Kodak Axes Acetate Film Base Production

Making Film at Kodak

It will probably come as no surprise to many that Kodak is planning to discontinue production of the acetate base, a primary component film, according to a WROC report published Tuesday.

Cellulose acetate, as it’s properly referred to, is the plastic base which¬†undergoes treatment to eventually become light sensitive.

The financially-troubled company will be halting operations at the plant responsible for the production of the acetate base after 100 years of production, leaving about 60 workers jobless.

Not surprisingly, the root cause of the discontinuation simply boils down to the fact that demand for film products have declined with the rise of digital photography. The manufacturing of acetate film base is very resource intensive. Machines are required to be kept on for long periods of time.

Kodak Film Pile

“When you have a machine running, you have to keep it running continuously. It starts with a liquid, that evaporates and you’re left with a plastic. You cannot start and stop the machine without totally removing all the material. Otherwise,it just turns into a big, gooey mess,” says Robert Shanebrook, a former Kodak employee.

According to a Kodak spokesman, the company plans to purchase acetate from other manufacturers upon the depletion of their supply, which is significant, according to the WROC report.

Image credit: My father making film at Kodak by Catskills Grrl and Will Films Ever Return? by williamcho