Lights, Camera, Action: The Many Types of Film

People have pretty loose ideas about film. They know how to watch them – either at the cinema, on the small screen, or on their laptops – but they’re not always sure how they actually come about. But when you think about it, there are loads of different types of film, from the classic Hollywood-style 35mm, to those home movies shot on 8mm.

With that in mind, we’re going to take a gander at all those different types. In doing so, we’ll explore their history, their general uses, and just what you can do with cine film in a world seemingly dominated by digital production. So let’s begin this journey at the beginning, starting with…

 

Movie buffs and photographers the world over will instantly recognise 35mm. For film-makers not shooting on digital, 35mm film is the industry standard – and it’s been that way since 1892, when Thomas Edison used film stock supplied by George Eastman – he of Eastman Kodak fame – for his Kinetoscope. Though Edison tried his best to licence his design of 35mm film, his patents were declined and, in 1902, the courts ruled that everyone could use the format. It paved the way for 35mm, with its distinctive 4-perforations per frame, to dominate the industry right up to the present day. However, despite its look and use, 35mm isn’t generally considered to be what’s known as cine film. That’s typically reserved for…

If you’ve never heard of 9.5mm cine film, there’s a reason for that – it’s pretty rare. The format was mainly popular in the UK, France and a few other European countries at the turn of the 20th century. The world-famous Pathe pioneered the 9.5mm – part of their Pathe Baby range – in order to give home viewers the chance to watch commercial films in the comfort of their living room. You can easily identify 9.5mm film by the single centre sprocket between each frame. Some film aficionados still make use of 9.5mm, but for most, the format is more or less obsolete. Far more popular was…

 

16mm came about as a cheaper alternative to the expensive 35mm. The cine film was developed by Eastman Kodak and released in 1923. One of the main reasons for its introduction was to offer film fans their own opportunity to create movies – usually these would be wealthy families, given the cost was, although less expensive, pretty prohibitive. Film was still a new medium, and cameras and projectors weren’t cheap either. In fact, there have been three kinds of 16mm released – the standard 16mm, Super 16mm, and Ultra 16mm. Over time 16mm was also adopted, for quite some time, in TV productions before video and digital formats took over.  You’ll recognise if you have a standard 16mm cine film in your possession by the two sprocket holes on either side of each frame. Although 16mm film was intended for amateur film-makers, it was superseded, a decade later, with the arrival of…

 

If you’ve ever owned a camcorder, you’ll have probably heard of the term ‘8mm’ – although during the 1980’s and 90’s they tended to come in cassettes, the original 8mm film came on a regular reel. 8mm was originally made by the Eastman Kodak Company and introduced to the public in 1932, as an even cheaper alternative to both 35mm and 16mm film. Despite the quality of the images captured paling, when compared with other film types, there was no stopping 8mm – it became the cine film de rigeuer of amateur movie-makers, and remains probably the most popular cine film ever made. It gave everyday people the chance to capture those life moments, like weddings, birthdays and christenings, and remember them forever. In the 1960’s, Kodak produced the far superior Super 8 format, which offered a higher picture quality, and was marginally more popular than the original 8mm. And so…

If you have any type of cine film stored away with no way to watch it now, we can help. Here at Cine 2 DVD Transfers, we have over 30 years experience specialising in converting any type and size of cine film to DVD digital format. That means you’ll be able to re-watch, re-live and remember some fantastic memories. For more information, please contact us on 0800 592433 or email sales@cine2dvdtransfers.co.uk.

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