It’s impossible to talk about the history of photography without mentioning Kodak. In its 140 years long history, the company has had many ups and downs. But it remains one of the most iconic names in the industry that has changed and revolutionized photography. This fantastic video from Studio C-41 takes you behind the scenes of making Kodak film. In this factory tour, you’ll see the three phases in making Kodak film, but also learn a bit about its history.
Kodak popularized photography and made it available to the general public. Today, Kodak film is made in the factory in Rochester, New York. Each film starts as a giant roll which is put in a light-tight box called “a casket.” Then it gets transported to the finishing plant where it goes through three main steps.
The first step in manufacturing film is creating it into a base, which is heated, stretched, and formed into a large rolled sheet up to 12,000 feet (3,657.6m) long. Step two is getting the film roll sensitized. Emulsions and chemicals are applied to sensitize the film base and prepare it for film finishing. The third and final step is cutting the film, perforating it, labeling it, and preparing it for shipping.
The Rochester factory is capable of producing 50,000 rolls of 35mm film a day, according to George Muncey who visited it in 2018. However, the factory likely doesn’t use the full capacity. If you’d like to take a tour, make sure to watch the video above. You won’t only learn something, but I’m sure you’ll also feel a hit of nostalgia too, and even the need to shoot film.