Thursday, January 07, 2016

Kodak announces new Super 8 camera

Everything old is new again:
Kodak is remaking the Super 8 camera. The Rochester, New York-based company is working with industrial designer Yves Behar to create an eight-millimeter film camera that combines features of the original Super 8 with some digital functionality, like a digital viewfinder. Kodak is showing off a prototype of the camera this week at CES, and plans to ship a limited edition of the camera in the fall for somewhere between $400 and $750, according to the WSJ. A less expensive model is expected in 2017.

Several filmmakers, producers, and directors supplied quotes in support of the Super 8 Revival, as Kodak is terming it, including Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams. "While any technology that allows for visual storytelling must be embraced, nothing beats film," said Abrams. "The fact that Kodak is building a brand new Super 8 camera is a dream come true."
As a Super 8 buff, I'm happy to see Kodak doing this; as a practical matter, however, I don't know if I'll be buying one anytime soon. I haven't shot or edited any film in over a decade, this new camera will (at least initially) be out of my price range, and some of the filmstock that made Super 8 so enjoyable to work with no longer exists.

That being said, it's nice to see old media formats receive a new lease on life:
Kodak is trying, and so should we. Maybe film will make a comeback. During the most recent holiday season, the top sellers on Amazon were instant film and a record player. Maybe what's old is new. Maybe the new stuff already feels old. Maybe this isn't about making the next best pseudo-portable tech accessory for hipsters but a call for quality, for learning, for the time it takes to learn quality. Maybe it's a last gasp for permanence and tactility, as all of our media becomes ephemeral.
I do believe that, aside from nostalgic considerations, formats such as vinyl LPs and Super 8 film provide unique quirks and characteristics that are absent from today's digital media world. I'm glad to see Kodak encouraging Super 8s's continued use.

(I have resolved, by the way, that 2016 will be the year I finally finish splicing and editing my grandfather's old Super 8 films and transferring to DVD for the entire family to enjoy...)

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