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rec.arts.movies.tech FAQ



Frequently Asked Questions about projection issues in theaters, film and sound formats and aspect ratios, equipment used in film production and presentation, and, occasionally, visual effects used in motion pictures.

This FAQ about rec.arts.movies.tech was compiled and written by Scott E. Norwood snorwood@nyx.nyx.net with numerous contributions by others.

Copyright ©February 14, 1998, by Scott E. Norwood

This document may be freely distributed by electronic, paper, and other means, provided that it is distributed in its complete, unmodified form for non-commercial and/or educational purposes. Commercial use of the material contained herein is not permitted, unless prior written permission is obtained from the copyright holder. Others who have contributed to this document retain the rights to their own contributions (which are noted).

DISCLAIMER:

The compiler of this document has attempted to make every reasonable effort to ensure that any information contained herein is accurate and complete. However, the compiler is unable to assume responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions relating to the information contained below. All of the information contained in this document is believed by its compiler to be held in the public domain. The compiler is not affiliated with any of the companies whose products are mentioned here, nor does he necessarily endorse these products. All statements about such products are for informational use only. U.S. trademarks are indicated by (tm) where applicable, and are used here without the permission of their owners.

-1.1 Purpose of rec.arts.movies.tech
This is one of many USENET newsgroups in the rec.arts.movies.*...
-1.2 Purpose of this FAQ list (rec.arts.movies.tech)
As is the nature with USENET groups, similar questions and topics ...
-1.3 Standards of ``netiquette'' for news posting (rec.arts.movies.tech)
New readers of USENET news would do well to spend a few ...
-1.4 Credits (rec.arts.movies.tech)
[perpetually under construction]...
-1.5 Where is the latest version of this FAQ available? (rec.arts.movies.tech)
The current version will always be available for viewing on the ...
-1.6 What is the best way to print this FAQ? (rec.arts.movies.tech)
Beginning with version 2.00, this file is available in ...
-1.7 What changes have been made to this FAQ since previous versions? (rec.arts.movies.tech)
1.7.1 Version 0.01 (6/7/96)...
-2.2 Which formats are common for 8mm cinematography?
-
-2.3 Regular 8mm/Super 8mm (standard 8mm/super 8mm frame) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
As mentioned above, there are two `varieties' of 8mm film, both ...
-2.4.2 Super 16mm (HDTV/35mm blowup frame) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
-2.5 Which formats are common for 35mm cinematography?
-
-2.5.1 35mm (old silent frame) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
-2.5.2 35mm (standard Academy frame) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
-2.5.3 35mm Anamorphic (standard `wide screen' theatrical frame) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
-2.5.4 35mm VistaVision (visual effects frame) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
During the `wide screen' heyday, Paramount developed the `VistaVision'...
-2.5.5 Super 35mm (production format for release prints of various formats) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
-2.6 Which formats are common for 65mm cinematography?
-
-2.6.1 65mm (standard 65mm theatrical frame) (Motion Picture Formats - original cinematography)
The 65mm theatrical film frame is five perforations high (rather ...
-3.1 Which film gauges are currently in common usage for release prints intended for projection?
Currently:...
-3.2 Why is wide-gauge film manufactured in the 65mm width for motion- picture cameras, and in 70mm for release prints?
[under construction]...
-3.3 Which formats and aspect ratios are common for 8mm release prints?
-
-3.3.1 Regular 8mm/Super 8mm (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.3.2 Regular 8mm/Super 8mm Anamorphic (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.4 Which formats and aspect ratios are common for 16mm release prints?
-
-3.4.1 Regular 16mm (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.4.2 16mm Anamorphic (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.4.3 Super 16mm (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.5 Which formats and aspect ratios are common for 35mm release prints?
-
-3.5.1 35mm Silent Frame (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.5.2 35mm Academy Frame (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.5.3 35mm `Flat' Wide Screen Formats (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
-3.5.4 35mm Anamorphic Frame (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
This frame is nearly the same size as the 1.15:1 frame used just ...
-3.5.5 Projecting Multiple Formats (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
These formats are all standard, although each requires its ...
-3.6 Which formats and aspect ratios are common for 70mm release prints?
-
-3.6.1 70mm Standard Frame (Motion Picture Formats - release prints intended for projection)
The standard 70mm frame has always has an aspect ratio of 2.2:1, ...
-4.1 What analog sound formats are common for 8mm release prints?
-
-4.1.1 Regular 8mm Magnetic (monophonic) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
While regular 8mm was never designed to have a soundtrack, ...
-4.1.2 Regular 8mm Magnetic (monophonic or stereo) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
Soon after super 8mm displaced regular 8mm as the standard home-...
-4.1.3 Regular 8mm Optical (monophonic) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
While magnetic sound is of high quality, it can be expensive,...
-4.2 What analog sound formats are common for 16mm release prints?
-
-4.2.1 16mm Optical (monophonic) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
The first sound-on-film 16mm prints, made in the 1940's, used ...
-4.2.2 16mm Magnetic (monophonic) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
In an attempt to improve the sound quality for 16mm prints, ...
-4.3 What analog sound formats are common for 35mm release prints?
-
-4.3.1. 35mm Optical (monophonic, stereo, or Dolby Stereo (tm) ) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
The standard sound-on-film system for 35mm has always been ...
-4.3.2 35mm Magnetic (four-track stereo) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
When the first CinemaScope (tm) films were produced, Fox had ...
-4.4 What analog sound formats are common for 70mm release prints?
-
-4.4.1 70mm Magnetic (six-track stereo) (Motion Picture Sound Formats - release prints intended for projection)
This system is capable of carrying six separate tracks on four ...
-4.5 What are the three commonly used digital sound formats for 35mm release prints, and how do they work?
4.5.1 General ...
-4.6 What methods have been used for digital sound in formats other than 35mm?
[under construction]...
-5.1.1 Projector/Lamphouse (Motion Picture Presentation - theatrical projection)
The projector is the most critical part of any theater's ...
-5.1.2 Sound System (Motion Picture Presentation - theatrical projection)
The sound system in a typical mid-size theater installation is ...
-5.3 What are the differences between xenon, and carbon-arc lamphouses? (Motion Picture Presentation - theatrical projection)
Most commercial theaters currently employ xenon bulbs; these are ...
-5.4.1 Shipping Configurations for 35mm Prints (manual reel changeovers)
Nearly all 35mm prints are shipped on metal reels which hold 2000' ...
-5.4.2 Changeover Procedures (manual reel changeovers)
Just before the show starts, the first (house) reel is loaded in ...
-5.5.1 Platter Configurations
Platter systems are used commonly in `automated' booths, allowing ...
-5.5.2 Platter Operation
After the print is spliced together, soundtrack edge facing up, ...
-5.6 How are multiple projectors interlocked to run the same piece of film in multiple auditoria?
(information courtesy David Richards daverich@netcom.com)...
-5.7 What are the industry standards for image brightness and screen reflectivity?
According to the Society of Motion Picture and Television ...
-5.9 What are the industry standards for sound levels in a Dolby Stereo (tm) setup?
This is widely ignored, but officially, a CAT-85 pink noise ...
-5.10 How does a dual-format (35/70) projector work, and how is the changeover made between formats?
(courtesy David Richards daverich@netcom.com)...
-5.11.1 Nitrate Base/Triacetate (Safety) Base (Motion Picture Presentation - theatrical projection)
Early motion pictures were all shot and printed on nitrate-base film....
-5.11.2 Polyester Base (Motion Picture Presentation - theatrical projection)
Polyester stock (`ESTAR (tm) ' is a trademark for polyester ...
-5.12 What is the best way to avoid the static and shedding problems common in polyester prints?
Opinions and experiences on this topic vary widely; most, however,...
-5.13 What precautions are necessary when projecting nitrate prints?
[note that the compiler of this FAQ takes NO RESPONSIBILITY for ...
-5.14 What are the proper procedures for print inspection prior to showing a film?
This varies substantially from theater to theater, ranging from ...
-6.1 What are the differences between reversal and negative film, and which is the most common? (Film Laboratories)
6.1.1 Differences Between Reversal and Negative ...
-6.2 What is a `one light work print'? A `timed work print'? (Film Laboratories)
Film `dailies' (quickly made prints of camera negative) are ...
-6.3 What does a negative cutter do? (Film Laboratories)
6.3.1 General Information on Negative ...
-6.4 What is timing/color timing, and how does it affect the look of filmed images? (Film Laboratories)
Color timing has a great effect on filmed images, as it controls ...
-6.5 What is an `answer print'? (Film Laboratories)
The first print made from original camera negatives is called ...
-6.6 What is an `interpositive'? An `internegative'? (Film Laboratories)
Large print runs (like the 1500-2500-print orders for today's ...
-6.7 What is a `check print'? (Film Laboratories)
A `check print' is the first print made from an internegative, ...
-6.8 What is a `release print'? (Film Laboratories)
The `release print' is made from the internegative (as ...
-6.9 What is the difference between release prints made for projection with tungsten lamps and release prints made for projection with xenon lamps? (Film Laboratories)
The color balance. Tungsten lamps have a 3300 degree Kelvin `...
-6.10 What is a `low-contrast print'? (Film Laboratories)
It is similar to an interpositive, and is used for television/...
-6.11 What is `green film'? Why isn't it green? (Film Laboratories)
`Green film' is simply a term used for film which is fresh from ...
-6.12 What are currently the standard reel/can sizes for the various film formats? (Film Laboratories)
In 8mm/16mm/35mm: 100', 200' (not 35), 400', 800' (not 35), 1000',...
-6.13 How can I process reversal films at home? (Film Laboratories)
(courtesy Ed Inman edinman@teclink.net)...
-7.1 How is the frame-rate difference worked out when film is displayed on television?
7.1.1 European Television ...
-7.2.1 Film Chains (various methods used to display film on television or videotape)
The equipment used to display film on television is known ...
-7.2.2 Flying Spot Scanners (various methods used to display film on television or videotape)
-7.3 How are film negatives cut to match an edit done on videotape?
(information courtesy Martin Gignac martyg@sympatico.ca)...
-7.4 How is the sound re-synced to the film to match an edit and mix done on videotape?
The video timecode on the edited tape is converted to 24/25 fps ...
-7.5.1 Television Films (videotape formats for film post- production)
-7.5.2 Theatrical Films (videotape formats for film post- production)
-7.6 What formats of videotape are most commonly used for television broadcast of filmed material?
Network broadcast is now using digital masters, often in D1 or, ...
-7.7 How are 70mm films displayed on television or videotape?
There are two ways to do this. The simpler method is to use a ...
-7.8 How is material originated on videotape transferred to film for theatrical projection? How is the sound synced?
This has been done for several films and portions of films ...
-8.1 What is the most workable method of projecting super-16mm workprint with separate fullcoat magnetic soundtrack?
8.1.1 Double-Band Interlock ...
-8.5 What are some recommendations for long-term film storage?
Two opinions from a rec.arts.movies.tech thread:...
-9.0 Obsolete Film Formats
...
-10.1 What is THX (tm) certification, and what standards are necessary for a theater which wishes to obtain it?
THX (tm) is neither more nor less than a set of standards developed ...
-10.2 What equipment is necessary for a `home cinema' for 16mm and where can it be begged for/purchased?
The cheapest way to start is to pick up a portable, tungsten-bulb,...
-10.3 What equipment is necessary for a `home cinema' for 35mm and where can it be begged for/purchased?
Gear for 35mm is harder to come by and more difficult to assemble ...
-10.4 Where can one purchase or rent release prints in 8/16/35/70mm?
For purchasing used prints for home use, one should read the ...
-11.1 What are the footage/time conversions for the various film formats?
-11.2 What are the lens focal length/image size conversions for the various filmformats?
-11.3 What are the standard locations for reel-change cue marks on U.S. release prints in the various film formats?
From the tail of the reel:...









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