Re: [Frameworks] Plus X Reversal discontinued

From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Jun 28 2010 - 13:05:56 PDT

I was active in UFVA for many years before i had to leave teaching,
and Kodak was a major sponsor and presence at UFVA conferences. Yet,
the Kodak folk were often oddly out of tune with those of us who
taught filmmaking on something other than an industry model. Their
major effort in support of the education market in the last 15 years
was the introduction of the new B&W reversal stocks. The old stocks
had to go because of the toxicity of the chemistry, and Kodak put what
they considered a lot of money and effort into reformulating the
stocks for more acceptable processing methods.

They had a big roll-out at UFVA, complete with a stupid ad and promo
campaign they probably paid a lot of money for. They were expecting a
big pat on the back -- as if none of us would be upset about color
reversal disappearing. There assumption was that schools use 16mm to
teach the craft of cinematography, and that this craft was properly
taught in B&W reversal due to the combination of relatively high
latitude and lower cost. I remember talking at length to John Mason
about the fact that color was important to those of us who taught film
as 'art,' but negative was too pricey, and the loss of color reversal
(7240 in particular) would drive more of us into digital.

I also remember writing a critique of the promo campaign and mailing
it to the manager of the B&W product line. (The whole thing was
pitched to Kodak's concept of the 'guerilla' mentality of young
filmmakers, and used slogans like 'Craft services is for wussies.' I
noted that students outside of the industry oriented schools don't
even know what 'craft services' mean. They were also using Hollywood
model type to portray the 'young filmmakers...')

To the extent that I ever found sympathetic ears, it was clear these
folks were below the decision making loop and had other things to
worry about.

So to me there's a huge irony in this announcement, in that Kodak is
now reversing their last big effort to support education, and
relatively soon after they implemented it. This is a sign of defeat. I
would guess some manager trying to stop some of the bleeding in
Rochester looked at Plus-X Reversal, saw that it wasn't making any
money and said 'pull the plug.' But back at the roll-out Kodak had at
least understood the principle Roger's talking about. In looking for
that pat on the back, they told us, "Look, we're not going to make
money on this, but we want to keep film in the education market
because getting people started in film will help our sales of other
stocks as they continue working in the medium." But this was back in
the DV days... before the Red, before the 5D MkII, the 70D, and the T2i.

If a stock you rely on is still available, get a loan, buy a big
freezer and as much of it as you can, because it's only a matter of
time before it goes away.

On Jun 28, 2010, at 2:54 PM, Roger Beebe wrote:

> The loss of Plus-X is a pretty big problem for those of us still
> fighting to teach 16mm in a university context. I teach a 16mm
> production class every third semester, and Plus-X has been my
> primary teaching stock for the first half of the semester. I guess
> we'll have to make Tri-X work now (although shooting outdoors in
> Florida means I'll have to teach them quickly about ND filters!).
> It's really disheartening to see the way that Kodak sabotages the
> efforts of the few remaining folks who are looking to initiate
> people to shooting (and finishing on) film. I know my 15 students
> every third semester doesn't account for a lot of Kodak's bottom
> line, but I also know that many students who've come through that
> class have gone on to shoot hundreds of rolls on their own projects
> after graduating.
> Going down with the ship.
> Roger

FrameWorks mailing list
email suppressed