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RETRO TECH: POLAROID

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– Hi – Good to meet you

What's your name? – Knox – Knox Go ahead and step up to our table here So, I'm gonna put a piece of tech in front of you – Give me your thoughts

– This part smells like paint – what you think it is – This part smells like a car what it might do Does this open? – What do you think it is? – I can't really tell – but, like, a printer? – Great guess – You're on the right track

– Oh You're, like, halfway there – Yeah – Oh! – Now I know what this is It's a camera

– What is it? Technically, you're right about it being a printer – ( whirring ) – It's both a camera and a printer Knox: Cool, very cool I'm Marques Brownlee and I review dope new tech But on this show, I'm rewinding the clock to discover the tech of the past that changed our lives forever

This is "Retro Tech: Polaroid" Hey, what's up, guys? MKBHD here So, the tech I'm about to look at today is the oldest piece of tech I have ever unboxed The Polaroid SX-70 came out 20 years before I was even born I'm a big fan of photography already

The high resolution smartphone cameras, the mirrorless world, but it was this camera that changed the way we think about photography forever Oh, wow Is this the retro look or what? I've seen Polaroids before, but I've never actually used one, shot with one So, I'm excited to see what's in the box This is a tripod mount

A bracket looking thing with some pins Close-up lens Holster accessory ( sniffs ) I don't know what 50-year-old leather is supposed to smell like This is the camera itself, and it's collapsible

That's dense That's real metal All right, so here's how to open and close it Hold it in the palm of your left hand Lift the small end of the viewfinder cap

Pull straight up Why is this not opening? Hold it in the palm of your left hand Oh, you really have to yank it Like, it feels like you're breaking it All right, I do have some Polaroid film

Photos develop in 10 to 15 minutes Insert the film this side up Hey, there you go Big smile Three, two, one

( clicks, whirring ) Okay Now I try to find the photo I just took Hmm ( clicks, whirring ) Okay I don't want this to be the first piece of retro tech I've broken out of the box

And as we know, I've had great luck with fixing retro tech in the past So, this is really no problem for me at all Oh, man This is gonna jam the same way printers jam ( whirring ) And there we have it

Okay, so I finally figured out how to take the photo, but I still have a lot to learn about the history of the iconic Polaroid SX-70 – First of all, thank you for joining me – Man, thank you I'm gonna ask you first off to go ahead and check underneath your seat Check under my seat

Is this liquor? This is pristine Mine is not Polaroid is kind of similar to Apple in a sense that all of their products just, like, feel good in your hands It's a pleasure to touch, this leather Even after 45 years, it still feels good

– There's no film – Marques: I thought we had film left Remember when that used to happen? No – No, probably not – Yeah

What was it like to take photos before the Polaroid was invented? Depew: So before the innovation of Polaroid, photography was a much slower process Photographers would have to shoot their film, take it to a lab It was a process that would take days Wood: You know how when you pose for a photo and then somebody tells you it's a video? That's what taking an actual photo was like back in the day You just stand there for like an uncomfortable length of time

That's why every photo from back in the day, nobody's smiling, 'cause they're mad They're like, "How long is this photo gonna take?" Santiago: In walks Edwin Land He was kind of a chemist more than a photographer Bonanos: He was a Harvard student when he invented the polarizing filter It's a filter that allows the amount of light getting through to be controlled

So that was his first product, and in fact that built the company Man: Cool-Ray Polaroid sunglasses See about them Depew: In the beginning of Land's pursuits, he had no idea he would be in the camera business In 1943, he was on vacation with his family

And he takes a picture of his three-year-old daughter, and she says, "Dad, why can't I see this picture right now?" Bonanos: The story goes that he spent the rest of the evening walking around the resort and worked out the rough plan for how one would make an instant camera Depew: So it was in 1943 that instant film was conceived, but it took 30 years for it to actually come to fruition The dream of being able to take a wallet out of my pocket, and perhaps open the wallet, press a button, close the wallet, and have the picture ( music playing ) Depew: The SX-70 was really the ultimate realization of what Edwin Land had in mind when he first created instant photography This camera ushered in a whole new film line called an integral film

So this is film that's in a sandwich The positive and negative and developing chemistry live together under a Mylar sheet There are three chemical pods, and these all contain a bunch of magical chemistry goo Bonanos: And the rollers shmush the chemistry and they coat the layers of film inside the packet Then a number of reactions take place

Depew: All these timing layers are firing at the same time Everything you would need in a traditional dark room process is happening within this very thin sheet of film It cannot really be overstated how much of a quantum leap this was in photographic technology The very fact that you could see your image so quickly after taking it was an absolutely mind-blowing thing for everyone in the world All right, want to try to take a selfie with it? Has anyone ever taken a selfie with a Polaroid? – Probably not a very good one

– All right, let's try But I think it's worth a shot – Wait, what does that knob do? – That's exposure, and I think all the way white is all the way open I think This is gonna be a terrible photo

– We'll see how it goes – Let's just try – All right – ( clicks, whirring ) Yeah, that's a terrible photo! Turns out I didn't check the focus Imagine if a fourth of your iPhone memory was wasted on one photo and the photo looked like this, and you only got eight shots left

What are the eight things you want to remember forever? Marques: Even though today's digital cameras are light years beyond the Polaroid SX-70, many photographers still love using this camera today So we're out here in New York City I'm with Phil V, who I think– would it be safe to call you the mayor of instant photography in New York City? You've shot Polaroids of everyone from artists to celebrities – First of all, why Polaroid? – It's a tool for communication because this camera is pretty much like a conversation starter

I'm looking for the best experience between me and that person That's just something that you can't get with digital photography, especially on the spot, instantly I'm so used to having all the manual controls The ironic thing about control is that you literally control everything that's going on with this camera This actually has, like, an exposure meter, which is the black and white bar

This is a glass lens, as opposed to other Polaroid cameras that come with a plastic lens So with this, you can get a very extremely sharp image if your exposure is right, if your lighting is right There's no room for error, but if you know what you're doing, then you know you can get the perfect photo All right, so what's the plan today? We got eight shots in our camera each We're gonna make every photo count, and we're gonna go around shooting Polaroids of people in New York City

( music playing ) What's up, bro? You want to take a photo? You gonna take one and I take one Same spot He is in the shadow, but you can leave the exposure right in the middle since it's good lighting And also you wanna think about, like, do you want a close-up portrait? A little further away to get the background? I'd like to get a close-up right now So I'm gonna take a similar photo

PV: All right, ready? Three, two ( whirring ) Another thing, too, it's super light sensitive So I want to keep out of, like, the sun

Out of the sun, yeah At least the first ten minutes I wanna get you to write something on it You can write anything you want So, that's actually what I do, too, is I get people to write on the Polaroid and it creates another story within the Polaroids

Still developing I definitely got some overexposure happening Framing and the sharpness is perfect You wanna maybe just get it a little less exposed Excuse me, bro

You got a little bit of time? We're shooting photos – All right – Thank you So I bumped the exposure down a little bit, and I feel like when I get everything developed, it'll look pretty close I can feel my photography skills getting better as we go

PV: What's up, bro? I'm gonna get you before it melts Before it melts There we go

Maybe you get a shot of these two guys What's up, guys? – So you down to take a Polaroid? – Yeah All right, thank you There's the classic New York City shot Three, two

So that's seven down, – one to go – Seven down, one to go Marques: I feel like all my knowledge about what I've been doing for the last couple of hours should come down to this shot Amazing Thank you

So let's see what we got All right, let's check these out I like your exposure on some shots more than the exposure on mine I think my best photo might be this one here in front of the flowers I got focus right, I got exposure right, and I think everything just sort of fell into place from there

I think from this I learned a lot about the photography basics, like you gotta frame it right Can't change that later – You gotta nail focus Can't change that later – Yep

When you get really good at those basics, then you can take timeless photos So, did you make eight shots count? I progressed enough that I did make the eight shots count ( music playing ) Marques: While walking around New York City with a Polaroid may seem retro now, back in the '70s it was a huge leap in technology, and Edwin Land knew he needed to help people understand its capabilities Stern: Edwin Land was this showman He understood early on that you couldn't just talk about this technology

It was gonna be too much for people to grasp So he would demo that Depew: Land was very fond of doing these corporate shareholder meetings, Often in very theatrical ways He's largely accredited with creating this format that Steve Jobs, Apple, and now many, many other companies also use The first generation SX-70, it was expensive

Wood: The old-school Polaroid with inflation would've been, like, a thousand dollars today It's basically an iPhone XR– I don't know the iPhone letters The film would be ridiculous, too It's like $40 That's basically $4 a photo, $6 a photo

Whatever it is, that's a lot Bonanos: However, it also could not be made in quantity fast enough to satisfy the demand It was the hot tech item of that year By the early '80s, the basic Polaroid camera was as a familiar a piece of household tech as your phone If you don't have a Polaroid Sun camera, something's left out of your life

Marques: So, the SX-70 was an icon, but it wasn't Polaroid's only camera They had 70 years of instant camera innovation, and today we're gonna check out a few of their more unique designs So this is "Dope Or Nope" ( whooshing ) Intro That's actually gonna be the intro now

All right, so we're here with Peter McKinnon First of all, thank you for joining me today Dude, thanks for having me What's up, everybody? Today, we're talking about how to make your photos look better Marques: He's a professional photographer, fellow YouTube creator, and an expert in getting the most out of any camera

Whoo! Look at that All right, so let's get into it We first have something released in 1995 This called the Polaroid 600 Talking Camera Talking camera? You know when you have one of those products and you can just hear– – like, listen to that

– ( crunching ) It's the sound of 1995 So there's a speaker in the front That's interesting Do you talk into it or does it listen? Why is there a talking camera? I need to figure this out All right, this is a really interesting shutter button

– I'm gonna half press to focus – Camera: Smile real nice! What? I half pressed to focus and it said– Camera: Smile real nice! – That's amazing – Wait, okay If I switch it to two, is it gonna say something else maybe? Camera: Cheese for me! Cheese for you! Everybody, cheese-a-roo! Cheese for me! Cheese for you! – I mean, that's smart – Everybody, cheese-a-roo! – How do you not laugh doing that? – Oh, my– The record button

What does the record button do? – I'm still confused by that – Record your own sound Oh, if you can record your own– – Okay, ready? – Ready? ( laughs ) Smile! – Here we go The suspense is killing me – Here we go

Three, two, one Camera: ( laughs ) Smile! That's amazing – That's so cool, man – I'm so glad that worked – What are you thinking? – When I just saw the first pre-recorded ones, I was, like, "Oh, this is not that– but the recording your own message – is what put it over the top for me

– Yeah – So, I think this is dope – Dope for sure ( music playing ) Camera: ( laughs ) Smile! All right, next up we have the Polaroid JobPro It came out in 1985, and I guess it was made specifically for construction sites

I would expect no other color scheme than that It looks like the box my drill came in I guess it's gotta be somewhat rugged I don't know if it feels any more sturdy than any other I mean, it's rectangular

– Should we do a drop test? – Drop test Wow Oh! Oh! – The top closed – Perfect I guess now I gotta take a picture, huh? – Bam

– Like nothing even happened Let's drop it again I think they may have thought it's more robust and it's got the construction colors, but to me it's the same as any other Polaroid – I'm gonna go with nope – That's my impression, too

– Yeah – It's nope Sorry So our next one comes at us straight from 1973 – Ooh

Black and white – Pretty big box 8×10 film holder and processor Huh Ten negatives, ten positives

– Four of these – I can't imagine how big a camera it would have to be to shoot film this big – Ooh It looks like an accordion – Oh

– That's the cable release for sure – That's the trigger? Oh, I've always wanted to push one of these So, the funny thing with these cameras is you have to preset everything ahead of time So, it's kind of like backwards from digital So, pick a pose that you can hold, 'cause when we nail focus, you can't move

This is my presidential portrait Here we go Oh, wow This is insane That is all set

Boom Oh, it's happening Drop the holster in – I have to itch my shoulder – Don't move

– ( clicks ) – I saw it click – Yeah, we did it – I think we took a photo – Okay – ( sighs ) So now we bring it over to our developing station

All the chemicals are in those little packets at the bottom What does it say about the chemicals? "Don't touch anything" "If you do get it on your skin, consult a doctor" – We have a doctor standing by – Of course we do

( whirring ) – That's it – Let's see our masterpiece Let's see it – Oh, there it is – McKinnon: Bam

A little light leak There's a light right behind me when we took the photo, so it's like a little flare, actually – Oh, I'm dying – Oh, you got blue on you – ( McKinnon gasps ) – I got blue on me

I can't feel my whole hand – Really? Are you serious? – Yeah Completely numb Yeah, I'm just kidding Marques: It's higher resolution than I imagined it would be

I have a brand-new appreciation for this just because even though it's instant, it's a lot more work than what we're used to All right, verdict What are you thinking? It's pretty dope Super dope Marques: Polaroid's innovation not only inspired both amateur and professional photographers in the '70s and '80s, but years later, it was the catchy lyrics of a hit song that would inspire a new wave of Polaroid enthusiasts

In 2003, OutKast came out with the infamous "Hey Ya!" It brought so much attention to Polaroid as a company ♪ Shake it like a Polaroid picture ♪ Polaroid was like, "This is great, but you also shouldn't actually shake the Polaroid" You should not shake it like a Polaroid picture – Don't shake it – Don't shake it

Don't shake the picture, you'll just crack it I was today years old when I found out that you're not supposed to shake it like a Polaroid picture But I blame Polaroid Polaroid should've said, "André 3000, shut up That's not what you're supposed to do, Mr

Benjamin" ♪ Leave it, leave it, leave it ♪ ♪ Leave it on the table like a Polaroid picture ♪ But that's not catchy, and that wouldn't have went platinum Marques: The OutKast song "Hey Ya!" was a huge hit, and despite the bad advice, Polaroid scored some major publicity But even that wouldn't be enough to protect them from an oncoming digital revolution Polaroid actually did create a digital camera, and they were one of the first companies to actually begin to do this

But, unfortunately, they were making tons of money with their Polaroid film and they didn't really pursue it in the way that they should have Stern: When I think about the first digital cameras, you had Sony, Cannon, all these big names Polaroid wasn't talked about When it came time for Polaroid to reinvent itself for it to take itself into the future, they were flat-footed Brian Williams: And now to something that used to be the height of technology

Polaroid as we once knew it is fading away Bonanos: It was a company that was destroyed by the digital revolution Although, curiously, it is having a small scale resurgence now Depew: Go on Instagram today and you'll see that they have firmly adopted the square image ( whirring ) When you take a picture with this camera, the picture that comes out is the picture you get

There's a lot of happy accidents that occur There's a weird light leak or a ray of sun coming in– that's now a part of your picture If you go on Instagram, you'll find a whole set of filters solely dedicated to emulating the analog effects that cameras like this would give you organically Marques: Today with photography, we're so used to be being able to edit and manipulate our photographs into whatever we want ( whirring ) But part of the charm of the original Polaroid is what you see is what you get

Or is it? To help figure that out, I'm here with model, entrepreneur, and fellow YouTuber Karlie Kloss My favorite feature on this phone, quite honestly, is the camera Marques: Karlie is not only one of the biggest supermodels on the planet, but she's also a coder and a lover of all things tech So, first of all, I just want to know, Polaroid is older than both of us Do you have any sort of experience with this sort of camera? I love Polaroids

I do have a lot of experience with Polaroids, especially in my profession – Right – But not necessarily manipulating it Do you know how to load a mag at all? ( whirring ) That's the most gratifying sound It's a very satisfying feeling

Marques: The SX-70 film is completely enclosed to protect the complicated developing process happening inside So, to edit our Polaroid images, Karlie and I will be disrupting the chemistry with heat, acid, and bleach to see what kind of homemade filtered looks we can achieve The first tool we're going to use is this – Very high tech – Let's just go ahead and– Yeah, well, this is all we need apparently, so let's take that first photo

All right, I don't know how to direct from behind the camera I'll just say three, two, one – ( clicks, whirring ) – Great direction I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so Okay, ready? Three, two ( clicks, whirring ) – Ta-da! – Perfect So we can use this one as a control and just let it do its thing For this one, we will literally just apply heat

This one was taken first, but it looks like this is actually developing faster Oh, wow, that's hot Are we gonna melt our photo? I think it's very possible – Okay Oh, my gosh! – Oh

Wait Marques, your photo is not even fully developed It looks two-thirds done maybe There's definitely some scientific explanation that neither one of us really understands of what just happened, but I definitely think the heat accelerated the development and the chemical reaction Basically, the development of a Polaroid is

– Heat based Huh – Huh

That's fascinating All right, so for the next experiment we have household products – Kloss: Bleach – Marques: And lemon juice All right, well, let's go ahead and see if we can take some photos

– Cool – All right ( music playing ) We're gonna do two each Ta-da! So, I'm gonna slice open the back, and then do you want the lemon juice or the – I'll take the bleach – Okay Spray it into a cotton ball – and sort of dab around – Ooh! Marques, do you know what's gonna happen? If I was guessing, lemon juice is acidic and possibly damaging the photo

– Kloss: There you go – Marques: Oh, man It's so delicate I don't know what I expected to be back here, but– I know! Like, little magical elves Oh, whoa

Okay – Oh, whoa – That was super quick A little bleach goes a long way Quick reaction there

Three, two, one Ta-da! – Whoa That's wild – Cool Okay, so your bleach did have a stronger effect

– 100% – Kloss: Totally You know what I wonder, if any of these started as an accident Like maybe someone spilled some bleach on a photo And was like, "You know what? I could do something with that" But also, I have the control

– So we can see exactly how much work we did – Whoa! This is darker and more contrasty This is lighter I think this effect is way cooler than a filter you can use digitally It's cool when you think about, like, we continue to innovate in photography, but yet also are so nostalgic about the kind of photography that we've experienced – in the past

– That came before it Awesome Well, thank you again, Karlie, – for being a part of this segment – Thank you I feel like I've learned a lot today

Really fun homemade filters – For sure – Thank you What would you say is the legacy of the Polaroid camera? Stern: Edwin Land devoted his life's work to making sure that people could see their photos instantly I don't think that's gonna be something that goes away in the tech world

Depew: The instant image that Polaroid afforded carries over into our daily use of smartphones In a way, every digital image is instant Polaroid was the first creator of that Bonanos: There is a particular quality of an instant photograph that does not apply to any other kind of photography, which is that you can take a picture of somebody and then hand it to them, and it's a gift That is something that digital people actually understand– the word "share

" It's on your digital picture on social media Share But that's what you're doing, you're giving it to them Wood: The fact that there's filters now on all of these apps that supposedly are all futuristic, but the first thing you want to do is make your picture look like something from the 1970s, is a nod to just how meaningful of an impact Polaroid had Santiago: It's this social exchange

It's this moment of taking someone's picture We watch it come to life together Polaroids were that first really intimate moment That legacy will always continue on as long as photography does Marques: I think it's safe to say instant photography will be around for the rest of humanity

And, I mean, what could be a bigger legacy than that? Edwin Land and the SX-70 were at the very bleeding edge of tech at that time Every photographer you know, every smartphone photo you take now, the way we capture and share memories will never be the same because of instant photography So, thank you, Polaroid And thanks for watching

Source: Youtube

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