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The Great Kodak Super 8 Comeback:
Tech

The Great Kodak Super 8 Comeback

Director J.J. Abrams doesn’t shoot digital. Neither do Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, for that matter. Film, they say, feels warmer, its grainy artifacts somehow more artistic. Film is also a major pain in the ass. It’s unforgiving and time-consuming. These are loves and lessons many filmmakers learned as pimply-faced teenagers shooting ultra-low-budget backyard versions of Stand By Me on their dads’ Super 8 video cameras. Now Kodak is souping up its classic lo-fi device with hi-fi smarts. Equal parts legacy and modernity, the new consumer Super 8 (available early next year for $750 or less) records to a film cartridge that Kodak then develops into a reel-to-reel and a digital file (processing costs are built into the film’s $75 price tag). The camera also has a flip-out viewfinder and controls to adjust film speed and exposure. In an Instagram-obsessed world, the updated Super 8 is a shrewd move for the film giant, one that positions it with a foot on either side of the adoption curve (why choose between being NASA or SpaceX when you can be both?). It also looks just about perfect; the Yves Béhar design is a piece of 1980s retro pop art brought to life. Don’t be surprised if it winds up starring in more Vines, viral videos and 30-second spots than it can possibly shoot.