Editor’s note: Photos were provided by Kodak
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Demand for film is soaring. Just ask Kodak, the Rochester business giant who confirmed that they’re running their film finishing factory 24/7, just to have enough manpower.
According to Kodak, their Advanced Materials & Chemicals organization — the arm of the business that handles film finishing and represents a quarter of the company’s business — has increased their headcount by 100 people, and hired 350 people since 2021.
“When we make film, we coat it very wide in these huge rolls that are 52 inches wide. But by the time they get into those little canisters that go in the camera, that has to go through a finishing step, which is where most of the labor and the work that has to happen is,” Nagraj Bokinkere, Kodak’s VP of Industrial Film & Chemicals said. “That’s why that’s the bottleneck. And that’s the area where we had to expand capacity.”
They add that there are 75 openings as of Friday, for operators and skilled trades technicians. Bokinkere, says they will offer on-the-job training. He adds of all of this combined growth, and jobs added represent a four times increase in production.
Kodak says that while Hollywood’s motion picture industry has always powered their film production, it’s been the lovers of still photography film that was fueling this current trend.
“People are starting to explore and experience (film) through the 35-millimeter film format,” Bokinkere said. “It’s I think there is a growing interest in that. And that demand has caught us by surprise.”
Bokinkere says that the 35mm format, which amateurs more often use, has grown faster than the size typically used by professionals, 120mm.
“We’ll continue to invest in film and will continue to manufacture film as long as there is a demand,” Bokinkere said.
But Kodachrome won’t be coming back.
“That is a pretty frequent question,” Bokinkere said. “But we have no plans to introduce Kodachrome.”