For years, Kodak has served as exhibit A of a company caught flat-footed by changing technology. But a funny thing has happened since Kodak’s fortunes fell–Hollywood directors have rallied around the company’s motion picture film, to the extent that Kodak expects to be profitable next year on the basis of its film business.
Emboldened by that success, the company doubled down at CES 2016 with a plan to revive the Super 8 camera.
Calling it the “Super 8 Revival Initiative” Kodak said the camera would combine the “classic features of a Super 8 with digital functionality.”
Kodak says they’ve built a roadmap that includes a “range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more.”
“It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer, in a statement announcing the initiative. “Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium.”
The initiative has a string of high-profile endorsers, including director Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams. “For me, 8mm was the beginning of everything,” Spielberg said in a statement released by Kodak. “When I think of 8mm, I think of the movies.”
The camera is expected to cost between $400-$700 with film processing ranging from $50-$75. Developed film will be returned to consumers as a digital file and film strip. While the details are still being finalized, a Kodak spokesperson said users would be able to choose the type of video file they receive back from Kodak.
The camera will have a mic input on the top handle and audio will be recorded to SD cards. While Kodak will process the film, it will be up to the end-user to sync audio with the video. It will have a flip out digital display for a real time preview of what you’re recording as well as access to the menu.
Kodak is not the first company to take an interest in resurrecting Super 8 filmmaking. A father-and-son duo from Denmark launched an ambitious Super 8 camera last year dubbed the Logmar S8 aimed for pro shooters.
Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.