In 1889, celluloid-based transparent, flexible 35mm film was invented by the Rev.
Hannibal Goodwin [1824-1901]. He conceived the idea of a flexible, unbreakable
material upon which to mount the slides he liked to use in his Sunday School,
and, with a license from the Newark Celluloid Varnish Co., set to work to prove
that celluloid could be thinned and flattened to use as an image base. Goodwin's
invention was promoted by George Eastman on a wide-scale for commercial use.
The first decade of motion picture production saw a mixed bag of film formats and sprocket holes and hardly any standardization. William Kennedy Laurie Dickson [1860-1935], working for Thomas Alva Edison, used 4-perf 35mm film [1.33:1] for his camera, the Kinetograph , his peephole machine, the Kinetoscope , and his projector, the Vitascope [built by Thomas Armat and C. Francis Jenkins in 1895 and sold to Edison in 1896]. The Brothers Lumière used 1-perf 35mm for their Cinématographe . Others used films with a width of 11mm, 24mm, 28mm, 50mm, 62mm, etc.
See also: Wikipedia [List of Film Formats]
In 1907, a voluntary agreement was reached, which became known as the Motion Picture Patents Agreement of 1907. 35mm and certain other specifications were defined as a standard motion picture film: 35mm in width, 4 perforations along both sides of each frame [4:3 or 1.33:1] and a film speed of circa 16 frames per second. In 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officially made 1.33:1 the industry standard, the Academy Aperture.
'The average camera speed is two turns per second, or one foot of film per second.
There are approximately 16 images per foot, and the above speed is used
invariably, and projection should be at this speed except in scenes where the
tempo of the action requires speeding up of the objects, as, for example, in a
fight scene. "Average" speed in this case would be too slow. In comedy
various speeds are used from normal to stop motion, in order to obtain desired
effects. Of course if a projectionist speeds up to 100, where the scene was shot
at 60, in order to get through with the show, no human eye will be able to stand
the strain of watching objects moving at that speed. It will ruin every effort
made by the producer, director and staff to put their best efforts before the
public.' [Victor Milner, 1923.]
'Regarding our opinion as to the correct camera speeds, we wish to state that this matter has been discussed from time to time among our members and it is the consensus of opinion of our Society that the correct camera speed is sixteen pictures per second or sixty feet per minute. This speed has been used for years by practically all members of the profession, slower speeds only being resorted to, to secure certain comedy and dramatic effects. Over-speeding has only been used where certain directors have attempted to combat the excessive projection speeds which exhibitors have adopted to "turn over their audiences" in the shortest possible time. We are opposed to any taking speed in excess of sixty feet per minute.' [John W. Boyle, American Society of Cinematographers, 1925.]
The advent of sound in 1929 at first necessitated the squaring of the frame [1.16:1] to allow room for a soundtrack. In 1931 there was a consensus among major studios as to the exact camera and projector aperture dimensions for 35mm sound films. This consensus provided a modification of the Academy Aperture to 1.37 width to 1.0 height [1.37:1], which was very close to the original 1.33:1 silent screen shape. The 1.37:1 aspect ratio remained unchallenged until 1952.
In 1948 Eastman Kodak introduced 35mm tri-acetate safety base film for the motion picture industry to replace the flammable cellulose nitrate base. The conversion from nitrate to safety base was completed in 1952.
This refers to the number of film perforations that each film frame occupies, as well as whether they are pulled horizontally or vertically. The most common film pulldowns are 4-perf and 3-perf, the latter of which is usually used in conjunction with Super 35. 2-perf, used in Techniscope in the 1960's, is enjoying a resurgence due to the birth of digital intermediate techniques eliminating the need for optical lab work. Vertical pulldown is overwhelmingly the dominant axis of motion, although horizontal pulldown is used in IMAX, VistaVision [still in use for some visual effects work], and in consumer and professional still cameras. [From the Wikipedia website.]
In these days of the HD vs. Film debate, 3-perf is the future of film
origination: image quality up, cost down. Slight modifications to cameras and
rush projectors induce considerable reduction of film origination costs. Any
off-the-shelf 35mm raw stock can be used in a 3-perf camera [after modification
of the regular 4-perf pulldown claw movement]. By eliminating the interimage
waste, 3-perf pulldown reduces negative, rush and inter-positive stock
consumption as well as their associated processing costs by 25%.
Like Super 16, 3-perf negatives must go through either a 'Digital' or 'Straight Optical' transfer to deliver standard 4-perf prints for theatre distribution. Since the 'original negative to release print' path is no longer following the 'contact-print' process, it is no longer necessary to preserve - and waste - the sound track space, on the original image. It becomes wiser to shoot Super 35 and use the complete 'perf to perf' silver halide real estate. The Super 35 1.85:1 images occupy 324 mm² instead of the 273 mm² stored on a 1.85 cropped Academy frame [a 25% bonus].
3-perf brings a 33% increase of the apparent length of the magazines: a 400 foot roll lasts for about 6 minutes instead of 4½ in 4-perf. Because of the larger image - for the same apparent graininess - faster stocks can be used, which means lighter lighting fixtures. A two hour film - considering an average twelve for one ratio - can be made with 220 rolls instead of 330, i.e. 27,000 meters instead of 40,000. [From the Aaton website.]
Drawing by Max Smith
See also: Super 35
2-perf camera systems use only 2 perforations per frame on 35mm film, which gives an
aspect ratio close to the 2.39:1 aspect ratio used in anamorphic prints. It was
first proposed conceptually around 1930, but was not put into practice until 1960, when Techniscope was
developed at Technicolor's Italian branch.
The Techniscope format uses a 2-perf negative pulldown per frame, instead of the standard 4-perf frame usually exposed in 35mm film photography. Techniscope's 2.33:1 aspect ratio is easily cropped to the 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, because it uses half the amount of 35mm film stock and standard spherical lenses. [In 1970, the SMPTE revised the 2.35:1 aspect ratio to 2.39:1 (now known as 2.40:1), however, before standardization, most Techniscope films were photographed and released in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.]
Thus, Techniscope release prints are made by anamorphosizing and enlarging each frame by a factor of two. Because 2-perf is not a release format [all films still have to be released in 4-perf to theatres], producers will often elect to do a high quality scan to video, an optical blowup or, ideally, use the digital intermediate post-production method to eliminate optical blowups and thus improve quality.
Drawing by Max Smith
While in the recent past, some companies have offered custom conversions of camera equipment to 2-perf, it is now clear that camera manufacturers are supporting the format. ARRI made 2-perf movement blocks for their Arricam and Arriflex 235 cameras, while Aaton's Penelope camera is the first camera specifically designed for 2-perf usage [as well as 3-perf].
Aaton's Penelope: 3-perf & 2-perf
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The Eastman Kodak Company was formed as the Eastman Dry Plate Company by George Eastman [1854-1932 (suicide)] and Henry A. Strong [1838-1919] on January 1, 1881. It became the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company in 1884, the Eastman Company in 1889, and the Eastman Kodak Company in 1892. The present company was organized in 1901.
Kodak has long been known for its wide range of photographic film products. During most of the 20th century Kodak held a dominant position in photographic film, and in 1976 had a 90% market share of photographic film sales in the United States. Indeed Kodak's ubiquity was such that the phrase "Kodak moment" entered common lexicon as a personal event that demanded to be recorded for posterity.
Since the late 1990s, Kodak has struggled financially as a result of the decline in sales of photographic film, and 2007 was the most recent year in which the company made a profit. As part of its turnaround strategy, Kodak has focused on digital photography and digital printing. In the late 2000s, Kodak also turned to aggressive patent litigation in order to generate revenue.
As of late 2011, Kodak was reportedly exploring the sale or licensing of its vast portfolio of patents in order to stave off bankruptcy but recent reports indicate that the situation is so grim that it may be unavoidable.
On January 19, 2012, the Eastman Kodak Company and its U.S. subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 business reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The business reorganization will enable Kodak to bolster liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities, and enable the Company to focus on its most valuable business lines.
Non-U.S. subsidiaries are not part of the filings, are not subject to the Court proceedings, and are operating as usual.
Kodak and its U.S. subsidiaries intend to continue normal business operations during the reorganization, and throughout the process:
> Continue customer programs;
> Provide employees with their usual wages and benefits; and
> Honor all post-petition obligations to suppliers in the ordinary course.
A U.S. Chapter 11 proceeding is a legal mechanism that generally focuses on the preservation and reorganization of ongoing operating companies. The process will allow Kodak to continue normal business operations while we accomplish our objectives and emerge a profitable and sustainable enterprise.
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