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Hello from FILM Ferrania


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#1 David Bias

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 03:22 PM

Hello all,

 

I do apologize for my tardiness in joining this forum.

 

I did a quick search, and it seems that there have been a few mentions of our endeavors...

 

For those who have been following our progress over the last 2+ years - thank you!!

 

For those who haven't heard about us yet - it's a long story...  Best to start HERE.

 

The short version (which is still kinda long, sorry):

We're building a 21st century-size film factory from the pieces of the former Ferrania campus in Italy. Ferrania was the third-largest film manufacturer in the world and had a long history deeply rooted in cinema. Their P30 B&W film was the stock of choice for the Italian masters from the middle of the last century - De Sica, Fellini, Rossellini, Pasolini and many others. From our new, compact factory (the former R&D building), we will be producing still and cinema products. In storage, we have the necessary equipment to create and finish nearly every film format ever made. In cinema formats particularly, we're starting small with 100 ASA color reversal in Super8 and 16mm formats - but we will eventually produce everything from 8mm to 70mm - in negative and reversal, in a variety of speeds, tungsten and daylight, etc. Our ambition is to provide a manufacturing base that eliminates the lingering doubts about the long-term viability of film. 

 

As of today - after a very long ramp-up and many, many delays - we finally reached the stage where we are testing our coater with photosensitive emulsions. Our factory team are still not ready to release a proper timeline for our first color products, but we are getting closer week by week.

 

Just quickly about me: My name is Dave Bias and I'm heading up our US company which will handle global sales and marketing. My background is in stills primarily. I helped startup The Impossible Project in the US and worked for them until I learned about FILM Ferrania late in 2013. Since then, I have taken over most communications, designed and built our website, designed, wrote and oversaw our Kickstarter campaign, established our socials - just about everything that is not making the actual film.

 

And now I'm here on cinematography.com!

 

I'm ready to answer any questions you might have, to respond to your comments - good or bad - and to learn much more about the cinema film community in general.

 

Fire away!


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#2 Alain Lumina

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 04:49 PM

Congratulations on undertaking a bootstrapping venture to help  maintain the availability of of film.

 

I am semi-retired and have time to watch many movies now, seeing movies from the 1930s to the twenty-teens now, and to me eye there is such a gulf between the vibrancy of film produced material and the earnest but relatively static presence of computer recorded material.

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Edited by Alain Lumina, 20 November 2016 - 04:51 PM.

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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 08:57 PM

I'm so excited about this new film stock. I can't wait for you guys to have the lab up and producing stock.

Will you be selling direct like Kodak does, or will you have dealers?

Also, when will you have test samples available? I run a film school here in LA and we would love to get our hands on something new and cool like this. We shoot a lot of 16mm film and can push quite a bit of great content your way, shot by some fantastic students to help promote the use.
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#4 David Bias

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 11:17 PM

I'm so excited about this new film stock. I can't wait for you guys to have the lab up and producing stock.

Will you be selling direct like Kodak does, or will you have dealers?

Also, when will you have test samples available? I run a film school here in LA and we would love to get our hands on something new and cool like this. We shoot a lot of 16mm film and can push quite a bit of great content your way, shot by some fantastic students to help promote the use.

 

Hi Tyler,

 

We will sell on our website and through just a few dealers initially. We will add dealers as we expand operations, and primarily based on input from the wider community.

 

I will say that it is our full intention to provide an extensive educational support program. Like with everything at our company, it will start small and with those who have been most proactive "pre-film"  - and will expand over time.

 

As you might imagine, we also have a lot of people asking us for samples, and most deserve them in one way or another. We are putting together a more formalized process to submit requests and I'll be sure to post it here when it's ready.

 

This will follow very soon after we launch our first film, so keep an eye on our progress and feel free to get in touch with me directly.


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#5 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 02:51 AM

David, I'm glad to hear that progress is being made. The range of products that I know about so far are quite unique - you definitely made the right choice to stay away from yet another b&w emulsion.

 

There are some applications where transparency film is unsuitable, but for some applications it's probably the best solution. And scanning transparency film should be much easier than with negative film. The problem for photographers (and not cinematographers AFAIK) is not so much the cost of the film, but the supporting infrastructure.

 

The problem unique to slide film (in photography) is that the cost of developing, at least in some regions, is prohibitive. A problem that plagues photographic customers in general is that scanners are mostly crap compared to cinema scanners. I don't know why, but 500T Super 16 looks no more grainy than 8-perf 35mm scans.

 

I don't know if Ferrania can fix either of those problems, but they are worth considering. And yes I'm aware that we are chatting on a cinematography forum. :-)


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#6 David Bias

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 11:16 AM

The problem unique to slide film (in photography) is that the cost of developing, at least in some regions, is prohibitive. A problem that plagues photographic customers in general is that scanners are mostly crap compared to cinema scanners. I don't know why, but 500T Super 16 looks no more grainy than 8-perf 35mm scans.

 

I don't know if Ferrania can fix either of those problems, but they are worth considering. And yes I'm aware that we are chatting on a cinematography forum. :-)

 

These issues you mention have been the subject of many conversations over the past couple of years. We have some ideas - but of course we have to make film first. And sell a lot of it  - and focus all that income on expanding our own capacity.

 

We have watched the lab situation very closely (and with great sadness).

 

My friend Steve Crossman at Mono No Aware here in NYC has a Kickstarter going to help him pay for the 35mm cine processing line that was donated to him. https://www.kickstar...-aware-film-lab

 

He's got a bit of a hill to climb to meet his goal, so I'd urge everyone in this forum to rally and support his efforts.

 

We're keeping an eye on proactive people like Mr. Crossman, and we hope to focus our early energy on supporting people like him, and other labs who have survived, through our own communications, on our site, etc.


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#7 Juha Mattila

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 12:44 PM

Hi David,

 

Im very excited about new color reversal film of yours and the prospect of having alternative negative stock, maybe something more traditional look than Vision3.
I hope labs will pick up whit you. Now its very bleak considering E6. Andec just stopped processing it and still labs, at least here in Finland there aren't many left. One I have been using is stopping in E6 end of the year.
I think lot of exciting things are stirring on field of analog photography and cinematography, but same time infrastructure is going down...
 


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#8 Matthew Ballard

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 01:22 AM

I'm so excited about this new film stock. I can't wait for you guys to have the lab up and producing stock.

Will you be selling direct like Kodak does, or will you have dealers?

Also, when will you have test samples available? I run a film school here in LA and we would love to get our hands on something new and cool like this. We shoot a lot of 16mm film and can push quite a bit of great content your way, shot by some fantastic students to help promote the use.

 

Nice to meet you Dave! Looking forward to the updates.

 

Tyler where are you teaching in LA?


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#9 Gareth North

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 04:34 AM

Hi David,

 

I'm a backer of your project and choose the Most expensive option at the time x3 100ft 16mm cine rolls as 16mm is my 'thang' the format I love.

 

I don't post very regularly here and only a few days ago started a thread here about the fact that my favourite and nearest E6 lab to me Andec in Germany (who as far as I'm concerned service was Flawless) is apparenly refurbishing and not offering E6 anymore. I'm still unsure where my remaining shot rolls of 100D will be ending up.

 

I thought your Italian guys would be there in the market with new E6 Reversal just when new film would be needed so labs still offereing E6 could stay viable but looks with your extended setup window that couldnt be helped some labs arent making it. It seems people arent switching to WittnerChrome either as a backup (in 16mm fromat anyway) and I havent shot any of it. Is the Wittner Chrome 200D based on Agfa stock still being made? or was it a one off soon to be gone batch? I remeber some online chat you had where I think you said agfa as a business was scattered all over the place!

 

There is one question I'm most interested in checking! When the italians get round to cutting up all the film into different formats can you make sure the 16mm option they cut is a 1 sprocket hole version 1R and not 2R as me shoot Super 16mm :) I presume they will know that is the default arangement for this formats supply?

 

The best of continued good luck on getting this project to the finish line.

 

Best of Regards

 

Gareth

 

bolexh16user.net


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#10 David Bias

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 03:06 PM

Hi Gareth,

 

Our 16mm film will be perforated 1R.

 

-Dave

 

 

Hi David,

 

I'm a backer of your project and choose the Most expensive option at the time x3 100ft 16mm cine rolls as 16mm is my 'thang' the format I love.

 

I don't post very regularly here and only a few days ago started a thread here about the fact that my favourite and nearest E6 lab to me Andec in Germany (who as far as I'm concerned service was Flawless) is apparenly refurbishing and not offering E6 anymore. I'm still unsure where my remaining shot rolls of 100D will be ending up.

 

I thought your Italian guys would be there in the market with new E6 Reversal just when new film would be needed so labs still offereing E6 could stay viable but looks with your extended setup window that couldnt be helped some labs arent making it. It seems people arent switching to WittnerChrome either as a backup (in 16mm fromat anyway) and I havent shot any of it. Is the Wittner Chrome 200D based on Agfa stock still being made? or was it a one off soon to be gone batch? I remeber some online chat you had where I think you said agfa as a business was scattered all over the place!

 

There is one question I'm most interested in checking! When the italians get round to cutting up all the film into different formats can you make sure the 16mm option they cut is a 1 sprocket hole version 1R and not 2R as me shoot Super 16mm :) I presume they will know that is the default arangement for this formats supply?

 

The best of continued good luck on getting this project to the finish line.

 

Best of Regards

 

Gareth

 

bolexh16user.net


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 08:14 PM

Tyler where are you teaching in LA?


I work at LACHSA, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. We have a fantastic class which shoots exclusively on film. Hit up our facebook page!

https://www.facebook...luloiddreaming/
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#12 David Bias

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 12:59 PM

A reminder - 8 days left in Mono No Aware's Kickstarter campaign to install and activate their cinema processing line!!

 

This is a huge project with major ramifications for all who shoot cinema film. Spread the word and support this amazing project: https://www.kickstar...-aware-film-lab


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#13 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 10:54 PM

I do have another idea which I would like to share here. There must be, surely, a method to make a low contrast positive film that has the latitude of negative film, but with RGB layers instead of CMY, and without the orange mask?


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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 11:39 PM

In the past, there were two attempts to create low-contrast camera reversal stocks optimized for duplication -- one was the Technicolor Monopack, which was also sold as Kodachrome Commercial (and I don't think it was significantly lower in contrast), and later, Ektachrome Commercial (ECO).  But neither had the wide dynamic range of color negative. 


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#15 Doug Palmer

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 05:31 AM

In the past, there were two attempts to create low-contrast camera reversal stocks optimized for duplication -- one was the Technicolor Monopack, which was also sold as Kodachrome Commercial (and I don't think it was significantly lower in contrast), and later, Ektachrome Commercial (ECO).  But neither had the wide dynamic range of color negative. 

However,  in those days of ECO reversal film back in the 70s and 80s I seem to remember that 16mm colour negative film wasn't so great.  Or at least the printing then. I think it didn't look quite as good as a print from Ektachrome Commercial.  My point being that if ECO was resuscitated now by Kodak, maybe it could be made to have more dynamic range and some better speed. I really used to like ECO and also their slide duplicating films.


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#16 Doug Palmer

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 05:35 AM

Or by Ferrania of course :rolleyes:

Whatever, I think there'd  be a market for a low contrast col reversal film of high resolution.


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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 12:24 PM

Yes, I agree that if the point isn't direct projection of the original, then there is no reason for the reversal stock to have a high contrast.

 

One reason ECO looked better than 16mm color negative was that it was much slower -- negative went from 50 ASA to 100 ASA in 1968 whereas ECO was 25 ASA.  The other reason it took longer in the US for 16mm negative to take over was a problem with dust in the labs, which shows up as white specks on images from negatives instead of blacks specks.


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#18 David Bias

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 12:45 PM

To David, Doug and Karim:

 

Obviously, we have a long way to go before we can think about creating specialized products like this.

 

However, there are two facts that could provide some hope.

1) Our co-founder Marco Pagni runs a cine lab in Florence and has done a lot of work with the Italian National Cinema Archive (and others) in restoration, preservation and printing. Furthering these causes is one of his main motivations for getting FILM Ferrania up and running.

2) As part of our deal with the Italian government, part of our building will become a school affiliated with the Cineteca Nazionale and dedicated to bringing these techniques to a new generation of film enthusiasts.

 

#2 is a distant future proposition (3+ years from now) - but it will obviously require us to produce a number of stocks associated with the school.

 

Of course we have people every day who ask us to produce some oddball stock that suits some specific purpose. The requests come from both cinema folk and still photographers and I answer everyone the same.

 

Our factory WILL (eventually) have the flexibility to produce small quantities of highly specialized stocks.

 

But it will be up to the community at large to prove to us that a market actually exists for these things before we can make them. We will be creating many polls, and constantly watching the community to learn.

 

My advice to all who ask us for specialized stocks is the same: Reach out to any like-minded friends or colleagues and drum up support. When the responses to our surveys or the number of requests in our inbox reaches a level that makes sense for us to produce a particular stock, we will.

 

Even better, get entrepreneurial about it! For example, in the Ultra Large Format community, a man named Keith Canham places an order with Kodak once per year for a variety of sheet film sizes based on pre-orders that he collects throughout the year. Mr. Canham manages this personally, and obviously makes some small profit on the deal for his labors (he also makes amazing LF cameras).


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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 12:50 PM

Sounds like the plan is to create traditional projection-contrast reversal then rather than something optimized for scanning and color-correction.


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#20 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 02:29 PM

I don't know if that's altogether a terrible idea. One of the problems with modern film is that it's a bit flat, a bit feeble, a bit gutless. Yes, I understand technically why that's been pursued, but the issue is that film as it exists now doesn't actually look like what most people want when they shoot film. I think that a conventional colour reversal, something with a bit of bite, might be a pretty good move.

 

'course, it's also likely to be quite difficult to shoot.


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