Cinematography Mailing List - CML

16mm To 35mm Blowup


Hello all, please any insights /advice on shooting 16mm for a 35mm print out. Contrast ratio? Framing? Can I shoot 16mm and get a 1:185 on 35mm?

Does depth-of-field change when blown up to 35mm?

This is for a short film. It will originally be finished onto video and once /if accepted at any A-list film festival then we get funding to do the 35mm print. I have not decided on what stock to use yet.


David Paul
New Zealand

Most important is good solid exposure, most people go for 1/2 or 2/3 stop over. This keeps the graininess under control.

Choose stock one notch slower (therefore finer-grained) than you would if you were shooting 35mm. That said, you can get away with any of the Vision 2 emulsions. Graininess is also minimised in a subjective way by ensuring you always have a bright element in your shot, however dark the rest is. A touch of rim or back lighting for example.

Shooting super 16, the full frame is 1:1.66. If you frame for 1:1.85, you will get that on the 35mm if it's projected with that mask.

There is heaps of discussion in the archives of cml about depth of field.

Best rule of thumb is to follow the tables for your lenses.

Be sure to talk to your lab before, during and after. In particular you need to consider what path you would follow for the blow-up to 35 if (hopefully when) you get funding, i.e optical blow-up (various options) or digital blow-up. You need to be clear on this before you commit to video effects that aren't easy to reproduce on film, and before you cut the negative in any way.

Dominic Case
Director of Communications
The Atlab Group
* PO Box 766, Artarmon, NSW 2064
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>Hello all, please any insights /advice on shooting 16mm for a 35mm >print out. contrast ratio? framing? Can I shoot 16mm and get a 1:185 on >35mm?

Shoot the slowest speed film stock you can and overexpose it up to a stop. Shoot Super 16 and get a ground glass marked for 1.85:1 and you should be fine. Get a lab that has experience doing this and talk to them about what they think works.

>does depth-of-field change when blown up to 35mm?

Nope. You gain two stops worth of depth of field. An f1.4 yields the equivalent of an f2.8 in 35mm depth of field, and since you have to shoot slower film you can take advantage of that with a good set of Super Speeds.

>have not decided on what stock to use yet.

A slow to medium speed Vision2 stock would probably work marvellously. With any luck you can get the money for a DI which would really help you out in the blowup.

Art Adams, DP [film|hidef|video]
San Francisco Bay Area - "Silicon Valley"
Dramatic License #CA14886
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