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16mm Film’s Brilliance is Praised in Entertaining New Video Essay — Watch

A self-deprecating cinephile breaks down what is so magical about 16mm, and it's not simply that it looks old.

Todd Haynes’ “Carol” was shot on 16mm film.

What exactly is it about 16mm that makes cinephiles swoon? Is it the vintage charm, the soft colors, the way the light seems to drip into every inch of the frame? Over at The Royal Ocean Film Society, filmmaker and self-proclaimed hipster Andrew Saladino waxes poetic about the glories of 16mm. “The grain is much more pronounced, the color is nice and dense, and the overall product has a genuine texture to it,” he says.

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But that’s not all: Using plenty of gorgeous footage from some of your favorite recent films, Saladino delves deeper into the appeal of his favorite format, which he calls the “perfect middle ground between the retro aesthetic charm” of 8mm and the more polished look of 35mm. He argues that 8mm has too much of a home movie feel, and 35mm is quickly becoming indistinguishable from digital, using side by side comparisons of Michael Fassbender to make his point. (Not complaining).

READ MORE: Wong Kar-Wai’s Color Obsession Honored in One Mesmerizing Supercut — Watch

It doesn’t hurt that Saladino has great taste in film, using clips from many greats such as “Carol,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Jackie,” “Blue Valentine,” and “The Squid and the Whale.” At the end, he breaks down the cost of shooting on 16mm, and argues that it’s actually fairly comparable, if not cheaper, than digital. So, filmmakers, no more excuses!

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