NBC News hasn’t shot a segment on film in more than 40 years, but since the format is surging in popularity, the network decided to bring it back for one story.
In a report spotted by Kosmo Foto, NBC News’ Gadi Schwartz discusses the topic of vintage analog photography and its growing popularity among young people, namely Generation Z (or Gen Z for short). Gen Z and Millennials have been fans of film for several years, but it has finally come to a head in the last couple of years with a boom in film sales that has been largely fueled by those who are tired of the rapid-fire social media age and instead want something simpler and slower.
Schwartz decided that even though NBC has not used film for any television broadcast for 44 years, he and photographer Jason Kummerfeldt would shoot the entire segment on film to do justice to the resurgence of the format.
“It’s probably one of the best moments you can have as a human being,” Kummerfeldt tells Schwarts, referring to film photography.
When asked what the click of a film camera sounds like to him, Kummerfeldt says it sounds like old, mechanical perfection.
A local shop in Los Angeles reports that demand for film had tripled during the pandemic and the demand for vintage cameras has followed suit. In fact, not only has demand gone up, but so has value. Cameras that were selling for $160 two years ago now can be found for $299.
It’s not just in Los Angeles either. Kodak recently announced that it was hiring film technicians since it was unable to keep up with the current demand.
“Consumer demand, particularly for 35mm film, has exploded over the last few years,” Nagraj Bokinkere, Vice President of Film Manufacturing at Kodak said last week. “Our retailers are constantly telling us they can’t keep these films on the shelves and they want more.”
“So, really our strategy of being the last company standing in color films, the last company making color films in both consumer and motion picture is paying dividends. We literally cannot keep up with demand, we need more employees. We’re hiring.”
The whole NBC segment is a blast from the past for those who used to watch the news in the 1980s, but for many, it might be the first time they have ever seen a news segment that was shot entirely on film.