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Gretag To Ink Deal With ASF; Dry Film Process in Retail Test



Gretag To Ink Deal With ASF;
Dry Film Process in Retail Test

by Jerry Lansky

Joel Paymer (l.) of Camera Land in NYC with a customer who used ASF's Digital PIC device (behind) during a recent test. Gretag is stepping up to the plate to become the first customer for Applied Science Fiction's Digital PIC dry film processing system.
Talked about in whispers at the 1999 PMA convention; scoffed at by many in the industry with comments ranging from "it will never work" to "with digital coming on so strong who needs a new film processor?" the much ballyhooed system has worked its way out of the lab and into retail settings for use by real customers in test locations.
During the lengthy R&D process potential industry licensees were courted. Finally, a marriage.
Executives of both firms said an agreement-to-agree, has been settled between Gretag and ASF. At this writing "the attorneys are crossing T's and dotting I's."
According to Mike Conley, ASF's vp of Marketing, and Mark DeSimone, Gretag's senior vp of Sales and Service for the Americas, the first product with a Gretag label will be shown at photokina in the ASF booth.
DeSimone said that the Gretag booth at the show had already been designed and there was no way, at this late date, to incorporate the Digital PIC system in the exhibit. He said that it would be formally rolled out at PMA-Las Vegas.
The system to be shown will feature the ASF Digital PIC Input Station: the 36x36x12-inch capture engine that contains all of the technology to take a roll of film from a canister, pass it through a developing paste and across a scanner to convert the images to a digital file; a computer with a touch screen monitor; and a receipt dispenser that will direct the consumer to a 'solution' station for editing and printing functions.
A variety of "solutions" will be shown at photokina that the digital images can be sent to: Gretag's DPS 500 tabletop "preview and select" unit that can be connected to a minilab or any other output device for RA or dye-sub prints; to a Rimage CD-burner which can output a CD-ROM with "imagettes" printed on the face; or Gretag's recently introduced kiosk which incorporates a preview and select interface and Polaroid's Opal printing system.
According to DeSimone all of these components are out of beta test. Pricing for the various systems had not yet been established, he said, though Gretag will begin taking orders at photokina for delivery in the fall, 2003.
Might the ASF dry system be integrated with a Gretag minilab? "We are discussing this but are not yet ready to answer that question," he said.
He estimates the greatest potential for the dry processing unit is in "more non-traditional channels such as amusement parks, resort hotels and consumer electronics stores." Also, since the PIC does not use chemicals, he can see application in what he refers to as "environmentally challenged locations."
It is understood that the ASF-Gretag arrangement is not an exclusive one and that there may be an announcement of an agreement with yet another minilab manufacturer at photokina.
In the meantime, ASF has been endeavoring to prove both the technical viability and retail value of the PIC system.
A kiosk version of the system, which incorporated a touch-screen monitor, the Rimage CD burner and two dye-sub printers, a 4x6 and an 8x10, was placed on the floor at Precision Camera and Video in Austin, TX. This is a full service photo operation that already has a Frontier digital unit, Noritsu equipment, a Fuji Aladdin and a lot more. Jerry Sullivan is the owner of the 21-year old business.
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