Filmmakers Rejoice: Kodak's 'Super 8' Camera Returns
Put down the Polaroid camera and hold onto that ironic manbun you’ve been growing for the past year, because everything retro is new again. Fresh off another reboot of a cult 90s show (what’s good Fuller House?), famed camera maker Kodak is bringing the charm of its vintage Super 8 cameras to the future with the help of Swiss designer Yves Béhar. This reboot of the iconic camera is retaining a lot of the retro design elements, but updating it with a few modern flares—just don’t call it old school.
“This is not a retro design job. I was not interested in being directly inspired in what was done back then,” Béhar explained. “The reason it looks retro is the size and the mechanical restraint of using a [film] cartridge.”
In addition to steel and metal building materials, the biggest change is a LCD screen that’ll let you watch the footage as it’s being recorded, instead of hours later like an ’80s plebian. The Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative may sound like a plan concocted by superheroes, but it’s being called a fresh new “ecosystem” for film—and we can see why. Super 8 is one of the most iconic film cameras of all time– it’s had an on-and-off love affair with Hollywood’s directorial elite for so long it would make Nicholas Sparks blush.
First introduced in 1965 and then reintroduced with the ability to record sound in ’73, the Super 8 is the camera responsible for some of today’s biggest directors. Everyone from Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams to David Fincher and Christopher Nolan owe their origins to the homemade movies they created as kids with their Super 8s. It was actually the films made by Steven Spielberg on his camera that inspired JJ Abrams to wow audiences with his own film at only 15 years old. Yes, you can now thank Super 8 cameras for giving the director of the biggest movie in the world a platform to explore filmmaking.
This same camera format led Michael Bay to light his room on fire filming a scene for a movie, gave Tim Burton the inspiration to create one of his first short films, called The Stalk of the Celery Monster, and won Peter Jackson a filmmaking prize when he was 15. To put it lightly, it’s been around more than that relative in your family who has a new child every year.
The Kodak reboot just debuted at CES, so it’s not going to be hitting shelves until September, when it’ll sell for around $400. That gives you enough time to start saving up those dollars you were going to spend on pizza slices, and write the script to your dream short film.
Stay tuned to Milk for more camera coverage.
Images and video via Paramount Pictures, Kodak, and YouTube.