Jon Gray is operations and facilities manager at Soho Film Lab.
What are the issues around 2- and 3-perf 35mm for broad-cast and theatrical projects?
From a lab perspective, there are none. The rushes process is the same as for 16mm and traditional 4-perf 35mm. Shooting on 2-perf and 3-perf reduces the amount of stock required, providing huge savings across the lab process. The main advantage of 3-perf is it’s naturally widescreen aspect ratio. With some broadcasters deeming Super 16mm unacceptable for HD transmission, 2- and 3-perf options help keep budgets closer to 16mm and provide a viable choice for TV drama.
Are there any technological advantages over 4-perf 35mm?
The advantage is that 2- or 3-perf is a tried, tested and proven method. The main technical advance in film has been in post-production. Scanning and DI processes have reduced time taken to grade and de-spot, resulting in cleaner, crisper final images.
What techniques are people discussing with 2- or 3-perf?
The DI process has made shooting 2- and 3-perf 35mm more easily accessible to the feature market, as previously optical printing was necessary to provide intermedi—ates and release prints. Also, as VFX has existed in the digital domain for years, with DI you can now seamlessly combine film and digital workflows with more speed than you could before.
What are your predictions for the future of film versus data?
There will be a place for film for a good while longer, or at least until capturing images as data consistently provides the same depth of field and image quality as film. Each year, we regularly receive negative footages in excess of 15-million feet, which proves that shooting on film is still film-makers’ medium of choice.