I thought we should wait until the Impossible Project had their very successful film launch before giving some ideas of timelines to New55.
Over the last two months, we have identified large portions of what we think we need for a New55 product. It would be based on an existing emulsion and use a reagent that we have made here in small quantities. One very important part remains and that is the receiver sheet - a component that has been much written about, patented (all expired) and speculated on. If we follow the usual reverse-engineering course of making this paper I think it is going to take months. If we find some of the vendors and know how to nail the receiver sheet operation - this is what essentially collects the unexposed silver from the negative - we can accelerate the process.
Many pro users of the T-55 film have contacted me in support of this effort, and some other researchers and interested parties.
So we still need to do a lot:
Film base and emulsion - identified
Spacer mask - dimensions known and parts could be obtained
Reagent - prototyped and tested
Dark Sleeve - vendor development needed but design essentially in hand except for the damned metal clip, but that doesn't seem so hard.
Receiver sheet supply - urgently need basic information on this part
Assembly equipment sleeve - can be outsourced, big tooling cost expected for the package.
Assembly equipment for reagent pod - known and available packaging process, needs vendor development.
After this good start during the months of February and March 2010, we think that April and May could be a period that we have a barely working, hand built bench process to make and test emulsion, reagent and receiver combinations - but we need the receiver sheets to begin that, so today the focus is on breaking that part loose and finding those who might be around who can help us zero in on that component.
Not so bad for a couple of months so at a small private lab that also is working on antennas, acoustics, transducers, nanofilms and other products - the biggest success to date is the enthusiasm, offers for help, and support we have received for the creation of this new art-enabling material, and the strong indication of demand!
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Show demand! Show results!
Buy, and use, the excellent Fuji FP-100 films. Give the FP-100c negative reclaiming process a try and bring it to the next level - a NYC show. Stop glowering at your empty 545 and buy a PA-45 back, and use it on your monorail, or Speed. Pick up a great old Polaroid packfilm camera for $10 and show what great photos you can make. Buy the Impossible Project's SX-70 film, and go out and noisily shoot it in public. Point out the obvious differences between wonderful convenient digital and wonderfully convenient, direct and superb instant. By keeping instant photography in public view, voting with your wallet, (especially Fuji and Impossible) and showing what can be done with it, we improve our chances that this particular form of analog photography will stabilize, and continue to be an option for creative expression well into the future. This helps maintain the environment needed to make New55 a commercial reality, and it's fun to do.