Even if you think film has had its day, there's no denying that it evokes a dreamy nostalgia that digital video can't match. Kodak got a lot of folks, including A-list Hollywood directors, excited about its hybrid Super 8 camera based on that idea, and it has now revealed the first footage that seems to deliver on that promise. Shot by cinematographers like Nick Green and GQ fashion photographers, the video reveals the soft grain, organic-looking flares, low resolution and high contrast you (might) love with Super 8 film.
The Yves Béhar–designed camera, which will cost between $2,500 and $3,000, has a 3.5-inch LCD, variable speed control and C-mount lens support. However, it was first revealed at CES 2016, and CES 2018 has now come and gone. During a discussion at the Las Vegas show this year, Kodak's Holger Schwaerzel and Steve Parsons explained that one reason for the delay is that the technology behind film cameras has largely been forgotten at Kodak.
"Our biggest challenge has been rebuilding the engineering knowledge that's been lost over the last few decades since the last Super 8 cameras were produced in volume," said Parsons. "Our design engineers have had to relearn lessons that at one time were common, accumulated knowledge in the industry, so there's been some trial and error as we've gone through that process."
Kodak promised that the Super 8 camera will be as easy to use as a DSLR and unveiled a new online platform for film development called the Kodak Darkroom. That'll let you purchase the film, processing and shipping all at once. You then just need to send it off and Kodak will process and scan the film digitally, then upload the scans to Darkroom so you don't have to wait to get the physical media back.
As mentioned, Kodak has let filmmakers test the camera, and engineers have incorporated their suggestions into the latest designs. Schwaerzel and Parsons say that this has resulted in improvements -- for instance, they're still using the same cartridge design but have made the film run more steadily in the gate, where the image is exposed.
That does raise the question of whether Kodak will be ready with the camera in 2018, as promised, considering that at this point it hasn't even tested its latest design. Kodak's name also took a knock (and its stock went way up) when it unveiled a new blockchain scheme and a very sketchy-looking bitcoin mining device.