Real film lovers of the world probably shed a tear today as Kodak announced the retirement of KODACHROME film. From a moving image standpoint Kodak discontinued Kodachrome Super 8mm stock back in 2005 which wasn’t a real surprise. Super 8 is only shot these days for that specific look and feel and for those film people who really want to be nostalgic. I bought a Super 8 camera from a yard sale a few years ago that was in very good shape. I never shot a frame since the cost to buy, process and transfer the stuff properly just wasn’t worth the $$. The film-lover in my soul sank as I proceeded to shoot on DV and apply lots of film-like flashes and edge fog.
One paragraph that stuck out to me in the Kodak press release was this:
While Kodak now derives about 70% of its revenues from commercial and consumer digital businesses, it is the global leader in the film business.
It’s amazing to think how a global leader in the film market could see such a shift in their core business. I guess it goes to show that no matter how much better film really is, be it still or motion picture, the added cost really isn’t worth the benefit for many most.
But film as an acquisition medium for motion pictures is not dead yet. There will always be the those who insist on shooting it as long as Kodak and Fuji make it. And it will always be gorgeous with a dynamic range that digital has yet to reproduce. A Kodak rep was recently in the office talking about 2-perf (as in 2-perforation) 35mm film as a new format to nearly cut the cost of shooting film in half. At least in half from shooting 4-perf. Not a bad idea but 2-perf isn’t new, it’s been around for many years. I guess it’s just a matter of Kodak beginning to push it more and more as film is shot less and less. Here’s some 2-perf discussion if you are interested: Is 2-Perf the new 3-Perf?, Panavision Proposes 2-Perf Film System for Indie Filmmaking, Film at Half the Price, 2Perf – the film format for the digital chain (pdf link). You can’t just shoot 2-perf on any film camera as they have to be modified but some are available.
But I digress … goodbye Kodachrome (I will not insert a Paul Simon pun). My dad shot a whole lot of stills on you over the years. For reflection here’s a nice little 4 minute You Tube video about the “end of Super 8 Kodachrome film processing.”
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