Ilford, a long-time favorite black and white film brand with a whopping 137 years in the industry, is also a stalwart upholder of film photography in the digital age. Therefore, getting even a peek at how they make each prized roll is something that is certainly on every film photographer’s bucket list. For anyone who says film is dead, here's a fascinating video of fresh films being made that will prove them wrong.
Filmed in the glorious factory of Ilford Photo, the clip shows the crucial steps involved in manufacturing some of our go-to 120 and 35mm black and white films. From the emulsion coating to sorting, foil wrapping, boxing, and packaging, it’s a joy for every film photographer to watch their favorite emulsions (surely, someone’s heart skipped a beat spotting bricks of Delta 400) coming together in the assembly line.
According to YouTube user Andy Martin, he snagged a rare chance for a day tour in their factory in Mobberly, Cheshire back in November 2013. “As I navigated my way through the security gatehouse and through the vast site to the training centre I did feel a bit like Charlie on his way to the Chocolate Factory with a golden ticket – but with FILM!”
He also mentioned on his blog post that prior to the factory tour, visitors were also gathered for an intro from Simon Galley, one of Harman's directors, and the team that saved Ilford from receivership in 2005. They also got treated to a primer on the history of Ilford/Harman through a company overview from Harman Technology Chairman Howard Hopwood, and a delightful display of vintage goodies, such as old film boxes, artifacts, and literature. Definitely a bonus if you’re a history buff or vintage enthusiast.
Next time you shoot a roll of your favorite Ilford film, say a little thanks to the cool folks of Ilford for making sure you get your black and white fix.