Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ciné-Kodak Model M: "Simplest of Home Movie Cameras"

Here's a full-page advertisement for a Ciné-Kodak movie camera from a circa-1932 magazine (probably National Geographic).

The ad copy describes the excitement of filming the streets of Paris, from the side streets to the cafes to the Bois de Boulogne:
"These are the glamorous scenes your Ciné-Kodak can capture -- the scenes you and your family and friends will enjoy again and again. Ciné-Kodak, as low as $75, makes movies as simply as a Brownie makes snapshots.1 Kodascope projectors now reduced as low as $50. Many dealers offer easy terms."
Of course, this was a lot of money. A $75 camera in 1932 would be the equivalent of $1,185 in 2010 dollars, according to The Inflation Calculator. And the movie camera plus Kodascope projector cost $125, according to the advertisement, which would be the equivalent of a whopping $1,975. And that's before buying film and other accessories.

Kodak's website has an interesting page titled "Super 8mm Film History," which delves into the role the company played in bring movie cameras to the masses. Here's an excerpt:
"The story of practical "home movies" began in 1923. Although 35mm film had been the standard for theatrical releases for decades, the large film was cumbersome, expensive, and dangerous due to its flammable nature. For years, the Eastman Kodak Company had worked to develop a system of movie equipment and film that would be easy enough for the advanced amateur photographer to use, yet reasonably affordable. The result was the Sixteen Millimeter 'Cine Kodak' Camera and the Kodascope Projector". The camera itself weighed about seven pounds, and had to be handcranked at two turns per second during filming. ... By 1932, with America in the throes of the Great Depression, a new format, the 'Cine Kodak Eight', was introduced. Utilizing a special 16mm film which had double the number of perforations on both sides, the film maker would run the film through the camera in one direction, then reload and expose the other side of the film, the way an audio cassette is used today."

This guy is probably not shooting "Man with a Movie Camera". He might, however, be wearing the same hat as the guy in Sunday's post.

1. The Brownie, first introduced in 1900, is a series of simple, inexpensive cameras produced by Eastman Kodak. The box cameras helped to bring low-cost photography to the masses and introduced the idea of the snapshot. (Hello, Instagram.) For more on the Brownie and its history, check out The Brownie Camera Page.

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