State of the Union, January 2018 (Update #44)
A very Happy New Year to You!
In 2017, we made our first product - P30 black and white film. People around the world bought P30 and many more people have been able to see P30 photos on social media.
We are profoundly grateful for the support of the film community, and especially to our Backers for your patience as we learn, day by day, to solve problems and implement our vision.
For those of you ready to stop reading now, here is the rest of this update in 4 bullets.
- We are manufacturing P30 film, but getting it into cartridges at the right volume has become an issue that we have been trying very hard to fix. The video below shows this converting process.
- The only real fix is the ultimate one: install the machines you helped us buy. We knew this from the beginning - but the best temporary solution we could find has very strict limits. So we have begun working on installing our 120 machines to help with the bottleneck.
- By late-Summer 2018, after clearing the hurdles for converting, we can begin initial testing on color reversal film.
- We are reopening our online shop on Thursday, January 25th, in the US/CAN first, and elsewhere soon after.
For more details, read on...
As we begin 2018, our factory team is confidently making coated rolls of P30 and is ready to expand coating operations to meet demand.
We are very proud of this, but it’s only half of the puzzle.
We make big rolls of film that need to be “converted” into small rolls - and we have a hard limit on the amount of 35mm film we can convert.
This short video shows the general process.
The Converting Machines
Thanks to our Backers, we own all of the necessary machinery to convert 35mm, 120 and 127 films completely in-house.
In the image below, you can see the various machines as they were in 2015, before starting to move them into the storage. (Click the image to see the full gallery.)
As you can see, these are complex and complicated industrial-scale machines.
Removing them from their old location was a difficult and expensive task in itself. Installing them again is more than we can afford to do all at once.
In fact, it was never the plan to do converting in-house so soon. We have always expected to simply purchase converting services from someone else. But the industry has changed a lot in the last few years, and we have learned that our options for converting are severely limited.
The temporary solution we found for converting 35mm during the pre-sale has proven to be our only solution, and this solution has hard limits on production capacity.
Because of this, and despite our best efforts, we enter 2018 with a limited supply of 35mm films available to us each week.
What’s the Plan?
Our 35mm converting line is the most complicated and expensive to install. But our 120 line is the easiest and cheapest - so let's start there!
Once this line is restarted, we can (technically) make more 120 film in a single week than all of the 35mm film we have made so far.
We cannot ignore our 35mm line. It's our next priority.* But having no bottleneck on 120 film will be a huge step forward for us.
OK... but You Promised Me Color Reversal Film Rewards!
And that is the goal we are working toward, one slow step at a time.
In April 2015, we were forced to completely reset all the plans that would have provided you with rewards that year. Since then, we have faced many issues that would bankrupt any normal company.
One by one, we have solved every problem and we remain standing. We now have two major parts of our operations under control and we are working on the third:
- Making emulsions at the right scale - Done!
- Coating miniJumbos at the right speed - Ready!
- Converting these into final boxes of film - In Progress!
- Restart color film testing - Late Summer 2018?
- Start color reversal film production - ???
Yes, the date that we will begin shipping the original rewards is still unknown. We would very much prefer that it’s as soon as possible, just like you.
But we will keep solving problems every day until you have your rewards.
The Shop is Opening Again!
On Thursday, Jan. 25th, we will open our online shop for US & Canadian customers only. With our 35mm production bottleneck, we must stagger the opening of the shops globally. For details, please visit our site.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a Backer with an unused coupon from the pre-sale, DO NOT USE THE SHOP! We will contact you directly by email with instructions.
We remain humbled and encouraged by the continued patience and support our Backers have shown for our grand project. Grazie mille!
The FILM Ferrania Team
* We are looking for specific funding to finish this “Converting Project” at a much faster pace than sales alone will allow. The funding needed is less than most traditional investors will consider, so we have some ideas about how to do it differently. If you or anyone you know are interested to learn more, please contact us.