Frequently Asked Questions 

Pre-Production 
How do I order Kodak Film? 
How do I read a film label? 
What should I consider when choosing a film stock? 
How do I calculate the amount of film I will need? 
What are the motion picture film milestones in history? 
What are common motion picture industry terms? 
What is Super 16mm? 
What kind of film stock is required for Super 16mm cinematography? 
What kind of equipment is necessary to shoot Super 16 film? 
What is Perforation Pitch? 
Why is the speed rating of motion picture camera films given in Exposure Indices? 
What is ferrotyping and what causes it? 
Is film combustible? 
What is the autoignition temperature of film? 
What effect does humidity have on film? 
What are Newton's Rings? 
Why doesn't Kodak finish and spool B&W T-MAX Film for use in motion picture cameras? 
Why aren't motion picture films dated? 
How long can color film maintain quality if refrigerated? 
Do I need a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for film and paper? 
Motion Picture Super 16 Film - More FAQs 
Motion Picture Super Film Formats - More FAQs 

Production 
What are some film handling tips? 
Do I need to use an 85 filter? 
What is Negative Insurance? 
Where can I purchase Kodak Step Wedges or WRATTEN filters? 

Post-Production

Where can I get my film transferred? 
How should I store my film? 
What's a short end? 


Pre-Production 

How do I order Kodak Film? 
To order Kodak film in The U.S. & and Canada call 1-800-621-FILM(3456). Outside the U.S. & Canada contact the Sales office in your country

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What is Super 16mm? 
Super 16mm was originally developed as a professional capture medium for blowup to 35mm theatrical release. There had been films made in the 1970's, such as Woodstock and The Concert for Bangeladesh that were shot in 16mm film for release in 35mm and even 70mm [!] that increased filmmakers' awareness about the production possibilities of 16mm film. Super 16 was designed to allow the same basic cameras and film stock to be used.

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What kind of film stock is required for Super 16mm cinematography? 
Super 16 requires the use of single-perforated film. The wider image of this format exposes the frame all the way out to the edge of one side of the film, where the second row of sprockets would be. Kodak has made single-perforated film since the 1930's

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What kind of equipment is necessary to shoot Super 16 film? 
Super 16 cinematography requires the use of a Super 16mm camera and appropriate lenses. Some cameras can be modified for this purpose, others are built specifically for this format.

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What is Perforation Pitch? 
Perforation pitch is the distance from the bottom edge of one perforation to the bottom edge of the next.

Film Type 16MM 35MM
Release and Color Print .3000 .1870
Duplication Positive / Rev Dupl .3000 .1870
Duplicating Negative .2994 .1866
Sound Recording .2994 .1866
Intermediate Films .2994 .1866
Internegative Films .2994 .1866
Camera Negative Films .2994 .1866
16mm High Speed Camera Application .3000  
Television Recording Films .2994 .1870
Separation Negative Films .2994 .1866
Color & BW Reversal Camera Films .2994  

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Why is the speed rating of motion picture camera films given in Exposure Indices rather than ASA or DIN values? 
There is no ANSI standard to determine the speed of these films.
The speed of motion picture camera films and the suggested filtrations are determined on the basis of practical picture tests. Suitable safety factors have been included to allow for differences in cameras, variation in lighting, etc. The exposure index values should not be regarded as numbers which express the absolute speed or sensitivity of the film, neither should they be regarded as fixed values which can not be changed if the results of repeated tests indicate the need for such changes.

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What is ferrotyping and what causes it? 
Ferrotyping describes a smooth and shiny blotch or series of blotches on the emulsion surface. It is caused by the presence of heat and/or moisture with pressure. Sources: faulty drying cabinets on the processing machine, the wound roll of film was wound under excess moisture (high humidity conditions), or the wound roll was subjected to high heat, either before or after processing.

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Is film combustible? 
Film is not considered an easily combustible material, whether coated on Estar base (polyester) or on cellulose triacetate base. Hazards in use and storage are small, being somewhat less than those presented by common newsprint paper. The thickness of the film base has a significant effect on the burning rate. Compared with film on cellulose triacetate base, Estar base film of roughly comparable thickness has a lower burning rate; however, all Kodak films pass, by a wide margin, the standard burning test for safety film (American National Standards (ANSI), standard PH1.25-1976.

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What is the autoignition temperature of film? 
The autoignition characteristics of a material define the temperature at which the material starts to burn without the benefit of an external spark. The approximate autoignition temperature for Estar base is 480 degrees C (900 F) and 430 degrees C (800 F) for cellulose triacetate film base.

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What effect does humidity have on film? Humidity lower than 50 percent usually increases static problems and dirt attraction to processed film. At very low humidity, film curl may become a problem (e.g., Newton's Rings).

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What are Newton's Rings? 
Concentric bands of colored light sometimes seen around the areas where two transparent surfaces are not quite in contact are referred to as Newton's Rings. The rings are the result of interference and occur when the separation between the surfaces is of the same order as the wavelength of light.

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Why doesn't Kodak finish and spool B&W T-MAX Film for use in motion picture cameras? 
The following information is posted to address the frequently asked question "Why doesn't Kodak finish and spool B&W T-MAX film for use in motion picture cameras"? 

History
Photographers familiar with the speed/grain relationship of T-MAX technology in the still film market often question the the feasiblity of using T-MAX products in a motion picture system. The Professional Motion Imaging (PMI) Business Unit requested we evaluate both T-MAX 100 and T-MAX 400 as a potential motion picture film several years ago.
Kodak personnel from the Systems Group originally evaluated T-MAX in 1990 using the "standards D-96 process chemistry. Projections indicated T-MAX did NOT offer the expected speed/grain relationship. The T-MAX products did not show a significant grain improvement relative to current motion picture camera negatives, 7222 and 7231. Although we were unable to explain why T-MAX did not show the expected results, project priority did not warrant further investigation at the time.
A subsequent investigation began in 1992 after PMI personnel learned new information from Kodak B&W / T-MAX experts. The experts suggested we may need an "optimized" developer to obtain the desired speed/grain relationship. PMI personnel developed a new test plan to include D-76, which is a recommended developer for T-MAX products. Although still a low priority, Kodak pursued a partnership with Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, who agreed to execute the test in their facility. The advantages to this partnership included: strengthening our relationship with film Schools; minimizing the strain on Kodak resources; and, evaluating the T-MAX product in a customer motion picture lab.

Evaluation
Kodak and Ryerson Film Institute partnered in the venture and agreed on appropriate process and exposure conditions after running time of development series and determining approximate EI ratings for the T-MAX films. The team used the "standard D-96 and Ryerson's" modified D-76 process chemistries.
The team discussed and defined five different scenes with varying lighting ratios. T-MAX and Eastman camera negative stocks were processed to the same contrast and printed onto Eastman Fine Grain Release Positive Film, 7302.
Film students and faculty from Ryerson viewed the final projections and rated each scene for granularity, sharpness and contrast.

T-MAX 100 and T-MAX 400 
Conclusions
1. The EI rating of both T-MAX 100 and T-MAX 400 in a motion picture system could be either 64 or 100. Current motion picture products are sensitometrically faster than the T-MAX products tested (See curves 1-4).
2. There is NO SIGNIFICANT granularity improvement using the T-MAX products in either the D-96 or "modified" D-76 process chemistries. This statement is supported by Kodak personnel and survey results from Ryerson students and faculty.
3. The T-MAX 400 provides greater under-exposure latitude that results in more detail in the shadow areas. However, this is achieved at the expense of "smokey blacks".
4. T-MAX products require increased fix times (i.e. five to six minutes) to remove silver and sensitizing dye. This requirement will probably not be easily achieved with most B&W processing machines as they are currently designed.

Recommended Path Forward 
PMI will not pursue further testing of T-MAX 100 or T-MAX 400 as replacement products for either EASTMAN Double-X Film (EI 200) 5/7222 or EASTMAN Plus-X Negative Film (EI 64) 5/7231 stocks. This recommendation is based on the fact we were not able to achieve the original program objective of replacing current product with off-the-shelf camera negative stocks that exhibit significantly improved granularity.

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Why aren't motion picture films dated? 
Kodak's professional motion picture films are designed for professional motion picture production. They are used shortly after purchase and are not stored for extended periods.

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How long can color film maintain quality if refrigerated?

You can see a detailed explanation of film storage here. You can find other storage recommendations in the specific product technical datasheets and also in the publication
H-2 Cinematographer's Field Guide (PDF File 629 KB, 50 pp.)

In general, Kodak recommends the following storage at a relative humidity (RH) of 50%:

  • For general storage, store unexposed camera films at 13° C (50° F) or lower.
  • For periods exceeding six months, store unexposed camera films at -18° C (0° F) or lower.

High humidity can promote mold growth and ferrotyping, and lower humidity can create static marks when printing or buckling due to uneven moisture loss. Refrigerating camera films reduces the photographic effects of storage, but refrigeration cannot reduce the effects of ambient gamma radiation. Gamma radiation (high energy from cosmic radiation and low energy from radio-nucleotide decay) increases the D-min densities and toe densities and also increases grain. Higher speed films are more affected by gamma radiation than lower speed films. A camera film with an EI (Exposure Index) of 800 has a three times greater change than an EI 200 film. Exposed and unprocessed film that has been properly refrigerated retains the speed and contrast of the exposure conditions, but the overall D-min, toe and grain will continue to increase. For more information, visit Film Storage Information.

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Do I need a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for film and paper? 
The MSDS is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) to communicate any potential health or physical hazard that may be associated with the use of a chemical substance. Under normal conditions of use, Kodak's photographic films and papers to not pose a physical or health hazard. Also, they qualify as "articles" under OSHA at 29 Code of Federal Register 1910.1200 (c), and articles are exempt from the hazard communication programs of which MSDS form a part (See 29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(6)(v)). Therefore, an MSDS is not required for film or paper.

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Production 

What are some film handling tips?
  1. Handle only film edges wearing white lint-free gloves.
  2. Film should be clean and adequately lubricated, if possible.
  3. Remake any splices that require attention.
  4. Use reels that are free of nicks, burrs of bends.
  5. Keep film off floors and bench tops while winding.
  6. Alert film exchanges, libraries, etc., to damaged film sections. Replace reel if damage is extreme.
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Do I need to use an 85 filter? 
It is always best to expose film as accurately as possible. This allows more tolerance for any other errors that may creep into the system. If, for example, the 85 filter is not used, the film is overexposed in the blue layer. This difference could be printed out, but if the film was processed in a negative process that was fast in blue or slow in the green and red, or if the intermediates made from the negative were slightly blue, etc. then the results might be too blue, and unacceptable.

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What is Negative Insurance? 
Negative Insurance is the term used to describe the insurance taken out by a production company to cover possible losses in a production. The coverage is not limited to negative film, and is not even limited to film. A better term than Negative Insurance might be Production Insurance.

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Where can I purchase Kodak Step Wedges or WRATTEN filters?

Kodak Step Wedge Film for KODAK WRATTEN Photographic filters, and other quality control and calibration devices can be ordered directly from Kodak.

Kodak and Wratten are trademarks of Eastman Kodak Company.

Frequently Asked Questions provide information of limited or specific application. Responsibility for judging the applicability of the information for a specific use rests with the end user.

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Post-Production 

How should I store my film? 
Store films at cool temperatures in low relative humidity, even for very short periods (21degrees C / 70 degrees F) and 40-50% RH.

Never store films:
  1. In glove compartments
  2. In vehicles, especially trunks
  3. Near heat sources
  4. In damp basements (nearly all basements are damp in hot weather)
  5. Near fumes from sulphur, car exhaust, solvents, toxic gases
  6. In refrigerators, unless film is properly sealed
  7. Outdoors, conditions vary too much
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What's a short end? 
A short end is unexposed film that is left over from a roll of film after production is completed. Often these are collected and reused by the production company on their next production or they may be sold to businesses who resell these films at reduced prices to other production companies. Great care should be exercised when using short ends because the second purchaser may get film that has been affected by heat, radiation, or keeping problems due to age.

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