Amongst thousands of new products on show at NAB 2023, Kodak wowed the crowds with a technology that has been around for more than 100 years.
In celebration of the centennial of 16mm film, first launched by Eastman Kodak in 1923, the company joined forces with industry-leading partners, ARRI Rental and FotoKem, to put on a head-turning, hands-on display of 16mm analogue filmmaking equipment, as well as a brace of educational camera and analogue workflow workshops, which saw attendees forming queues to experience in-person.
The events were held as a slew of high-profile, shot-on-film features are set release at film festivals, in cinemas and on TV channels worldwide in the near future – including Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, HBO’s Succession S4 and The Idol, Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, and Maestro, directed by and starring Bradley Cooper.
The Kodak, FotoKem and ARRI Rental analogue filmmaking programme was presented in NAB’s newly-introduced CineCentral, an area on the showfloor in Central Hall, focussing on Hollywood’s cinematic trends and techniques aimed at production and post-production professionals seeking to expand their creative and technical knowledge.
The educational 16mm workshops, entitled ‘Everything You Need to Know to Start Shooting Film NOW’ and ‘Everything You Need to Know About Analog Film Workflow’, were over-subscribed, with attendees queuing-up an hour before start time, and passers-by exclaiming, “Is that film?!”.
Around 30 students participated in each camera loading workshop, together with filmschool instructors, professional film producers, directors, cinematographers, camera assistants and film hobbyists, all looking for greater knowledge of analogue film capture. The workshops included hands-on learning using Arriflex 416 cameras, and were supported by Mike Sippel of ARRI Rental, Vanessa Bendetti of Kodak Motion Picture, plus cinematographers Thais Castrale and Craig Boydston.
The film workflow seminar was led by Andrew Oran and Mark Van Horne of FotoKem, film-lab experts who have supported hundreds of directors and cinematographers, each sharing stories and knowledge of how filmmakers achieve their signature looks using analogue film.
“For more than a century, film has sustained its place in storytelling and image-making,” commented Bendetti, global managing director at Kodak Motion Picture and Entertainment. “Kodak remains fully-committed to the film medium and, in response to the unyielding demand for motion and still film products, is back to 24/7 film manufacturing.
“Originally introduced in 1923, Kodak is proud to celebrate 100 years of 16mm. Thanks to NAB’s CineCentral, and our partnership with ARRI Rental and FotoKem, we were able to offer practical 16mm film workshops at the show, with the goal of equipping a new generation of artists with the knowledge they need to shoot on this still thriving and unmatched medium.”
Bendetti added, “The response was amazing. People formed lines long before the official start times, to secure their opportunity to participate. Amongst all the heavily-marketed technology across the Central Hall at NAB, the enthusiastic reception to our workshops made it clear that the film medium, and the 100-year-old 16mm format, remain relevant today for all types of storytelling.”
Along with music promos and commercials, recent long-form productions using Kodak 16mm film include HBO’s acclaimed, ten-part sports drama, Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty, Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane and Mark Jenkin’s folk horror movie Enys Men.