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Kodak Announces Super 8 Revival with New Camera

         

Grabbing the spotlight one day early, Eastman Kodak announced a commitment to Super 8 by unveiling a New Super 8 camera at CES 2016. The camera, still only a prototype, is projected to be available later this year, and combines a retro design with digital functionality to bring Super 8, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, into the digital age. A spokesperson for Kodak has pointed out that the prototype features a flip-out digital viewfinder; audio is expected to be recorded on an SD card. He cautioned, however, that the camera is still in the early stages and nothing is finalized yet. Beyond the camera, Kodak has designed a roadmap for a new Super 8 ecosystem, including film, developing, transfer to digital, and other post-production tools.

With this new camera and its film-to-digital path, it looks as though Kodak is seeking to take advantage of the buzz generated by the recent features that were shot using film: Star Wars, in 35mm; The Hateful Eight, in 70mm; and Carol, in Super16. This new camera is an exciting development for long-time film users to get reacquainted with the Super 8—which was the original springboard for many of Hollywood’s directors—as well as a way for digital enthusiasts to become familiar with film. 

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This Super  8 Camera and project by Kodak  is way over due. This wil be a great tool for aspiring Filmakers !

I swear in one of the photo package releases or CES snapshots I saw someone holding a film cartridge and it said "negative film. If this is just a media that needs immediate transfer and can't be shown on a projector, What's the point? (They are on really shaky ground to begin with floating this idea anyway. I don't think this is a real product anyway, sounds like a mockup for a kickstarter like campaign to see if there's any interest, before spending dollar one.  Also there are a lot of Super 8 nostalgia buffs who want see this out there just for the warm fuzzies of the past but have no intention on spending $1000 on a camera  and ~$10 a minute on footage best case scenario.

Well Said.

No Reversal film , No sound film and cost $$$$$ .I have and Use 35mm , 16mm , super 8mm , regular 8mm optical and mag sound.

for 44 Years, my 1st video 1977 1/4" B&W

Video 2k an 4k , Super 8 sound film at $5 and processing at $5 Ok. The toy camera in the photo $50 OK. $700 to $1000 fo neg film.

HA , HA ,HA ,HA

Uh, wait a second. From what I've seen and know about super 8, it's the rise and popularity of Super 8 film festivals that is creating a market for cameras like this.

My brother's town has had a super 8 film festival every year for quite a while. Many people enter, tons of film is shot and processed, and digitized, using what ever sources available. Cameras are hard to come by and expensive. This festival alone in my opinion is a huge market for the film and cameras, and yet not a single mention in the article.

Blockbuster features shot on film is the driving force for super 8 resurgence? Hahahahha. My goodness. Super 8 has ALWAYS been popular. There have always been amateur film makers embracing it. Repairing old cameras, setting up those festivals. It never went away it just sort of got smaller and harder to do. If anything it was the super 8 community that influenced the RETURN to film for big features.

Will be interesting to see if Kodak is going to product the film cartridges. Would make sense since that's how this usually works. Cameras cheap-ish... film is the money maker. Right now as far as I know, the only supplier of super 8 cartrides was a company that has been cutting 16mm in half (or 32 in 1/4s I don't remember for sure), punching new sprocket holes and loading the film in either new or old recycled cartridges.

Hi Jason,  Thanks for reading, and thanks for that compelling comment. Although I began working in Super 8, I did move on to 16mm and Super16mm, but I do have a small collection of Regular, Super8, Single 8, and even a couple of Polavision cameras. So I look fondly on Super 8. It is an interesting format, so deeply rooted into our conciousness as "The Home Movie" format, and yet I know that many films that would never be considered "home movies" have been shot on Super 8. Recycled cartridges would alsways scare me, as I saw a lot of discarded cartridges one day when dropping off film at Pac-Lab in NY (now gone). The front just pulled off, it would take a far braver sould than I to try re-using a super 8 cartridge. As far as film goes, Kodak has been winnowing down the options, and it seems that it has gotten rid of color reversal entirely (in Super 8). Good bye fair Type -G you were one film stock that I did not mourn. However Kodack is still offering three color neg and one black and white Super 8 options. If I recall, at some point Pro8mm was offering film, and it was a widely held belief that Kodak was supplying them with the cassettes, although I don't recall if that was ever confirmed. We at B&H still sell Super 8 film, from Kodak, Fomapan (Black and White), and Adox (Black and White). So while we have all been wondering how long Super 8 could hang on, perhaps there is mopre life in the format than we could have believed.

Ddid anyone answer Bruce's questions? I'm still waiting to know how much this costs?

*Did...excuse my typo!

They stated in interviews they are aiming for somewhere between 450 and 700. And those are just estimates. 

I think this is a great thing overall.  I've shot 8MM many years ago, and it would be fun to shoot it again with a brand new camera.  

The top handle is a nice feature for low shots, but I don't understand why they think having it bent upward is a good idea.  

I love film, and shot a feature on Super 8. I sure hope they're smart enough to have made these with the enlarged, wider 16:9 gate. Many of us modified our cameras to take advantage of more film area. If they're smart and have done their homework, they will know about this. With such a tiny format, you need all the negative real estate you can get!

I've read where the camera will have the Max 8 gate.

Scott

So far the specs that are available indicate that it has a MAX gate.

It looks truly awful. I'm embarrassed for Kodak.

I know I thought this was a joke, and still think it might be. So sad that Kodak sat on technology, held down better technology in search of keeping up high margins on their cash cows all those years. I grew up like Abbrams and Speilberg making Super 8 movies in the backyard with sound on a Ektasound 130 with a 9mm f1.2 Ektar lens, editting with tape, and showing them on a Ektasound 245 projector with sound and dubbing. Pretty cool rig. Still have it all in mint condition if someone wants to make an offer. The projector was unique, the reels sat parallel to the screen and lens projected onto a mirror and 90 degrees to the screen. You could set the thing on a 6"-8" deep shelf if I remember right. Cool piece of kit in 1970 or so when my dad bought the whole rig for Christmas one year.

Add the resurgence of cassette mixes and vinyl and turntables, there is hope for a non-digital future . let's hope 1 hour photo service returns. 

It seems as if that is the way this is headed. I'm not sure the pipeline has been fully established yet, but from what I understand there will be an option to buy a complete package of film, processing, and transfer. I wonder if it will be a flat scan, or if you can request specific standards. I'm also curious about audio syncing, as it appears that the camera will record audio to an SD card. Imagine shooting at 18 fps and recording sound without wow or flutter. Thanks for reading.

Grasping at straws... oh how the mighty have fallen!

There are over 700,000 google links to cell phone users who were surprised with a 2,000 dollar bill for one month of cell phone usuage. I like the idea of owning a film camera in which the built in features are mine for the life of the camera, the life of the camera could easily be 30 years, and I only spend money using the camera when I want to use the camera versus being forced into monthly cell phone charges and changing my cell phone camera every year. 

My only conern is the Kodak camera won't do time-exposure, time-lapse, single frame or have an optical viewfinder that remains viewable even when a time-exposure frame is being exposed. Check out some of my tme-exposure and time-lapse works from the 80's and 90's. And because film is format agnostic, were I to retransfer that footage from the 80's, the clarity would double or triple because of advances made by digital technology.   Nothing wrong with film origination, digital destination.

Alessandro,

I was into the Super 8 phenomenon in the 80s and saw some of your work that Channel 5 highlighted once. Your name has always stuck in my head and I loved the work they highlighted. I think it was San Leandro Channel 5. Are you working in the film industry or doing anything related to film or video? Do you have a website? The links you shared above don't go to your work.

Anyway, thought I'd share that with you. Cheers.

Tom Connell

well said ...

now, check out ANY video camera (from the plainest cellphone ones to the topmost super duper professional ones) and see if they can do the following:

- true fade-in / fade-out (from/to black / from/to white) 0n-camera, both automated as well as manually!

- true slow motion, in-camera, various speeds

- true lap-dissolves, in-camera, various settings / speeds

and a number of other features that can't still be done in-camera, when and if needed, using the digital media ...

of course, there is more to digital that no film camera can do, not even in 'post' ...

and u said it yourself too: "Nothing wrong with film origination, digital destination." ...

btw, time-expossure, time-lapse and single frame and optical VF to remain open and viewable during some effects were possible with some film cameras in the old times, as old as 1940s or even earlier ... (including S8, since 1970s at least ...)

for the worth of it, the miniature film format is dead, officially! and if there still some attempts at reviving it, is more due to public demand than other things ...

i'd like this new item (link below) which allows old but still working S8 cameras be used with a special cartridge that can record digital video ... i prefer this one to the film one personally ... pity i didn't get a used S8 camera earlier and at super low prices because if this cartridge becomes available, those cameras prices will increase a lot! :)

http://petapixel.com/2013/12/09/startup-nolab-building-hd-digital-adapte...

Filmmaking is not about what format you shoot on--it's about talent.  Framing shots and creating stories. As a kid I hated the fact that film cost so much, I could only afford a tiny shooting ratio, you had to process film, either edit on film and or transfer.  I have an iPhone that I can shoot 1080p actually 4K video, I can see it immediately and edit in my iPhone or iPad instantly.  Becoming a better filmmaker is all about expereince.  Don't waste time and money working on film just to capture that asthetic--that's silly.  That money would be better spent on feeding yourself and or your crew.  When I got my first digital camera I learned more about lighting portraits then I did in the past 20 years because I could experiment and see it immediately.  

I think a big reason some people are taking film into consideration is because of it's tangibility. Imagine our industry 30-50 years down the road. What tangibly will you have to represent your work? DVD? Thumbdrive? With film, you always have a physical medium. 

Outside of that, I learned the most about proper camera exposure, white balance, framing, etc. in my film production classes with my degree. It requires an entirely different process which includes paying attention to details before you ever start rolling.

So true, so true.  You might have seen Project Greenlight last Fall.  The newby director insisted on shooting 35mm film.  He stomped his feet and threw a hissy fit until he got his way.  He made an absolutely terrible film and nobody cared it was shot on film.
 

Agrees completely Steve Weiss

Hi Steve, thanks for reading and contributing your thoughts. While you have some valid points about the costs, and where else you could spend the money. Certainly the cost of film versus the cost of digital for experimentation and learning makes a difference. Although, I don't know if it a blanket statement can be made. There is a certain discipline that having limited run times imposes, and working with excessive amounts of media in post, can grind down the edit staff with take after endless take. I started with film, and found that using a lightmeter made me consider my images more, instead of being told what the image will look like by a monitor. Looking at the image on a monitor can be very seductive and limiting in that the image may be fine, but I've still got more work I want to do on it, oh but that monitor says its okay, and the producer and director want to shoot, and we've got so much to get done. Granted it does not appear that these new super 8 cameras will have an optical viewfinder, so learning to use the digital viewfinder may take some doing. But it is still an exciting venture. It puts Super 8 right where it has always been for me, simple, easy, concentrate strictly on composition, color, framing. Lets work with shapes and positions in frame, foreground and background. Tell a story visually in 2:45 seconds. Awesome. Not always, but still awesome, and as a tool to bring a different look and feel to a project, providing another creative choice, how great. Completely valid, and I look forward to the actual roll out.

Hard to believe that they can make a new camera with these features for less than $700! Accounting for inflation, that's much cheaper than the mid level cameras from Canon cost back in 72!

Where did you hear that it would be in the $700 range?

Hi, I had a discussion with a Kodak Spokesperson, however the price and the camera is not set as of yet, and I suspect it won't be official until the camera starts to ship.