Fujifilm celebrates 75 years

06 February, 2009 by IF

{PRESS RELEASE from Well Above}

For 75 years, Fujifilm has been a technological innovator, with groundbreaking contributions and advancements in photo finishing, graphics, life sciences, manufacturing, retail and entertainment.


The company spends more than US$5million per day in research and development. “Fujifilm’s contributions and accomplishments in these markets have left a positive effect on the world in terms of health, safety and mind,” says Marc Van Agten, General Manager Recording Media/Motion Picture Film.

This commitment to innovation has enhanced many industries, but it has also improved our daily lives. Fujifilm’s breakthroughs have included the world’s first one-time use camera, the first true handheld digital camera and Fujifilm Computed Radiography (FCR), the original digitized X-ray system, which reduces patient exposure to radiation without deteriorating image quality.

Fujifilm has also developed FCR Digital Mammography, a computerized detection system that improves image quality to facilitate the early detection of breast cancer. On the photofinishing front, the company introduced Image Intelligence, a professional finishing system that automatically corrects common flaws to produce an image very close to that seen by the human eye.

Fujifilm’s role as a technical innovator carries over into the world of production, where the organization has invested much time, energy and money to advance negative, intermediate and positive film stocks, pro video products and computer media. In the early days, this huge company was a small factory based at the foot of Mt. Fuji. It was the original “filmmaker,” manufacturing black and white positive film for the domestic movie industry in Japan. “Fujifilm’s roots started in manufacturing motion picture film products in 1934,” explains Van Agten.

Since then, the company has cultivated a rich and colourful legacy in the film industry. But, unlike other technology companies with comparable pedigrees, Fujifilm isn’t a one-trick pony. Over the years, Fujifilm has developed many breakthroughs, from advancing emulsion layers and coating procedures in film to cutting-edge tape technologies. Fujifilm is a specialist in manufacturing products for storage solutions, offering an array of products that provide consistency, dependability and superior performance along each link in the production chain.

It’s the only manufacturer to supply industry-leading storage solutions encompassing all facets of the industry. From camera capture (film or HD), post/effects (data storage) and mastering (intermediate film or HD), to distribution (broadcast or theatrical release), data cartridges for storage in mass content distribution (online streaming video and electronic distribution) and archiving, Fujifilm offers a solution tailored to a production’s unique requirements.

As a manufacturer, Fujifilm offers timely solutions to the production industry’s ever-changing technological requirements. When videotape was invented in 1956, Daily Variety ran a banner headline declaring, “Film is dead.” But it didn’t die, just like TV didn’t eradicate radio, video didn’t kill the radio star and HD hasn’t made film history. “Technological change is a fact of life,” says Van Agten, “but there is still a very strong interest in and loyalty to traditional film as a medium.”

Film is alive and kicking. Cinematographers still swear by the virtues of negative film stocks, such as is offered in Fujifilm’s Eterna series of products. The Eterna 500 Tungsten stock was the first motion picture film to use Fujifilm’s proprietary super Nano-structured grain technology, a coating procedure that defines the performance in all Eterna series films and most of Fujifilm’s video and computer media products (see NANO NATION).

The Eterna films achieve ultra-fine grain to capture every detail within the image, natural reproduction of skin tones with outstanding exposure latitude ensuring expressive performance even when under- or over-exposed. Such enhanced granularity produces minimal noise and very natural results for sophisticated studio processes, as is required in telecine transfer, digital processing and computer graphics.

Fujifilm’s newly introduced Eterna film, Vivid 160 T, a high colour saturation tungsten stock, just reinforces Fujifilm’s interest to further enhance the Eterna pallet of stock choices. Positive stocks, like Fujifilm Eterna CP Type 3513DI and Eterna-CP 3521XD, still have their distinct role as well. These films produce outstanding projected images with rich gradations and lifelike colour reproduction. They excel in featuring natural skin tones, more neutral blacks and better shadow quality and detail.

Fujifilm engineers continue to research, develop and refine film products, especially in the area of intermediate, an increasingly popular choice in the production world. Fujifilm’s Eterna 4503 – CI and Eterna 4511 RDI are technologically advanced intermediate stocks recently developed through Fujifilm’s expansion in film research and development.

Further to the enhancements offered in Eterna 4503 CI, Fujifilm’s Eterna-RDI is the industry’s first film stock specifically designed and optimized for proprietary use in DI workflows on the ARRI lASER™. The digital intermediate workflow digitizes a motion picture, allowing for manipulation of colour and other image characteristics to alter the look of the film.

Eterna-RDI offers many advantages over conventional intermediate stock. It produces fine detail and increased image sharpness; it dramatically reduces colour mixing; and it improves linearity while widening latitudes. The film effectively satisfies the need for higher definition digital image output in DI workflows.

Film’s future is secure, but HD is also here and it’s here to stay. Fujifilm strives to stock the high-definition moviemaker’s toolbox, too. With its massive levels of high-resolution images, HD production requires relevant storage mediums to handle such huge capacities.

Fujifilm continually updates, improves and breaks the boundaries of data storage. “In motion pictures, data storage involves capturing huge amounts of information in order to properly represent the original source in its truest form,” explains Van Agten. “When storing images and data, the protection of assets guaranteeing the distribution of content now—and well into the future—is a must.” Fujifilm’s proprietary coating technologies are the perfect solution to manage exploding volumes of increasingly valuable data.

Tape coating produces an ultra-thin layer of magnetic particles that generates higher resolution for recording digital data. Smaller is better—as you make the particles smaller, density increases and the tape becomes more powerful. A thicker layer can lead to demagnetization, resulting in loss of output or data errors. To make an effective layer that is as thin as possible, Fujifilm pioneered double-coating technology. An ultra-smooth top layer ensures stable running performance, and a nonmagnetic lower layer protects the upper layer and provides cushioning to assure better head-to-media contact.

Double-coating tape technology was the secret behind the success of Fujifilm’s ATOMM (Advanced Super Thin-layer High-Output Metal Media) system, unveiled a decade ago. ATOMM led to the development of the Zip storage system, which catapulted disk capacity from 1.44 megabytes to 100 megabytes and later to 750 megabytes. ATOMM also allowed Fujifilm to deliver the world’s first high definition videotape (W-VHS).

Building upon the solid storage foundation of ATOMM, Fujifilm introduced revolutionary NANOCUBIC technology in 2001. The NANOCUBIC process produces an enhanced ultra-thin layer that records at an extremely high resolution—it’s more than ten times thinner than ATOMM-coated tape.

It produces a data cartridge or digital videotape of up to one terabyte or floppy-disk capacity of up to 3 gigabytes—it’s like storing 200 two-hour movies (or 100,000,000 web pages; or all the X-rays in a hospital) on a single cartridge that’s small enough to fit in your pocket! NANOCUBIC has quickly become one of the most valuable storage developments for filmmakers.

High-resolution demands are important working in either analog images or digital data. In tape-based formats, the ultra thin layer allows for more tape to be packed into a cassette or cartridge, therefore extending the possibility of recording times without having to increase the cassette or cartridge size.

All capture products must also perform and handle properly in the equipment or drive being used. Eliminating debris or shed from the coat will minimize the possibility of picture or data read/write issues. Fujifilm’s cleaning procedures provide an extremely stable and durable coating. This guarantees critical performance through camera equipment, studio players and data drives. The benefit is prolonged equipment life and reduced maintenance costs.

NANOCUBIC technology crosses over in both the coating of the new Eterna series motion picture products and Fujifilm’s video and computer data high capacity formats. NANOCUBIC’s reach extends far beyond the movie studio as well.

As Van Agten explains, “long ago, we recognized the applied science used to develop advancements in fine film coating procedures have many applications outside of the film industry.” This advanced tape technology enables many different business applications—from bank tellers recording transactions and census bureaus collecting data to NASA recording space flight data and beyond.

“At Fujifilm, we’re focused on using our leading edge, proprietary technologies to provide top-quality products and services that contribute to the advancement of culture, science, technology and industry.” Concludes Van Agten. “We also desire to improve health and environmental protection in society, with an overarching aim to help enhance the quality of life of people worldwide.”