Sunday, October 23, 2016

Goals of the Project - New55 COLOR

Taken from the New55 COLOR kickstarter:

Goals of this Project

1. First and foremost, the goal is to create a new Color 4x5 instant film that produces a big, beautiful, peelapart print! This is the object of most of the rewards for supporting the project. If this is successful, the film will produce a vivid, high-resolution color photograph using the easily-obtained Polaroid 545 backs. These fit on millions of cameras.

2. We want to advance development of Pack Films as soon as possible. Even though pack type films are not rewards here, your support will help develop the roll goodsneeded for that important next step. And we will begin the exploration of a new packfilm capability right away, as soon as this Kickstarter is successful. We will report on it regularly as you might expect, and ask for your advice and input as we try different things.

3. This is most exciting: It may be possible to produce a true Color positive-negative material. Never before has this been done except by a few who reclaimed "Fujinegs". An instant color negative is a new idea and something never before offered in the history of analog photography. In addition to being used for instant camera fo
rmats, this material could potentially be made into 120 rollfilms, 35mm and used in both instant AND non-instant cameras! This could be an important outcome from your support of this campaign, though it is not a reward here.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Our 2014 Kickstarter for Black and White Charted like this

You are looking at a historical chart of our first successful 2014 OLD Kickstarter effort that was successful. Here's how it went down in 2014.  This is NOT the current Kickstarter. Our New55 COLOR Kickstarter is here.

Below, you can see what happened in 2014. We got the initial bump that looks familiar. Around the middle we spoke up and told the world that at this rate, we weren't going to make it. Many of you responded and in the last days more than 60% of the money was raised.

Together with you, we did it before, and we can do it again. But let's not wait until the last minute to Save Instant Color Peelapart Film before it is lost forever. 

HISTORY. Done but not forgotten. Can we
fund New55 COLOR like we did
Black and White? 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

New55 COLOR Kickstarter begins today!

Finally, after months of R&D and preparation, we are ready to bring to the world the next step in Instant Peelapart Film.

New55 COLOR is live on Kickstarter. We need your help and support to bring this important new material to life!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Color peelapart experiments demonstrate proof-of-principle

Our recent experiments are producing some good-looking results using all-new materials. The first batches of New55 COLOR were produced using leftover materials made by Polaroid and supplied by 20x24 Studio for experiments. These were an essential and excellent start.

Today we are experimenting with an all-new negative, reagent and receiver material that can likely be obtained in fresh production quantities. The results show reasonably good Dmin and Dmax, a good grayscale, fairly correct colors and a color balance within striking distance of a real product.

Not visible here is a load of stuck-on reagent and some mottling caused by our inconsistent gap.  These both have to be fixed and although these results are promising we have no data on fading, pH neutralization, and changes due to age, humidity or time, which we will need.

A proposed Kickstarter is in the works but not quite ready. The success of a 4x5 color effort would presumably lead to the roll goods needed for pack films, later, and possibly other peelapart products.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Orianna Reardon - Fence

Photographer Orianna Reardon's work using New55 PN has always been interesting and very well done, which is not surprising as her other work is much admired too.  Here is an older unpublished photograph she did using a Speed Graphic and New55 PN film.

Monday, September 19, 2016

New Instax Square is 2.5 X 2.5 (inches)

Here's a cut down Instax Wide made in the size of the newly announced Instax Square. The announcement and its timing show that Fujifilm intends to capture remaining market share from its competitors and fulfill its stated goal to stand alone in photographic instant films.  The picture area is 2.5 X 2.5 inches, or a little bigger than a square 120 size film negative frame. The side by side comparison is done by cutting down an Instax Wide shot and simply overlapping it. On the left is a recent Impossible instant photo. Both were shot by me.
Impossible Project's film (left) and a mockup of Fujifilm's new
Instax Square.

Monday, September 5, 2016

New55 4X5 COLOR Kickstarter Can Include Work Toward Packfilms

Robert J. Crowley "Bob", medical
device inventor, industrialist, and
originator of New55 FILM
New!  We are on Kickstarter NOW to advance this last chance to save packfilms. Please support this effort. Your support is more than a purchase - it is truly a vote for the future of photography. Here is the link.  LINK

Today, New55 hand assembles everything. Pre-made sleeves are designed for hand assembly, not machine assembly. Our assemblers do a wonderful job but the work is slow, expensive and imprecise.

We started with no machinery at all. The addition of "The Thing" a coating rig made of plywood and hair dryers, and medical pumps and controls, was a huge step forward, but it is not enough.

Larger scale means better consistency and manufacturing economics. The cost of tooling, machinery, automation and improved coatings are rolled into the potential for a sustainable and growable small industry with ever improving quality and product offerings.

Black and white is good but many people only shoot color film. Our early hand made color film examples were a test of demand, and were built using old materials that were provided by our friends at 20x24.

Meanwhile, Fuji left the scene, at least as far as peelapart films. Their system represented a high point in industrial development but they decided to close it down when demand for passport pictures declined. The loss of packfilm represents another empty space for innovation, if we are bold enough.

Crowd funding has evolved into a merchandizing tool, mainly, but also a place to share risk among those who believe in coming together to make something happen. We have done the latter and today have proof-of-principle that complex technical and industrial projects can be crowd-funded, if there is the will.

Photography itself is redefining itself. To many, the so-called "alternative photography" term is synonymous with "real photography" meaning projecting light onto a chemical surface that you can see with your own eyes, and producing a photographic "thing". Our digis and phone devices are fantastic, and they have shown us that video (still, moving) is a better way to communicate. We use these tools as communications devices first, and sometimes as fine art. The interest in large format cameras is increasing at an impressive rate. The view of the ground glass and what it does to our perceptions is important and satisfying.

New55 exists because we believe all this and you did too. Though the expense has been very high it seems that many people do understand that technical and industrial progress occurs in stages in part funded by early sales, with the implication that continuous improvement will occur. We hope we have shown some signs of that philosophy in action with the introduction of new coatings, but there is much more to do.

I've gone on record that about $15M are needed to build the factory for peelapart films, including packfilm. Nobody is suggesting we attempt a $15M Kickstarter even though I am sure there will be even bigger crowd funding in the future in other fields, such as movie production. But the fact is we all crowd fund when we pay our monthly Verizon fees, or go to the food store. The difference is that deep pockets have placed products for us to consume. New55 is completely different in that regard, as instead we made products to demand.

The Color film exercise we just did was important and seems to point to how we can introduce peelapart color first in 4x5 and then in other formats large and small. A successful Kickstarter will establish the "sheet goods" requirement and sophisticated coating chemistry that has not been made before with earth-friendly materials. Many of the old chemicals cannot be used, and like The Impossible Project we will depend on new and less hazardous ones, if we can make the new system work well. This crucial step must occur if we are to progress. The effort will benefit black and white, too, with increased economies-of-scale in the factory, and broader, more effective quality improvements. New55's first Kickstarter was easy to understand, as it could be reduced (inaccurately) to bringing back, or resurrecting something that had gone. This is different: We need to find a way to pay for the factory. Pre-orders alone won't do that.

So we are at the moment of truth: Shall New55 continue and grow and if so, how? Together we have proven there is interest. Film use is up over previous years. New film cameras are still being made, and photography itself is bifurcating with one arm in analog. We know what is needed and can design and build the tools and factory to do it and have done so in a small way. From a purely business perspective we could make the case that it is a good investment, but we can't do that ourselves.

How do we communicate and get support for what is almost purely an industrial effort? Over the next week we will decide if we should announce a new Kickstarter effort to raise $500,000, or 20% more than the last time, to introduce color 4X5 and pave the way for other formats, such as packfilms. 

Bob Crowley

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Important Message About the Future from New55

In September we will be making an important announcement about New55 and what we have learned so far, and what will need to be done in the future to make peel apart instant photography a vital and ongoing industry and art form.

There is much to be done. Do not think for a moment that anyone on our team thinks our job is anywhere close to completion. I have an intense dissatisfaction with the primitive state of our manufacturing capabilities and know from experience that in order to introduce the several very new products that I have in mind - that have never been seen before - we must first establish automation and robust supply lines of photosensitive materials and chemicals and be able to put them together: Coating, folding, attaching, die cutting, slitting, pod making, chemical mixing, packaging and assembly all take money, minds and machines. We are lucky to have at least one of these.

Together with you, and all of other supporters who do not live on social media, we have managed to show proof-of-principle that a small start up company can make and sell an instant film product - primitive as it may currently be. Many of you have learned how to use a new and difficult product that seemed to require the skills of a unicycle rider and the daring of a wing suit flyer. Now, with that proof in hand, we must advance into a serious industrial stage if we are to continue. That takes a substantial investment that no conventional investor would dare attempt, but we are unconventional, clearly.

Crowd-funding an industry is more complicated than crowd-funding a single product or a one-off project. Some of you know that I come from a very large scale medical device industry that enjoys hundreds of millions of dollars of industrial investment. Even Polaroid, in the 60's, spent many millions and years to build the assembly machinery for pack film, for instance, having delayed the decision until the money could be made available.

Because we have the gall and the experience to break the established molds and sometimes upset the old guard, my current estimate is that we "only" need to raise $15M and spend it in $5M increments over three years. This is not a large amount by today's standards, but it still a huge amount from the point of view of an individual. We can do it in stages as we introduce new products such as the new color 4x5 instant film that is in planning stages. We must do these things, or the flame will go out.

The future of technologies in general could fall exclusively in the camps of established corporate giants, or we could find another way. We have evidence that can be done, and the fact that New55 has achieved sales of $1M in its first year is also very surprising to some people!

So stay alert as we make major changes that must include new alliances, global distribution and most importantly - the tools needed to improve product quality and offerings well into the Post-Digital future we have together created.

Friday, August 12, 2016

R5 Monobath exposure and temperature array

For those who use R5 Monobath here is a chart that you probably already know.  The center panel is the most accurate or "correct" however for scanning you can elect to make a lighter negative. One reason to do that is if you think there will be a lot of hot spots and dense highlights in your negative which may not print or scan well. One the big advantages of scanning over optical printing is the ability to collect all the tonal range from negatives that people who only print might consider underexposed. For a scanner, with a sliding and long tone scale available and the ability to set any curve, that isn't a limitation.

It's the best of both worlds: The quality of film with the latitude of digital.  Let me know what you think. This is Ilford HP5, 135mm, but is typical of all black and white negative films used with R5.
New55 R5 Monobath processed at various temps
and exposures. This is just a guide. The center is the
 "correct one " by the gray scale.