Friday, November 11, 2011


We humans are social animals. There are really wonderful things that come out of this, and then there is gossip.

I have been gossiped about, back in the small fishpond days of high school. We all have. Jeff Goldblum was declared dead on Twitter. It took a TV appearance to convince the public he was actually alive.

It's always funny to me, however, when a big company decides to respond to gossip. I am sure they think it will help calm the waters, but cynical as we are, it inevitably does more harm than good.

So, with a wry smile, I read about the major film manufacturer Kodak's press release:

"...Kodak says reports of its impending corporate-death have been exaggerated and it is still making billions of feet of film."

By way of context, the world of filmmaking is changing as digital cameras, with wonderfully complicated image sensors, replace traditional film cameras, using actual film negatives. This is true even for major studio films.

This digital revolution has been coming for some time. In the May 2nd, 1999 edition of the New York Times, the renowned film editor Walter Murch (who won an Oscar for 'Apocalyspe Now' and edited 'The Godfather II') made a prediction about the coming 'digital revolution' in film. ( Mr Murch said that, as soon as high quality digital cameras become available and cinemas start using digital projectors instead of analogue projectors (i.e.that use film prints), the use of film to make movies will be on it's death bed. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

In the last five years, both high quality digital cameras and digital cinema projection have become a viable reality.

Kodak, being one of, if not THE, largest producer of motion picture film is obviously affected by this changing paradigm. Movie productions using digital cameras equals no demand for film, after all.

Obviously, others have noticed it too. Hence the gossip.

So what do Kodak do? Assure the world that they have things well in hand and are continuing film stock production.

Seems reasonable.


“Someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.”

As it turns out, the major motion picture film camera makers, ARRI, Panavision and Aaton, have stopped making 35mm motion picture film cameras.

There is even a suggestion that the last motion picture film camera was made as far back as 2009.


Does this mean that film will stop being used immediately?

No, cameras have a good shelf life if maintained well.

But film will become rarer. And harder to get developed. And, therefore, costly.

It will get harder to get parts for and service film cameras. And, therefore, costly.

But maybe Kodak is right. Maybe it is all gossip. Goldblum turned out to be alive, after all.

Or maybe Kodak should have just kept quiet.

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