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16mm see GAUGE
35mm see GAUGE
8mm see GAUGE
9.5mm see GAUGE



ABRASION MARKS: Scratches on film caused by dirt, improper handling, grit,
emulsion pile-ups, and certain types of film damage

ACETATE: Type of film base. May be di- or tri-acetate. Cellulose tri-acetate is
more common for modern film. Acetate safety film was first produced in the
1920s in order to avoid the risk of flammability posed by nitrate-based films. See

ACIDIC: Containing acid. In regards to safety film, primarily refers to acetic acid,
which is a result of acetate decomposition. Buildup of acetic acid causes

AMATEUR: Non-professional. An amateur filmmaker is someone who does not
make movies professionally, but makes movies as a hobby.

ARCHIVAL: In reference to storage supplies, refers to chemically inert materials.
Archival materials will not chemically affect the item you are trying to preserve.
More generally, describes the film stock and storage conditions which provide for
long-term (at least one hundred years) storage of film.

ARCHIVAL PRINTING [copying film to film]: This can be done at a lab that has
equipment that can handle shrunken, brittle, older film without destroying it.

AUTOCATALYTIC: This term relates to VINEGAR SYNDROME. An autocatalytic process is one which feeds upon itself. In the case of VS, the decaying acetate film creates ACETIC ACID, which in turn speeds up the
process of decay.



BALANCE STRIPE: A magnetic stripe on the opposite edge of the film from the
magnetic track. It is much thinner than the stripe that is used for the soundtrack.
Although the purpose of the stripe is to keep the film level on the reel, some
projectors also record on it.

BASE: The transparent, flexible support, commonly cellulose acetate, on which
photographic emulsions are coated to make photographic film.

BINDER: Polymers used to bind a film’s emulsion to the base, or magnetic
particles together and to the base of magnetic tapes.

BLOW-UP: A picture element which is on a larger format gauge than the original.
For instance, a super 8 film can be blown up to 35mm.

BUCKLE: Occurs when the perforated edges of film are shorter than the center
(the film has become shrunken). It is caused by the loss of solvent or moisture
from the edges of the film during long storage.


CAMERA ORIGINAL: Film exposed in a camera (not at the lab).

CAMPHOR: A PLASTICIZER used in nitrate and di-acetate film to promote
flexibility and decrease brittleness. Films treated with camphor have a distinctive
" mothball smell".

CINCH MARKS: Short scratches on the surface of a motion picture film, running
parallel to its length. These are caused by dust or other abrasive particles
between film coils, or by improper winding of the roll, permitting one coil of film to
slide against the other (see CINCHING).

CINCHING: Practice of pulling the end of a roll to tighten it. Not recommended.

CONSERVATION: The actions taken to ensure the continued physical survival
of an artifact without further degradation, for example, storing your film in archival
cans and in cold vaults.

CRAZING: Thin fracture lines in the emulsion of film, caused by the shrinkage of
the acetate.

CUPPING: A type of film damage in which it is impossible for the film to lie flat,
due to some part having shrunk more than another. BUCKLING describes film
whose edges are shorter than the center. EDGEWAVE or FLUTING occurs
when the edges are longer than the center.


DIACETATE (or DI-ACETATE): The initial 16 mm films were made with Cellulose
Diacetate, an early form of cellulose acetate base. It has the characteristic smell
of camphor or mothballs. Was replaced by Cellulose Triacetate by 1951.

DISPLACEMENT: The number of frames separating the sound and picture as it
runs through a projector.

8mm magnetic track = 56 frames
Super 8 magnetic track = 18 frames
Super 8 optical track = 22 frames
16mm magnetic track = 28 frames
16mm optical track = 26 frames



EDGE CODES [or DATE CODES] Symbols printed along the edge of film stocks
indicating the year of manufacture.

EMULSION or EMULSION LAYER: (1) Broadly, any light-sensitive photographic
material consisting of a gelatin layer containing silver halides together with the
base and any other layers or ingredients that may be required to produce a film
having desirable mechanical and photographic properties. (2) In discussions of
the anatomy of a photographic film, the emulsion layer is any coating that
contains light sensitive silver halides grains, as distinguished from the backing,
base, substratum, or filter layers.



FILM (motion picture): A thin, flexible, transparent ribbon with perforations along
one or both edges; it bears either a succession of images or a sensitive layer
capable of producing photographic images. See RAW STOCK.

FILM ARCHIVE: An institution dedicated to collecting and preserving motion
picture film (and sometimes also film-related equipment and ephemera).

FILM CEMENT: A special combination of solvents and solids used to make
overlap splices on motion picture film by its solvent action and subsequent
welding of the film at the junction.

FILM PRESERVATION: The entire process of extending the useful life of motion
picture film, including storage, duplication, labeling and cataloging.

FILM-TO-FILM PRESERVATION: The process of making new film negatives and
prints from existing films. This is currently the best way to ensure the longest
possible survival of a film.

FULL-COAT MAG: Magnetic film used for soundtracks that is entirely covered on
one side with the recording medium.



GATE: The aperture assembly at which the film is exposed in a camera, printer
or projector.

GAUGE: Refers to the format/width (in millimeters) of the film stock, i.e., super 8,
16 mm, or 35mm.

Primarily professional. Introduced 1895.
Professional and amateur. Introduced by Kodak, 1923.
Primarily amateur. Introduced by Kodak, 1932. Film stock is 16mm,
then split into two 8mm strips following processing.
Super 8
Amateur and professional. Introduced by Kodak, 1965.
Single 8
Primarily amateur. Polyester-based super 8 cartridge introduced by Fuji,
Primarily amateur. Introduced by Pathé, 1922.
Primarily amateur. Introduced by Pathé, 1912.

GELATIN: Substance used to hold halide particles in suspension in the emulsion.
Consists of protein derived from animal hooves, bone, and hides. This is the
same kind of gelatin you find in gelatin desserts, marshmallows, and other edible
items, but much more pure.

GRANINESS: The sand-like or granular appearance of a negative, print, or slide.
Graininess becomes more pronounced with faster film and the degree of



HEAD: The beginning of the (exposed) film. This is the end that goes through
the projector first. If there is a person standing in the frame, their head points up
toward the head of the film. See also TAIL.

HUB: The center of a film reel.



INERT: Does not react chemically.


KODACHROME: One of the earliest of the integral tri-pack (three-layer) color
reversal processes. It was created by Kodak for 16mm amateur stock in 1935. It
is color reversal and very stable. Available in motion picture film (8, super 8 or
16mm) and slide film.

KODACOLOR: Kodacolor was a lenticular color system introduced in the 1920s
which required the use of special lenses during projection. Unprojected,
Kodacolor film appears black and white with grooved lines on the film’s surface.


LEADER: Any film or strip of perforated plastic or vinyl used for threading a
motion picture machine. Leader protects the print from damage during the
threading of a projector.

LIQUID GATE: A printing system in which the original film is immersed in a liquid
that refracts light at the moment of exposure in order to reduce the appearance
of surface scratches and abrasions on the original during the copying process.


LEADER: Any film or strip of perforated plastic or vinyl used for threading a motion picture machine. Leader protects the print from damage during the threading of a projector.


LIQUID GATE: A printing system in which the original film is immersed in a liquid that refracts light at the moment of exposure in order to reduce the appearance of surface scratches and abrasions on the original during the copying process.



MAGNETIC SOUND: Soundtrack derived from an electronic audio signal
recorded on a magnetic oxide stripe or on full-coated magnetic tape. It
resembles audiocassette tape.

MAGNETIC SOUND HEAD: The magnetic sound reader installed above the
projector head but below the supply reel support arm or magazine.

MAGNETIC STRIPING: The application of magnetic material on motion picture
film intended for the recording of sound.



NEGATIVE: Generally not intended for projection, the negative contains the
reverse picture information. Used in the printing process to create positive
copies. Negative motion picture film is basically the same as negative still film.

NITRATE: Nitro-cellulose base film, used almost exclusively for 35mm film made
before 1952. Nitrate has not been produced since 1952 (produced until the
1970s in the USSR) due to problems with the film catching fire. Once nitrate film
is on fire, it cannot be put out. Nitrate film stock is identified by the word
NITRATE written along the edge of the film, outside the perforations. Still
photographic negatives were also made of nitrate base film.



OPTICAL SOUND: An optical soundtrack is photographically represented along
the side of the film as a wavy stripe of clear (variable area) or as gray gradations
(variable density). It corresponds to the modulations of the sound. The
soundtrack is read by means of an exciter lamp on the projector, which
transforms the light back into sound.

ORGANIC: Carbon-based. Non-synthetic.

OUT-TAKE: A filmed scene that is not used for printing or final assembly in




PARTICLE TRANSFER ROLLERS (PTRs): These sticky rubber rollers are used
in cleaning machines or on projectors (usually 35mm platter projectors) to clean
any dust and dirt off the film.

PERFORATION DAMAGE: Any breaks, tears, cracks, etc., that causes the
perforations to be misshapen or missing.

PERFORATIONS: Regularly spaced and accurately shaped holes which are
punched throughout the length of motion picture film. Pins, pegs, and sprockets
engage these holes as the film is transported through the camera, projector, or
other equipment.

PLASTICIZER: Chemicals (such as CAMPHOR) added to the film base to
ensure flexibility, and avoid brittleness and cracking.

POLYESTER: A name for polyethylene terephthalate. This is a non-organic
base for film. It is used nearly exclusively now for 35mm theatrical prints. Also
known as Mylar; Cronar is the trade name for Dupont motion picture products;
ESTAR Base is the trade name for Kodak products.

PRINT-THROUGH: When a film is printed, sometimes artifacts on the original,
such as edge codes, stock markings, perforations, dirt, scratches, and, can be
printed into the new element. Collectively, these are called PRINT-THROUGH
and will appear as white on black/grey and be reversed in comparison to the
duping material's own stock markings, and will look less sharp or slightly fuzzy.

PROCESSING: Developing, fixing, and washing exposed photographic film or
paper to produce either a negative image or a positive image.



REDUCTION PRINT: A print made from a larger-gauge film, i.e. a 16mm film
made from a 35mm original.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY: The amount of water in the air compared to the maximum
amount of water that the air can hold at a given temperature. High relative
humidity is extremely detrimental to the long-term life of a film.

REVERSAL FILM: Film that processes to a positive image after exposure in a
camera, or in a printer to produce another positive film.

REVERSAL INTERMEDIATE: First-generation duplicate film element that is
reversed to produce
the same kind of image (negative or positive) as the original;
used for printing.

REVERSAL PROCESS: Any photographic process in which an image is
produced by secondary development of the silver halides grains remaining after
the latent image has been changed to silver by primary development and
destroyed by a chemical bleach. In the case of film exposed in a camera, the first
developer changes the latent image to a negative silver image. This is destroyed
by a bleach and the remaining silver halides are converted to a positive image by
a second developer. The bleached silver and any traces of halides may now be
removed with hypo.



SAFETY FILM: Non-nitrate-based film. Generally, Cellulose Acetate film is
called Safety film, but it can be used to describe polyester film as well.

SHRINKAGE: Reduction in the dimensions of motion-picture film caused by loss
of moisture, support plasticizers, and solvents, as well as heat, use, and age.
The film actually shrinks, although often not uniformly.

SILVER HALIDES: Light-sensitive compound used in film emulsions.


SINGLE-PERFORATION FILM: Film with perforations along one edge only.
Often the soundtrack resides in the non-perfed side.

SOUNDTRACK: OPTICAL or MAGNETIC track running lengthwise on film
adjacent to the edges of the image frames and inside the perforations.

SPLICE: A method of joining two pieces of film so they may be projected as one
continuous piece. There are three types of splices: TAPE SPLICE (can be used
with all film bases), the CEMENT SPLICE (used for non-polyester material), and
the far less common ULTRA-SONIC SPLICE (used for polyester-based film

SPLIT REEL. A reel used for holding film on cores. The two halves of which
may be unscrewed and a core or film on a core placed in the middle.

SPROCKET: A toothed wheel used to transport perforated motion picture film in
a projector, camera, or printer.

STAGING AREA: An area for storing film after it is removed from cold storage,
allowing it to reach room temperature without attracting condensation.


SUPPLY REEL: The reel holding the film before it is projected in a projector.



TAIL: The end of a film. See also HEAD.

TAKE-UP REEL: The reel onto which the film is taken up after it passes through
the gate of the projector.

TELECINE: An electro-mechanical machine used for transferring motion picture
film to videotape.

TIMING SHEETS/STRIPS: Paper sheets or strips created and used by film labs.
They are used in the printing process to ensure the correct lights and filters are
used, resulting in a film with correct colors and shades of gray. Outside the
United States, TIMING is referred to as GRADING.

TINT: Common to silent-era films, tinting is a means of dying the base of b&w
film, usually after processing. Tinted prints have the color on the entire base,
from edge to edge of the film including the perforated margins.

TONE: Common to silent-era films, toning is a means of changing the color of the
silver in the b&w film (the non-white areas). The color in toned prints only affects
the silver image, not the base.




VINEGAR SYNDROME: A term used to describe the process of decay of
acetate-based films. The decaying film gives off acetic acid, which smells
strongly of vinegar.

WIND OF THE FILM: Term describing the relative position of the emulation and
perforations of single-perf film. Film can be either A-WIND or B-WIND. In B-
WIND film, when the film is held vertically, the end of the film comes off the reel
downward from the right side, with the pefs on the edge away from you and with
the base side facing up



Other Glossaries can be found at:

Kodak Glossary of Film/Video terms

Screensound Technical Glossary of Common Audiovisual Terms