Film length

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As a film length is defined as the physical length of the finished cut and vorführbereiten footage . Which is derived from colloquially temporal extension ( runtime , Vorführdauer or playing time ) of a film as well as the film length call. A film shown from a 35 mm film copy and shown at 24 frames per second with a running time of 90 minutes, for example, has a film length of around 2469 meters.


The length of a cinema film was traditionally measured in files ( reels ), which means the film rolls delivered for the cinema show . With 35 mm film , one roll holds around 300 meters (1000 feet ) of film material , which corresponds to a presentation time of around 11 minutes (at 24 frames per second). In the early days of cinema since around 1908, films were classified according to their length as one-act (11 minutes) or two-act (22 minutes). Ultimately, this classification had economic reasons: The film cans could be standardized for shipping to the cinemas.

One- and two-act films were often still elements of a numbering program and formed the standard formats of early fictional films up into the 1910s. Charlie Chaplin's productions during the First World War are considered classics of the two-act . In the 1920s, the avant-garde feature film and short film developed from this . There was a move towards films according to their length as short films (usually up to 30 minutes), medium -length films (30 to 60 minutes) and feature films or "full-length films" (60 to 120 minutes) as well as films with extra length (over 120 minutes) classify. However, these are not set standards. The German Film Funding Agency, for example, defines in its funding guidelines a minimum length of 79 minutes for feature films and documentaries and 59 minutes for children's films. Short films are films up to 30 minutes (or 58 minutes for children's films).

In the French film industry and the cinema branches of the Romansh-speaking area , the term métrage ( French for 'meters') is still relevant today as a term for the length of a film. A distinction is made between court métrage , Italian cortometraggio , Spanish cortometraje (short films with a screening duration of up to 30 minutes and approx. 900 meters of film length), moyen métrage , Italian mediometraggio , Spanish mediometraje (between 30 and 60 minutes and 900 and 1600 meters) and long métrage , Italian lungometraggio , Spanish largometraje (from 60 minutes and 1,600 meters of film length).


When looking at film lengths, the number of frames per second ( frame rate ) must always be taken into account. Films, which are usually produced at 24 frames per second by means of, PAL acceleration ( English PAL speed-up ) in the PAL converted format, which instead of 25 frames or 50 fields per second works. When converting cinema films (24 frames / s) to NTSC format (29.97 frames / s or 59.94 fields / s), the playback speed must also be changed; the procedure for this is the 3: 2 pull-down .

Media and formats that can save films at 24 frames per second, such as Blu-ray Disc , are not affected. In the case of television, on the other hand, the problem remains largely the same with HDTV , since stations that broadcast in PAL (analog) and SD (digital) at 50 Hz continue to do so in HD.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Julius von Harpen ( University of Kiel ): two acts. In: Hans Jürgen Wulff (Ed.): Lexicon of Filmbegriffe (online project), as of October 2, 2012.
  2. Julius von Harpen: one and two acts. In: Hans Jürgen Wulff (Ed.): Lexicon of Filmbegriffe , as of October 12, 2012.
  3. FFA Filmförderungsanstalt | Production. Retrieved September 26, 2019 .
  4. FFA Filmförderungsanstalt | Short film. Retrieved September 26, 2019 .
  5. ^ Julius von Harpen: Métrage. In: Hans Jürgen Wulff (Ed.): Lexicon of Filmbegriffe , as of July 30, 2011.
  6. Why movies run faster on TV. In: Terra-X. ZDF, January 29, 2018, accessed on October 5, 2019 (video available until January 28, 2021).