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Not a Pretty Picture

November 03, 1997|KAREN KAPLAN

Eastman Kodak Co. is discontinuing its Cineon hardware product line, including scanners and recorders used to add digital special effects to film.

Kodak's Hollywood-based Professional Motion Imaging division produced Cineon's Genesis scanners (which digitize images on film) and Cineon's Lightning recorders (which convert the images back onto film). Last month, company officials decided that the hardware business just isn't profitable.

"The market was pretty widespread and pretty small," said Bob Gibbons, director of worldwide communications for Professional Motion Imaging. "It required a high investment in technology, so we were working against some pretty tough financial targets from the beginning to try and be profitable."

Kodak is now seeking a partner to take over its hardware business, either by way of a strategic relationship or an outright sale. That puts the jobs of about a dozen Culver City-based sales and marketing employees in limbo, Gibbons said. The main Cineon hardware manufacturing unit is at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 4, 1997 Home Edition Business Part D Page 3 Financial Desk 2 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Kodak--The company's Professional Motion Imaging division is seeking a partner to take over the software side of its Cineon product line, either through a strategic relationship or an outright sale. It was incorrectly reported Monday that the Cineon hardware products would be discontinued.

Cineon will continue to develop new software, which can also run on hardware from Silicon Graphics and Avid Technology, among others. Cinesite, the special-effects subsidiary of Professional Motion Imaging, is not affected by the announcement.

Cineon's hardware is popular in Hollywood, especially since it works particularly well with Kodak film, the industry's most popular brand.

"It's a very, very good product that is very well-known throughout the industry," said Alan Lasky, a digital entertainment industry specialist with Silicon Studios/LA in Santa Monica. "But Kodak has been struggling with its finances, and they started to look at what divisions they could cut back. . . . For them to be getting out shows how volatile the visual-effects industry has been in the last six months. It also shows that Kodak's corporate strategy may be a tad shortsighted."

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