Feldman's Photography

8mm & 16mm Movie Formats

8mm film is a motion picture film format in which the filmstrip is eight millimeters wide. There are three types of 8 mm film. The original is standard 8mm film which is most often called regular 8. The second type of 8mm movie film is called Double 8 mm. The newer version of 8 mm movie film is Super 8. Super 8mm has a larger image area thanks to its smaller perforations and may or may not have sound. There are also two other varieties of Super 8 — Single 8 mm and Straight-8. Each require a different camera but both types of Super 8 produce a final film with the same dimensions.

8mm movie film was produced in 3" round reels that contained 50 feet of film that had to be threaded in the home movie camera. Super 8 was produced in a square cartridge which was just snapped into the movie camera. Many home movie buffs would spend many hours editing and spicing the 4" film reels into 5" or 7" reels to get rid of bad footage and to reduce the time it took to load the home movie projector.

8mm film spoolSuper 8mm film cartridge

Shown below are the home movie formats. Notice the different size image and the placement of the sprocket holes. The top image is a section of standard 8mm film which was developed by Kodak in 1932. The second is super 8mm without sound developed by Eastman Kodak in 1965. Third is super 8 mm film showing an oxide based sound strips. The 50 foot film spools had 2.5 minutes of movies at the U.S. motion picture professional standard of 24 frames per second, and for 3 minutes and 20 seconds of continuous filming at 18 frames per second for a total of approximately 3,600 frames per film cartridge.The last image is that of 16mm movie film 16 mm film introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1923 as an inexpensive amateur alternative to the conventional 35 mm film professional format. 16mm movie film could come with two sets of sprocket holes or sprocket holes on one side of the image only. Each 16mm film reel had 400 feet of film which ran around 11 minutes at 24 frame per second. The flammable nitrate film was never used in any home movie format.

home movie film formats

**For many years Feldman's Photography has been transferring home movie film to first VHS Video tape and later to DVD. Our normal process is to splice the film if it is still in the original 3" reels. We then clean the film with a special film cleaner and we then digitize every frame with high speed scanners. We never use the system used by most film transfer companies of projecting the film on a screen and filming the screen with a digital camera. This abuse of of the film transfer service creates flickering of the finished movies and normally has a hot spot in the center and vignetting at the edges. This poor system also creates a final image which is cropped to avoid seeing the dark edges. Our suggestion is never use an old projector to see your movies since the film has become brittle usually causing the film to break or get caught in the sprockets and fold like an accordion. We also suggest proper 8mm film duplication using high speed digital duplicators rather than filming a screen.**

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