market that 99% of the time looks like video. I know I wouldn't chance shooting anything on video, for the reason alone that it might come out as looking like video.
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