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8mm film
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8mm film

8mm film is a motion picture film format wherein each frame of the film is eight millimeters wide. It exists in two versions; regular or standard 8mm (the subject of this article) and Super 8, a slightly larger format that eventually became the prevalent version of the medium.

The standard 8mm film format was developed by the Eastman Kodak company during the Great Depression to create a less expensive home movie format. The film spools actually contain a 16mm film with twice as many perforations along each edge than normal 16mm film, which is only exposed along half of its width. When the film reaches its end in the takeup spool, the camera is opened and the spools in the camera are flipped and swapped (the design of the spool hole ensures that this happens properly) and the same film is exposed along the side of the film left unexposed on the first loading. During processing, the film is split down the middle, resulting in two lengths of 8mm film, each with a single row of perforations along one edge, so fitting four times as many frames in the same amount of 16mm film. Because the spool was reversed after filming on one side to allow filming on the other side the format was sometime called Double 8.

Common length film spools allowed to film about 3 to 4 min at 12, 15, 16 and 18 frames per second.

8mm was largely replaced in the 1960s by Super 8mm film, with a slightly larger picture area and an easy cartridge-loading system obviating the need to swap film spools. Kodak has ceased to produce standard 8mm film, although several companies buy bulk quantities of 16mm film to make regular 8mm by re-perforating the stock, cutting it into 25-foot lengths, and collecting it into special standard 8mm spools which they then sell. (Re-perforation requires special equipment and should not be attempted by amateurs.)