Tag Archives: digital ancestry

Is Kodak the Next PBR?

Could a flavor for the vintage be a win for Kodak?

Kodak-PBR LogoFull disclosure: my first camera was a Kodak, both in film and digital. And their business allegory is one for the ages in terms of a Shakespearean rise to dominance and a spectacular fall from greatness. So it was with keen interest I noted this story at Marketplace on modern film directors wanting to shore up Kodak film for motion picture production. Similar to the way Pabst Blue Ribbon is a long-standing brand that has developed a retro-cred cachet, or the way General Motors is evolving the Cadillac brand — an iconic namesake being reworked for modern relevance — the thought is that there’s enough of a desire for “the way things used to be” to make this happen for Kodak. As one with an active creative pursuit involving photography and image-making, as well as an understanding of corporate communication and PR, I think this could happen, but only, as Marketplace notes, if investment indeed goes toward innovation, rather than propping up the status quo. Personally, I have great nostalgic fondness for brands like Kodak, and have to respect the call of talented creators like Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams furthering this cause. Good on those guys, who, like me, have appreciation for the past and feel that some things are worth keeping around, especially in the name of art.

What do you think? Do you have a preference for anything being done “the old-fashioned way?” Are there any brands you immediately think of as nostalgic yet still with us? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Digital Ancestry: an iPad Forerunner

iPad Ancestry by rsmithing
iPad Ancestry, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

A while back at a thrift shop I came across this beast of some old technology. I remember in grade school there being several cubbies with these things in them that played cassette tapes while advancing a reel of slide film that was projected on this giant screen. It seemed appropriate to me to capture it using my iPhone with an app that mimics “vintage” photos, Hipstamatic.

I remember sitting in front of these things, having set up a reel of film and listening for the cue on the tape to advance to the next one. I think I even wore headphones. For a young school kid, this was a fairly entertaining, interactive educational experience. And there was a real production value to these – carefully crafted photography and studio-recorded voiceovers.

Can you think of a similarly interactive audio-visual device with a large screen that could be used for education? Seems everywhere I look there’s a new reminder of how today’s tech was preceded by something else. It makes me wonder what we’ll have decades from now that make our iDevices look primitive.

Have you ever seen one of these things or do you remember something similar from your younger days? Or are these still in use? What do you think will surpass today’s tech along these lines? Let us hear from you in the comments.

iPhone Video Editing: The Black Keys Live

The Black Keys, Charlotte, NC 3.24.12

The Black Keys – Charlotte, NC, 3.24.12. Shot & edited with my iPhone.

I’ve always loved rock concerts and live music. One of my first concerts was Mötley Crüe at the nearest coliseum as a young metalhead, and I documented the event with my trusty Kodak Disc camera.

As more evidence of that device’s role in digital ancestry as a forerunner of today’s tech gear, I now document shows with my trusty iPhone 4, using its 5-megapixel camera and HD video recording capability. It’s absolutely mind-blowing, the quality of video this thing produces from a live show, even from the nosebleed seats, where I caught The Black Keys over the weekend.

I’m no Scorsese, and there are plenty of higher-quality videos from this show, but being able to record the event as I remember it and highlight the dramatic parts for later enjoyment – and then share that online… without even reading an instruction manual… it’s just magical for a music lover.

Have a look at what I whipped up in an hour – even though I was watching from high in the stands, I’ve tried to add some dimension with edits, pans and transitions, highlighting the best/most dynamic visual moments.

iPhone Video Editing: The Splice App

All transitions, titles, sound fades, pans and zooms were done with the iPhone using the app, Splice for the editing. It’s fast, intuitive, and great for producing a quick highlight reel. Some reviews say it’s unstable, but I haven’t experienced any of that. Within minutes of downloading it and tapping on a few buttons to see what they do, I was making a decent compilation video with titles, overdubbed music and transitions. I do not work for or promote Splice; I’m just wowed by this kind of technology.

This, Too Shall Soon Be Primitive

Disc

The Kodak Disc

The Disc was great back in the day, and I’m sure 30 years from now something will be around to make the iPhone look obsolete (remember when bag phones were impressive?), but for now, it’s a gratifying experience to put together a quick video in minutes that matches my memory of an awesome show.

Bonus: Also saw some Fun. this month:

What do you think? Could you see yourself using a smartphone for video editing? What other uses do you see for this technology? Have you ever edited video via your smartphone? If so, what app(s) do you prefer? Are you active on YouTube, Vimeo or other networks? Share your links and let us hear from you in the comments.

KITT iPhone Wallpaper: Digital Ancestry

KITT iPhone Wallpaper

A modern-day tribute to K.I.T.T. of Knight Rider

Click to Download KITT iPhone Wallpaper

If you’re a Gen-Xer, there’s a chance you might have had a favorite TV show back in the early ’80s, Friday nights on NBC: Knight Rider. Sort of Dukes of Hazzard meets “the future” with David Hasselhoff as a renegade crime fighter…. and a TALKING CAR!

A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist...

Knight Rider: iPhone Ancestor © 1982 Universal Studios

Wow! A car that talks! Something as ubiquitous as a car that responds to voice commands with usable information? Some machinery that nearly all adults interact with daily can understand what we say and respond accordingly? Only in Hollywood or a James Bond film would we ever hope for such within our reach. Right?

iPhone Wallpaper - Siri weighs in

iPhone Wallpaper – Siri weighs in – click to play video via Gizmodo

>>> Impress your friends: share this on Twitter! <<<

KITT I need you buddy!

Do you remember Knight Rider? Do you have another example of digital ancestry like KITT? What are your thoughts on David Hasselhoff? Let us hear from you in the comments.

A Snapshot in Time: the Kodak Disc Camera

Kodak 4000 Disc Camera by Capt. Kodak

Kodak 4000 Disc Camera by Capt. Kodak

On hearing of Kodak’s bankruptcy recently, I’m nostalgic, as I’m sure many of us are. I easily remember the excitement of discovering photography for the first time as a child and seeing the Kodak logo everywhere, from film, to cameras, to the envelopes my prints were mailed back to me in (remember “sending off” or “dropping off” your film?). This is best summarized for me now by remembering Kodak’s Disc camera.

What’s a Kodak Disc?

For their time, the Kodak Disc cameras were very innovative. It could easily slide in your pocket, came with a built-in flash, and even the film was compact. Sure the picture quality wasn’t great, but for the ease of use and relative affordability, it was a decent experience. Snapshots of life as a kid for me came through the lens of this camera, and I’m intrigued by the parallels of our gadget-obsessed consumer society. I still have prints from my Disc camera, and as I record HD video with my phone today, I wonder what 20 years from now will make us regard even this activity as primitive.

Says Capt. Kodak:

Manufactured from 1982 to 1989 by Eastman Kodak Co. When introduced, they made a big splash—in less than 10 years, they were gone. They featured a 15 exposure flat “disc” of film using new film technology to get acceptable images from it 8x10mm negative size. Some of this film technology was later introduced into the 35mm line of films making them even sharper and producing better images on a bigger negative. Ironically, that improvement and Kodak’s own introduction of inexpensive 35mm cameras may have led to the Disc camera’s demise.

iPhone Ancestor?

iPhone Ancestry

iPhone decal, Disc style

Back when I rocked the iPhone 4 bumper, my swag was enhanced by this awesome Kodak Disc iPhone skin. The symbolic convergence of technology and art through photography on so many levels with this simple decal is so poignant to me. Though no longer available from this manufacturer (another similarity with the actual camera), I truly appreciate how this is a tribute to digital ancestry in consumer electronics and photography. Like the gadget that inspired it, this decal goes along with you in your pocket, attached to your camera that also makes phone calls, sends SMS messages, surfs the Internet, is your GPS, Yellow Pages, day planner, entertainment hub… um, while fun, the Disc didn’t do all that.

>>> Like this? share it on Twitter — thanks! <<<

Sure, I love my iPhone and applications like Hipstamatic for their high-quality and instant gratification. Yet it’s so interesting to me how nostalgia in the form of apps like Hipstamatic or digital photo booths is enjoying popularity now. And the Disc’s portability and ease of use can’t help but come to mind these days when I’m whipping out the iPhone for some snapshots with a retro-camera app.

I also love the ease and fun of social networks like Instagram and management tools like Flickr for making sharing our snapshots so easy and ubiquitous. In fact, I fully credit Instagram for reigniting my own interest in photography these days — which happen to be directly traceable to the days when I was posing my Star Wars action figures for some action shots with my trusty Kodak Disc.

What do you think? Are you sad to see Kodak’s demise? Did you or anyone you know ever work for Kodak? Do you use any Kodak products today (paper, digital, etc.) What lessons are there to be gained by the fall of a once-great innovating company? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Photo Credit: Kodak 4000 Disc Camera, by Capt. Kodak