If you are here, visit the main site: MarylandFilms.com: Independent Film & Acting News for Maryland, DC, and the Surrounding Areas

16mm

Super16, SUper16mm, S!6

ULTRA16, ULTRA16mm, Ultra 16mm, Ultra 16, U16, U16mm

R16 – aka 16mm, Regular 16, Standard 16

S16 – aka Super16, Super 16mm, Super 16, Super16mm

U16 – aka Ultra16, Ultra 16mm, Ultra 16, Ultra16mm

With R16, all you get is a 1:1.37 ratio. It's a decent format when shooting for NTSC television, but not very good for blowing up to 35mm or for HDTV.

With S16, you get a 1:1.66 ratio. It's used primarily for shooting HDTV or, with some cropping, blowing up to 35mm.

With U16, you get a 1:1.85 ratio. It can be blown up to 35mm without cropping. It can be converted to S16/HDTV with slight cropping on the sides. And, because the areas in gray still capture picture, remain R16/NTSC without any cropping.

Total R16 1:1.37 Area:

R16 covers an area:
7.5mm x 10.4mm = 78mm

When converted to 1:1.33 ratio for NTSC, the area used is 96% of the total format:
7.5mm x 10mm = 75mm

When cropped to 1:1.85 ratio for blowups to 35mm, the area used is 72% of the total format:
My math says: 5.4mm x 10mm = 54mm
*But I've found other to say: 
5.21mm x 9.60mm = 50mm2 
= 64% of total format)

When cropped to 16:9 ratio for transfers to HDTV, the area used is 88% of the total format:
My math says: 6.6mm x 10mm = 66mm
*But I've found other to say: 
5.25mm x 9.35mm = 49.1mm2 
=
63% of total format)

Total S16 1:1.66 Area:

S16 covers an area:
7.5mm x 12.4mm = 93mm

When converted to 1:1.33 ratio for NTSC, the area used is 80% of the total format:
7.5mm x 10mm = 75mm

When converted to 1:1.85 ratio for blowups to 35mm, the area used is 83% of the total format:
6.46mm x 11.95mm = 77.2mm2

When converted to 16:9 ratio for transfers to HDTV, the area used is 86.3% of the total format:
6.72mm x 11.95mm = 80.3mm2

Total U16 1:1.85 Area:

U16 covers two areas
Excluding gray R16 areas:
6.23mm x 11.8mm = 73.5mm

Including gray R16 areas:
(7.5mm x 10.4mm) + (1.4mm x (7.5mm – 1.27mm))
= 83.7mm

When converted to 1:1.33 ratio for NTSC, the area used is the R16 gray area, the added 1.4mm width of the U16 area is cut off. The area used is 96% of the total R16 format:
7.5mm x 10mm = 75mm

When converted to 1:1.85 ratio for blowups to 35mm, the area used is 100% of the total format:
6.23mm x 11.8mm = 73.5mm

When converted to 16:9 ratio for transfers to HDTV, the area used is 97% of the total format:
71.64mm

Advantages:

  • Many cameras are R16

  • Many lenses are R16

  • Most R16 cameras and lenses are inexpensive

  • Inexpensive compared to 35mm

  • Can have sound on sound track

  • Can use both single-perf and double-perf film

  • Film has keycode

Advantages:

  • Can be blown up to 35mm without too much grain

  • Can go straight to HDTV without cropping

  • Inexpensive compared to 35mm

  • Covers both S16 and R16

  • Film has keycode

R16mm, S16mm, U16mm

Advantages:

  • It's like using two formats in one – both R16 and U16 can be taken from the same negative

  • Most R16 & S16 cameras can be converted to U16 by shaving off .7mm of both sides of the gate. All lenses should work.

  • Most R16 cameras and lenses are inexpensive and will work with U16

  • Inexpensive compared to 35mm

  • Can use both single-perf and double-perf film

  • When blown up to 35mm there is no cropping due to the 1:1.85 ratio

  • Will process anywhere R16 and S16 will process

  • film keeps keycode

  • After being cropped and blown up to 35mm, S16 has only a 3% larger area– so there is virtually no difference in picture quality

Disadvantages:

  • Blowups require a large amount of cropping

  • Blowups become very grainy

  • Blowups to 35mm are expensive

 

Disadvantages:

  • S16 cameras are expensive

  • S16 lenses are expensive

  • Converting R16 cameras and lenses is expensive

  • Many R16 cameras can not be converted to S16

  • Can not have sound, since there is no room for the sound track

  • Blowups to 35mm are expensive

  • Blowups to 35mm require some cropping

  • Can only use Single-perf film

  • Sending it to the wrong lab may scratch film

Disadvantages:

  • Lose sound track

  • Blowups to 35mm are expensive

  • Many telecine's and other lab gates aren't made for blowing up U16

  • Sending it to the wrong lab may scratch film

Notes:
Sizes of graphics are not exact or to scale (for reference only)

Film, NTSC, and HDTV ratio standards information varies slightly from different sources and manufacturers.
The information given above may not be 100% accurate.

16mm perf hole dimensions are:
C (Horizontal) = 1.830 +/- 0.010 mm
D (Vertical) = 1.270 +/- 0.010 mm

See SMPTE 7-1999 "for Motion-Picture Film (16-mm) Camera Aperture Image and Usage"
See ANSI/SMPTE 201M-1996 "for Motion-Picture Film (16-mm) Type W Camera Aperture Image"
See ANSI/SMPTE 109-1998 "Motion Picture Film (16-mm) Perforated 1R and 2R"

The cinematographer Frank DeMarco is usually credited for creating the Ultra 16 format.
Unfortunately, his website and contact information are no longer available.

*Update* -- Received this email from Frank DeMarco on March 26, 2008:
"Sirs: Re: Ultra16. One of the major hurdles to getting U16 to 35mm has been eliminated. The Digital Intermediate now negates the necessity for PhotoChemical blow ups of Ultra16. Scan the U16 neg, edit and then output to film. A comment in your notes about U16 mentions that I no longer shoot U16 and that Beerfest was shot on 35mm. This is true. But please bear in mind that the director and studio choose how and what I film on. I can only recommend. Nevertheless, my most recent 16mm films were shot on Super16. I own a S16 Aaton camera, S16 is a little bigger than U16 and I don't want to chop the gate on my lovely Aaton. I still have a U16 gate made by Axel Broda for an Arri 16SR if you know of anyone in the market for one. Thanks for keeping U16 alive and interesting. FDM"

Your welcome, Frank!

If you see anything wrong with this page - please let me know! (http://crimsonchainproductions.com/contact.html)

Related links:
http://www.aaton.com

http://www.kodak.com

http://www.smpte.org