What Is: Film | How Film Works and Its Place in Modern Filmmaking

without any shadow of a doubt we love
movies. big movie releases gross hundreds of millions of dollars and the names of
actors and directors are considered common knowledge but while we certainly love films many of
us overlook one of the most important elements in all of film history the film itself its a medium that’s been
around for well over a century and while these strips of celluloid contains some
of the most well-known images in all of human history most of us are in the dark
when it comes to film this begs the question what is film well let’s break
it down and look at a different components these little cut-outs called
perforations run along the edge of the strip they provide the camera a way to move to
film around easily and accurately to keep an even spacing between images some film contains a stripper recording audio from the camera this is either a
magnetic strip or an optical waveform it’s worth noting though that when
filming motion pictures audio is recorded to a separate device frames of
the rectangles that contain the image and just like how megapixel determine
the size of the digital image the size of these frames impact how big the image can be printed or projected before lose quality so the frames
perforations and audio strips are often rearranged to make space for a bigger
image super 8 film in comparison to standard 8mm film for example shrinks the
perforations on the edge to make space for a larger image across the width of
the stock but there’s also the tried-and-true just make it bigger
approach to film stocks 16 millimeters the next size up with standard 16 and
super 16 being the popular formats although both are actually shot on the
same single perf film 35 millimeter is probably the most
notable film it’s the standard for hollywood as well
as the size of the film in those little canisters that you buy for still
photography but while the size is the same they’re both different format
70 millimeter film is the largest available film stock for the biggest of
the big screens will know that this IMAX 70 millimeter film runs
horizontally rather than vertically because turn the frame sideways is a
more efficient layout than vertical meaning the extra space can be spent on making
the frames even larger now there are many different sizes and configurations
of film modern film stock all works the same way the film itself is composed of
several different layers of filters barriers and light-sensitive emulsions
but I’m going to boil it down to just its two main part the key to what makes them
work as a light sensitive coating on the film composed of tiny little grains of
silver halide when struck by light these grains change from one state to another
when developing film has been exposing a camera the chemical bath removes only the grains that have been changed by interaction with light and the more grains the get
removed from an area the whiter that area will become and more grains that get left behind the
darker that part of the image will be now this is fine for plain old
black-and-white film but to record color will need three of these light-sensitive
layers each of these layers will be sensitized only react with light of a
single color so we’ll need one blue one green and one red layer all stacked
together in that order just like you can mix primary colors of paints
together to make other colors red green and blue are the primary colors for
light is seen by the cones in the human eye now since we have separate
recordings of the red green and blue information we can recombine these
to get the full color image this is a really cool topic by itself but I didn’t
have time to go into much detail so if you want to learn more about how your
kindergarten teacher lied to you about what primary colors are or why film
negatives are such weird colors go check out the bonus video these emulsion
layers as well as some additional filters and barriers are all sandwiched
together in a flexible transparent material in the early days was in nitro
celluloid but this proved to be explosive I mean it literally chemically
related to gun cotton in early military-grade explosive this this made the safer acetate-celluloid films a much welcomed creation although put the
silver halide it still technically is flammable acetate based film stocks were
around for a good portion of the century before film manufacturers began to favor
of polyester plastic is the base starting in the 1990s and there you have
it all these components working together create the height of image capturing
technology of the twentieth century and while other technologies of its era
have either been upgraded or replaced by newer technologies film has survived
relatively unchanged and even more impressively while more and more movies
are being produced with digital cameras film is still here and for the time
being a viable alternative to the best digital cameras we have available today
but film is going away don’t be sad though digital is a worthy
successor and it may very well go on to build a legacy as lasting his film but
while the tools may soon be going digital the people who use them will still be


  1. charding4000 April 20, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Great video. But, why no mention of Vistavision and Technicolor?

  2. Aaron Hawkins April 20, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Great info! Where's the bonus video that you refer to? I don't see it on your channel. I'd love to watch it!

  3. Mustafa Kurtay April 21, 2016 at 7:43 am

    loving the way you put it together, easy and fun t follow, yet very informative.. looking forward to more of your stuff 🙂

  4. Ankit Govind Photography April 21, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Very informative, thanks for making this. 🙂

  5. Owen G April 21, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Make more videos, you're gonna go far.

  6. Gavin Greenwalt April 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Film doesn't really work by all of the exposed silver grains staying and the unexposed silver grains leaving.  In modern film light interacts with the silver particles.   However even with the silver "exposed" it's not what you see in the film.

    1) The exposed silver is fixed and the unexposed silver is removed.
    2) The exposed silver now acts as a little magnet to which dyes glob onto.  (This is the actual image).
    3) The dyes are set.

    If you look at modern developed film under a microscope you'll see a little clump/blob of dye and in the middle you'll see a teeny tiny little nucleus.  That little pure black nucleus is the silver crystal to which everything clumped onto.  There are a few reasons for this, most importantly, color film wouldn't be color if every layer was black and white so each layer needs a different dye color to glob onto the silver crystal (CMY).   Also it results in massive cost savings since you only need 1/10,000th of the film covered in silver crystals.   Maybe silver was used throughout the entire exposure once upon a time but dyes have long since taken over.

  7. GameSnippetsUK April 21, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    It's surprising how expensive 70mm cameras are still because I assume they use this format. Can you get bigger than medium format digital sensors outside of NASA cameras?

  8. Jeremy Smith April 21, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    "Begging the question" does not mean the same thing as "asking the question." Begging the question comes from philosophy and means that one is assuming to be true what they're attempting to prove. I hear and see people making this mistake very often.

  9. K3V0M April 22, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Very nice video but I am still confused mostly about the 35mm format. When I first looked into that a couple of weeks ago I was surprised that there can be audio on the film but what I don't understand is the weird crop that is sometimes applied. Especially the 35mm academy film which I thought was 36x24mm in image size like the "full frame" digital sensors but it is apperiently 24x16mm o__o

  10. 6 April 22, 2016 at 5:28 am

    "How Film Works and It's Place In Modern Filmmaking"
    That should be an its as it is possessive; it's means it is.
    Also, that is a terribly capitalized video title! Google how to properly capitalize titles! All of these things will make your channel look so much better.
    Superb video. Subscribed!

  11. oc2phish07 April 23, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Wow! What an interesting, informative and enjoyable video. Congrats. I learned a lot from just this one, short presentation.

  12. Mark Acevedo April 24, 2016 at 4:11 am

    Very cool video, by the time i got into photography- very rarely do video, the world had already predominantly shifted to digital. I do however, have a lot of respect for how things were done and this video educated me a lot, so thank you for that. I was absolutely shocked that Star Wars Force Awakens was shot on film, i remember film movies as a kid having all the weird circles and pops and artifacts etc. and that film has absolutely none of that and if i hadn't been told I'd never know it was shot on film and i think that says a lot for its viability these days! If a movie maker prefers the look of film, then rock on, clearly it can hold up in 2016 and i do appreciate the creativity that comes from a different 'look' then is the norm.

  13. 6 April 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Someone actually followed my advice for once. Sweet.

    Please make more videos. This is such good stuff.

  14. Ian Tester April 24, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Good video, but it has some problems. Like, why do you show the film having both a top and bottom "base"? It's not a sandwich.
    Your description of how film is processed is too simplified. You're essentially describing a reversal process. Motion picture film is processed into negatives, that get transferred to positive "intermediates", that get edited, etc.

  15. somchit kittisak May 18, 2016 at 5:58 am

    how does visual art incorporated into film?

  16. Soren Sorensen July 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I think it is retarded shooting with 35 mm on a movie like Star Wars 7. Because you still have to scan in all the frames of the film, and then make them digital, and then apply CGI to them, and then set them to digital editing. And then it is also distributed digitally. Most of what Quentin Tarantino shot in the Hateful 8 were in-camera effects, so I would be more understandable filming that movie in film (70 mm) and not digital. But I guess the Disney folk wanted to appeal to all those masturbating monkeys of the internet, who had complained that digital film was bad, even though them selves dont take pictures with the old analog cameras.

  17. Ruben G. Marrufo July 20, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Film is not going away. Were oil paintings substituted by acrylics? Were acrylics substituted by markers? Its will be an option to capture images just as VHS, super8, 16mm minidv, DSLR and even your phone. I really dislike when people want to bury film.

  18. EpicBeard815 July 20, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Film should and will remain a viable option for filmmakers in the coming future, just as pencil drawing remains even in the age of photoshop.

    The problem is that the same industry that made film cameras and spools so expensive so as to centralize the industry in Hollywood (which is just a continuation of what Edison did) is the same industry that abandoned the format because their predecessors choked the price of the format. That's capitalism for you.

    But even in this age of 12k processing, film retains qualities yet to be matched by digital, in terms of color fidelity and conveyance of depth. There is a reality to analogue formats that digital will only ever be able to replicate, not match. Beyond that, film is a discipline. There is a skill and intimacy of the format that dictates a rhythm and style of filmmaking that isn't required by digital. Some might say good riddance, but its that methodology and rhythm that has defined filmmaking for 100 years, and has produced some of the greatest works of human history. To toss it aside just for commerce would be a grievous error.

  19. Jonathan J Scott Films July 20, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Great video, concise and well put together. There is somewhat of a great irony that this is on YouTube if you catch my drift. 😉

  20. Stefano Pasotti July 26, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    35mm a standard for film and still photography?! NO TRUE!
    Still photography uses 35mm (24x36mm) and motion picture film is super35mm (aprox 19x25mm) comparable to digital APSC-C sensor…although there is a motion picture film similar to the one used for still photography called Vistavision, that was never a standard to shoot films and very few films were shot in that format

  21. Tyson L August 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Whoa the cost of shooting 10min of 35mm costs 1.5k?! What if you shoot on short ends?

  22. Jeremy Herron November 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Great video….but saying it costs $0 to shoot on an Epic or Alexa is not true – when shooting with those cameras you blow through TONS of media, and still have to spend $$$ storing all of that.

  23. Take Zero January 6, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Nice video! Thanks for making it. 🙂

  24. Erik Thureson June 5, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Simply Inspiring!

  25. HollowShun February 2, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    I feel totally sad for film now.

  26. Aqib.A.A February 25, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Until Christopher Nolan dies, film might still live on… Hopefully we don't abandon it

  27. Andrew Watts May 28, 2018 at 3:50 am

    Polyester film is only used for projection prints. Polyester is much stronger than acetate and therefore if it jams in the camera it does not break like acetate and would run the risk of damaging the camera. Acetate is still used in camera for shooting your negative. Polyester prints stocks can be used in camera, and indeed a number of amateur filmmakers will use it in 16mm camera. It is not as light sensitive and you do not have day light or tungsten balanced polyester film stock, but it can be used. It is an exception not a rule.

  28. NATURAL GAMER December 30, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    how they use to make copy of these films

  29. Nandika Mogha February 20, 2019 at 5:28 am

    loved the ending 🙂 thankyou for your work!

  30. Chipwhitley274 March 3, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    I suppose you don't understand what the term "begs the question" means.

  31. Baikuntha Mohapatra March 7, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Great video.. loved it.

  32. New Milford RAIL FAN June 24, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Still shoot with my Minolta 35mm slr

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