Magazine Article


It's All Digital At PMA 2004

The new kiosk will be smaller than the Aladdin with a footprint of about 8x10-inches and can be installed on a countertop or pedestal.

Kodak’s new Picture Maker includes a dry film processor developed by Applied Science Fiction.

KODAK: ASF’s Dry Film Unit Now Ready Along With Other Kiosk Enhancements

The journey has been a long and difficult one but the dry film processor, developed by Applied Science Fiction, a company purchased by Kodak, has now been incorporated into Kodak’s Picture Maker line and is being shown for the first time in Las Vegas.

In addition, Kodak has added new features into its Picture Maker series that will sort of make it a one-stop shop whether positioned within a retail environment or remotely. There is a definite focus on digital, however, according to Eric Lent, Kodak’s director of kiosks and mobile imaging, who said that by the second quarter of 2004 some 50% of the 24,000 Picture Makers in the field will have a G-3 platform—meaning they will accept digital media.

ASF’s dry film processor was on the fringe of the market for a few years as the company fine-tuned the system and waited for someone to come along and take it to market. Kodak finally stepped up and bought the entire company which it now operates as a development center. This is the unit’s formal unveiling.

Rachael Watkins, kiosk marketing manager, said that the dry unit will sort of ride side-saddle to the Picture Maker adding about another two feet to its width. It will be graphically coordinated. She sees it as a low-cost solution for a retailer to offer on-site film processing along with the digital services available on the Picture Maker.

The system draws a customer’s film into its developing chamber where a paste developer solution processes it. The image is digitally captured and burned onto a CD which is delivered to the customer in about seven minutes. Thumbnail images appear on the screen monitor and if the customer chooses, prints can be made from the dye-sub printer. Rachael said that she expects that the processing and Picture CD will be sold in the $3-$5 area with 4x6 prints ranging between 29-49-cents.

The negative is never returned to the customer, long a concern of industry folks, but is rolled onto a take-up reel which can handle about 350-400 rolls. (Eric said the screen monitor will be very clear in delivering the message to the consumer that the film will not be returned.) The reel will be shipped back to Kodak in a special carton. Each consumables package will include an empty take-up reel, the necessary chemistry, 350 Picture CDs and about 400 print envelopes.

Eric said the dry processor would be available to any dealer that already owns a G-3 platform system for $29,000. This amount would be added to the $50,000 price for a fully-featured Picture Maker Digital Station for those who want to add the film processor.

Rachael and Eric see the market for the PM+dry lab in high volume stores that do not have a lab due to either space availability or environmental concerns. Since the system can be equipped with a credit card reader, they also envision installations in malls, airports, hotels and cruise ships.
The upgraded Kodak G-3 Picture Makers will have three other new features:

• Mobile printing capability to accept images from camera phones through either Bluetooth or infrared technology which Eric refers to as “the most quickly accelerating technology in history.”
• High speed capability by virtue of having two model 6800 printers (replacing the slower model 6400) that will deliver the first print in 12 seconds and each additional in five seconds.
• Kodak Picture Perfect quality prints via new 4.0 software using the same print algorithms that are being used in the Kodak DLS minilab software.

On the capture side, Kodak is expanding its offering of the PLUSDigital concept where the customer shoots on film and gets prints and a Picture CD in return when the order is sent to a Kodak overnight lab. Originating as a one-time-use camera feature, the same service will now be available with the purchase of Kodak PLUSDigital film, Kodak Max film. It will list at $5.99 for a single roll and $10.99 for a two-pack which includes the cost of the Picture CD.