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EMULSIVE x FILM Ferrania Community Interview: Submit your questions

It’s time to introduce the fifth in our series of EMULSIVE Community Interviews to you, this time with the brains at FILM Ferrania, a little Italian company you may have heard of here and there.

If you’re wondering where interviews 3 and 4 are (Kodak Alaris and Billingham), I assure you that they are both coming. Keep a close eye on the EMULSIVE feed over the coming weeks.

While gears are whirring in the background for those two, I’d like to call you all to arms and submit your questions to the Film Ferrania team starting today.

 

 

FILM…Ferrania?

The original Ferrania was one of the oldest companies in the world still producing film when it was announced in 2008 that color film production would cease by the end of the year. For anyone interested in the company’s history up until that point, the Ferrania Wikipedia page is a good read (although there is some information there which minimally conflicts with other sources).

In 2013, FILM Ferrania acquired Ferrania’s film production platform, equipment and premises; and rehired a number of engineers that had been laid off the previous year. Later that same year the company announced is intention to restart colour film production for both negative and slide films; and in September 2014, FILM Ferrania announced a new Kickstarter campaign with the goal of rescuing “Trixie”, “Walter” and “Big Boy”, Ferrania’s film base production, chemical lab and film coating facilities from destruction.

The Kickstarter campaign was set against an ambitious schedule, aiming to deliver 120, 35mm, 16mm and Super 8 film rewards to backers in six months – April 2015. As you’ll no doubt be aware through news and updates from FILM Ferrania, this sadly did not happen.

Fast forward to February 1, 2017 and FILM Ferrania announced a new black and white negative film available in 35mm format – FERRANIA P30. Welcome news, although somewhat unexpected.

As Dave Bias recently told Zorki Photo, a number of delays in testing a two-layer coating process with a 3rd party test emulsion led to FILM Ferrania engineers to create a test emulsion in-house, based on a 1970’s reformulation of P30, their legendary motion picture film stock.

The results – only initially intended to test the coating machinery – were a surprise, and according to Dave, “after much internal deliberation, we decided to release this film. We weighed the pros and cons and, in fact, we anticipated some backlash for not proceeding directly to our originally promised colour reversal film.”

With P30 pre-orders on the horizon, one would be forgiven for thinking that the dream of the original Kickstarter is dead in the water, this is absolutely not the case and in a recent conversation with Dave Bias, he confirmed that progress continues in Italy, with steps being made every day to bring this totally new film production facility into life. It’s not 100% self contained yet, but that were they’re heading.

It truly is a mammoth task and with just over half a dozen people responsible for bringing it into life, I for one am happy to forgive the delay, especially as the company hasn’t exactly tight-lipped about what’s been happening behind the scenes.

This community is your opportunity to ask the FILM Ferrania team your questions, and this is how it’s going to work…

 

 

Interview timeline

This interview will be presented in three parts:

 

Part one: Call for submissions (this article)

The submission window is open for two weeks from today until midnight on Sunday 26th March 2017.

This is your chance to have a think about what kind of questions you want to ask to FILM Ferrania and submit them in the comments section below. The comments section of this article is the only place we will be accepting questions.

Please keep your questions concise and limit yourself to a single question per comment. You may post up to two questions each. Please try to stay away from asking questions already covered on the FILM Ferrania website, as they’ll likely be skipped.

Only new, parent comments will be considered for entry, so please don’t add yours as a reply if you want a chance to have it featured.

When doors close at midnight on Sunday 26th March 2017, we’ll be locking the thread and our panel will be tasked with whittling down your submissions to roughly ten questions (more on the panel in a bit).

 

Part two: Handover

The submission window will close on midnight on Sunday 26th March 2017, at which point the panel will come together to deliberate. A shortlist of questions and commentary will then be passed over to FILM Ferrania for review.

We’ll be working with FILM Ferrania to put together a finished article as soon as possible after the submission window closes.

 

Part three: Release

We’re expecting to have the finished interview released toward the end of April 2017. If you posted a question that made the cut, you’ll be credited in the finished piece. There may be other things to announce here but we’ll leave that until closer to the time.

 

 

Interview structure and panel

The panel shortlist will consist of ~10 questions submitted by you, the film photography community, two questions from yours truly and one each from the panel. It’s the job of the panel to help make the final decision as to which of the questions submitted will make the cut for the final piece, as well as to discuss, review and revise the final interview before it’s released.

Why go to the trouble of selecting a panel?

We want to alleviate any concerns regarding impartiality and bias and make the process transparent. Anyone can be a panel member for future Community Interviews, all you need do is ask.

Speaking of the panel, here they are:

Massimiliano Acanfora

Massimiliano Marchetti

Pierluigi Tolu

 

 

 

Starting questions

Unlike past Community Interviews, there are no starting questions from the panel. We feel that the board should be left open for you to frame yours.

 

 

Next steps and guidelines

Doors for your submissions are open until midnight on Sunday 26th March 2017 and the only way to submit your question is in the comments section below.

1) Questions are not subject to moderation at this stage but you are asked to keep them civil and in the spirit of the community.

2) Any question deemed to be hostile or not encouraging reasonable discussion will be removed and the poster will be banned from future participation. In short, we’re all here for the same thing, so don’t be a troll.

3) Submitted questions may be edited down into smaller chunks or merged with others if we feel there’s a need to do so. This being said, all questions will be submitted in their original form for FILM Ferrania to answer.

4) If two or more very similar questions are posted, we will endeavour to credit the first person who posted it.

5) If we feel that two or more questions can be combined without losing their original value, we’ll credit each submitter as required.

These guidelines are by no means exhaustive but you can be assured that we’ll keep everything as transparent as possible during the process — see the EMULSIVE x Lomography and EMULSIVE x ILFORD interviews for an example of how this finished interview might appear.

Over to you, let’s see what you’ve got.

~ EMULSIVE

 

 



About The Author

EMULSIVE

Self confessed film-freak and filmphotography mad-obsessive. I push, pull, shoot, boil and burn film everyday, and I want to share what I learn. It might not all be right but it's a start.

28 Comments

  1. considering your close to 15000 rolls/casettes that come from kickstarter, how much is that in production units for you (big boys and all that) and at what rate are you planning to continue production from then on? I guess a first push of films to reach out to shops around the globe and then an estimate based on sales from the online shop?

    Reply
  2. is there a teeny tiny sliver of hope to see solaris again? I guess you’ll have a hard time putting it out at the same pricepoint as it was when large scale production was going but the cult is REAL, just sayin’ https://www.flickr.com/groups/ferrania/pool/

    Reply
    • Wow, didn’t knew about Solaris! Browsing on the flickr group, I can say that I prefer it to any other emulsion on the market! This way to go, Ferrania :D!

      Reply
  3. Hello!!

    I’m curious what your steps will be once you are onto the final version of P30. I know the slide film originally funded in the Kickstarter is your immediate focus aside from P30’s completion, but what other types of stocks should we be expecting?

    Aside from the reintroduction of your former stocks, do you have plans to create brand new emulsions, or have you already started this process?

    Thank you for your continued contribution to the film community.

    Reply
    • The original Kickstarter promises were Scotchcrome (especially in Super8, but also in 35mm still and 120), as well as Solaris in 35mm still and 120. But looks like they went and hurried this side-chain of P30 now.

      Reply
      • Let them train, learn and tune their machines on P30. I suspect that they are low on money again, and instead of starting another kickstarter campaign, they went with P30.

  4. I’ve recently placed my pre-order for some P30 and am really excited to give this a whirl, some people have not been that impressed by the test mages shown on the Ferrania webiste but I am not one of them, I think it looks excellent considering they are from a first run and not the finished product.
    My question however is this, considering the huge delays you guys have had and the massive problems you’d had to deal with that have given you so many set back’s (really well done for how far you have come though) what other film stock’s are currently in the pre-production stage and what sort of realistic timescale should we expect for pre-orders of these?

    Buona fortuna e io desiderare per sue successo.

    Reply
  5. Obviously price is going to be a big focal point of the release of Ferrania’s film stocks–especially color reversal. While I understand Ferrania can’t fully understand what their products will cost at this point, I have to imagine that Ferrania does have a pricing stratergy–in other words–how are Ferrania’s products going to be marketed as? Premium film products? This is important because many believe that if you launch film products (especially reversal ones) that are the same price as your competitors or, even worse, MORE expensive, that Ferrania might have issues growing as a company and therefore hindering the ability to expand their product portfolio. Thanks! (Manufacturing Product Manager)

    Reply
  6. Do you have plans to reduce grain size for the slide film, maybe not at start, but later on? There has been a decade long quest for finer film grain, i.e. higher resolution, which was only interrupted after the success of digital sensors. However, afaik, Kodak still reduced the granularity of their Vision 2 negative film, in order to improve Resolution and, hence, scanability. Would be great if this could also be achieved for slide film.

    Reply
  7. 1. How do we process the P30? Are there two different processing possibilities: slide and negative?
    2. Will you make other formats: 120, 4×5, 5×7, 8×10, 126(instamatic), etc.?

    Reply
  8. Question 1: ¿How stable are going to be the color images? About conservation in time.
    Question 2: ¿How “robust” will be the color emulsion in regard to processing in many different labs around the world?

    Reply
  9. First Film Ferrania – Thank you for the commitment, tenacity and hard work it took to get to this point. I am a Kickstarter backer. I am pleased that you stuck it out and addressed all of the challenges encountered. Congratulations!

    I am looking forward to trying P30 and anticipate your success in fulfilling the Kick starter. More importantly I am pleased to see a new film manufacturer emerge.

    My question is – Would a high silver IS0 400 black and white film be possible? Would it be viable in medium and/or large format? I for one would be very interested in buying it.

    Reply
  10. Seeing the impressive quality and beautiful contrast of the P30 alpha, are you planning to produce also photographic paper with the same emulsion?

    Reply
  11. What are the estimated price points of each film type? Will they be similar prices to those from Fuji and Kodak?

    Are there plans to create experimental film types once the initial color films are perfected?

    Reply
  12. Dear Film Ferrania Team!

    I’ve gotta say that I’m totally amazed by what you’re doing. I have to say that I’m absolutely fine about you’re starting with P30, but what I’m really waiting for are transparency films. I have to admit, my questions are a bit like a wish list.

    – Will you able to make 8×10″ films eventually? Is there any chance you’re going to do that?
    – What I’d also love to use is a high ISO 4×5″ transparency film. Since you already talked about making high-ISO slide films eventually, ist there any chance to get that goodness in 4×5″ too? (It would be awesome for handheld 4×5″ photography.)
    – Are you willing and able to experiment? For example, things like: Transparencies with low contrast and more exposure latitude or: very high / very low ISO films?
    – What about 220 film?

    I want to add that I understand that these things require a lot of time. You surely can’t start off with the difficult things. That’s totally fine for me. I will wait. But it would be cool to hear about what you potentially could do and what I can wait for. 🙂

    Thanks again.
    W.W.

    Reply
    • I personally, don’t see Ferrania succeeding in releasing at the beginning a mass production of slide film, not matter how cheap it is. Because in the end we depend on E6 developing process and in many geographic zones there are no labs that can do that anymore. For sustainability, they need both a B&W film and a C-41 color negative film for mass production. Then they can finance a reversal film without the risk of bankruptcy. Not matter how much we want a reversal film, if that will cause the collapse of Ferrania, then what is the point?

      Reply
      • I’m always surprised how many people keep saying they have no local labs anymore for the Velvia process, one of the major still films sold nowadays. Even in Super8, when Kodak switched from Kodachrome to Ektachrome, many prosumers were excited because everybody knew a Super8 lab nearby that did E6. Until Kodak axed Ektachrome in 2012, the Super8 E6 infrastucture was a growing market even, where most labs offered both C-41 for Vision films and E6 for Ektachrome/Velvia and then Aviphot. All that any lab needs to do E6 is simply order E6 kits from Fuji.

  13. Do you plan honoring deadlines and promises?

    Reply
  14. Hi FILM F!

    I’m an original Kickstarter backer. Very excited about your steps forward; congratulations on your new shop launch!

    Question:
    Seeing as more companies are resurrecting film production or starting from scratch & entering the market again, how sustainable do you think this trend is? I’d like to think that we’ll be shooting film well past my old age, but I would like your honest opinion on what’s the expected half-life of this medium. If this trend slows again, will we be able to pick it up like we did in the past 5-10 years, or are we experiencing the last breath of a dying (beautiful) beast?

    Thank you!
    -d.

    Reply
  15. My second question: are you thinking also to sell bulk film in the future? This bulk production, in my understanding, should be easier than the film already in sprockets, isn’t? Or do you see any big issue that can prevent you doing it?

    Reply
  16. Do you have a new detailed timeline for the production of slide film after you missed the original one? What are the main impediments that are slowing down the process (now that asbestos has been removed)? Technical or R&D issues? Lack of funds? How much the steps ahead on the slide / colour production are dependent on the sales of the forthcoming P30 black and white film?

    Reply
  17. First of all just like to share how excited I am about the fact that we will have new film to play with. I have simple questions when can we expect the film on the market. Possibly in U.K. And what can we expect next will it be 120? Or you are planning to launch 135 and 120 at the same time?
    Thanks

    Reply
  18. Ferrania! An emotional name for whom is involved in film photography! Even more if Italian, as this brings back memories of time when one of the biggest film company producer was Italian, so Ferrania, that was an end-to end producer. After ups and downs times, and after the darkest hours of final closure, thanks to you project, seems that times of renaissance are coming soon! And more in these times the rumors on film manufacturing are more and more growing up! As finally seems that we will see soon the new B&W P30 Alpha film on stocks, and immediately after the color one, original goal of your project, I would ask you which obstacle or difficulty has been the major one during your long journey, still not finished, by chemistry point of view (emulsion preparation and test), by engineering point of view (buildings, utilities, equipment), and by bureaucracy point of view (documentation, paperwork, permits, etc), and which one has been your major satisfactory moment.

    Reply
  19. With Film Ferrania being such a success, and with film really beginning to make a comeback, based on your experience with the industry do you think we will see new film cameras (aside from companies like Mint, Lomography and the instax series) any time soon?

    Reply
  20. Dear Film Ferrania,

    As I post this, the countdown to pre-orders for P30 is merely 72 hours(approx.) away-congratualations! As one of the people who backed your Kickstarter campaign in the dim & distant past(October 2014!), seeing Film Ferrania finally rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of the Digital induced Argentique Apocalypse makes me very proud & happy:)

    Now for my first question:

    What is the timeline for the production of Colour Negative film, what film formats will be available, what ISO’s will be available & what are the future research goals for the development of new Colour Negative emulsions e.g. a stable, room temperature capable version for Colour Infra-Red Photography?

    Second Question:

    As a company, Film Ferrania took a risk in deciding to restart film production. Will it in the future take a similar(or bigger) risk in restarting the design, development & production of a completely new film camera e.g. J-1 camera for the Impossible Project? This would be the key to securing the future viability of film photography for the long term.

    Regards,

    Reply
    • Regarding question #2, I asked something similar to Kodak Alaris and they don’t understand the need of a film camera!? And to me is quite shocking. Considering that there are only to brands that still sell film cameras, Leica and Nikon, the fact that those cameras are almost impossible to acquire, and, that the existing “park” of old cameras are constantly breaking apart, we will end up having no camera to shoot their films. Personally, I asked for an open design camera, not for them to produce one. Others asked for personal little developing laboratories. No one have a complete image regarding these needs so I will ask why and how is that possible? How is possible that they can’t understand that shooting their films you need a camera and a small developing laboratory? Then why should I bother?

      Reply
      • Thing is, Alaris is Kodak’s prior amateur department that’s been spun off. SLRs and movie cameras are way out of the league that Alaris plays in. Alaris do sell throwaway cameras for one-time use, and that’s about the league they’re in. AFAIK, Alaris are not even producing anything themselves, while legally owning all the patents and licenses for amateur products they’re pretty much just a marketing frontend based in the UK for Kodak’s amateur products that are still being manufactured in Rochester, USA.

  21. How soon before P30 will be released as 4×5 and can I be a tester?

    Reply

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