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Devin Walter

IMAX/VistaVision Equivalent for 16mm?

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Hey guys. Brand new to the forum and i joined specifically because i'm trying to find an answer to this question.

 

Film usually runs vertically threw a camera but a few formats have it run horizontally to achieve a much larger negative. IMAX does this with 65mm and VistaVision does it with 35mm. Is there a 16mm equivalent?

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Some subminiature "spy" cameras used 16mm film horizontally, achieving up to 12 x 17mm with single perf stock, but for motion pictures the sensible thing to do if you want a larger negative is to just move up to 35mm.

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Yeah, it would probably be more economical to move to 2 perf super35 rather than shoot 16mm horizontally, strictly from a stock and processing cost standpoint.

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Yes but ignoring any extra costs from designing a new format and the scanner to go with it, 16mm stock is about 1/4 the cost of 35mm stock if you are shooting 4-perf 35mm. So a 4-perf horizontal 16mm format would cost the same in stock as 4-perf 35mm for a format that is close to 2.40... 3-perf framed for 2.40 is only a little bit smaller and it's 25% cheaper. Plus it's a common format for post work.

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Would that not triple your raw stock and processing costs for the 16mm though, assuming you shot as many takes as you would for a super16 frame at 24fps? Every one of those horizontal 4perfs takes up three normal frames of super16. For that matter, could you even modify the gate of a camera to fit that frame?

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Thanks for the replies! I've really enjoyed the conversation on this topic. The question rose from curiosity more than anything ells. I just like the idea of squeezing the most out of any given film stock.

 

In most circumstances you guys are right. It makes more sense to simply move up to 35mm. However, there are two things here no one here seems to be taking into account. The price per foot would certainly go up, however, you can buy 16mm film in smaller roles than you can get 35mm. What if i'm making a five minuet short film and don't need 1,000 feet of film. If i'm shooting 35mm then as far as I know that's my only option. But if i'm shooting 16mm I can grab four or five 100 foot roles and be good to go. The cost per foot goes up but total money spent is still down.

 

16mm cameras also tend to be cheaper on the second hand market than 35mm. Since this camera apparently doesn't exist I can only speculate that it too would be cheaper but it wouldn't surprise me assuming it wasn't insanely rare. So, with the film being available in smaller quantities and assuming the cameras would be cheaper it would have been nice to have a negative similar in size to a smaller 35mm format for less.

 

It was mostly curiosity. A modification to a camera to do this would be interesting but it's not a simple matter of modifying the gate. You would have to rotate the entire film feed so i'd say it's highly unlikely but definitely a cool thought.

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Kodak sells 35mm in 400' rolls too. And short ends can come in odd sizes even smaller.

 

If you are making a 5 minute short film, a 10:1 shooting ratio means you need 50 minutes of stock anyway, so 4 or 5 1000' rolls would not be unusual. It's more a question of whether you want to run 5 minute loads or 10 minutes loads in your camera. You can buy twice as many 400' rolls if you wanted to instead of buying 1000' rolls. (1000' is 11 minutes at 4-perf.)

 

If you are making a 5 minute short film and think a 1000' roll is too much, you're basically thinking of shooting no more than a 2:1 ratio!

 

No matter how you slice it, a 4-perf 16mm format is not going to save you any money. You basically pay for real estate with film. And if rare camera format is generally hard to get deals on, not that such a camera exists.

 

Plus a 100' 16mm roll runs about 3 1/2 minutes, so a 4-perf 16mm format would barely give you a minute of run time with a 100' roll.

 

Certainly regular 16mm / Super-16 is cheaper than 35mm.

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A 4 perf 16mm modification would be very complicated actually. To cover such an enlarged frame you'd need to completely replace the shutter (mirror if it's reflex), completely replace the viewfinder optics/groundglass, completely replace the movement to increase the pulldown distance fourfold, almost certainly increase the camera dimensions to house all these enlarged mechanisms, increase the film travel speed fourfold including altering sprocket to shutter gearing ratios and modifying magazines, and then you'd also need to use 35mm format lenses since 16mm ones would vignette. The camera would need to be mounted sideways or redesigned for horizontal film travel. Then you'd need to find a scanning option that could accomodate your non-standard format.

 

It would actually be easier to modify a 35mm camera to accept 16mm film.

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Yes, you'd have a 35mm sized mirror shutter, viewfinder, and most of all, optics. You could make a thinner magazine but if you wanted it to put 10 minute loads into it, you'd need something like a 1600' roll.

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16mm is one perf per frame. Thus a 4 perf frame would be about 30mm wide.

 

 

This is Technicolor's patent for a Method of making wide screen motion pictures:

 

https://www.google.com/patents/US3396021

 

You might know it as Techniscope, Cromoscope or Euroscope.

 

(I've come to prefer the name Euroscope, because of its EU currency connotations)

 

The frame here is 22.05mm wide, the same as academy & scope frames.

 

Dom & David are right about the need to design and manufacture all of the auxilliry equipment for it.

Probably why T'color went with system #1.

 

PS: A late 40s American Cinematographer has an article describing a 2frame 16mm horizontal system named Rotocolor.

Would've used Kodachrome. But apparently no commercial use either.

 

---El Pedante

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