Dave Bias and the FILM Ferrania Story - Part 2 (223)


Dave Bias continues in part 2 of this interview by telling the fascinating story of how co-founders Nicola Baldini and Marco Pagni teamed together to resurrect Ferrania as FILM Ferrania to bring back analog film production. Dave talks about FILM Ferrania's successful Kickstarter campaign that allowed them to invest in the future of analog film.

The handwritten formula for P30 black and white film (photo courtesy of FILM Ferrania)

The handwritten formula for P30 black and white film (photo courtesy of FILM Ferrania)

However, as with any good story adversity lurks around the corner threatening the protagonist’s journey. Dave tells us that proved true with FILM Ferrania. They suffered a major setback in refurbishing the manufacturing facility that caused them to have to delay the release of a new color reversal film originally promised as a reward to their Kickstarter supporters. Meanwhile, the FILM Ferrania team found an old hand written note in a diary that turned out to be the formula and manufacturing instructions of a gorgeous, silver-packed, black and white cinema film stock that is the stuff of legends: P30. Producing the first batches of P30 proved to be a good learning step in developing and fine turning the machinery and processes for eventually making color reversal film.

Dave Bias' gripping and inspiring account of the extraordinary story of the resurgence of analog film is a story that has only just begun.

If you haven't listened to Part 1 of the Artful Camera conversation with Dave Bias, please be sure to listen episode 222.

This photo by Dave Bias was taken from an early pre-production batch of P30. Despite some scratching caused by one of their old machines, these early photographs from a pre-production batch clearly show the underlying beauty of FERRANIA P30® ALPHA. (Photo courtesy of Dave Bias and FILM Ferrania)  

This photo by Dave Bias was taken from an early pre-production batch of P30. Despite some scratching caused by one of their old machines, these early photographs from a pre-production batch clearly show the underlying beauty of FERRANIA P30® ALPHA. (Photo courtesy of Dave Bias and FILM Ferrania)

 

In this episode Dave discusses:

  • 3M bought Ferrania in the 1960’s
  • Known as the “Kodak of Italy”
  • Became a white-label manufacturer of film
  • LRF building a mini-factory
  • Saved a vast archive of film manufacturing information
  • Started a succesful kickstarter campaign in 2014
  • Now own all the equipment they need - for the cost of the weight of steel
  • Would cost millions to make machines today
  • Wanted to start off making a color reversal film
  • Film release delayed by unexpected need to do an asbestos abatement by the government
  • Photographers need a choice in film as do artists need choice in paints and mediums
  • Tangible art more important in the digital age
  • Explosive growth in interest in old analog things not possible without digital internet
  • Found handwritten formulation for P30 film stock suited to LRF factory
  • Making film is rocket science!
  • Everyone was shocked how beautiful P30 film is even with initial flaws
  • Problems with slitter and machinery would not have been fixed without trying to make P30
  • Cinema film trickier to process
  • P30 has huge gamut - packed full of silver
  • First batch of the “alpha” version of P30 crashed their e-commerce platform and sold out
  • Goal is to have film in brick and mortar stores
  • Shops are keenly interested in selling their products
  • What about new film cameras?
  • Ferrania made cameras in the past so it’s conceivable that FILM Ferrania could do so in the future
  • As film resurgence grows, may see new pro cameras
  • Old mechanical cameras are easy to refurbish and save from land fills
  • There’s a need to train a new generation of people to fix old cameras
  • FILM Ferrania is just beginning!

 

Dave Bias of FILM Ferrania (courtesy of Dave Bias)

Dave Bias of FILM Ferrania (courtesy of Dave Bias)


MENTIONED IN THE SHOW:

FILM Ferrania http://www.filmferrania.it

Dave Bias http://www.davebias.org

Announcing P30 https://vimeo.com/197269585

P30 Info and Sample Images http://www.filmferrania.it/p30

Revenge of Analog - Real Things and Why They Matter - by David Sax http://amzn.to/2pNoSxv


THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY:

CrumplePop - Makers of fine Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X Plugins: http://crumplepop.com