Recently at CES, one of the most iconic names in the film and photography world dropped a shocking announcement on us - FILM IS NOT DEAD!
Well, at least not Super 8 film, according to Kodak. NOT YET.
Kodak, the historically celluloid-centric company, has seen declines over the past decade or two with the move from film to digital. Whether it was due to pure stubbornness, or the sheer inability to adapt to changing times, the company as a whole had fallen far behind the rest of the film industry - even to the point of declaring bankruptcy back in 2012. Not only did film appeared dead, but the once mighty Kodak did as well.
With Kodak seemingly halfway to the grave, the shocking announcement of their "new" Super 8 film camera (two different models) at the Consumer Electronics Show certainly turned some heads. One might hear "Super 8" and be overcome with waves of nostalgia from "the good old days", or possibly even display a puzzled look, (depending on how old you are) but this reboot isn't your grandpa's Super 8 camera.
Yves Behar did the design, and its quite striking and modern looking. It will come in two different colors (black and white) and features a 3.5" digital viewfinder so you can monitor what you're shooting. A detachable mic (as well as 3rd party mics) allow you record on-board audio, which will be recorded to an SD card - intended to be synced up in post. It will sport a C-Mount and lens choices will be a 6mm f/1.2, with an optional 8-48mm zoom.
The other major issue facing potential analog film shooters is what to do with the film after its been shot? Not to worry, Kodak has that all figured out as well. When you purchase your Super 8 film, you'll also be purchasing the processing and digitizing of the reels through a process where you will send it off to Kodak, and get a link to download the digital files when they are ready. Each cartridge is 50ft long and about 2.5 minutes in run time. You'll receive your negatives back as well - GENUS.
With industry titans such as JJ Abrams, Stephen Spielberg and Christopher Nolan simply refusing to use anything other than good old celluloid for their movies, the professional market seems to be there for the time being, but only time will tell about the consumer market. In all honesty, I can't see many professionals using this particular camera system, although the current trend towards "retro" seems to point to the possibility of shooting on film at least becoming a novelty among the hipster crowd. On the other hand, the modern refinement in both the function of the camera (ie: flip out digital monitor), and the post processing of the film (no hassle), could certainly open the "door to the past" for up and coming film makers who have an interest in getting a taste of what "real" film making is like...Ya know, like, with actual film.
The cameras should be available in fall 2016 for around $400 and $750 depending on model. Film processing is estimated to be running about $50-$75 for the whole "round trip" from shooting, sending off and delivery.