Narrow-Gauge Cinematography

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Narrow-Gauge Cinematography


the branch of cinematography that uses film of 16 mm or smaller width. The use of film widths smaller than the standard 35 mm substantially reduces the weight and size of the motion-picture camera and the cost of film processing; this, in turn, makes the film suitable for amateur use. Narrow-gauge film is used in the television industry, in the production of educational and research films, and for the projection of feature, news, and documentary films in small auditoriums or when portable motion-picture projection units are used.

The most commonly used film widths in narrow-gauge cinematography are 16 mm and 8 mm. As of the mid-1970’s, these films are produced in standard format (16R and 8R), with frame sizes of 7.42 × 10.05 mm and 3.55 × 4.80 mm, and in the “super” format (16S and 8S), with enlarged frame sizes of 7.42 × 12.42 mm and 4.12 × 7.16 mm. The 8-mm films have perforations along one margin only; 16-mm films may have perforations on one or both margins. Films with perforations on one margin only can accommodate a magnetic or optical sound track on the unperforated side. Films of both sizes are prepared in single and double widths (8x2 and 16 × 2 mm); in double-width films, allowance is made for cutting the exposed material after photographic processing.

Narrow-gauge film is suitable for use in motion-picture cameras of standard design. Narrow-gauge copies of standard-format films can be produced by motion-picture film printers.


Grebennikov, O. F. Kinos”emochnaia apparatura. Leningrad, 1971.
Shmyrev, V. I., S. M. Provornov, and S. R. Barbanel’. Kinofil’m i kinoproektsionnaia apparatura, 5th ed., Moscow, 1971.
Goldovskii, E. M. Vvedenie v kinotekhniku. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.