In the late 1970s the Polaroid Corporation designed and developed the Polavision. In essence the Polavision camera and (necessary accessories) facilitated the exposure and then immediate review of (silent) film using the dedicated Polaroid developer/viewer.
This product was competing with established products for the home movie or amateur filmmaker which included various manufacturers models of super 8 film cameras that had been available since 1965 (and were beginning to experience declining sales). Many of these super 8 film cameras also supported synchronous sound, which the Polavision did not. Domestic video recording products were also just beginning to show promise for amateur film makers. The Polavision equipment experienced poor sales and was withdrawn from production in the early 1980s.
The Polavision used a proprietary colour film product - Polavision film. Polavision film is an additive colour film which uses fine filter stripes which act during exposure and during review to reproduce colour. All other colour films starting with Kodachrome (1935) have been subtractive in nature. This by-product of the development of the Polavision experienced continued development and success as a Polaroid product - Polachrome instant 35mm slide film.
Although the Polavision camera experienced a short life as a product some designers were drawn to the unique nature and properties of the product and used Polavision technology to produce films which comment upon and document the Polavision. In particular Charles and Ray Eames were responsible for producing seven short films using the Polavision (sponsored by Polaroid).
The Polaroid Corporation obtained bankruptcy protection on Oct 12 2001. Polaroid had a strong history of product innovation under its founder Edwin Land. During WWII the company's inventions included infrared filters, heat-seeking missiles and target finders. It was after WWII that Land developed his most popular invention - instant photography.
Copies of six patent specifications in relation to the Polavision have been obtained from the Australian Patent Office. These patents relate to the auto focus mechanism employed by the Polavision camera, and the inventor is acknowledged as US citizen Edwin Kalman Shenk.