Prepping the Batch

Making the Rewards - Part 2

Over the past year, we scoured the Ferrania campus looking for literally anything that we could potentially use to make film - every barrel of chemistry, every roll of acetate, every component, no matter how small. Everything we found was carefully relocated into the L.R.F. to be sorted, catalogued, and tested for viability. These materials are highly specific to film production and their creation is very complex and expensive.

Our first batch will be made exclusively of this stuff.

In Storage

A few photos of just one of our storage areas in Ferrania.


Since Ferrania officially ceased the production of film in 2009, virtually all of these materials are expired and their performance is no longer guaranteed to be perfect.

This doesn’t mean the components are unusable - but it certainly means that everything must be extensively tested to confirm their viability for our exacting production standards. In cases where the quality is within acceptable tolerances, the materials can be used as is, otherwise they must be purified.

from left: Mauro, Nicola and Susie making the video above

The purification process consists of one or more cycles of solubilization and subsequent crystallization. During each of these cycles the amount being crystallized decreases but so does the "good" portion. In the end, however, we have a component that meets production specifications.

The process can take some time, depending on the original quality and quantity of the component being purified. But it is necessary because our internal synthesis plant ("Walter") is not yet functional. The good news is that once the chemicals are purified, they can be easily stored for future use, and our team has already calculated that we will have a sufficient quantities to produce our first batch.

Substrate Preparation

The manufacture of film essentially consists of coating emulsion layers onto a support base of transparent acetate (as we discussed previously).

Until a few years ago acetate was produced internally by Ferrania in a special facility that produced standard size rolls called Jumbos - 1.38m wide by 4000m in length - to be used in the industrial coating plant ("Big Boy"). To produce our first batches we must use the Precision Coater ("Little Boy"), which requires a much smaller miniJumbo that is just 23cm wide x 650m long.

Each jumbo is sliced into 6 sections, as Renzo explains. Then, each section is cut to length to make 6 miniJumbos - 36 in all. Finally, the edges of the new miniJumbos are cauterized to provide strength to the material and avoid costly breaks during coating.

Our team has created complex cutting patterns to give the greatest yield from each miniJumbo based on the type(s) of film we wish to extract. We have further refined the cutting pattern to deliver the exact films we need for the Kickstarter batch with minimal waste.

And Miles to Go Before We Sleep

Unfortunately, due to delays we discuss in our next post, the emulsions we prepared from the purified chemistry have now expired, and once we re-establish our production schedule, they must be reformulated. Additionally, some of the prepared miniJumbos have been damaged and must be thoroughly checked again before they can be used.


David Bias

New Yorker. Crazy for old cameras and analog film. But I love sci-fi. Go figure.