What Format Film Do I Have?

Super-8

Regular-8

 Regular-8 is also known as standard-8, double-8, cine-8, normal-8 or 8mm. This film size was introduced in 1932. Old cameras ran at 15 or 16 FPS (frames per second.) Cameras made after the mid-1950’s were mostly designed to instead normally run at 18 FPS. (Fairchild once made “Cinephonic” magnetic sound* cameras, which ran at 24 FPS. The magnetic striped sound film was discontinued many years ago.) Regular-8 film is 5/16" (8mm) wide.

 Super-8 was introduced in 1965. Fuji also made Single-8 cameras, using a different camera cartridge, but using film that can be shown on the same projectors.  The cameras normally run at 18 FPS.  (From 1974 until 1996 it was possible to film with sound, but the magnetic striped sound film** is no longer made.) Some serious users film at 24 FPS. Super-8 film is 5/16" (8mm) wide, with smaller perforations, and a 50% larger picture area, than Regular-8. We transfer from reversal or positive film and are not equipped to transfer from negative.

 16mm was introduced in 1923. 16mm film is 5/8" (16mm) wide. The early home movie cameras ran at 15 or 16 FPS. With the advent of 16mm sound in the 1930’s, commercial 16mm began to be exposed at 24 FPS which is still the standard for sound or serious film today.

 In the late 1950s some camera manufacturers started suggesting that personal films be shot at 18 FPS, but by then most home movies were filmed on 8mm instead, and most existing basic 16mm cameras ran only at 16 FPS.

 16mm with sound is normally of the optical (photographic) variety. The film format makes room for this by eliminating one row of perforations. We can transfer from optical sound film with no problem. (An optical sound track has wiggly lines or striations, on the edge without the perforations.) If the film has a brown stripe physically stuck on, this is for magnetic sound, also no problem unless it is very narrow to fit between the perforation and the edge on double perf film, which will not reproduce well or perhaps at all. We transfer from reversal or positive film and are not equipped to transfer from negative.

© 2001-2013 C. H. Tobin and used by permission

* If your regular-8 film has a brown stripe like audio tape stuck on right next to the sprocket holes, this is a magnetic sound track which is very rare. We are not able to transfer the sound from regular-8 film.

** If your super-8 film has a brown stripe stuck on one or usually both edges, this is for magnetic sound. We can transfer the sound from the normal stripe, but not from the narrow one, which is the “balance stripe” for even winding on the reel, and is not intended for recording, or even guaranteed to be recordable.

16mm

Ç Double (Silent) Perforations

Ç Single (Sound) Perforations

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