Kodak CTO: archive on film


LAS VEGAS -- Kodak chief technology officer Gary Einhaus on Wednesday called film a "better business proposition" than digital cameras and said Kodak is exploring ways to simplify and improve film-archiving methods.

"We are looking at the archival qualities of some of our films, particularly intermediate film, because it already is being used in the industry as internegatives," he said in an interview at the NAB convention. "We are looking at its archiving capabilities to see if we could simplify the archiving process, compared to black-and-white separations.

"The color films are never going to be as stable as black-and-white separations, but are they good enough to get a little bit of the complexity out of the archiving process?" he asked. "We are trying to understand how good they are and how good they can be and what storage conditions you need to have."

Citing the benefits of film archiving, he added: "Film can be stored for hundreds of years under the right conditions. It doesn't have problems with storage obsolescence."

In contrast, he pointed to the large data-storage requirements and unresolved issues surrounding digital archiving. "How are you going to store that data? What is the cost of storing it, and what format will you use? This remains a largely unsolved problem and may be a barrier to adoption of other technologies in the short term."

In discussing the 4k digital-cinematography cameras launched this year at NAB, he said of Red: "Certainly by what they claim, it looks really interesting, but we know that these cameras are challenged from a number of perspectives. You can't judge a camera by the number of pixels it has. ... Not all pixels are created equally.

"Dalsa's been more open and made real progress in its 4k cameras," he added.

He said that Kodak will continue to focus on further developing film. "It isn't just 4k you need to think about, you have to think about noise. You have to think about dynamic range. You also have to think about workflow.

"We did work on a really spectacular digital-capture device," he said, "and in the end, we decided not to pursue it. ... There's not a business case for it. There's too few cameras sold."