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16 mm film is a historically popular and economical
gauge Gauge (US: , UK: or ) may refer to: Measurement * Gauge (instrument) A gauge, in science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), o ...
of
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...
. 16 mm refers to the width of the film; other common film gauges include 8 and
35 mm35 mm may refer to: * 135 film, a type of still photography format commonly referred to as 35 mm film * 35 mm movie film, a type of motion picture film stock * Ryan Scott Oliver#35MM, 35MM, a "musical exhibition" by Ryan Scott Oliver that ...
. It is generally used for non-theatrical (e.g., industrial, educational) film-making, or for low-budget motion pictures. It also existed as a popular amateur or home movie-making format for several decades, alongside 8 mm film and later
Super 8 film Super 8 mm film is a motion-picture film format A film format is a technical definition of a set of standard characteristics regarding image capture on photographic film, for either stills or filmmaking. It can also apply to projected ...
.
Eastman Kodak The Eastman Kodak Company (referred to simply as Kodak ) is an American public company A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a company whose ownership is or ...

Eastman Kodak
released the first 16 mm "outfit" in 1923, consisting of a camera, projector, tripod, screen and splicer, for US$335 ().
RCA-Victor
RCA-Victor
introduced a 16 mm sound movie projector in 1932, and developed an optical
sound-on-film Sound-on-film is a class of sound film A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film A silent film is a film with no synchronized Sound recording and repr ...
16 mm camera, released in 1935.


History

Eastman Kodak introduced 16 mm film in 1923, as a less expensive alternative to
35 mm35 mm may refer to: * 135 film, a type of still photography format commonly referred to as 35 mm film * 35 mm movie film, a type of motion picture film stock * Ryan Scott Oliver#35MM, 35MM, a "musical exhibition" by Ryan Scott Oliver that ...
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...
for amateurs. During the 1920s, the format was often referred to as sub-standard by the professional industry. Kodak hired Willard Beech Cook from his 28 mm Pathescope of America company to create the new 16 mm 'Kodascope Library'. In addition to making
home movies A home movie is a short amateur film or video typically made just to preserve a visual record of family activities, a vacation, or a special event, and intended for viewing at home by family and friends. Originally, home movies were made on pho ...
, people could buy or rent films from the library, a key selling aspect of the format. Intended for amateur use, 16 mm film was one of the first formats to use
acetate An acetate is a salt formed by the combination of acetic acid with a base (e.g. alkaline, earthy, metallic, nonmetal image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-en.svg, upright=1.75, Nonmetals (and metalloids) in the periodic table: Metalloids are i ...

acetate
safety film Cellulose acetate film, or safety film, is used in photography Photography is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, ch ...
as a
film baseA film base is a transparent substrate which acts as a support medium for the photosensitive emulsion An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally Miscibility, immiscible (unmixable or unblendable) owing to liquid-liquid pha ...
. Kodak never used
nitrate film Nitrate is a polyatomic ion A polyatomic ion, also known as a molecular ion, is a covalently bonded set of two or more atoms, or of a metal complex, that can be considered to behave as a single unit and that has a net charge that is not ze ...

nitrate film
for the format, owing to the high flammability of the nitrate base. 35 mm nitrate was discontinued in 1952.


Production evolution

The silent 16 mm format was initially aimed at the home enthusiast, but by the 1930s it had begun to make inroads into the educational market. The addition of
optical sound A transparent program disc imprinted with concentric optical sound tracks, used for the Optigan musical organ Optical sound is a means of storing sound recording In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), phys ...
tracks and, most notably, Kodachrome in 1935, gave an enormous boost to its popularity. The format was used extensively during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, and there was a huge expansion of 16 mm professional filmmaking in the post-war years. Films for government, business, medical and industrial clients created a large network of 16 mm professional filmmakers and related service industries in the 1950s and 1960s. The advent of
television production A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
also enhanced the use of 16 mm film, initially for its advantage of cost and portability over 35 mm. At first used as a news-gathering format, the 16 mm format was also used to create
television program A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
ming shot outside the confines of the more rigid
television studio (MDR) A television studio, also called a television production studio, is an installation room in which video productions take place, either for the production of live television and its recording onto video tape or other media such as SSDs, or ...

television studio
production sets. The home movie market gradually switched to the even less expensive 8 mm and Super 8 mm film formats. 16 mm, using light cameras, was extensively used for
television production A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
in many countries before portable video cameras appeared. In Britain, the BBC's Ealing-based film department made significant use of 16mm film and, during its peak, employed over 50 film crews. Throughout much of the 1960s-1990s period, these crews made use of cameras such as the Arriflex SP and Eclair NPR in combination with quarter-inch sound recorders, such as the Nagra III. Using these tools, film department crews would work on some of the most significant programmes produced by the BBC, including '' Man Alive'', ''
Panorama A panorama (formed from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately ...
'' and ''
Chronicle A chronicle ( la, chronica, from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its pop ...
''. Usually made up of five people, these small crews were able to work incredibly efficiently and, even in hostile environments, were able to shoot an entire programme with a filming ratio of less than 5:1. Replacing
analog video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...
devices,
digital video Digital video is an electronic representation of moving visual images (video) in the form of encoded digital data. This is in contrast to analog video, which represents moving visual images in the form of analog signals. Digital video comprises ...
has made significant inroads in television production use. Nevertheless, 16 mm is still in use in its Super 16 ratio (see below) for low-cost productions.


Format standards


Perforations

Two
perforation A perforation is a small hole in a thin material or web. There is usually more than one perforation in an organized fashion, where all of the holes collectively are called a ''perforation''. The process of creating perforations is called perforat ...
pitches are available for 16 mm film. One specification, known as "long pitch", has a spacing of and is used primarily for print and reversal film stocks. Negative and intermediate film stocks have perforations spaced , known as "short pitch". These differences allow for the sharpest and smoothest possible image when making prints using a
contact printerA contact copier (also known as contact printer), is a device used to copy an image by illuminating a film negative with the image in direct contact with a photosensitive surface (film, paper, plate, etc.). The more common processes are negative, wh ...
. Film stocks are available in either 'single-perf' or 'double-perf', meaning the film is perforated on either one or both edges. A perforation for 16 mm film is with a radius curve on all four corners of . Tolerances are ±.


Standard 16 mm

The picture-taking area of standard 16 mm is , an
aspect ratio The aspect ratio of a geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that are ...
of 1.37:1, the standard pre-widescreen
Academy ratio The Academy ratio of 1.375:1 (abbreviated as 1.37:1) is an aspect ratio The aspect ratio of a geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic Arithmetic (from the ...
for 35 mm. The "nominal" picture projection area (per SMPTE RP 20-2003) is 0.380 in by 0.284 in, and the maximum picture projection area (per SMPTE ST 233-2003) is 0.384 in by 0.286 in, each implying an
aspect ratio The aspect ratio of a geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that are ...
of 1.34:1. Double-perf 16 mm film, the original format, has a perforation at both sides of every
frame line Frame lines shown in red on a "full-frame" negative, and on a "hard-matted" 1.85:1 projection print, both on 35mm movie film, 35 mm film. A frame line is the unused space that separates two adjacent images, or film frames, on the release print of ...
. Single-perf is perforated at one side only, making room for an optical or magnetic
soundtrack A soundtrack is recorded music accompanying and synchronised to the images of a , , , , , or ; a commercially released of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film, video, or television presentation; or the physical area of a that conta ...
along the other side.


Super 16 mm

The variant called Super 16 mm, Super 16, or 16 mm Type W is an adaptation of the 1.66
aspect ratio The aspect ratio of a geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that are ...
of the "Paramount format" to 16 mm film. It was developed by Swedish cinematographer
Rune Ericson Rune Ericson (29 May 1924 – 4 February 2015) was a Swedish cinematographer. At the 20th Guldbagge Awards The 20th Guldbagge Awards ceremony, presented by the Swedish Film Institute, honored the best Swedish 1984 in film, films of 1984, a ...
in 1969, using single-sprocket film and taking advantage of the extra room for an expanded picture area of . Super 16 cameras are usually 16 mm cameras that have had the film gate and ground glass in the
viewfinder In photography, a viewfinder is what the photographer looks through to compose, and, in many cases, to focus the picture. Most viewfinders are separate, and suffer parallax Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent positionTh ...

viewfinder
modified for the wider frame, and, since this process widens the frame by affecting only one side of the film, the various cameras' front mounting plate or turret areas must also be re-machined to shift and re-center the mounts for any lenses used. Because the resulting, new, Super 16 aspect-ratio takes up the space originally reserved for the 16mm soundtrack, films shot in this format must be enlarged by
optical printing An optical printer is a device consisting of one or more film projectors 200px, Acer projector, 2012 A projector or image projector is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη) ...
to 35 mm for sound-projection, and, in order to preserve the proper 1.66:1, or (slightly cropped) 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratios which this format was designed to provide. And, with the recent development of
digital intermediate Digital intermediate (typically abbreviated to DI) is a motion picture finishing process which classically involves digitizing a motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The ...
workflows, it is now possible to digitally enlarge to a 35 mm sound print with virtually no quality loss (given a high quality digital scan), or alternatively to use high-quality video equipment for the original image capture. In 2009, German lens manufacturer Vantage introduced a series of anamorphic lenses under its HAWK brand. These provided a 1.3× squeeze factor (as opposed to the standard 2×) specifically for the Super 16 format. These lenses let camera operators use the entire Super 16 frame for 2.39:1 widescreen photography.


Ultra 16 mm

The
DIY "Do it yourself" ("DIY") is the method of building, modifying, or repair The technical meaning of maintenance involves functional checks, servicing, repairing or replacing of necessary devices, equipment, machinery, building infrastruc ...

DIY
-crafted Ultra 16 is a variation of Super 16. Cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco is credited with inventing Ultra 16 in 1996 while shooting tests for Darren Aronofsky's ''Pi''. Ultra 16 is created by widening the left and right sides of the gate of a standard 16 mm camera by 0.7 mm to expose part of the horizontal area between the perforations. Perforation placement on standard 16 mm film (on the one side r, both sides, when using double-perf filmof the divisions between frames) accommodates use of these normally unexposed areas. The Ultra 16 format, with frame dimensions of , provides a frame size between standard 16 mm and Super 16—while avoiding the expense of converting a 16 mm camera to Super 16, the larger lens-element requirements for proper aperture field coverage on Super 16 camera conversions, and, the potential image
vignetting In photography and optics, vignetting is a reduction of an image's brightness or saturation (color theory), saturation toward the wikt:periphery, periphery compared to the image center. The word ''wikt:vignette, vignette'', from the same roo ...
caused by trying to use some "conventional" 16 mm lenses on those Super 16 converted cameras. Thus, almost all standard 16 mm optics can now achieve the wider image in Ultra 16, but without the above pitfalls and optical "shortcomings" encountered when attempting their use for Super 16. The image readily converts to NTSC/PAL (1.33 ratio), HDTV (1.78 ratio) and to 35 mm film (1.66 uropeanand 1.85 wide screen ratios), using either the full vertical frame, or the full width (intersprocket) frame, and at times, portions of both, depending upon the required application.


Modern usage

The two major suppliers of 16 mm film today are
Kodak The Eastman Kodak Company (referred to simply as Kodak ) is an American public company that produces various products related to its historic basis in analogue photography. The company is headquartered in Rochester, New York Rochester ( ...

Kodak
and
Agfa
Agfa
(
FujiFuji may refer to: Places China * Fuji, Xiangcheng City (付集镇), town in Xiangcheng City Xiangcheng () is a county-level city in Zhoukou, Henan, People's Republic of China. It borders Shenqiu to the east, Shangcai to the west, Huaiyang County, ...
closed its film manufacturing facility on 31 December 2012). 16 mm film is used in television, such as for the ''
Hallmark Hall of Fame ''Hallmark Hall of Fame'', originally called ''Hallmark Television Playhouse'', is an anthology program on American television, sponsored by Hallmark Cards, a Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City–based greeting card company. The longest-running ...
'' anthology (it has since been produced in 16:9 high definition) and '' Friday Night Lights'' and ''
The O.C. ''The O.C. '' is an American teen drama In film and television show, television, drama is a category of narrative fiction (or docudrama, semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humour, humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usuall ...
'' as well as '' The Walking Dead'' in the US. In the
UK
UK
, the format is exceedingly popular for television series such as ''
Doc Martin ''Doc Martin'' is a British television Regular television broadcasts in the United Kingdom started in 1936 as a public service which was free of advertising, while the introduction of television and the first tests commencing in 1922. Cu ...
'', dramas and commercials. The
British Broadcasting Corporation The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster Public broadcasting involves radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic ...

British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) played a large part in the development of the format. It worked extensively with Kodak during the 1950s and 1960s to bring 16 mm to a professional level, since the BBC needed cheaper, more portable production solutions while maintaining a higher quality than was offered at the time, when the format was mostly for home display of theatrical shorts, newsreels, and cartoons, documentary capture and display for various purposes (including education), and limited "high end" amateur use. Today the format also is frequently used for student films, while usage in documentary has almost disappeared. With the advent of
HDTV High-definition television (HD or HDTV) describes a television system providing a substantially higher image resolution Image resolution is the detail an holds. The term applies to s, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution m ...

HDTV
, Super 16 film is still used for some productions destined for HD. Some low-budget theatrical features are shot on 16 mm and super 16 mm such as
Kevin Smith Kevin Patrick Smith (born August 2, 1970) is an American filmmaker, actor, comedian, comic book writer, author, and podcaster. He came to prominence with the low-budget A low-budget film or low-budget movie is a motion picture shot with litt ...

Kevin Smith
's 16 mm 1994 independent hit ''
Clerks A clerk A clerk ( or ) is a white-collar worker A white-collar worker is a person who performs professional, desk, managerial, or administrative work. White-collar work may be performed in an office or other administrative setting. White-colla ...
,'' or '' Man Bites Dog'', and ''
Mid90s ''Mid90s'' (stylized as ''mid90s'') is a 2018 American coming-of-age Coming of age is a young person's transition from being a child to being an adult. It continues through adolescence. The specific age at which this transition takes pl ...
''. Thanks to advances in film stock and digital technology—specifically
digital intermediate Digital intermediate (typically abbreviated to DI) is a motion picture finishing process which classically involves digitizing a motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The ...
(DI)—the format has dramatically improved in picture quality since the 1970s, and is now a revitalized option. ''
Vera Drake ''Vera Drake'' is a 2004 British Historical drama, period drama film written and directed by Mike Leigh and starring Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis (actor), Phil Davis, Daniel Mays and Eddie Marsan. It tells the story of a Blue collar, working-class ...
'', for example, was shot on Super 16 mm film, digitally scanned at a high resolution, edited and color graded, and then printed out onto 35 mm film via a laser
film recorder A film recorder is a graphical output device for transferring images to photographic film Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent film base coated on one side with a gelatin photographic emulsion, emulsion containing microscopic ...
. Because of the digital process, the final 35 mm print quality is good enough to fool some professionals into thinking it was shot on 35 mm. In Britain most exterior television footage was shot on 16 mm from the 1960s until the 1990s, when the development of more portable television cameras and videotape machines led to video replacing 16 mm in many instances. Many drama shows and documentaries were made entirely on 16 mm, notably ''
Brideshead Revisited ''Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder'' is a novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. It follows, from the 1920s to the early 1940s, the life and romances of the protagonist Charles ...
'', '' The Jewel in the Crown'', ''
The Ascent of Man ''The Ascent of Man'' is a 13-part British documentary television series produced by the BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London ...

The Ascent of Man
'' and '' Life on Earth''. More recently, the advent of widescreen television has led to the use of ''Super'' 16. For example, the 2008
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
fantasy drama series ''
Merlin The Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) is an interferometer array of radio telescopes spread across England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land bor ...
'' was shot in Super 16. As recently as 2010, '' Scrubs'' was shot on Super16 and aired either as 4:3 SD (first 7 seasons) or as 16:9 HD (seasons 8 and 9). John Inwood, the cinematographer of the series, believed that footage from his
Aaton Aaton Digital (formerly known as Aaton) is a French motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings ...
XTR Prod camera was not only sufficient to air in high definition, it "looked terrific". The
Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking F ...
winning ''
Leaving Las Vegas ''Leaving Las Vegas'' is a 1995 American drama film In film and television show, television, drama is a category of narrative fiction (or docudrama, semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humour, humorous in tone. Drama of this kind ...
'' (
1995 1995 was designated as: * United Nations Year for Tolerance * World Year of Peoples’ Commemoration of the Victims of the Second World War This was the first year that the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global syste ...
) was shot on 16 mm. The first two seasons of ''
Buffy the Vampire Slayer ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' is an American supernatural drama television series based on the 1992 film of the same name. It was created by Joss Whedon Joseph Hill Whedon (; born June 23, 1964) is an American film director, producer, wri ...
'' were shot on 16 mm and was switched to 35 mm for its later seasons. The first season of the popular series ''
Sex and the City ''Sex and the City'' is an American romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, ...
'' was shot on 16 mm. Later seasons were shot on 35 mm. All three seasons of ''
Veronica Mars ''Veronica Mars'' is an American teen film noir, noir Mystery fiction, mystery Drama (film and television), drama television series created by screenwriter Rob Thomas (writer), Rob Thomas. The series is set in the fictional town of Neptune, Cal ...
'' were shot on 16 mm and aired in HD. ''
This Is Spinal Tap ''This Is Spinal Tap'' (stylized as ''This Is Spın̈al Tap: A Rockumentary by Martin Di Bergi'') is a 1984 American mockumentary film co-written and directed by Rob Reiner in his directorial debut This is a list of film directorial debuts in ...
'', and
Christopher Guest Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest (born February 5, 1948), is an American-British screenwriter, composer, musician, director, actor, and comedian. Guest is most widely known in Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A nei ...
's subsequent
mockumentary A mockumentary (a blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of film or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These productions are often used to analyze or comment on current events ...
films, are shot in Super 16 mm. The first three seasons of ''
Stargate SG-1 ''Stargate SG-1'' (often stylized in all caps, or abbreviated ''SG-1'') is a military science fiction Military science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction that features the use of science fiction technology, mainly science fiction weapon ...

Stargate SG-1
'' (bar the season 3 finale and the effects shots) were shot in 16 mm, before switching to 35 mm for later seasons. The 2009
Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking F ...
winner for Best Picture, ''
The Hurt Locker ''The Hurt Locker'' is a 2008 American war film, war thriller film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal. It stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse (actor), David Morse, a ...
'', was shot using
Aaton Aaton Digital (formerly known as Aaton) is a French motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings ...
Super 16 mm cameras and
Fujifilm , trading as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which differs from t ...
16 mm film stocks. The cost savings over 35 mm allowed the production to utilize multiple cameras for many shots, exposing over 1,000,000 feet of film. British Napoleonic era TV drama '' Sharpe'' was shot on Super 16 mm right through to the film ''
Sharpe's Challenge ''Sharpe's Challenge'' is a British TV film from 2006, usually shown in two parts, which is part of Sharpe (TV series), an ITV series based on Bernard Cornwell's Historical fiction, historical fiction novels about the British soldier Richard Sharp ...
'' (2006). For the last film in the series, ''
Sharpe's Peril ''Sharpe's Peril'' is a British TV film from 2008, usually shown in two parts, which is part of an ITV series based on Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction novels about the English soldier Richard Sharpe during the Napoleonic Wars The Na ...
'' (2008), the producers switched to 35 mm. ''
Moonrise Kingdom ''Moonrise Kingdom'' is a 2012 American coming-of-age comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cine ...
'' was shot using super 16 mm. Darren Aronofsky shot ''
mother! ''Mother!'' (stylized as ''mother!'') is a 2017 American psychological horror film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris Edward Allen Harris (born November 28, 1950) is an Ame ...
'' on 16 mm. Linus Sandgren shot most of the 2018
biographical drama A biographical film, or biopic (; abbreviation for ''biographical motion picture''), is a film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and the central cha ...
'' First Man'' on Super 16.
Spike Lee Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and professor. His production company, , has produced more than 35 films since 1983. He made his with ' (1986). He has since written ...

Spike Lee
shot the Netflix film ''
Da 5 Bloods ''Da 5 Bloods'' is a 2020 American war drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio ...
'' flashback scenes on 16 mm film. This is part of the reason cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel is an Oscar contender for his work on the film. ''The Insider'' reports that Netflix "was initially concerned about having the movie's flashback scenes shot on grainy 16 mm film ... There was pushback because it opened up a lot of challenges." According to Sigel, the film stock Lee wanted to use was an expensive one as it is rarely used today. It would be even more expensive to shoot on 16mm film while on location in Vietnam and then ship the film back to the United States to be processed at a film lab. Lee was "pretty adamant" about using 16mm for the flashbacks; Sigel said "I would never have been able to do it without such fervent support from him." Sigel pitched to Lee an idea to shoot the Vietnam sequences using the kind of camera and film stock that would have been available during the Vietnam era.


Digital 16 mm

A number of digital cameras approximate the look of the 16 mm format by using 16 mm-sized sensors and taking 16 mm lenses. These cameras include the Ikonoskop A-Cam DII (2008) and the
Digital Bolex Digital Bolex was a partnership between Cinemeridian, Inc. and Ienso Canada, an engineering company, to develop the Digital Bolex D16 digital cinema camera. Development was funded via a successful Kickstarter in March 2012, raising $262,661. On ...
(2012). The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (2013) and the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera (2015) has a Super 16-sized sensor. The Z CAM E2G (2019) even offers Digital 16 mm in 4K and with a global shutter.


Cameras


Professional cameras

The professional industry tends to use 16 mm cameras from
Aaton Aaton Digital (formerly known as Aaton) is a French motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings ...
and
Arri The Arri Group is a German manufacturer of motion picture film equipment. Based in Munich, the company was founded in 1917. It produces professional motion picture cameras, lenses, lighting and postproduction equipment. Hermann Simon (manager), ...

Arri
, most notably the Aaton Xtera, Aaton XTRprod, Arriflex 16SR3, and Arriflex 416. Aaton also released the A-Minima, which is about the size of a video camcorder and is used for specialized filming requiring smaller, more versatile cameras. Photo Sonics have special extremely high speed cameras for 16 mm that film at up to 1,000 frames per second. Panavision has produced the Panaflex 16, nicknamed "Elaine".


Amateur cameras

For amateur, hobbyist, and student use, it is more economical to use older models from Arri, Aaton, Auricon, Beaulieu (company), Beaulieu, Bell and Howell, Bolex, Canon Inc., Canon, CP-16, Cinema Products, Eclair (camera), Eclair, Keystone Camera Company, Keystone, Krasnogorsk (camera), Krasnogorsk, Mitchell Camera, Mitchell, and others.


Film reproduction methods

Most original movie production companies that use film shoot on 35 mm. The 35 mm size must be converted or reduced to 16 mm for 16 mm systems. There are multiple ways of obtaining a 16 mm print from 35 mm. The preferred method is to strike a 16 mm negative from the original 35 mm negative and then make a print from the new 16 mm negative. A 16 mm negative struck from the original 35 mm negative is called an ''original''. A new 16 mm print made from a print with no negative is called a ''reversal''. 16 mm prints can be made from many combinations of size and format, each with a distinct, descriptive name: * A 16 mm negative struck from an original 35 mm print is a ''print down''. * A 16 mm negative struck from an original 16 mm print that was struck from a 35 mm original is a ''dupe down''. * A 16 mm print struck directly from a 16 mm print is a ''double dupe''. * A 16 mm print struck directly from a 35 mm print is a ''double dupe down''. Film traders often refer to 16 mm prints by the print's production method, i.e., an ''original'', ''reversal'', ''dupe down'', ''double dupe'', or ''double dupe down''.


Color fading of old film and color recovery

Over time, the cyan, magenta and yellow dyes that form the image in color 16 mm film inevitably fade. The rate of deterioration depends on storage conditions and the film type. In the case of Kodachrome amateur and documentary films and Technicolor IB (imbibition process) color prints, the dyes are so stable and the deterioration so slow that even prints now over 70 years old typically show no obvious problems. Unfortunately, dyes in the far more common Eastmancolor print film and similar products from other manufacturers are notoriously unstable. Prior to the introduction of a longer-lasting "low fade" type in 1979, Eastmancolor prints routinely suffered from easily seen color shift and fading within ten years. The dyes degrade at different rates, with magenta being the longest-lasting, eventually resulting in a pale reddish image with little if any other color discernible. In the process of digitizing old color films, even badly faded source material can sometimes be restored to full color through digital techniques that amplify the faded dye colors.


Technical specifications

* 7.62 mm per frame (40 frames per foot) for print stock—7.605 mm per frame for camera stock * 122 m (400 feet) = about 11 minutes at 24 frame/s * vertical pulldown


16 mm

* 1.37 aspect ratio * enlarging ratio of 1:4.58 for 35 mm Academy format prints * ''camera aperture'': 10.26 by 7.49 mm (0.404 by 0.295 in) * ''projector aperture'': 9.65 by 7.21 mm (0.380 by 0.284 in) * ''projector aperture'' (1.85): 9.60 by 5.20 mm (0.378 by 0.205 in) * ''TV station aperture'': 9.65 by 7.26 mm (0.380 by 0.286 in) * ''TV transmission'': 9.34 by 7.01 mm (0.368 by 0.276 in) * ''TV safe action'': 8.40 by 6.29 mm (0.331 by 0.248 in); corner radii: 1.67 mm (0.066 in) * ''TV safe titles'': 7.44 by 5.61 mm (0.293 by 0.221 in); corner radii: 1.47 mm (0.058 in) * 1 perforation per frame (may also be double perf, i.e. one on each side) * ''Picture to sound separation'': sound in advance of picture by 26 frames for optical sound and 28 frames for magnetic.


Super 16

* 1.66 aspect ratio * ''camera aperture'': 12.52 by 7.41 mm (0.493 by 0.292 in) * ''projector aperture'' (full 1.66): 11.76 by 7.08 mm (0.463 by 0.279 in) * ''projector aperture'' (1.85): 11.76 by 6.37 mm (0.463 by 0.251 in) * 1 perforation per frame, always single perf


Ultra 16

* 1.85 aspect ratio * ''camera aperture'': 11.66 mm by 7.49 mm (0.459 by 0.295 in) * ''projector aperture'': 11.66 mm by 6.15 mm (0.459 by 0.242 in) * 1 perforation per frame (may also be double perf, i.e. one on each side)


See also


Techniques

* List of film formats * Sync sound * Pilottone


Related film genres

* Direct cinema * Cinéma vérité * Docufiction * Ethnographic film * Ethnofiction


References


External links


Demonstration of a BBC 16mm film crew preparing to shoot

Discussion and demonstration of 16mm film cameras by former BBC cameraman

Demonstration of 'lacing up' a 16mm film camera






written February 1, 2005, and accessed December 29, 2005.
DIY processing 16 mm
– guide for DIY processing of black/white 16 mm film
Early list of films shot in Super16
(Wayback Machine copy) {{Authority control Motion picture film formats