Perhaps nothing better symbolizes Hollywood’s digital migration than the conversion of the historic Eastman Kodak complex on Santa Monica Boulevard — a longtime bastion of film technology — into a digital campus.
The center opened in 1929. It’s where Kodak scientists developed the first motion picture film specifically designed for movies with audio. Cinematographers watched dailies in its screening room.
But, as everyone knows, the growing use of digital-imaging technologies began to drive down film sales in the late 1990s — and Kodak struggled. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and the main building was shuttered.
Fast-forward to the present day. The SIM Group has announced the signing of a long-term lease for the 65,000-square-foot facility. Following a multimillion-dollar buildout, per the company, the space is scheduled to reopen in April as a one-stop shop for camera packages, workflow design and editing, housing three SIM units: equipment rental house SIM Digital, post-production shop Chainsaw, and Bling Digital, which provides workflow services and processing of dailies.
“We are well aware of the irony of being an all-digital enterprise in the Kodak headquarters,” says James Martin, SIM Group’s chief strategy officer. “But with the expanded tax credit program in California and the digital business expanding, we see Los Angeles as the ideal location for our services.”
Adds Chainsaw founder Bill DeRonde: “The history is what attracted us. Since we announced our lease agreement last month, we’ve been hearing from lots of d.p.’s who say, ‘You can’t believe how much history there is in that building.’ ”