Wednesday, 19 December 2012


I just wanted to make a statement about Kodak’s discontinuance of Ektachrome 100d film stock in super 8, 16mm, and 35mm film, and recent developments concerning film in general.

Ektachrome is the super 8 stock we have been using at for teaching since we started running workshops in the lab in 2005. This was the year Kodak announced they we ceasing to manufacture Kodachrome 40t. Firstly available as Ektachrome 64t and lately as Ektachrome 100d, this stock was the only way you could shoot, process and get a motion picture film image which you could then run directly through the projector.

This leaves Kodak with four super 8 film stocks:

TRI X black and white reversal (positive) film

Vision 50d, 200t and 500t colour negative films

Clearly Kodak are trying to consolidate all their processes to follow the way in which most people are now working with film, which is to shoot negative, process and then telecine it to work with images digitally. No doubt this is also a direct result of the firm’s re-structuring of the film division as part of it’s chapter 11 bankruptcy protection..

However Kodak have agreed to provide film stock for American film and television studios until at least 2015. It was this decision which in part prompted Fuji to abruptly cease producing motion picture film in October 2012.

Whilst it is bad news that Kodak are no longer making a colour reversal film, it is not the end of this way of working with such a film stock, indeed it might yet open up new opportunities.

In the short term:

There are three manufacturers in Europe making a beautiful colour reversal film in 8mm, 16mm, and is called Fuji Velvia and is sold by Wittner Kintotechnik, Kahl Film, and Cinevia. This stock is processed in the same chemistry as Ektachrome, the E6 process. will continue to run it’s colour super 8 workshops using this Velvia reversal stock. We will also be running new workshops in colour negative shooting and black and white hand processing in the new year. All the stocks listed above can be processed easily and cheaply by hand at Black and white reversal film can also be coloured by tinting and toning in chemical colours, again something which can be done at

In the last few days there has also been discussion amongst other artist run labs in Europe about contacting Orwo in Germany who make several very beautiful b/w film stocks to see if they would reconsider making a colour reversal film again as they did in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Agfa also make a little known colour reversal film stock for Arial Photography which could be loaded into Super 8 cartridges, again the manufacturers above will be looking into this as a viable option.. Ilford film in the UK still have their slitter and jig for cutting sheet film down to 16mm and then 8mm film, a recent conversation with them ended with the sales rep stating they would ‘never say never’.

Also - at this point in time that there have never been so many different film stocks available in Super 8 - take a look at this list:

Just today we have also been speaking with an entrepreneur at the cutting edge of 3D printing technology who was describing how this process could easily be applied to image and emulsion film could literally be produced in a lab without the need for large commercial premises, overheads and the huge production scales required by producers such as Kodak. It is perhaps here that we can see where the future of film production could be...

James Holcombe
Head of Lab and Education


Image: hand coloured film through tinting and toning

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