Kodak has unveiled a prototype of a new Super 8 camera as part of the company’s efforts to revive the 50-year old film format.
On display at CES in Las Vegas this week, the camera (pictured) “combines the classic features of a Super 8 with digital functionality,” Kodak said.
The camera unveiling is the first stage of Kodak’s ‘Super 8 Revival Initiative’ which Eastman Kodak chief executive Jeff Clarke described as “an ecosystem for film” that will include the launch of more cameras, film development services and post production tools.
“Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium,” Clarke added.
The announcement was welcomed by a host of Hollywood directors, with Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams and Quentin Tarantino (see below) among those who praised the move.
The original Kodak Super 8 camera was introduced in 1965.
Kodak worked with designer and Fuseproject founder Yves Béhar as part of its efforts to make sure its latest device echoes the look and feel of the original cameras, while adding a “modern sensibility”.
Béhar added: “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.”
SUPPORT FOR THE KODAK SUPER 8 REVIVAL INITIATIVE
“When I watch the news, I expect and want it to look like live television. However, I don’t want that in my movies. I want our century-plus medium to keep its filmic look and I like seeing very fine, swimming grain up there on the screen. To me, it’s just more alive and it imbues an image with mystery, so it’s never literal. I love movies that aren’t literally up in my face with images so clear there is nothing left to our imaginations. Had I shot it on a digital camera, the Omaha Beach landings in Saving Private Ryan would have crossed the line for those that found them almost unbearable. Paintings done on a computer and paintings done on canvas require an artist to make us feel something. To be the curser or the brush, that is the question and certainly both can produce remarkable results. But doesn’t the same hold true for the cinematic arts? Digital or celluloid? Vive la difference! Shouldn’t both be made available for an artist to choose?”
“On film, there’s a special magic on a set when you say ‘action’ and to the point that the take runs until you say ‘cut,’ that’s a sacred time. I’ve always believed in the magic of movies and to me the magic is connected to film. When you’re filming something on film you aren’t recording movement, you’re taking a series of still pictures and when shown at 24 frames per second through a lightbulb, THAT creates the illusion of movement. That illusion is connected to the magic of making movies. The fact that Kodak is giving a new generation of filmmakers the opportunity to shoot on Super 8 is truly an incredible gift.”
“Super 8 taught me how to be a filmmaker. At the time, it was all about expense, meaning that I had to know what I wanted to shoot or at least edit in my head what I wanted to shoot before I shot it. It taught me how precious an image is and can be. It taught me how to refine my technique in editing and, ultimately, how beautiful film is. To this day I still shoot on Super 8.”
Robert Richardson, Cinematographer
“I am a strong believer that a filmmaker should have as many tools at his or her command. The news that Kodak is bringing back Super 8 came as a great delight for it fortifies the future of film being made available to all. My career began with Super 8 and that transferred into working with the stock on a number of projects from JFK to Natural Born Killers. I could not be pleased more to hear that what I felt was slipping away into darkness is returning to the light.”
Patty Jenkins, Director, Screenwriter – Monster, Wonder Woman
“People like to think that digital mediums can do anything film can do, nowadays, but that simply isn’t true. Digital is great for certain things, but it is still different. There are plenty of looks, feelings and qualities that only film can do, and you simply cannot capture digitally.”
Ed Lachman, Cinematographer, Director – Carol
“The first camera I ever picked up was the Super 8 camera and it’s still a joy to play and experiment with. There’s always a sense of discovery with the form. I’ve actually used it in a number of feature films including Mi Familia, Selena and I’m Not There.”