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$53,447 pledged of $150,000 goal
backers
$53,447 pledged of $150,000 goal
backers

About

Hello Large-Format photographer!  It is time to improve New55 PN, the instant 4x5 positive-negative black and white film that you initially brought to life back in 2014.

Thanks to your support, New55 PN is used around the world today. New55 PN is made by hand, which is costly; and the film system needs improvement. So we are crowd-funding improvements based on your requests to:

1. Improve the spread so it is more even, with a smoother border;

2. Make the finished negative less sensitive to light after peeling;

3. Bring the print closer to presentation quality;

4. Generally improve the Pod, Clip, Sleeve and Stop functions to make the system easier to use.

[The prints and negative scans shown here come from past production New55 PN and are included to show problems we aim to fix.]

Improvements to the Pod and film packet components would benefit the print's sharpness, contrast, tonality and overall appearance. (Portrait of Richard by Tobias Titz)
Improvements to the Pod and film packet components would benefit the print's sharpness, contrast, tonality and overall appearance. (Portrait of Richard by Tobias Titz)

Back in 2014, supporters around the world successfully Kickstarted New55 PN. Now we need your help to make improvements to this 4x5 instant film packet system that works in the 545 holder series (545, 545i and 545 Pro).  Just like before, your participation is crucial to the progress and survival of large-format instant film.

This Kickstarter campaign will pay for tools and components needed to improve New55 PN so it is easier to use and more reliable.

A successful campaign will cure some of the film packet alignment flaws visible at the top of this decent negative. (Portrait of the children by Laena Wilder in "Zanzibar Memoir")
A successful campaign will cure some of the film packet alignment flaws visible at the top of this decent negative. (Portrait of the children by Laena Wilder in "Zanzibar Memoir")

Goal of this Project

The goal is to make New55 PN film work better. We need to get control of the pod and the chemicals used in the development in order to reduce the urgency to use fixer immediately after peeling. The chemical spread needs to be improved. We need a higher-quality paper stock for the print base; this is intended to improve the print's surface, contrast, and mid-tones in order to make the print more "presentation ready".

Just like our successful previous black and white Kickstarter campaign that many of you helped fund, this is not a pre-sales initiative. This campaign is a funding of the industrial capacity for an improved New55 PN 4x5 instant film system. An emphasis is going to be put on automation which is expensive and difficult to implement in a multi-component product. The fulfillment of boxes of that material at the end of the project can be thought of as the "icing on the cake".

A nearly perfect portrait with some unfortunate mottling of the negative that can be eliminated with a better print paper surface and full command of the spread. (Portrait of Katie by Michael Cirelli)
A nearly perfect portrait with some unfortunate mottling of the negative that can be eliminated with a better print paper surface and full command of the spread. (Portrait of Katie by Michael Cirelli)

Rewarding Your Support 

Rewards, if we are successful, would consist of improved New55 PN that should behave more reliably in the 545 holder and yield stronger negatives and better prints.

Shipping costs are added to your pledge depending on your country location, and backers outside the United States would be responsible for customs duties and VAT at the national rate in countries where it is applied and collected.

Where Your Money Will Go 

The proceeds of this Kickstarter campaign would fund the components for this improved version of New55 PN. 

We are setting a $150,000 goal for this Kickstarter campaign but will try hard to exceed that amount. The $150,000 is to be considered a step toward the goal of improving the quality and reliability of New55 PN.  

We will report sales and expenditures and update you on a regular basis with detailed cost reports, much like we did in the past. 

Control of the Pod-making process should reduce the occurrence of incomplete spreads. (Portrait of Alina by Oliver Brachat)
Control of the Pod-making process should reduce the occurrence of incomplete spreads. (Portrait of Alina by Oliver Brachat)

Component Sourcing

Our plan is good, but new components take time to integrate into the design and the improvement process can face setbacks when multiple components are changing.     

The Receiver Sheet 

The Receiver Sheet, or print, is made nowhere else in the world and we worked hard to learn how to coat paper to function within a narrow performance range. A large part of this effort will go toward testing a higher-quality replacement paper stock for the Receiver Sheet base and refining its behavior under various conditions in the improved New55 PN packet system. This is intended to help the print's appearance, but this change also impacts the design of other components which are changing at the same time.

Developing the New Reagent 

The Developer Reagent that goes in the Pod for developing the positive and the negative needs to change. We have a preliminary formula that was used in some of the test photos we show above, but this formula is not presently qualified for full production. We'll have to produce bulk amounts of this new formula, and also outfit the "reactor" in which it can be properly mixed.  Bob Crowley has already started working on the necessary machine.

Bob originally built this chemical reactor from COTS components for New55 COLOR, which was not funded. We can salvage it and use it for an improved New55 PN black and white reagent.
Bob originally built this chemical reactor from COTS components for New55 COLOR, which was not funded. We can salvage it and use it for an improved New55 PN black and white reagent.

Making the Pods

Once this reagent is made, it has to be put into Pods. 20X24 Studio has provided filled Pods for the project so far -- a crucial and much appreciated contribution to progress. In order for us to improve the spread and reliability, we need access to a machine to control fill-weight, sealing temperature and pressure, and introduce better dies that are used to apply heat and pressure. We plan to introduce a precise and programmable positive displacement pump system to fill the pods, too. This is quite risky since we currently rely on 20x24 Studio to do all of this. We know we can accomplish this improvement if we are fortunate.

Film Packet Design & Assembly 

Thankfully, in some areas, the work is mostly done.  We will use versions of the existing Sleeve, Tongue Assembly and Clip as well as packaging methods already in place for the current New55 FILM products.  On the Sleeve, a thicker stop that is located out of the picture area and a non-embossed logo are two planned modifications that are minimally disruptive to the design. Reusing these systems, assembly stations and suppliers is a source of confidence and something we do not have to develop all over again.

Challenges to Overcome

This remains a complex and risky project. We finished up the original New55 PN Kickstarter project late and over budget due to supplier failures. But we overcame some of those problems by inventing our own production machinery, adding a lot of our own cash and by working really, really hard. Despite these difficulties, New55 PN is in production today.

Our Experience as Problem Solvers 

Bob Crowley has long experience as a materials research scientist and inventor. His track record of patents and successful commercializations of intricate and difficult new products helped us succeed in the first New55 PN Kickstarter project. Bob has assembled a skilled engineering, manufacturing and business team that remains together.

Possible improvements to the Sleeve design include a thicker Stop that is relocated closer to the Clip and also a flat painted logo that will leave no trace on the print or negative. A thicker Stop demands a more precise control of Pod fill volume.
Possible improvements to the Sleeve design include a thicker Stop that is relocated closer to the Clip and also a flat painted logo that will leave no trace on the print or negative. A thicker Stop demands a more precise control of Pod fill volume.

A number of things could go wrong and probably some hurdles will arise. As the only maker of peel-apart instant film left in the world, we find ourselves having to invent new ways of doing things. There is no guarantee we can overcome every problem.

Please demonstrate your passion for large-format instant photography with a generous pledge to back the improved New55 PN.  Thank you for your support!

Risks and challenges

This project involves a variety of risks about which you should be fully aware as you consider making your contribution.

Revisions to the developer reagent could follow more than a few different paths and seriously test our chemical capabilities.

A new source of paper for the Receiver Sheet represents one of the most significant improvements to the system that will translate most vividly to quality improvement overall; however, the new material will need to be sourced in bulk and converted. This is time-consuming, cash-intensive, and subject to uncertainty. Furthermore, initiating new vendor relationships is a challenge. Up front, the new paper candidates will need to be tested and slight variations from run to run from the paper plant will continue to test our skills and determination.

Improvements to the film packet system are a relatively easy part of the initiative, but uncertainty remains here when so many other facets of system are changing simultaneously, and there is a cost.

Generally speaking, in a project of this nature, surprises and setbacks could lead to costly delays and even failure. The project may be under-funded and require additional capital to proceed. Important supplier arrangements for film stock could have a higher than expected cost or they may need to change on the spur of a moment. The supply of pods and reagent may be interrupted. The performance of the product could be lower than we expect. Access to facilities and tools could be interrupted unexpectedly. The project could fail to deliver at all if enough things go wrong.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    New55 FILM T-Shirt

    The all-new New55 FILM T-shirt in his & hers sizes.

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    1 Box of New55 PN Improved

    1 box of New55 PN Improved (5 exposures per box).

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    2 Boxes of New55 PN Improved

    2 boxes of New55 PN Improved (5 prints per box).

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    Pledge $270 or more About $270

    4 Boxes of New55 PN Improved

    4 boxes of New55 PN Improved (5 prints per box).

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    Pledge $637 or more About $637

    10 Boxes of New55 PN Improved

    10 boxes of New55 PN Improved (5 prints per box).

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Funding period

- (30 days)