HIST 1010 Lecture 3: “New” Polaroid Corporation (Since 1990’s)

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REVIEWinstant-university_yellow-border

Polavision did not sell well in retail shops and brought a huge financial crisis to Polaroid. Edwin Land submitted his resignation and left the company he had founded.

 

IN 1980’Sinstant-university_yellow-border

The 1980’s was a hard time to Polaroid. The company tried to reinvent itself without Edwin Land by shifting away from a dependence on consumer photography, a market that was steadily declining. It was forced to make wholesale changes. Over thousands of workers were fired and many manufacturing plants were shut down. Therefore, Polaroid sought to innovate in the declining market for instant photography.

 

IN 1990’Sinstant-university_yellow-border

In 1990’s, technology rose and dramatically changed the world of photography. 1-hour color film processing, single-used cameras from competitors, videotape camcorders, and digital cameras brought more choices to public. The rise of new technology has helped reduce the cost of print photography to a large extent.

Polaroid then turned to produce disposable cameras. At that time, many other competitors such as Kodak and Fujifilm were in the market.

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Polaroid single-use camera with built-in flash (Credits: Polaroid)

The company planned to invent camera that can produce instant photos and 35mm negatives and another one that yields instant photos with digital images. Moreover, they moved the factories to less developed countries like China and other low-wage countries to keep costs down.

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Polaroid Z2300 Instant Digital Camera (Credits: Polaroid)

 

IN 2000’Sinstant-university_yellow-border

In 2001, Polaroid released a small portable printer. It was used for advertisers like retailers and restaurants to reach cellphone users with printouts. The product brought them an extra revenue, along with sales of the device, and refills of the printout.

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Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Mobile Printer

Unfortunately, Polaroid went bankrupt in October 2001 and announced that they would stop producing instant films and cameras. On the other hand, a group of former employees of Polaroid bought its film factory in the Netherlands and formed a new filmmaking company called The Impossible Project.

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The Impossible Project only takeovers the factory space and machines from Polaroid other than technology and techniques. So they have to create and produce new colour dyes.

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Instant films by The Impossible Project for Polaroid SX-70 and 600-type cameras

 

AT PRESENTinstant-university_yellow-border

“Polaroid has become more than a household name – it has become one of the most recognised and trusted lifestyle brands in the world.” – Scott W. Hardy, President and CEO of Polaroid

At present, Polaroid focuses in producing digital photographic products like Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera, Polaroid Cube Action Camera and Polaroid ZIP Instant Photoprinter. Hopefully Polaroid still has a role in the future of photography.

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SFA 1203 Lecture 4: Fuji emulsion lift workshop

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In this lecture, you will learn about how to do emulsion lift using Fuji instant films. It can be made using FP-100C and 8×10 films. In fact, the process is pretty similar to the Polaroid / Impossible film. The biggest difference between the two is their emulsions. Extra works are needed during the process.

 

WHAT YOU NEEDinstant-university_yellow-border

Instant photo x 1

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Scissors x 1

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Soft paintbrush x 1

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Hair-dryer x 1

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Tray of hot water (around 70°C / 160°F) x 1

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Carrier surface
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Acetate x 1

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1. After taking a picture, pull film out and wait for like 1.5 minutes for full development. Then you can peel the negative image away from the positive.

2. Air dry the print until it is completely dry. Or use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.

3. Cut all the white borders around the image.

4. Put the print face up into the hot water. Make sure the print is literally submerged. By rocking the trap back and forward, you will see some white bubbles appear on the image surface, and in about 4 minutes, the emulsion should start falling off from the print.

5. If the emulsion has not completely separating, pour some more hot water and continue the agitation. Use fingers to assist the separation, until the emulsion has totally come off.

6. Take a sheet of acetate and slide it under the emulsion, flatten the lift as much as you can.

7. Put the image on the carrier surface, at this time, the image should be in between of the carrier surface and the acetate.

8. Moisture the carrier with little water, put the acetate over the carrier where you want your image to be.

9. Carefully remove the acetate.

10. Apply the acrylic medium (glass gel medium is fine as well) with a small brush on the image area.

11. Air dry the finishing piece overnight and you are done!

CC 1235 Lecture 2: Fresh film and expired film

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YOU MAY ASK…instant-university_yellow-border

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#11How to know when the film is produced or expired?

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#12On the packaging of The Impossible Project film, there is a 4-digit number (MM.YY). And there are two types of dates: one is ‘production date’, the other is the ‘best before date’. If it is ‘production date’, then use it within 1 year since the production date. If it is ‘best before date’, then use it before the stamped dates. It is suggested that the film should be used before the date printed in order to obtain the best photographic result.

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(Credits: The impossible Project)
In 2016, The Impossible Project will gradually unify the date system. All new packages are going to be stamped with production dates regardless of box types.

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While you will find only ‘best before date’ on Fujifilm instant film. It is suggested that the film should be used before the date printed.

 

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#11Can I still take pictures with expired films?

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#12Each instant film has pouches filled with photographic developer. Chemical changes and easily runs dry as film ages, resulting in color shifts, a loss in image contrast or uneven spread of chemical over the film. But still, quite a lot of instant photographers are willing to take risks of using expired films. The reason being is that expired materials can create unexpected yet fun results such as bluish or greenish picture. It’s not the end of the day even if films expire.

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CC 1420 Lecture 3: Air traveling with instant films and cameras

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WHY ANNOTATE?
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Many Instant Photographers may have the same X-ray concern about carrying undeveloped films when traveling. In this chapter, you will learn what to do and what NOT to do when traveling, without X-ray damaging to your instant films and cameras.

 

HOW?
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BRING FILMS AS CARRY-ON LUGGAGE

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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#5Unprocessed film is sensitive to light just as they are waiting to be exposed. Although Impossible Project film has a rather low ISO of 160 for SX-70, and ISO 640 for 600 cameras, X-ray of checked baggage screener may still penetrate and expose the film. Whereas carry-on baggage screener has a much milder X-ray – films under ISO800 such as Fujifilm instax mini film and instax wide film are usually not affected.

So never pack unprocessed film in baggage that will be checked. Or you can politely insist on hand-inspection of the film whenever possible.

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PHOTOGRAPHING IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES

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When you want to take photos in a freezing cold place (e.g. -10°C to -15°C / 14°F to 5°F and below), you should put the camera inside your bag or  your coat pocket and keep it near your body prior to shooting. Using your body temperature is a good way to ensure that your camera will work well.

Instant film is highly sensitive to temperature. After the camera ejects picture, immediately place it in your pocket or directly onto heat pads. A moderate room temperature of around 25°C / 77°F is optimal for developing camera pictures. Warm the photo with your body temperature is the easiest way. Low temperature will overexpose a photo. It may look bluish, lightened and less contrasted.

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#9Extreme hot guideinstant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#9

Travelling in a place with hot weather (e.g. 35°C to 40°C / 95°F to 104°F and above) is a different situation. Keeping the developing image under shade and keep it cool will help correcting the white balance and prevent reddish and yellowish to a large extent. DO NOT leave the exposing photo under direct sunlight.

Tips:
Hot temperature has a greater effect on B&W film than color. If you wish to get a better result with Polaroid cameras, snap with Impossible Color Film!

Impossible Project film can deliver good results when used within a temperature range of 13°C to 28°C / 55°F to 82°F, while 5°C to 40°C / 41°F to 104°F for Fujifilm instant film.

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SHIELDING

Even with Color Protection Film, it is possible to be overexposed under strong sunlight. The first few seconds are extremely crucial for image development. Always shield the film from light when it is ejected.

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Can I use a black card, to cover the film with a hand or quickly turn the photo upside down?

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To put a black card at picture exit slot is economical and may help, but it will not work as perfect as the Frog Tongue from Impossible Project.

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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-3-air-traveling-with-instant-films-and-cameras-#7After arrival

THE USE OF MANUAL FOCUS

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Some Polaroid cameras such as SX-70 Sonar, use sonar to auto focus. When you are on a coach or railway cabin, visiting in museum or aquarium, as long as there is glass between you and the object, the sonar auto focus will not work because sonar will bounce back when it hits the glass. In order to shoot through glass, simply switch to manual focus and you are good to go!

CC 1420 Lecture 1: Film storage – How to keep film in good condition

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AFTER PURCHASE
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When you purchase a fresh pack of film for your Polaroid camera, normally an unopened package is allowed to store for 12 months. For opened film, better to finish photographing within a month.

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Optimum range of temperature for Impossible Project film storage is between 15°C – 20°C (59°F – 68°F). As the film is super sensitive to light, avoid any exposure to sunlight. Otherwise it may cause undesirable chemical reaction.

For Fujifilm instant color film, keep it in the fridge at temperature below 10°C (50°F). Opened film packs can also be kept in the fridge by placing them into polyethylene or vinyl bags.

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Store your films in a cool place and avoid sunlight. Do not store your films in damp proofing box – film chemicals will dry and will no longer develop images. Before use, try to settle to room temperature if the film is placed in the fridge. If you use the film while it is still cold, the photo quality may be adversely affected by condensation.

 

AFTER CARE
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(In short run) Shading

When the photo is ejected immediately after photographing, that will be the critical moment! Shield it from light immediately.

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When developed film is exposed to strong light, the image will increase it brightness by approximately two stops. Somehow this will ruin the picture.

The best and most effective approach is to use a Frog Tongue. The frog tongue will essentially cover the photo when it is ejected, leaving it no chance at all to encounter light. Or a more economical way is to tape a black card on top of the picture exit slot. It acts similar to the frog tongue but it could be annoying to tape on and off.

After ejection, do not leave the film under direct sunlight while it is still developing. Also, do not bend, fold, or put pressure on the photo or else may cause unevenness on the image.


(In short run) Development

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Keep shielding the image from light when developing. In about 15 minutes, the image will nearly be developed and stabilised.instant-university_yellow-border

(In long run) Location

The quality of finished images will change during storage. The key is to store the image in a cool place, preferably the fridge (not freezer).
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(In long run) Temperature

Storing in crisper drawer is the optimum solution for image stability. Do not store the film under 0°C / 32°F as this may devastate images.

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(In long run) Meth
ods

A. Make good use of your fridge

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For the best results, put the photos in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. The temperature and humidity in crisper drawers (where to store fruits) can slower down the speed of changing colour and is effective to keep the color on films. After 2 weeks, you will find the pictures become rigid and stiff, that means the pictures have already “cooled down” and can exhibit like normal.

For Fujifilm, keep images in a dark dry and well-ventilated location away from gases. You don’t need to keep Fujifilm in the fridge like Impossible Project film.

B. Emulsion lift

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It is about removing the emulsion layer from a sheet of Polaroid / Impossible or Fuji film and transferring it onto other surfaces such as clothing, painting paper, mug etc. After that the image is forever kept. During the process of emulsion lift, you can even enlarge or change the shape of the image. Special kit is needed for emulsion lift.

C. Air the chemical

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Some will cut out 2 blank boxes behind Polaroid / Impossible image so as to fasten up the speed of drying chemicals. But after a certain period of time, the image will fade especially Black & White photos. Moreover, the back of image is unavoidably damaged thus many photographers avoid using this method.