Thursday, December 14, 2006

16 millimeter filming

You haven't made a film, until you filmed on film.

That was the outset of my first experience with filming on 16 millimeter film in a KODAK competition.

So WHY is filming on real film so 'cool', compared to filming on video? Here's what the experts say:

For the record:
"If what you want to shoot is precious to you, try to shoot it on film. If it is to "practice", shoot it on (video)tape. Most people advise beginners to shoot on digi, to save the money. I say, if you are drawn to film, you will be looking at it again at the end of your life, and it will look the same as the day after you shot it." - cineman at

For cost-savings:
"Try to shoot on film.. It may not be as bad [in cost] as you think. You can always borrow the camera free (any major equipment house will lend cameras to students), you can do a deal with Kodak and a deal with the lab. All these people really try to help students for good sound business reasons, as well as the fact they are all nice guys. Don't forget your costs are the same once that image is on tape." - cineman at

For looks:
"Neither is better, but they are different. Most people prefer the “look” of film, for it’s grain, it’s texture and it’s tactile qualities. But if you need to shoot a lot of material (like interviews) then (digital) video might be a better option. Again, it depends on the kind of magnification that you will be subjecting the image to: if you end up viewing your film on a video/DVD player then the 8mm footage would not be as “different” as would be the case if you are final viewing on 35mm or 16mm. Don’t forget also that digital video can mean a host of things, from very low-end consumer formats to very high-end Panavision/Sony 24P." - cineman at

Being offered 10 minutes worth of film recording stock by KODAK, we've been filming on film. 10 minutes of film correspond to ca 400 feet (120 meters) of filmroll. A professional filmmaker will be charged about 12 pence per 1 foot of 16 millimeter film stock, whereas a student gets it at a discount for 8 pence.

The film is called 8, 16 or 35 millimeter depending on the width of the filmstrip.
8 millimeter film strip, each image in an aspect ratio of 4(width):3(height)16 millimeter film strip, each image in an aspect ratio of 4(width):3(height)super 16 millimeter filmstrip, each image in an aspect ratio of 16(width):9(height) called anamorphic or widescreen35 millimeter film strip, the wider the more image, hence sharpness and cost.

We filmed on 16 mill. with aspect ratio 3:4, but will end up with widescreen therefore cropping the image. In order to not loose vital information in our image, we made sure we had abundant 'space' on the top and bottom part when recording.

Cropping 3:4 to get 9:16 (widescreen)

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