Re: 16mm professionalism

From: 40 Frames (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 24 2007 - 11:15:27 PST

>> "Professional" applications of 16mm didn't come about until the post
>> world
>> television market started developing. The Arri St was not introduced
>> until
>> 1952. For the first 30 years of the 16mm format it was widely the domain
>> of "amateur" makers.
> I agree with the larger point you're making, but if we include wartime
> information, educational and corporate filmmaking, professionalism and the
> 16mm film industry developed during WWII. In 1943 the National 16mm
> Advisory Committee assisted the Office of War Information distributed over
> 10,000 prints of 200 different films to 450 community centers around the
> country. The Pasadena, California school system circulated over 8,000
> reels
> of film by 1945-46. The Film Council of America was established by 1946.
> You're right that the big boom came in the 1950s but not only due to
> television. Expenditures for industrial films (corporate films for
> internal
> use and general distribution) between 1945 and 1959 exceeded $2.5 billion.
> I knew these numbers would come in handy one day.
> James Kreul
> University of North Carolina Wilmington
> email suppressed

Yes, perhaps I was downplaying the impact that WWII would have on 16mm
technology, though I think it remains accurate to say that television
would have an enormous impact in fact a larger impact than WWII.

It's interesting to look at the development of super 16. Ericson's
experiments with the format began in the mid-1960s, but it's only recently
that manufacturers have dedicated their products to this format (Kodak's
elimination of double sprocket film; Aaton A-minima is super 16 only as is
Arri's new 416, and of course the post workflow has been completely
transformed to think largely in terms of wide aspect ratios, moving away
from the old 1.33).

It's amazing how slow (comparatively speaking) these developments are. 30
years of 16mm as largely "amateur" (or privately used) shifting to more
public application, then 30 years as professional, and super 16 once again
redefining its application as high-end production format (with some
deviations of course).

BTW, thanks for drawing attention to the various wartime and industrial
uses of the format. 16mm has travelled a rather zig zag course, swinging
back and forth between the amateur and professional, private and public.


Alain LeTourneau
Pamela Minty
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