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# Thread: 35mm film and how much we are required to waste

1. Originally Posted by David Lyga
We all know that because of the need for movie film to withstand the rigors of constant, steady movement along a projector's sprockets (without tearing!) that this film had to have large sprocket holes in order to be ‘born’. That factor took up a lot of real estate and that waste is part of the legacy that movie film has left for the ‘identical’ still film. But do we know what the quantified result is? Absolutely shocking! We are required to waste about half of this expensive film just because of that ‘necessity’.

Counting the leader, a 36 exposure roll of film is about 63 inches in length. With avoirdupois translated into metric, that 63 inches becomes 1600 millimeters per roll. (i.e. 63 inches x 25.4mm per inch). This 1600mm length times the 35mm width becomes 56,000 square millimeters of film per roll, total. Now, we take 36 pictures on the roll and each frame is 24mm x 36mm, yielding 864 square millimeters per frame or 31,104mm (I.e. 864 x 36 frames) used for actual image recording. 31,104 divided by 56,000 is only about 55.5% of the total film area that is actually used! We waste almost half.

Again, even worse: Counting the leader, a 24 exposure roll of film is about 45 inches in length. With avoirdupois translated into metric, that 45 inches becomes 1143 millimeters per roll. (i.e. 45 inches x 25.4mm per inch). This 1143mm length times the 35mm width becomes 40,005 square millimeters of film per roll, total. Now, we take 24 pictures on the roll and each frame is 24mm x 36mm, yielding 864 square millimeters per frame or 20,736mm (I.e. 864 x 24 frames) used for actual image recording. 20,736 divided by 40,005 is only about 52% of the total film area that is actually used! Again we waste almost half.

What more is there to say about the most popular film size ever created? 120 film does not waste nearly as much and sheet film wastes virtually none. And, remember, my calculations assume that all frames are usable. – David Lyga
If you think of those "unused" areas as supports or carriers for the negative, there is no waste. How else would you put the slide in a mount, or negative in a carrier without encroaching on the image?

2. Again, you are polarizing.

E von Hoegh, there HAS to be some 'waste' in order to support the negative. What I say is there did not have to be AS MUCH waste.

Consider: if the exposed frame was 30mm X 36mm because of smaller sprocket holes and only on one side of the film, would the image suffer? No. You would STILL have the support needed. And that image would certainly have been better than the standard 24mm x 36mm one we have now. - David Lyga

3. Originally Posted by David Lyga
Again, you are polarizing.

E von Hoegh, there HAS to be some 'waste' in order to support the negative. What I say is there did not have to be AS MUCH waste.

Consider: if the exposed frame was 30mm X 36mm because of smaller sprocket holes and only on one side of the film, would the image suffer? No. You would STILL have the support needed. And that image would certainly have been better than the standard 24mm x 36mm one we have now. - David Lyga
I don't quite understand how I am polarising. We aren't "required" to waste anything as long as our use of 35mm is voluntary. Assuming the use is voluntary, it's a "that's the way it is" situation. If the waste is really an issue, don't use 35. If you want to use 35, put up with the waste.

4. Originally Posted by David Lyga
... there HAS to be some 'waste' in order to support the negative. What I say is there did not have to be AS MUCH waste.
... so how much waste is "too much" waste? When does the existing amount of "waste" become excessive, how is it measured, and who makes the ultimate determination that it is "too much". David, I sense that you aren't getting the answer/support you are looking for because these issues are unspecified.

This is the same conversation I have at home (with no resolution) when discussing when the ketchup bottle gets thrown out. Should it get thrown out when it gets difficult to get ketchup out, or when the bottle is completely clean?

5. Originally Posted by BrianShaw
... so how much waste is "too much" waste? When does the existing amount of "waste" become excessive, how is it measured, and who makes the ultimate determination that it is "too much". David, I sense that you aren't getting the answer/support you are looking for because these issues are unspecified.

This is the same conversation I have at home (with no resolution) when discussing when the ketchup bottle gets thrown out. Should it get thrown out when it gets difficult to get ketchup out, or when the bottle is completely clean?
You cut open the ketchup bottle and scrape out every last bit. (I live by myself)

6. I put a bit of water in it to dilute the stuff on the bottom.. then use that "ketchup wash" to add flavor to meat loaf, etc.

To me it seems that my wife and kids want to throw out the bottle when it needs shaking. Grrrrr...

7. EvH/ Brian - I don't think David is really looking for any change. His motive was to point out this truism and defend his motive for pointing it out. He seems disinterested in talking beyond his "discovery" re consumption of materials in artistic pursuits.

David - Let's consider the flip side, would rapid winding cameras, like those used in the 80's to capture high speed photographs (eg sports photog, birds in flight photog, etc ) been able to support the frames per sec that they evolved to because 35mm had two sets of sprockets? Would the surface tension of the film snap if it was like Super 8 or Super 16? Would the camera makers have had to charge more to support 35mm cameras that had two teeth vs 1 row of teeth or none at all? When you propose, with almost disdain, how 35mm evolved so inefficient (ie wasteful), is the end game of better quality the only motive....no....it's a ballance. I find the topic kind of pointless because you don't seem interested in us affecting change in our habits to promote a society that uses less...

8. Originally Posted by BrianShaw
I put a bit of water in it to dilute the stuff on the bottom.. then use that "ketchup wash" to add flavor to meat loaf, etc.

To me it seems that my wife and kids want to throw out the bottle when it needs shaking. Grrrrr...
You can also balance the open old bottle upsidedown on top of the open new bottle, draining every last bit from the old bottle.

9. Originally Posted by zsas
EvH/ Brian - I don't think David is really looking for any change. His motive was to point out this truism and defend his motive for pointing it out. He seems disinterested in talking beyond his "discovery" re consumption of materials in artistic pursuits.

David - Let's consider the flip side, would rapid winding cameras, like those used in the 80's to capture high speed photographs (eg sports photog, birds in flight photog, etc ) been able to support the frames per sec that they evolved to because 35mm had two sets of sprockets? Would the surface tension of the film snap if it was like Super 8 or Super 16? Would the camera makers have had to charge more to support 35mm cameras that had two teeth vs 1 row of teeth or none at all? When you propose, with almost disdain, how 35mm evolved so inefficient (ie wasteful), is the end game of better quality the only motive....no....it's a ballance. I find the topic kind of pointless because you don't seem interested in us affecting change in our habits to promote a society that uses less...
A car wastes at the very least 75% of the gasoline you put in it. A CFL lamp wastes around 90% of the energy it uses. Then there's all the other waste... plastic made from petroleum, only to be tossed in the landfill... and on and on.
I'm not getting very excited about 35mm film.

10. I'm just glad we can still get film, sprocket holes and all.

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