Film formats for moving pictures

By Rahul Nair
In Cinematography
Oct 22nd, 2013

Film formats are used to refer the size of the film stock in which we are shooting a picture. All the film formats have two things in common, perforations and pitch.

Perforations is also referred to as perfs or sprocket holes. It has equally spaced holes in between the edges of film which helps the camera to constantly move through the camera. Pitch is the space between these perforations from the top perf to the bottom one. The perfs and pitch varies from film format to formats.

First Frame | First step to filmmaking8 mm film format was developed and released by Kodak in 1932. It has two main versions: standard 8 mm and super 8 mm film. Super 8 mm has a larger image area compared to standard 8 mm because of its widely spaced perforations.

16 mm film format was introduced by Kodak in 1923. It has two main versions: standard 16 mm and super 16 mm film. Standard 16 mm has perforations on both sides of the frame compared to super 16 mm which has perforations only on one side of the frame. Therefore super 16 mm has a larger image area.

First Frame | First step to filmmaking

35 mm film is a commonly used film format for taking still pictures and motion movies. The 35 mm width was first introduced by Thomas Edison and William Dickson in the year 1892. It has four perfs on each side of the frames and there are 16 frames per foot.

65 mm and 70 mm film formats are mostly used for wide high resolution releases which gives sharper and clearer picture when projected on big screen. It was most likely Henley Regatta who projected the first 70 mm film in 1896. Oklahoma (1955) was the first film to release in a 70 mm format.


Rahul Nair loves everything about Cinema, Photography, Cinematography and likes Journalism.

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