How Kodak Film Was Made in the 1950s

The fine folks at PeriscopeFilm have gotten their hands on an old educational film created by Eastman Kodak in the 1950s. While the copy of the vintage movie is incomplete, it shows part of a documentary about how the company makes film for cameras.

Seen on DIY Photography, the seven-minute clip is a blast from the past. However, when compared to the illustrious three-part epic made by Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day, the old footage shows that in the preceding 70 or so years, film production hasn’t changed quite as much as one might expect.

Beyond occupying the same campus in Rochester, New York, Kodak still uses many of the same machines and materials to create photographic film in the 21st century as it did in the 1950s. Then again, certain things can’t change. Film still needs roughly the same essential components, no matter what sort of technological advancements take place, including protective layers and photo-sensitive emulsions.

Unfortunately, just when the video gets to the creation of photo emulsion, it cuts off. Nonetheless, it’s amazing to have even this footage, as the film’s animations and footage are a veritable treasure trove of vintage excellence.

PeriscopeFilm has many other amazing photography-related videos in its expansive library, including a 1947 United States Navy video about photography in intelligence, a 1950 Navy training film on the basics of photography, and a 1945 video on Naval combat photographers.

And yes, there are plenty of vintage videos about photography that aren’t from the United States Navy, including a 1960 informational video about “camera tricks” performed by famed photographer and cinematographer Arthur Fellig, a 1948 video aimed at helping high school students learn photography, and a topical 1980 color film from Kodak about the relationship between film and paper, which also offers more fun looks at how film is made.

Although Kodak’s film production output has changed a lot over the years, by virtue of the massive shift toward digital, the company still plays a significant role in the still and motion picture industries and it is always worthwhile to take a stroll down Kodak’s expansive memory lane.

Image credits: Featured image is a screenshot from Eastman Kodak’s 1950s-era educational film