EMULSIVE x Kodak Alaris Community Interview: Submit your questions!
It’s time to introduce the third in our series of EMULSIVE Community Interviews and if the two previous interviews with ILFORD and Lomography weren’t enough for you to fill your boots, perhaps the subject of interview three will give you the satisfaction you need.
As the title says, time, we’re bringing you the one and only Kodak Alaris.
Yes, Kodak Alaris. Still not 100% sure who they are? Here’s a primer: he business was formed in September 2013 and is an independent organisation to the Eastman Kodak Company. Alaris was born following the acquisition of Eastman Kodak’s Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses by the UK Kodak Pension Plan.
Kodak Alaris supply and support all of Kodak’s remaining (non-motion picture) film stocks, as well as a whole raft of other photographic papers, scanners and high-end business services. Given the nature of EMULSIVE, we’re here to talk with them about everything film.
To alleviate any confusion, we’ll be using Alaris and Kodak Alaris interchangeably in this and all future articles relating to this interview. When discussing the Eastman Kodak Company, or Kodak Motion, we will be using “Eastman Kodak” and “Kodak Motion” respectively.
Questions as to what would motivate a pension plan to make such a huge move are best left to the Kodak Alaris FAQ page.
As per our introductory article, 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 Friday 14th October 2016.
This is your chance to have a think about what kind of questions you want to ask to Kodak Alaris 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 two comments each. As already mentioned above, please try to stay away from asking questions already covered on the Kodak Alaris FAQ page; they’ll simply 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 yours featured.
When doors close at midnight on Friday 14th October 2016, 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 Friday 14th October 2016, at which point the panel will come together to deliberate. A shortlist of questions and commentary will then be passed over to Alaris for review.
We’ll be working with Kodak Alaris 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 middle of November 2016. 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:
The questions below form only the beginning of this Community Interview and can be added to, or expanded upon with your own. Please be careful not to repeat, or post similar questions to the ones below, as you entry will likely be discarded. Here’s what we have to start things off:
Can you share the current state of the art in terms of R&D work being done at Kodak in film/emulsion technology? Specifically, given the resurgence of interest in film, can we expect rebirths/reformulation of classic Kodak emulsions (TechPan, Kodachrome, Kodalith…) in limited special order runs if there is enough interest? Additionally, is there a way for us to order specific formats of Kodak film directly from Kodak? e.g. I would love to get my hands on fresh stock of 5×7 T-Max 100 but I have no idea how to go about ordering something custom or if that is even possible.
Another aspect I’m interested in is my favorite format – the super 8 and the recent announcement of Kodak’s foray into the analog renaissance by launching its Kodak’s super 8 camera? Can you talk about the total cost of ownership? What is Kodak’s vision of pricing including film, dev and scan? Today competitors like Pro8mm are offering a package (film+dev+scan) for around $120 per cassette which is pretty steep for average enthusiasts wanting to get into super 8 movies. Is there a pricing “sweet spot” you guys have identified. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Everywhere I go, when people see me shooting film they invariably respond with incredulity, asking “You can still buy film?” If they see me with Kodak film, the response is doubly disbelieving, like “Didn’t Kodak go under a few years ago?”
The widespread perception is that Kodak was dissolved due to bankruptcy and that film is no longer available – to the average person, film is dead.
How are you working to get out that awareness deficit and get people to buy and use fresh film; and what strategies do you have in mind to postpone film’s funeral for a while longer?
I would love to see Alaris play “small ball” with the great range of films you now offer. Things like offering some motion film stocks such as Double-X in cassettes, or specially priced sample packs marketed to appeal to people who are curious about the buzz surrounding film. Do you have any plans along those lines?
On the support side of the business, Eastman Kodak recently announced it will reestablish film labs in India, and Kodak Motion have recently acquired iDalies. Does Alaris have plans to rebuild the lab network that seems so essential to getting folks to try film or to come back to film? As an aside, please never stop making TMax 400, it’s awesome!
EMULSIVE: It’s no secret that Eastman Kodak has had more than its fair share of hard times since the turn of the century but during the last three years or so, things seem to be very much on the up-and-up. It strikes me that the “Big Six Deal” was pivotal in securing breathing space for not only Eastman Kodak but also Kodak Motion, Kodak Alaris and subsidiary companies. With Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke having been quoted as saying, “we are no longer reliant on those agreements [with Hollywood] to make film“ earlier this year, how do you see the future of Kodak Alaris as it relates to the supply of consumer film products over the next 5-10 years?
EMULSIVE: Kodachrome…ouch. Bad memories for some. I never shot the film myself and not as attached as some. What were the commercial realities behind the decision to retire this stock, as well as the rest of your slide film line? Do you see a future where your slide films could be reintroduced, or the technology sold/licensed to others?
Additionally, what if any product innovation is happening at Kodak with regards to new and existing film stocks? It’s widely understood that New Kodak Portra enjoys technology brought over from Kodak Motion’s VISION line but what else have you got up your sleeves?
Next steps and guidelines
Doors for your submissions are open until midnight on Friday 14th October 2016 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) Please prepend your submission with, “Question:”.
4) 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 Kodak Alaris to answer.
5) If two or more very similar questions are posted, we will endeavour to credit the first person who posted it.
6) 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.