Seemingly out of nowhere, Kodak announces not only a real film camera but an entire eco-system around it which marries the convenience of digital with the look and feel of film. Will it work? Oh, I hope so!
Less than two months ago we ran a piece which was basically a love poem (minus the poetry) to Super 8 film entitled “Blackmagic? Sony? Nah. My Latest Camera is a 1972 Braun Nizo S56 Super 8.” It was the culmination of a 40 year dream I’d had to shoot on real film with the most beautiful camera I’ve ever seen, designed by the legendary Dieter Rams.
I loved the footage, too, shot on Tri-X reversal film.
The post was the third installment of what was essentially an homage to Kodak dating to earlier in the summer.
- We first wrote about former Kodak employees Scott Cahall and Julie Gersetenberger, co-founders of Moondog Labs – the folks who created the anamorphic optics used in the iPhone-shot feature film TANGERINE — on August 4th, 2015.
- Two days later, we posted an interview with with co-founders Dave Grannan and Rajiv Laoria of Light, a company promising to shake up the imaging industry with its multi-lens/sensor approach and, as it turns out, a very strong connection to Kodak through Moondog Labs.
I thought: OK, that’s it, now take the best of what we saw in these three installments and apply it to the iPhone.
It never dawned on me that there was life left in the old Super 8 girl, nor that the 2015 version of Kodak would be the one to revive her.
But film has an incredibly powerful history, and Kodak has lined up an extraordinary fan club of Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers to keep film alive.
At the consumer level I think the challenges for a successful re-emergence of Super 8 are daunting, beginning with smartphones and moving on to pricing. Perhaps Kodak’s focus on film schools is the right move. Even so, it is always a challenge to pay homage to an original while being relevant today.
Just ask Jaguar, Mini, Leica, or Hasselblad.
Still, the selection of Yves Behar’s fuseproject to head up product design is an auspicious move, and integrating both sound and interchangeable lenses from the start are smart (is that Schneider Kreuznach I imagine in the background?).
We’re thrilled for Kodak; we’re rooting for them and the extended team; and we’re excited to see what comes next.
Kodak Launches Super 8 Filmmaking Revival Initiative at CES 2016
Via Kodak Press:
Filmmakers rally behind Kodak’s revival of Super 8
LAS VEGAS, N.V., Tuesday, January 05, 2016 —
On the heels of celebrating 50 years of manufacturing Super 8 film, Kodak is launching an initiative aimed at putting Super 8 cameras into the hands of a new generation of filmmakers as well as meeting the needs of top directors, indie filmmakers and others who appreciate the art and craft of filmmaking.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Kodak will kick off its Super 8 Revival Initiative with a display of an early prototype of a new Kodak Super 8 camera that combines the classic features of a Super 8 with digital functionality as well as opportunities for visitors to shoot their own Super 8 footage and watch home movies on the Kodak CES booth (South Hall #20618).
The Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative reaches far beyond the introduction of a new camera. The company has built a roadmap that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more. “It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer. “Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium.”
Film has generated huge buzz in Hollywood recently as the chosen medium for award-winning movie directors and blockbuster movies. Now the Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative is being applauded by the industry’s top directors, many of whom got their start on Super 8 film.
At 7 years old, director and producer Christopher Nolan began making short movies with his father’s Super 8 camera. “The news that Kodak is enabling the next generation of filmmakers with access to an upgraded and enhanced version of the same analog technology that first made me fall in love with cinematic storytelling is unbelievably exciting,” said Nolan.
“For me, 8mm was the beginning of everything,” said Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg. “When I think of 8mm, I think of the movies.”
“While any technology that allows for visual storytelling must be embraced, nothing beats film,” said JJ Abrams, writer and director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “The fact that Kodak is building a brand new Super 8 camera is a dream come true. With a gorgeous new design, interchangeable lenses and a brilliant scheme for development and delivery of footage, this camera appears to be the perfect bridge between the efficiency of the digital world and the warmth and quality of analog.”
By launching its first Super 8 camera product in more than 30 years, Kodak is demonstrating its resolve to ensure that film plays an important role in the future of filmmakers – both professionals and amateurs. This product, like many in Kodak’s history, will be a tool for artists and all those who aim to capture special moments.
As one of the first American companies to recognize the value of industrial design, Kodak has engaged with Yves Béhar, design entrepreneur and founder of Fuseproject, to ensure that the new Kodak Super 8 camera design echoes the look and feel of the original Kodak Super 8 camera, introduced in 1965, while adding a modern sensibility.
“Kodak has always represented innovation that is approachable while delivering the craft of filmmaking. Our design aspires to express both these ideals. We are designing the Kodak Super 8 camera with robust materials and new ergonomic features to serve the needs of Super 8 fans, whether shooting action or static scenes,” said Béhar.
Please visit Kodak at CES South Hall #20618 to see a prototype of the new Kodak Super 8 camera, shoot your own Super 8 footage and view home movies from Kodak.
Read more at Kodak Press.
(cover photo credit: snap from Kodak)
And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
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