Remember Super 16mm?

Written by Andy Stout

Shutterstock/RedShark16 mm film cans

Even if you don’t, it seems a lot of fairly influential people do. Directors UK, the 4500-strong professional association of directors working with the moving image in the UK, has sent a letter signed by 32 of Britain’s most renowned exponents of the art to the BBC’s Creative Director, Alan Yentob, calling for a review of the BBC’s Technical Guidelines on film delivery for HD

The BBC effectively banned the use of Super 16mm, saying it was unsuitable for HD, several years ago. The Directors – and the signatories include Ken Loach, Stephen Frears, Michael Apted, Paul Greengrass, Jane Campion, Edgar Wright, Kenneth Branagh, Terry Gilliam, and Alan Parker – want it back.

In the letter, Directors UK stated on behalf of its members: “It is our strong view that delivering the image to an audience is a key part the director's job and universal standards across all genres do not necessarily serve the best interests of the audience. We would therefore like to work with the BBC and other Broadcasters to encourage a more creative environment for the benefit of audiences, broadcasters and industry practitioners.”

Or getting the 'film look' without the expense of shooting on 35mm in other words.

Technical Guidelines

Directors UK has called for an immediate review of this aspect of the BBC’s Technical Guidelines, saying that in the five years since the ban 16mm film transfer technology has improved greatly and that picture quality cannot be solely expressed as an engineering standard.

Anyone care to comment? Should we still be using 16mm tech or is it really time to move on?

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