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Old & New Blog

It's Super 8! Thanks for Asking, Says Kodak

Glenn Fleishman

Check the Wayback Machine's dials, Sherman—hmm. They still read 2016. And yet Kodak is introducing an entirely new model of Super 8 camera, that can record onto a popular small-format analog film. Using an 8mm format, Super 8 extended the size of the frame by reducing perforations. This allowed a higher-quality picture without jumping up to what was once the expense of 16mm or 35mm cameras, editing, and developing.

The Super 8 format has a lot in common with early versions of compact digital cameras and cameraphones: It can't record for very long and it's got a fuzzy quality (that filmmakers adore, however). You have to make choices when shooting Super 8, just like you had to make choices about storage, battery, and duration with earlier compact digital video.

Kodak says it's combining the best of analog and digital into one device, the first new Super 8 camera from a major manufacturer in decades. While it shoots analog onto 50 ft (15m) Super 8 cartridges, it also sports a 3½-inch electronic viewfinder, charges via USB, and supports standard-definition video input. It has an integrated microphone, and comes with a fixed-focus lens, but a zoom will be available as an option.

One cartridge can record about 2½ minutes at 24 frames per second (fps), and the camera supports 9, 12, 18, 24, and 25 fps rates. After shooting, you send the cartridge to Kodak, which develops it and creates a downloadable digital scan, and then returns the develop analog film to you.

Now for the price: It'll cost about $450 to $750 when it ships as a limited-edition model in the third quarter of 2016; a cheaper version will come out in early 2017. Super 8 film runs about $20 to $35 a cartridge, and Kodak estimates its developing and scanning will cost about $50 to $75 (some reports indicate this includes the cost of the film; others, that you'll buy a roll and then pay that fee separately). This won't be for the casual hobbyist, but there is a loving audience of film-school students, amateurs who love film, and professional filmmakers who are going to love this return.

Technics Shows Off Its 50th Anniversary Turntable

Glenn Fleishman

Let's party like it's 1979, as Panasonic shows off a production model at the CES trade show of the SL-1200GAE, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Technics brand under which it's being released. The turntable is thoroughly 2015, with a nice mix of modern aesthetics and materials, but a reverence for what lets a tonearm play a groove at the peak level of perfection. It's due out in Summer 2016.

Moving Forward!

Glenn Fleishman

Well.

Back earlier this year, I was all ambitious like about getting started, and then a series of terrible, no-good, awful, crummy things happened to my main computer, a second computer, and several hard drives. It was a mess that I won't bore you with. This set back everything I work on by months.

The Magazine: The Complete Archives is finally out, however! (You can purchase a copy at this destination.)

And with that done, I'll have the time to start working in earnest on Old & New, which will start with me writing up the editorial philosophy so I can start soliciting pitches from authors. A few dozen people have been itching for me to take their pitches and assign work. I have a nice sum raised from the Kickstarter for the Archives that wasn't spent, so that will go towards writers' fees in this phase.

Watch this space!

Funded! And Issue #0 Plans

Glenn Fleishman

The Magazine: The Complete Archives exceeded its Kickstarter goal and just closed its funding. We went over a decent amount, which gives me additional budget to work with in starting to commission articles here at Old & New.

I had extended the hope of creating an Issue #0 that would be free for backers that would include a mix of…old and new articles (some from The Magazine and others newly written). The budget won't extend to that, but I will still make an Issue #0 preview that backers of the campaign will get first, and then will be available in various forms to everyone else.

My plan is to start publishing new work here in April. Stay tuned!

Reached the Kickstarter Goal—Now Stretching to Issue #0

Glenn Fleishman

The Kickstarter campaign for The Magazine: The Complete Archives, intended in part to fund the early phases of Old & New, reached its goal a few days ago! I started that campaign to create a permanent, offline digital version of The Magazine's complete run, but hoped to raise more than the total that could be required to assemble a mighty ebook of nearly 300 articles.

Now I've set a stretch goal. If we can hit $15,000, then I'll produce a special Issue #0, distributed in electronic form to campaign backers (and available as a print-on-demand magazine at our exact cost and no more). Issue #0 will have articles on the Old & New front that first ran in The Magazine, plus new stories exclusively commissioned for it. (Reprint fees will be paid to writers whose work is reprinted, too.)

The $5,000 extra lets me really get a running start, and everyone gets something special, too. It lets me experiment and pay writers, as I move towards planning regular article assignments and issues, and provides the budget for several weeks of short assignments in addition to Issue #0's costs. The idea with Old & New is to focus tightly on vintage technology and people who love it—and to start slow and build depending on the interests of you, dear reader.

As part of the stretch goal, I added a $500 sponsorship level that will allow a company or person to have a page in the ebook for any reasonable purpose, including promotion. (Please get in touch if you have questions about that.) We also have $250 and $350 angel levels with special rewards, and thanks in the Complete Archives book.

If you'd like to accelerate the pace at which we fire up this new machine from old and new parts, back the campaign today!

Pioneer Introduces a New Vinyl Player

Glenn Fleishman

Vinyl never died — it just stopped revolving as fast. There will never be a return to the scale of record sales of years past, but the number has bumped up into the millions in the last few years as people rediscover some of the joys of vinyl. Pioneer is tapping into youth who may have been buying second-hand phonograph players with a new $300 high-end model, the PL-30-K, vastly cheaper when adjusted for inflation than the same quality decades ago — which couldn't exist because of the amount of under-the-hood digital tech that Pioneer is using.

It's also designed for people without a "hi-fi" player. There's no pre-amp required (although one can be used), which was typical for old-school phonographs. Pioneer has equipped this 12-pound modern wonder with a regular set of RCA outputs.

 

Our Plans

Glenn Fleishman

Welcome to the nugget of a germ of an idea.

I ran The Magazine for over two years as editor, and about a year and a half as owner. It was an incredibly good time to commission new articles, work with writers to develop concepts, interact with artists and photographers for stories, and listen to and talk with readers. But there was a fundamental problem: we didn't have a focus. (There were other structural ones, such as being beholden to Apple and its Newsstand and the cycle of iOS updates.)

Some of the stories that spoke to me most during my editing tenure were those in which the past was preserved and made new. Not as a fetish, like nailing large wood type on a wall or turning typewriters keys into cufflinks. (I admit I have a set of the latter.) Rather, when people found something they adored in technology gone by, a physical instantiation of something, that they were compelled to cultivate, re-invent, or restore.

That's the heart of Old & New as I envision it: people's art and dedication, and the communities that form around it, whether it's old John Deere tractors or 1970s Atari videogames. The remit will be narrow: tech broadly defined, but that's no longer in true commercial production. Millions of letterpress presses were manufactured over hundreds of years; nobody makes new ones anymore. Other areas may be a little more murky: pinball has had a resurgence and new machines are being made, but there's a strong community around vintage machines that are kept alive and rebuilt, too.

The plan at present is to start as a blog, and then commission short stories and launch a regular podcast. If we can grow readership and listenership, we'll work towards a regular periodical-style monthly issue in addition to the blog, and quarterly print issues as well for those who would prefer something mailed like a magazine. Each year, we'd put out a book of the best stuff or all the stuff we published, depending on how much we commission.

We're looking forward to talking with you about your interests, too!

We're Part of a Kickstarter

Glenn Fleishman

I tipped my hand about this new publication in a Kickstarter that launched today. As you may know, I was the second and ultimate owner of The Magazine, and its editor since nearly the start. I and colleagues I'm collaborating with learned a lot from what made The Magazine work and what didn't. Old & New will build on those lessons.

The Kickstarter is to fund an ebook version of the entire archive of commissioned work from The Magazine: nearly 300 articles and over 500,000 words! I set a modest goal, and any funds above the production costs will be folded into helping to start up Old & New, by letting me start to commission new articles, and build out the pieces to turn it into a regularly published periodical in electronic and print form.

Back the Kickstarter and help make the archive book — and help get this publication underway, too!