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Eclair Cameras: Super 16mm vrs R-16

A good question. Nothing is wrong with shooting 16mm.

However because Super 16 gives 50% more image area in 35mm 1.85 theatrical compared with R-16 (technically 46%), the quality difference is a lot more than a smidgen. I've blown up R-16 and S-16; the difference is extreme. And remember that not only are you dealing with film grain, but with image sharpness. The greater the degree of enlargement, the less sharp the image no matter how fine the film grain is.

A well-exposed film shot in S-16 on the slower stocks cannot be readily distinguished from a 35mm film on a huge theatrical screen, (especially with 35 being shot on high speed films these days). However I have yet to see a R-16 blowup on a really big theatrical screen that does not look like a blowup. Of course, if one is going for that kind of look then it isn't a problem.

There really aren't any lab or post problems that I am aware of anymore. Although most labs that do 16mm handle S-16, if in doubt the creme-de-la-creme is considered DU ART in New York. They've processed all my S-16 for over a decade and it has been wonderful looking. Same price as R-16.

Although there is no problem modifying old post equipment to S-16, (I have hand modified a S-16 moviola, old Steenbeck, and lots of projectors), 99% of 16mm editing is done digitially now anyway.

As far as blowup problems go, the only problem is $$$, but you'd have the same thing whether R-16 or S-16.

And with HDTV around the corner, you are also protecting your investment.

So, that's my 2 cents. Mark.

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