Even after its death, if was there ever one film stock that was the color film, it would have to be Kodak's Kodachrome The last roll was famously given to Steve McCurry, who essentially built his career with the film. To say that was a sad moment for lovers of film would be a gross misrepresentation. This was something that was lost. It would – could – never come back. Or could it? A recent conversation between The Kodakery and a number of Kodak executives including Kodak CMO Steven Overman lead to a glimmer of hope for the resurrection of everyone's favorite color film.
Overman commented that, after asking what Kodak could bring to market that would help it come back, he was given the advice to identify what only Kodak could bring to the market. Several months later, someone had brought the idea of a Super 8 camera to him. At that moment, it became a natural solution, as Kodak is the only manufacturer still producing Super 8 motion picture film. He described it as an "entry-level format" that we all start shooting on. It's affordable, portable, and easy to work with. And earlier this week at CES, Kodak had its first working prototypes of its Super 8 camera announced earlier last year on display.
On the heels of Kodak's announcement earlier this week that they are bringing back Ektachrome (the last variety of which was phased out by the end of 2013) in 35mm and Super 8 formats, Overman was asked about the likelihood of Kodachrome coming back as well. While he didn't announce Kodak will be reintroducing it, he did say that Kodak is looking into what it would take to bring the iconic film back to market.
We get asked all the time... by filmmakers and photographers alike, ‘are you gonna bring back some of these iconic film stocks like Kodachrome, Ektachrome...' I will say, we are investigating Kodachrome, looking at what it would take to bring that back […] Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market... People love Kodak’s heritage products and I feel, personally, that we have a responsibility to deliver on that love.”
Kodachrome was notoriously difficult and complicated to process – a fact that led to rising prices that ultimately resulted in the film's demise. But the way the film reacted to light was unmatched by any process – film or digital – and remains so to this day. And today, we have hope that this film might come back.
The truth is, you can help bring it back. Just as it helps our politicians to know when we want change, we can tell Kodak just how much we want Kodachrome back in production. Share this article with your friends. Tell them to call and email and write to and about Kodak. Tell them how much we want Kodachrome back, how much it would be in Kodak's best interest, how much we do love it, and the responsibility that they have to deliver on that love. After all, Kodachrome: sounds an awful lot like something only Kodak could bring to the market.
(Small side note that came from the interview shared below: did anyone notice the new Kodak Super 8 camera's octagonal design? Eight-sided...Super 8.)