Sunday, August 5, 2012

About New55 FILM

New55 FILM is a new, trash-reduced 4x5 film that produces a positive print and a high quality negative in about 2 minutes. The photographs you see posted on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/groups/new55/ are experimental in nature and are put there so that the extended and geographically distant New55 group can show and discuss failures, findings, and successes as this new material is fine tuned for later distribution.

There will likely not be widespread distribution at first, but small batches made as people, tooling and market converge, we hope. There are no "beta testers" nor is there a test supply - all New55 FILM is purchased or otherwise paid-for by the user. Doing so covers some of the cost and also reaffirms the value proposition of the estimated $6+ per-sheet selling price. This isn't a bad price considering the yield of both a positive and a negative.

New55 FILM can be exposed for whatever artistic purpose the user desires and make a positive and a negative that are balanced more closely than its discontinued predecessor. There are many other differences such as the trash reduced design, the use of a more advanced reagent, and the clearing step with ordinary photo fixer.

A number of people have recommended this be crowd funded by Kickstarter which we looked into. Kickstarter is fine for pre-selling things that you have or will have, but not for tooling, engineering or infrastructure costs that are needed to achieve the industrial mass required to produce a complex product. An alternative to this will be sales of batches online, perhaps on auction sites, as that will tell us, and investors and supporters, about the demand, or not, for this new medium.

New55 FILM is a new medium or sub-type: A less industry-intensive approach to making artistic materials for large format photography aimed at the growing number of artists who are just discovering photography with any of the millions of 4x5 cameras that are still operating perfectly. New55 FILM is likely to be produced in very small quantities at first and larger numbers if the sales are good. Fuji discontinued their 4x5 instant film due to poor sales. We may be in a better spot as there are perhaps over 100,000 545 holders that are still in working shape, and they are likely to remain that way for a long time, vs the very limited number of 4x5 pack film backs that were sold.

20x24 Studio is an essential partner in New55 FILM commercialization. As a supporter and instant film center of excellence, and with their long expertise in sourcing and building photosensitive materials for sale, 20x24 will bring together access to materials, venues, major artists, and sales channels, in addition to its own artistic and technical expertise which is unparalleled. There are still plenty of risks and many assumptions being made about the viability of the marketplace for large format instant 4x5 photography.
New55 FILM scan of negative.
Photo by Orianna Reardon

So far on the New55 Project blog and elsewhere you have seen the circuitous and incremental steps that led to our present state of fairly consistent and high quality "hand made" results. These still need refinement, the type that comes from engineering, tooling and investment. If you have not seen the results to date, look at the New55 slide show on flickr, and soon at Orianna Reardon's work with this evolving material.

19 comments:

cafe selavy said...

Bravo! Let me know when and where. All hope here.

David Cope said...

My 545 holder and checkbook are on red alert and standing by!

J Brand - Brand's Camera Craft said...

I bought a used 545 back and I am waiting for the New55 to be available!

Pat Morrissey said...

I pray for the success of this venture and look forward to getting my hands on my first batch of film.

Stefan said...

My 4x5 polaroid back is ready and waiting to receive your film :-)
Good luck

Anonymous said...

Omg. I need to buy some of this now. When and where? I'm so excited !!!!!!!!!!!

Jb

Chuck Mintz said...

You might consider a subscription model. Maybe with an auto-renewal. Supporters would commit to $20/month for a year at a time. For that they would be due 20 sheets every six months. They would authorize a credit card or paypal account. Maybe they would commit to 2-3 years? This would give you a base of long term support to work from. If you had a 1000 people signed up for $240/year of product minimum, that would not finance your investment but it would be a start that you could count on. Unlike Kickstarter, it would be there for year two and year three. Just a thought.

Bob Crowley said...

I think that model has merit especially if we had steady usage of the film, and it also works in a situation where the material is on allocation due to limited supply. Those that signed up would have a fixed price for the period, and those who wished to pay news stand price could online, say on an auction site.

ed said...

Given that 4x5 pack film was sold for much longer than single sheet polaroid, there are at least as many 550 and pa45 holders out there as 545 holders. Many 545s have gone begging and have been thrown out for years, since they were useless for the last decade or more, generally.

Bob Crowley said...

There are far fewer 4x5 pack film backs than single sheet backs. Polaroid and Fuji both made and sold them, but not in very large numbers. More of the 3 1/4 X 4 1/4 backs that can fit on a 4x5 were sold. Even these number fewer than the single sheet 500 series backs.


Polaroid sold single sheet backs for at about 50 years. Also, single sheet film was discontinued in 2008 which is not all that long ago.

There are many thousands of single sheet backs still sitting about.

Judith said...

I, too, have a 545 back and am ready and waiting... is there an email list for notification on releases?

Bob Crowley said...

Everything we know is posted here and linked to FB. When the product does go on general sale it may be on a site that takes paypal as we have no online store.

Anonymous said...

waiting and hoping, 545 waiting too, wish you the best!

mick said...

Best wishes for the success of this venture, and thanks for giving me hope.
My Graflex Speed Graphic, 545 back, and scanner are waiting.

If you guys can do this, I will never stop using your film.

Thom Bennett said...

Looking forward to trying this.

Thom Bennett said...

Looking forward to trying this film.

tamara hastie said...

oh yeah Bob- this is soooo rad!
I will be looking to be buying some when it becomes available...please let me know....
paypal check whatever :)

thank you for the time you have put into this!
-Tamara

John said...

we in malaysia are supporting you with our heart and checkbooks ready!

Fred said...

Like others, I'm looking forward to the day I use this holder with your film. This project needs to go forward and I'll be there with payment in hand when product is ready, beta or not ;)