SHOOTING FORMATS #0.7: Film stock

Film has developed a new meaning as a verb – to film… but the origins come from the material – a thin sheet. This thin sheet has had lots of incarnations, starting with fragile paper and moving to flammable celluloid (see ‘Inglourious Basterds’ or ‘Cinema Paradiso’ for memorable onscreen film fires…

Gelatine was used as a way of creating a colloid for the light sensitive chemicals – (a colloid is a mixture where one ingredient is suspended with equal spacing in the other – just as milk is butter fats suspended in water) here is a disturbing video about how gelatine is made, from a human point of view the invention of digital cinemtography is great as it reduces the mediums connection to boiled animal bits. Think twice before you chew on cheap gelatine sweets!

The old nitrate flammable films were prone to deteriorate – leading to lots of old film reels to turn to a vinegar smelling dust in the can.

Stocks are given names by a mixture of there chemical properties – light sensitivity – company-brand name and the size of the stock – coming in standard fittings for the manufacture of the standard gate sizes in cameras ie, 35mm, S/16mm, s/8mm 9-1/2mm 72mm etc.


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