Monday, 1 April 2013

I want to shoot on film

I want to shoot on film because the film look has always appealed to me. There are three main formats to choose from. 8mm is the smallest and the cheapest and was targeted at consumers for home movies before video cameras became affordable. The quality of 8mm is not great because of its small size but using it will make you appreciate film. Once you expose that reel of film there's no going back and you must then pay to get it processed before you can view your footage. 

Did you know: It's called "footage" because they used "feet" to measure the length of a film reel.

Next up there's 16mm film which is a favourite for low budget productions because it's cheaper than the professional 35mm format but better quality than 8mm. The BBC used to film a lot of outdoor scenes for their programs using 16mm film because decades ago the film cameras were more portable than studio video cameras. Take Only Fools and Horses for example. Interior shots such as the flat and pub were filmed in a studio set so they were filmed with video cameras. Exterior shots however were filmed using the 16mm film format and there's an obvious difference between the interior and exterior shots because of this. Believe it or not, a lot of modern TV dramas in the UK are actually shot on 16mm film. You can see what's shot on what on imdb by clicking on the "see full technical specs" option. 

Last of all we have 35mm film which is the industry standard and the format that most films are shot on. It's expensive to buy, process and scan to a digital format and the equipment required to use it is also very expensive. This makes it unsuitable for amateur filmmakers but the quality is fantastic which is why it's still used to this day. A lot of US TV shows are shot on 35mm film which is why American shows generally look better. I just hope that they continue to use 35mm because I would love to work with it someday if I ever get into the film industry. If I had more money then I would probably buy a 16mm camera and experiment with real film. Eventually (if I get even more money) I'll make a full movie shot entirely in 16mm. 

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