The move aims to support DoPs who want to use film for HD TV programming but have found costs prohibitive.
Under the terms of the deal, which is dependent on Ascent Media services being used for post-production, “two perf” 35mm can be bought for about£60 a reel. However, any deals struck will be negotiated with individual productions depending on requirements.
There will be no set price for the film stock and rates quoted will be a blended price for all front-end post.
The cheap deal is being offered for a trial period of six months in an effort to gauge industry demand and comes as a direct response to broadcasters discouraging the use of Super 16 film as a high-definition format for primetime programming.
Ascent Media's senior director of business development, David Barrett, said that DoPs have been receptive to the move. “We have just come back from the BSC (British Society of Cinematographers) show where over 70 DoPs came through the stand to view our test comparisons between two perf, three perf and Super 16,” he said. “The response has been positive - the initiative is seen as very exciting.”
Film stock will be ordered through Ascent but delivered and serviced by Fujifilm.
Although conventional 35mm film - which has four perforations a frame - is of sufficiently high quality for HD, until now it has been too expensive, as productions require 1,000ft of stock to capture the same amount of running time that 400 ft of Super 16 would capture.
Two perf film is only two sprocket hole perforations “tall” rather than four, meaning that although the film is still 35mm wide the height of the negative is almost halved - cameramen using two perf will therefore shoot 50% less stock.
Fujifilm's photo imaging director, David Honey, said: “This format allows for an increase of emulsion area compared with that of 16mm and Super 16 and as a consequence we believe the ‘quality' category A threshold is surpassed. There are also considerable savings on stock and processing costs.”
Honey acknowledged that the offer could also be extended to other facilities.
There are limited two perf cameras currently available. Arri has launched a two-perf which can be retro fitted in the Studio and Compact 35mm cameras models. There is also an Aaton camera to be released in August that will be two perf/three perf compatible.
Barrett said: “Once the format takes off then no doubt more options will quickly become available.”