A New Super 8 Film Cartridge From GK-Film
By James Grahame
The Super 8 film format is now 42 years old and Kodak's product lineup is stronger than ever. Young filmmakers are often enthusiastic adoptees of the vintage format because of its distinctive look and the low cost of equipment, and the format remains popular for TV commercials and music videos. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving; the Super 8 party might come to an end sooner than we expect.
No new cameras have been developed in the past twenty years, and Kodak's film division has seen a dramatic decrease in sales as consumers adopt digital technology. Fewer than 100,000 cartridges of Super 8 film are sold each year, down from over 17 million in the early 1980s.
There are several innovative little companies who could fill the void if Kodak stops production of Super 8 film, except for one awkward little problem: Kodak is the only company in the world that manufactures the little plastic Super 8 cartridge.
In an effort to reduce the industry's dependence on Kodak, GK-Film in Bielefeld, Germany decided to create a dramatically improved Super 8 cartridge. The new design is the brainchild of Gottfried Klose, the man who introduced Cinevia -- Fuji Velvia 50 daylight reversal film -- to Super 8 users throughout the world.
GK-Film used modern computer-based manufacturing techniques to create a cartridge that should outperform the ancient Kodapak design. It features a metal film pressure plate, replacing the low-quality plastic plate that pressed the film against the camera aperture in the Kodak design. This should offer noticeably better image stability and more consistent focus across the entire frame.
The new GK-Film Super 8 cartridge is currently undergoing testing and should hit the market in early 2008, loaded with amazingly sharp and vibrant Fuji Velvia 50D film. I can't wait!