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  The Return of Super 8

In May 1965 Kodak Eastman launched the new amateur film gauge Super-8 together with the two fitting instamatic cameras M4 and M2. The new film was a development of the then more than thirty years old, very popular Standart 8mm film. With a frame increased by more than thirty percent, which provided a much better quality of the image, Super-8 became very quickly the new favourite of the amateur filmmakers. A further reason for the fast spread of Super-8 was, that the film cartridges and the cameras were very easy to handle. For many years Super-8 was the leader among amateur film gauge. Bauer, Bolex, Eumig, Beaulieu and the legendary NIZO Braun from Munich, Germany, were the most popular producers of Super-8 equipment.

In 1978, there were more than thirty-eight different Super-8 filmtypes on sale. But this was also the time, when first voices arose, that predicted the upcoming death of Super-8. The television compatible video format was already invented, and a broad video offensive from Japan superseded Super-8 more and more from the homemovie market.

In the late nineties was a new trend observed. Producers of music clips and advertising films began to be interested in Super-8, which provides its own esthetics with its high depth of focus and the grainy image. An example for this trend was also the fact, that cult director Jim Jarmusch shot many parts of his last documetary film „Year of the Horse“ on Super-8. Meanwhile there were also a growing number of avantgarde and underground filmmakers, who had discovered Super-8.
Super-8 fan groups were founded in Germany as well as in France, USA, Japan and many other countries. Their members present their films in regularly organized screenings and festivals. Last evidence of a very vivid Super-8 scene worldwide was the first „Gobal-Super8-Day“ commited on January 8th 2000.

Today, Kodak remained the last producer, who still manufactures Super-8 films. There are still four different types on sale, two color and two black and white ones. The most common film is still the Kodachrome 40, which came out thirty-five years ago.
A reason ,why Kodak still keeps manufacturing Super-8 film might also be the fact, that Kodak is the inventor of this film gauge.


Kodak Instamatic M4 Anno 1965.