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Farewell to Kodachrome

Kodachrome died this month.  It is forever gone.

This is a sad time for old users of film.  The world of animation is now all digital, but there was a time when computers were not much more than big calculators and animators had one choice: film.  Film was expensive if you used 16mm or beyond.  Yet, many of us discovered that relatively affordable Kodachrome Super 8 movie film offered remarkable resolution.

Ektachrome, which was easier to process and more versatile, was the film promoted heavily by Kodak in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, when Super 8mm was used by an enthusiastic group of film makers.

Yet, many of us knew that Ektachrome suffered from grainy resolution problems with Super 8mm that made the format look low budget.

Few seem to know that properly lighted and exposed Kodachrome 40 Super 8mm movie film easily rivaled 16mm in quality.  I used it exclusively in my animations through the 1980s. The quality made the hassle worth the effort.  By the 1980s, Kodachrome took often weeks to process.  My final Kodachrome project required me to reshoot a botched section of animation.  The processing time took so long, I actually had to quickly, again, reshoot the animation in Ektachrome, process it and splice it into the film to meet the deadline.

These Google Video conversions don’t do justice to the actual film experience:


Film was a whole different world for animation.  You would shoot animation for many hours until you exposed a roll, giving you about 2 minutes of animation, send it for processing, wait two weeks or more, only to discover you had erred on the lighting or framing and needed to reshoot the whole thing, again.

It sometimes drove me crazy, but I loved it.  I said goodbye to Kodachrome decades ago, but I still feel sad.

The link to the New York Times story

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