Kodak May Be Down, But Thanks to Last Minute Financing, They’re Not Out

Film Company introduces new Super 8mm Film

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Watching the long, slow death of Kodak has been painful.  Having been forced into bankruptcy, and staving off speculation that Apple and Google will be in a bidding war for the lion’s share of Kodak Patents, the company that was once synonymous with photography and filmmaking has secured almost a billion dollars in “junior debtor in possessing” financing, for exit financing that will enable them to reorganize and emerge from Chapter 11 by the Spring of 2013.

“The significance of this agreement for Kodak is that it establishes a clear path for our emergence as a stronger, more focused company. The significance for our customers, partners and suppliers around the world is that it solidifies our ability to continue to serve them, innovate for them and contribute to their success,” said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

The financing comes in the form of nearly a half billion in new term loans, another $317 million in lien notes.   The financing is contingent on Kodak being able to sell off it’s digital imaging patent portfolio, which will go to auction and will allow heavyweights including Apple and Google to fight over them like vultures over a dead carcass.   The critical component is that Kodak must get at least $500 billion for their imaging patents.  If they fall short, the financing falls through.

Additionally, Kodak can convert up to $567 million of their loans into exit financing if they are able to resolve all their pension obligations in the UK and sell off their Kodak’s Document Imaging and Personalized Imaging businesses as well.  What would be left after that?  Well, mostly just the name, which Kodak plans to mirror what Polaroid has been doing, which was sold off and is not placed on everything from cameras to stereo speakers and more.

But Kodak is also looking to leverage a niche market of theirs that simply refuses to die … Super 8mm film.  Kodak is announcing the release of Vision 3 50D Color Negative Super 8mm film beginning in January.   It will join similar film stocks in 16mm and 35mm varieties, as well as Kodak Tri-X Black and White still camera film which Kodak continues to manufacture.  The Vision 3 50D film is designed for low speed, bright ambient light conditions.

“There are a wide range of Super 8 users around the globe, and this gives them another stock for their toolbox,” says Kodak’s Mike Ryan, director of film technology for the Entertainment Imaging Division. “Now filmmakers turning to the small gauge format can take advantage of the finest grain motion picture technology on the market to craft the distinctive look they desire from a film captured image.”

I know what you’re thinking … in today’s digital driven era, that sounds like a fool’s errand.  But Super 8mm film is still very popular with students, film programs, and every day users, and believe it or not, Hollywood still uses Super 8mm as well.  The only challenge is finding a place to process it.  Kodak stopped processing film in 2010 when the last batch of Kodachrome was processed in Parsons, Kansas.



About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.

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