Eastman Kodak might be gearing up for a comeback -- with the help of famed designer Yves Behar and nostalgia for an old home video format.
The company and Behar, lead of design house Fuseproject, are working to revive Kodak's Super 8 camera, of 1970s fame. The collaboration is still in the early stage, but Kodak plans to show some prototypes of a new camera at its booth at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Two versions of the device should launch this fall, Fuseproject said. The higher end will cost more than $1,000 while the lower end will be cost less than that price point.
The new camera marks the first time Kodak has made a consumer product in years. The film camera with digital components utilizes new materials and has ergonomic features for filmmakers.
Kodak said its "Super 8 Revival Initiative reaches far beyond the introduction of a new camera." The company has built a road map for a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more.
"It is an ecosystem for film," Eastman Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said. "Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium."
In 1976, Kodak had 90 percent of the film market and 85 percent of the camera market, according to a Harvard Business School case study. But Kodak, once practically synonymous with cameras, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012. The shift from film photography to digital photography changed everything for the company, and it hasn't recovered from its missteps. Now, even digital cameras are suffering as more people snap photos on their mobile devices.
In 1965, Kodak developed Super 8mm film to replace the Standard 8mm amateur film of the time. It also built the first camera for the new format, and others followed suit. Super 8 was the favored home video format through the early 1980s when digital cameras came on the scene, though it still has a following by retro enthusiast.
By working with Behar, Kodak is likely hoping for some of the magic the designer has brought other companies. Since beginning Fuseproject in 1999, Behar has worked with companies such as Apple, General Electric, Herman Miller, Movado, Prada and Samsung. He is chief creative officer at fitness-band maker Jawbone and chief designer at charity program One Laptop Per Child. Behar is also a co-founder of smart-lock maker August.
Updated at 4:15 p.m. PT with details about availability and pricing.
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