Your Guide to Cine Film

There are a great number of reasons why people keep hold of their old cine films. It could be a forgotten treasure that has been uncovered while tidying the attic, or it could be something that has been purposefully kept and cherished over the years, just as your vinyls may have been.

But as the years progress, the convenience, quality and chance of coming across a functioning projector shrinks. Therefore, it’s likely that you will want to convert your old cine film to DVD format and bridge the gap between generations, enabling you to share your old movies with younger family members.


Even so, you may be intrigued to learn more about cine films. It could be a case of wanting to understand how far our technology has progressed or wanting to remember how you used to watch your movies back in the day. Whatever the reason, here are the most common variations of cine films that you may come across.

8mm Projector Spools


Width of Film

The most common widths of cine film that you are likely to come across are:

  • Standard 8 – Released onto the market in 1932 to create a home movie format that was cheaper than the 16mm
  • Super 8 – A better picture quality than the standard 8, was released in 1965
  • 5mm – Usually of a good quality, certainly better than that of 8mm. It was introduced in 1922 as an inexpensive format to provide commercial films to home users
  • 16mm – Introduced as early as 1923, the high quality image and sound made for a great alternative to the expensive 35mm film of the time


Length of Reel

film strip isolated on white background


Put simply, the physical length of a film will determine how long a movie lasts for. For instance, an 8mm cine film with a diameter of 3” will only last for around 3 min and 40 s as the footage is only 54 feet. A larger diameter of the same width film will last for much longer; a 13.5” diameter 8mm film will last for around 120 mins.

Different widths will also affect how long a movie lasts for. A 9mm cine film that has a diameter of 13.5” will last approximately 70 mins.


Colour of Film

You may notice brown colouring on the edges of your cine film when taking a peek. Usually, brown at the top and/or bottom means that there is sound on the film, whereas a totally black reel implies that it is a silent movie.

These are just a few of the common types of cine film, so hopefully this guide will help you understand the style of movie that you’re dealing with, particularly if it is something you have never seen before. But if there is anything that you don’t understand, our team at Cine2DVDTransfer are able to decipher an array of variations to ensure that you are left with a watchable format for you to enjoy.

For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our team by calling us on 0800 592 433.