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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Mama took my Kodachrome away: Super 8's demise

Another nail in the coffin of Super 8 film, writes Will Hodgkinson in the Guardian. “The factory in Lausanne, Switzerland, kodachrome40.gifthat processes Europe’s supplies of Kodachrome—grainy, colour-saturated frames of 8mm film that have convinced a generation that their 60s and 70s childhood and adolescence was spent leaping through flowers in a Technicolor haze—is shutting its doors on Saturday. The ritual of shooting a three-minute masterpiece on your Super 8 camera, sending off the film in a little yellow envelope and waiting… for the ready-to-project reel to drop on to the doormat is over. If you want to get your Kodachrome film developed now, you are going to have to get in touch with an outfit in Kansas called Dwayne’s Photo… fake_-543478.jpgKodachrome is black-and-white stock to which colour is added during the processing. This gives the film its kaleidoscopic, escapist charm, but it is also expensive… [T]he Lausanne lab’s closure coincides with the biggest boom in Super 8 usage since its 70s heyday. The Widescreen Centre in London is shifting more than 250 reels a week, and its clients include the BBC, independent production companies, pop-video directors and even a few amateur-movie enthusiasts, who shoot the film and have it transferred to digital format… [T]he Burbank-based Pro8mm company is supplying Hollywood with reconditioned cameras and Super 8 stock, as more and more directors succumb to the film’s grainy allure. “Regular film doesn’t come with scratches and tramlines,” says Jake Astbury, a film-maker who has shot videos for the Corrs… and much of Nicholas Cage’s movie 8mm on Super 8. “You can deteriorate video but it looks fake. Only Super 8 has that romantic, worn quality. It has a roughness that no other medium has.” More at the link, including the high cost of refurbished Super 8 cameras. [Here’s Kodak’s telling of the tale.]

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