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RETRO TECH: POLAROID

RETRO TECH: POLAROID


– 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 yearsfor 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 mindwhen 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 overstatedhow 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. P.V.:
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. P.V.: 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 outa 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 peoplecould 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 appsthat 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 onas 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.

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