Dear B&W Believers,
Before we update you with the latest news on our efforts to bring back black & white packfilm, we must first say a big THANK YOU!
We've officially sold out of all 3333 shots from the b&w pre-order, and we can't wait to get them into your hands and cameras across the world!
Everyone who has pre-ordered black & white film should be recommended for sainthood because lately we've had zero emails of irate impatience about the fact that it's all taking longer than we intially planned, and for that we are humbled and very grateful. You packfilm saviors are the best!
Over the last several months there were a number of technical setbacks, and improvements have been frustratingly slow. But we can finally say that the results are really getting somewhere! The latest b&w reagent tests in 20x24" format are looking really good (see above), and the boys in Boston aren't even finished yet.
Some hard-to-source chemicals have finally been procured, and John and his team are currently going through the tedious task of experimenting and tweaking the formula.
Additionally, some new recruits in the form of deeply experienced Polaroid retirees are joining forces with the 20x24 Studio, which is very exciting news for the future of this project.
All in all, by the time the final b&w formula is settled upon, we're expecting a truly gorgeous b&w product!
Now, although we can't pin down a solid date yet, it feels like the home stretch. We're hoping pre-order deliveries can begin shipping before summer hits.
In the meantime, the ONE INSTANT production team has been anything but lazy. They have prepared nearly all of the necessary cartridges, caps, positive assemblies, etc. All that's left is the darkroom work of attaching negatives and pods.
Due to all this prep work, the final steps will go very quickly, and we anticipate ONE INSTANT B&W pre-orders flying out the door as soon as pods arrive.
So that's all for now.
As usual, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, queries, concerns, or comments!
Hopefully we will have some more good news soon!
On behalf of the whole ONE INSTANT / SUPERSENSE team,
Liebe Grüße aus Wien,
* * *
Dear Packfilm Saviors,
Lately you may have noticed some 'radio silence' regarding our black & white packfilm resurrection, and judging by the recent emails we've been getting, you're chomping at the bit to get an update! I'm here to get you up to speed.
As usual, there's some good news and some less-than-good news.
First, let's get the less-than-good news out of the way...
The old Polaroid pod-filling machine (a.k.a. the Pod Runner) at the 20x24 Studio has had to undergo some unforeseen maintenance and this has meant an unfortunate delay of several weeks.
This beast of a contraption hails back to the 1960's, and as you can rightly imagine, it is one of the most important mechanical pieces in the 'saving packfilm' puzzle. When it breaks down, the 20x24 team has to move heaven and Earth to get it back up and running.
To make matters worse, the Boston area has been getting hammered pretty good lately with snow and wintry weather, and this has impacted the guys' ability to get to the shop easily. Add in the concern of COVID safety, and it's taken way longer than normal to get electricians and repairmen in to complete the necessary work. However, rest assured that the ball is rolling and it's just a matter of time till all of that is sorted out.
The good news is that we are nearly sold out of our pre-order supply! Nearly 87% of the promised first-run of black & white film has been sold, which indicates that the appetite for this film is tenacious. The support and enthusiasm we've received from everyone is just great, and we can't thank you enough.
Despite having no pods yet, we are still able to keep busy in the Vienna manufactory; prepping and assembling all that we can, so that as soon as we get pods we'll be able to make quick work of slapping them on and shipping the pre-orders out the door.
So stay tuned, and hopefully we'll be able to share some truly excellent news with you all in the coming weeks.
Till next time,
ONE INSTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER
We just received amazing news from John and his team; their reactor run was successful and we have confirmation that a black & white reagent is again possible!
John's words tell it best...
Rising at 5:30 on this cold December morning to meet by 9:00 at the lab, I had only slim hope that we could pull this off. But pull it off we did. This spread was done minutes after the reagent was out of the reactor, probably was around 125º(F), which we would never do but since an answer was really needed so as not to spoil our Christmas I ran it anyway.
And yes, this will work. We are still lacking a toner and developer that can take away the warm tone but I like it and think we should run it after the holiday when it cools down and settles a bit. The important thing to me is always the D-max and this has a very good one. The contrast in the scene is adversely impacted by the crazy temperature but I believe it will settle down once we find the best gap setting for this reagent. I am also working with BW negative and positive that is likely to be from the early 2000s...
To John and his team... congratulations! You guys have made our year!
This ensures that 2021 will see a new black & white packfilm resurrected from the dead, and this is certainly cause for celebration.
Also, this means we've officially entered phase 2 (price jumps up to €9/shot).
So enjoy the last days of 2020, and we hope this little bit of good news has added some sparkle to your holidays.
Dear Black & White Believers,
Please cross your fingers and say a little (non-denominational) prayer for our friends at the 20x24 Studio.
A veritable avalanche of pre-orders has enabled us to immediately get the ball rolling on the resurrection of black & white packfilm, and the boys in Boston are already planning their first reactor run of reagent.
If all goes well, we might hear some good news before Christmas, but more likely we won't know how it turned out until 2021.
We know you're excited, but patience!
Now... we're not an overly superstitious bunch, but I'm quite sure that a few hundred good vibes sent in the direction of John and his team wouldn't hurt.
So please, send them express, without delay, and if we've all been good boys and girls in 2020, maybe Santa will surprise us with something extra-special underneath our trees this year...
In the meantime, this might be the last chance to pre-order at the unbelievably low price of €8/shot!
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions we've been getting lately. This information is relevant as of December 15th, 2020.
When will production of the new black & white film begin?
We're not sure yet. We're waiting for initial results from John and his crew at the 20x24 Studio. Assuming everything goes smoothly, we hope to start production in February 2021, or as soon as we get our hands on the new pods.
How long will it take to fulfill all the pre-orders?
We can produce about 200 hand-made cartridges ("shots") per week. At that rate, it should take about 4 months to finish the pre-sale of 3333 shots. There is a good chance we can do it quicker, but at this point we'd rather be conservative in our estimate.
When will pre-orders start shipping and when will I get mine??
As soon as we can start production, shipments will begin to go out the door. Unlike our Kickstarter, we are going to follow a very strict first come, first served fulfillment order. Simply put, your order will be fulfilled in the order it was received.
What is this "reagent" anyways?
It goes by many names; reagent, goo, pod chemistry, processing jelly... whatever you call it, it's crucial to any instant image forming system. It's the stuff that goes in the pod and which gets spread between the positive & negative materials by the rollers in your camera. It's specifically engineered to match the positive/negative system, and right now we're not 100% sure if the boys in Boston can make it or not. Drück die Daumen!
What happens if new black & white reagent can't be produced?
God forbid... your pre-order will be converted into ONE INSTANT P7 color film. Sorry, no refunds!
What film speed (ISO) will the new black & white film be?
Interestingly, we don't know yet. It will completely depend on the characteristics of the new reagent and how it performs with different rail thicknesses.
Why do some of the test examples look neutral black & white, while others appear more sepia and warm-toned?
Good question! We are equally baffled by this. Some of our earliest tests were very neutral, with true blacks and whites. Other tests exhibited much warmer tones, with eggplant blacks and 'coffee & cream' highlights. This is probably due to variability in the old (and quickly degrading) pods that we've cut down and re-sealed for tests. The final product should be much more consistent and predictable.
How many b&w films will you be able to produce in total?
We can't say for sure at this moment, but a preliminary look at our inventory suggests that we might be able to make well over 10,000 ONE INSTANT black & white shots. That being said, this pre-order is just for a limited quantity of 3333 shots (1111 3-packs).
What will happen when you run out of the legacy Polaroid materials?
We get this question a lot. Everybody is understandably anxious to secure a long-term and sustainable future for packfilm. However, having access to these legacy Polaroid materials now gives us the best possible opportunity to develop new materials in the future.
It enables us to focus on the complexities of packfilm production without needing to undertake the herculean effort of simultaneously developing an instant positive/negative system from scratch. Although these films will run out someday, they are directly financing our efforts to save packfilm and will one day result in the introduction of newly manufactured instant film & paper materials. This is the ultimate goal of ONE INSTANT.
dear maddames und gentlemen
Webbomaestro Eduardo Lexi typing some lines here with trembling, tearsoaked fingers. As you may know, I usually prefer to lick at impossible projects in the shadows of my famous Schwarzkohl forrest together with my blind dog, but after this last night I can not resist to kritzeln you some short THANK YOU lines in this blog. Thank you for being so wondafully crazy enough to support our dream of bringing my most beloved black and white peel apart film back to life exactly almost more than15 years after I took this self potrait with my hand built wireless remote self timer that I built into a SLR 680 (patents still pending).
Over 300 3-packs sold in 3 hours (together with 30 shots of Vodka) made me a very, werry, werrrrry happy man last night, making me feel young and powerful, ready to start dancing barefoot on Vespas again..
Dear Saviors of Packfilm,
ONE INSTANT production manager Chris here, writing to you with an exciting bit of (potentially) very good news. To get right to the point... we might be able to offer black and white film in the ONE INSTANT format; our very own version of a revived Polaroid 672 type black & white film.
Before you get too excited though, let me explain the whole situation in a little bit more detail...
Back in 2017, John Reuter and his team at the 20x24 Studio mixed up the last batch of reagent for a black & white material known as PP400. This is the exact same film/paper used in the legendary Polaroid 672 and 664 black & white films; PolaPan materials that were particularly beloved among the countless photographers who shot on them.
This final batch of pods was intended to serve the few remaining master rolls of PP400 material on hand in Boston, as well as the half-dozen or so cases of 20x24" material that SUPERSENSE had down in their cellar in Vienna. Indeed, this was supposed to be the end of the line for b&w in the 20x24" format, due to the fact that one of the crucial chemicals in the formula had run out and was not easily replaceable.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago, when John (during a lockdown inspired house-cleaning) uncovered an additional canister of the missing polymer used in the reagent formula.
The implications of this discovery were immediately evident; it meant another chance to produce fresh pods for a black and white packfilm!
Upon receiving this news from the States, Doc directed me to go down and take stock of our inventory of PP400 materials, which much to our delight was way more than we thought; still sealed and fresh. We also had a handful of the 2017 20x24" pods on hand, and although badly oxidized and in pretty rough shape, they were good enough for a few quick & dirty tests.
So, we have a significant amount of PP400 material on hand in Vienna, but we need fresh pod chemistry if we want to offer a ONE INSTANT b&w film. John and his crew have just discovered that they have the potential to make new pods, but they still need to make the necessary tests to ensure that their chemicals have remained viable. (they are, after all, not exactly fresh)
But a distinct scent of optimism fills the air, and it is only out of an abundance of caution that John is giving it a 50/50 chance of success at this stage.
Now, if you know SUPERSENSE, 50/50 chances are exactly the kind of impossible odds that our founder Doc Kaps thrives on, and Doc has wasted no time in coming up with an ambitious plan to support the R&D efforts of John and his team.
This endeavor requires a fair amount of pre-investment, and with the reality that 2020 has been a particularly hard year for all of us financially, we've decided to launch a pre-sale offer for the first 3333 shots of ONE INSTANT B&W film in order to bankroll it.
We are once again counting on you, the packfilm saviors, to help make this dream come true. Doc and all of us at SUPERSENSE believe 111% in our analog SUPERHEROES in Boston, but we need you to join us to make it real.
We've all hit the ground running here, with Ema and Anna in the print department already stamping out some prototype boxes, and assembling a few cartridge mock-ups to show you what the finished product will look like. We're continuing to make tests with the limited number of old pods that we have on hand, and already starting experiments with different rail thicknesses and so on. Meanwhile, hard at work in the States, John is preparing everything needed to mix up the first test batches of reagent.
So without any further ado, I would like to share with you the rather exciting and adventurous pre-sale format that Doc has come up with...
Phase 1: Begins now.
Pre-order ONE INSTANT B&W Film for a very special "True Believer Deal".
The price starts out at 8 EUR/shot. This price will hold until Phase 2 begins.
Phase 2: Begins when John and team have mixed their first successful batch of fresh PP400 reagent and shared their 20x24" format results with everyone.
Then the price will jump to 9 EUR/shot. This price will hold until Phase 3 begins.
Phase 3: Begins when we've received new pods in Vienna and have shown you all that they work well with our materials in the ONE INSTANT format.
Then the price will jump to 11 EUR/shot; the final price. The pre-sale is for a limited amount of 3333 shots.
Phase 4: Begins with production. The timeline depends on how long the R&D process takes, but we hope/anticipate that production will begin in February 2021. We will start shipping as soon as we can, at a weekly production rate of approximately 200 cartridges, with orders being fulfilled in the order they were received.
Now... a very important point.
Since we are asking you to buy a product that doesn't actually exist yet, we've come up with a safety net that should give everyone complete peace of mind. In the worst-case scenario that the boys in Boston truly cannot achieve a successful run of fresh pods, all b&w pre-sale orders will be converted to ONE INSTANT color cartridges. That essentially means that your only risk is getting ONE INSTANT color shots at the lowest price ever. Should this (sad) circumstance come to pass, we would probably know by February.
So what do you say? Are you in?!
Please let us know what you think about this crazy endeavor by either emailing us at email@example.com, by commenting here on our blog, or by letting us know via Instagram at #oneinstantfilm.
Spread the word, spread the faith, and be sure to check back here regularly for updates on our progress.
Here's to the future of packfilm!