Motion picture

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Motion picture film is photographic film for moving pictures (motion pictures), further developed from roll film and provided with perforation . From the beginning up to the early 1950s it was a matter of flammable nitrocellulose material (nitrofilm), then increasingly safety film made of cellulose acetate . Today, cinema copies are mostly made on PET .

Motion picture film exists in different formats, including normal , wide and narrow film . Of many film formats that were often only in use for a short time, few have survived, with normal film being the most widely used.

Motion picture film is wound on cores and spools, of which there are fixed and divisible ones.


The oldest known motion picture film was made by William KL Dickson around 1891 . After experimenting with sheet film wrapped around a roller and a one-half inch wide strip of celluloid roll film from Reichenbach and Eastman, perforated along one edge and fed horizontally, Dickson went over to 1 ⅜ inch (34.925 mm) wide. He ran the strips, which were provided with a row of rectangular holes on both sides, vertically. He gave the image window of his camera, called the Kinetograph , the dimensions ¾ inches × 1 inch (19.05 by 25.4 mm). The first portions, which were longer than sections of roll film that were glued together, were made on table benches covered with mirror glass and measured an Anglo-Saxon chain (66 feet) or a good 20 meters. This type of motion picture film was made by Blair in Kent, England, Lumière in Lyon, France, and Reichenbach in Rochester, USA.

William Green claimed to have used perforated celluloid film material for cinematic purposes in 1889. Louis Le Prince is said to have had a feature film at the same time.

Modern manufacturing

In 1899, the Eastman-Kodak company began producing films on a heated, polished roller, from which the carrier material is stripped off after the solvent has evaporated. Lengths of 1,000 feet (305 m) and more became possible. However, until the start of the sound film , producers had no need for portions larger than 400 feet (122 m).

Today motion picture films are produced in lengths of up to four kilometers. Dozens of strips are cut from cast rolls weighing several hundred kilograms, that is, carrier rolls about 1.2 m wide that are coated with emulsions . These cut rolls are perforated and then cut to length. Motion picture film is sold in portions of 6000, 4000, 2000, 1000, 500, 400, 200, 100 and 33 feet (a good 1800, 1200, 600, 300, 150, 120, 60, 30 and 10 meters respectively) . The Blair & Eastman material mentioned above was a "chain" long, 66 Anglo-Saxon feet or a good 20 meters.

Photographic coating

Motion picture films are produced with a colorless, clear and colored base (carrier). Cloudy (opaque) film exists as an auxiliary material for developing machines and for assembly. The carrier is colored to protect against halos, namely gray, blue-gray or blue for black and white films . Color motion picture film has a soot gelatin layer on the back to protect against halation. In machine development, the first thing to do is to remove this protective layer at the end of a pre-bath.

There are a variety of motion picture footage. Depending on the purpose, highly to extremely sensitive materials are used, namely for image recording, low-sensitivity materials with the finest grain of the photo layer for sound recording and films adapted to the special requirements of duplicating and copying. Despite the general use of color film, black and white cinema films are now available in unprecedented abundance, including surveillance films, X-ray films, infrared films , microfilms , new types of positive materials and special films for the field of archival technology.


  • Charles Edward Kenneth Mees, TH James: The Theory of the Photographic Process. 1942 ff. MacMillan Co., New York
  • Eastman-Kodak Co., Rochester NY: Motion-Picture Films for Professional Use. 1942
  • Eastman-Kodak Co., Entertainment Imaging: Kodak Motion-Picture Film. ISBN 0-87985-477-4