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Author Topic: 16mm
Tony L. Hernandez
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 158
From: Windsor, CO, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

 - posted 07-13-2006 01:36 AM      Profile for Tony L. Hernandez   Email Tony L. Hernandez   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm starting to have this horrible feeling that 16mm is dead. I only know of a handfull of National Park Service units that still use it of the 100+ just 7 years ago. Also, my last venue to still employ 16 is down to one or two 16mm shows per year,max after running at least one 16 show per week back in the day. This has been replaced by either digital or 35mm (our Simplex E-7s were non functional for years and we just got them working in '01). And even those are for the Children's Day cartoon festival or the April Fools Day Three Stooges festival, no feature movie. I am still reletivly young but remember the day when 16 still was king even over digital, at least in my area. The first booth I ran alone was a 16mm Eiki set up at the local Union Colony Civic center that ran movies for families durring the summer. All gone as of summer '03 in favor of DVD.

So anyone, please tell me, is any person, agency or facility still using 16mm professionally? I still do my monthy film series at the local nursing home on 16 and that would only ever change for maybe an occasional show that I can find the title I want only on DVD. Is Swank still checking 16mms out and making new prints?

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004

 - posted 07-13-2006 02:36 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All I heard is that a lot of "indies" uses Super16 to shoot films with - due to cost effectiveness...

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4441
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005

 - posted 07-13-2006 06:49 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It would appear from my viewpoint in Louisville, KY that 16mm is dead except for camera used in Super 16 as Monte said. Louis

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12814
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 07-13-2006 06:57 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
16mm is not dead in the sense that it is still being used but it is not as popular in its more traditional venues (academics). We still install a fair number of 16mm machines (Kinoton has an excellent one for new machines...the FP38E). However most of these machines are not in traditional venues.

This year marks the first time we did Baltimore's Little Italy film festival with video rather than 16mm due to lack of print availability. We are also installing 35mm only projectors in a University system where previously most of them got at least one 16mm capable machine.

That said, those colleges we service that do have some form of film school associated with them, they use the 16mm portion more than the 35mm.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 07-13-2006 10:40 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
16mm is still very much alive for production, especially in the Super-16 format:

Arriflex and Aaton have recently introduced new Super-16 cameras:

We believe that as we enter the high definition age, the A-Minima is an invaluable tool for those primarily originating for film projection and HD video. Consider these points :

Compressed HD video with low color sampling (3:1:1) seems to be OK for primary tape to tape grading but initial 2k daVinci tests show problems in secondary correction. Film is full resolution, luminance and chroma, with no compression.
Our tests so far reveal that the complete resolution of 1920x1080 is recorded to the Super16 film negative while portable HD cameras are limited to 1440 pixel equivalent resolution.
An HD24p camera is expensive, heavy and power hungry ; the A-Minima can be its mobile and discreet companion for SFX shots and difficult to reach locations. It can as well be used as a primary or second unit on pure film projects.

Most labs still offer 16mm prints, made on Kodak VISION Color Print Film 3383.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7474
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 07-13-2006 05:44 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's still alive as an archival preservation medium, but even here is losing ground. We recently secured project funding to have a 993ft Dufaycolor 9.5mm film from 1944 preserved. Our usual full preservation route for 9.5 originals is to go to a 16mm interneg for preservation. On this occasion the lab we usually use for these jobs told us that there would be a delay of several weeks to get supplies of 7272, but that an optical blowup to 5272 could be done immediately (stock was available off-the-shelf). The cost was only around 15% more once the cost of the projection print was factored in, because they charge a lot more per foot to blow up a 16mm interneg to a 35 print than they do to contact print a 35 neg to a 35 print. By going to a 35 interneg for preservation, the total cost of the job rose from around £7k to around £8, which I decided was worth it for the increased scratch and dirt resistance on the dupe.

If the original had been 16 I'd still have wanted a contact dupe to 16 if the condition of the original allowed, but now the cost differential in printing small gauge to 35 for preservation has reduced so much I'd consider it straight away in other circumstances. As others have noted, it's virtually disappeared as a current release print format - most of the prints still being shown are from archives or a few remaining older commercial rep prints.

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Brian Guckian
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 594
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Apr 2003

 - posted 07-13-2006 06:13 PM      Profile for Brian Guckian   Email Brian Guckian   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't usually post here, but this topic caught my eye.

Though 16mm reduction prints of 35mm features are a thing of the past, there has been some work done to retain the format as an option for low-budget or student filmmakers screening in specialised venues or film theatres.

Digital sound for 16mm is a reality via DTS's system, and there is another system which I helped develop, which is aimed at short filmmakers:

16mm isn't dead - there are many filmmakers who dislike digital video and who want to do just that, i.e. make films [Wink]

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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 07-13-2006 09:32 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A DVD projected by a D-Cinema projector completely blows 16mm away on our screen at 21 feet wide. It has to be that width to fill top to bottom. We made an A/B comparison at the request of a local film maker a couple years ago, it just confirmed what we suspected. The 16 at half size was pretty good but unacceptably small. School systems everywhere dumpstered the 16 projectors 10 years ago. Here, at the surplus sale they couldn't give'em away, nobody would take the for free. About a hundred went to the dump or for scrap metal.

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John Koutsoumis
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003

 - posted 07-13-2006 10:07 PM      Profile for John Koutsoumis   Email John Koutsoumis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bill Enos
A DVD projected by a D-Cinema projector completely blows 16mm away on our screen at 21 feet wide
What was the ratio of the 16mm print? Was it masked or Super 16?
I refuse to believe that DVD can beat it. I've seen the same comparison on large screens (and not just DVD but Digital Betacam as well) and although the 16mm may be slightly smaller it's far better and the DVD's and other tape formats don't come close. I mean I like DVD as an option and I am not opposed to it but 16mm is 10 steps ahead.

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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 07-13-2006 10:28 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The film was a 16 print of some significant film, it came from a commercial distributor, the DVD was an off the shelf purchase. One thing worth noting though is that a DVD in 2.35 projected to full screen (36 feet) does not look good. A DVD of a 1.85 film looks pretty good at the normal flat width and is far superior to 16. The extra magnification for 2.35 kills image quality.

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Ian Woloschin
Film Handler

Posts: 54
From: Worcester, MA, USA
Registered: Mar 2006

 - posted 07-13-2006 10:47 PM      Profile for Ian Woloschin   Author's Homepage   Email Ian Woloschin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I still use 16mm weekly (during the school year). We get cartoons from Swank, one for each week of the semester (so 14 or 15 at once), and show one cartoon before we do our weekly feature presentation (generally a relatively new second run movie on 35mm).

I'd like to consider myself professional [Cool] .

The cartoons we get are quite old, a few over the past semester were actually in black and white and the film itself looked and felt like it had had a lot of showings.

The coolest 16mm I have is a little movie called "Bridge to the Future", a 20 minute movie from around 1955 that was created by my college (Worcester Polytechinic Institute), and was the basis of the foundation of the club that runs the weekly movies now. We would charge the school money for each showing, and well, we've grown a bit since then. So as long as my club is around and showing movies, we'll keep on using 16mm, even if it's just for cartoons and the occasional trips down memory lane.

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Cameron Glendinning
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 845
From: West Ryde, Sydney, NSW Australia
Registered: Dec 2005

 - posted 07-13-2006 11:31 PM      Profile for Cameron Glendinning   Email Cameron Glendinning   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I too have found that the 16mm print straight from the lab does out perform a DVD or SP beta of the same production, It is important to ad that these are professionally produced films are not commercial productions ie 35mm optically reduced ect, but film school shorts shot and produced in 16mm.
Last year the students only produced 1 x 16mm print out of over 30 films made, most were shot on 16 or super 16 and finished on tape. This year 6 of the films were finished on 16mm!
Now our 16mm projector is a portable xenon type (equiped with a mint prime schneider lens) and the video projector is a new 7 segment color wheel HD W/S DLP projector. The difference to me is subtle but obviously the students agree that 16mm exibition is preferable.
I personally have worked with better 16mm projectors.
Our video projector has no problem filling the 34 ft scope screen with a scope dvd, progressive scan mode in the dvd player helps alot.

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Jon Miller
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 973
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 07-14-2006 12:22 AM      Profile for Jon Miller   Email Jon Miller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I used to set up and run 16mm for the San Diego Latino Film Festival and the San Diego Asian Film Festival, for the handful of 16mm shorts (and the occasional feature) that would show up, but its time has sadly passed.

For the 2005 Latino festival, we ran four (!) features in 16mm (one with PowerPoint subtitles superimposed directly onto the the projected 16mm image, another one the first 'scope 16mm print I ran in more than a decade). That was the last 16mm I would run for a fest...later that year, the Asian folks decided to do without 16mm for their 2005 event. The last nails in the 16mm coffin were hammered in when I lost the use of the observation ports due to the recently-installed digital preshow projectors (the former slide projector ports replaced with bigger ports for the 2K Christie d-cinema beasts that also took up residence in the booth).

I felt seemingly inexplicable twinges of sadness as I handled that relative bounty of 16mm prints for the 2005 Latino event. Now I think I know why... [Frown]

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Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5246
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 07-14-2006 02:04 AM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Tony L. Hernandez
I'm starting to have this horrible feeling that 16mm is dead.
Yes, and 35mm is next! Start hoarding those prints, now! [Razz]

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 07-14-2006 08:13 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, and 35mm is next! Start hoarding those prints, now!

35mm is far from dead. Still well over 10 BILLION feet of 35mm prints made annually, and still growing volumes. Still over 100,000 35mm screens in the world. Still the most cost effective way of presenting movies on theatre screens.

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