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Author Topic: Different reel sizes
Dave Cragg
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 166
From: Merseyside, Great Britain
Registered: Jun 2005

 - posted December 14, 2008 12:48 PM      Profile for Dave Cragg   Email Dave Cragg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi All,
just wondered what are/were the range of reel sizes available for 8mm?
It wasn't until last year that I realised there was a 300ft reel available (through this forum), which has come in very handy.
Foe example, was there ever a 100 ft reel?
The official sizes i'm aware of are (in feet);



Wide eyed novice.

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Marshall Crist
Master Film Handler

Posts: 300
From: San Pedro, CA USA
Registered: Oct 2008

 - posted December 14, 2008 12:49 PM      Profile for Marshall Crist   Email Marshall Crist   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, I have some trailers on 100' reels.

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Eberhard Nuffer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 141
From: Stuttgart, Germany
Registered: Jul 2005

 - posted December 14, 2008 03:04 PM      Profile for Eberhard Nuffer   Email Eberhard Nuffer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Dave,

we used to buy trailers on 100ft reels in Germany for a long time. Once I was offered 500ft reels which are still in my posession. Another German dealer sold reels with a capacity of 250m (approx. 833ft). 1000ft, 1800ft, 2000ft and even 4000ft (!) metal reels for Super 8 are still available from Wittner's. And the metal reels offered for use with the Beaulieu 708 projector were said to hold 700m (approx. 2333ft). I think there were also reels with a capacity of more than that available for the Fumeo projectors?!

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John Whittle
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 791
From: Northridge, CA USA
Registered: Jun 2003

 - posted December 14, 2008 04:54 PM      Profile for John Whittle   Email John Whittle       Edit/Delete Post 
The common reel sizes (50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 2000, 2300) are based on acetate based film. Estar based products are thinner and thus will hold about 25% more footage than the same diameter reel filled with acetate film.

Keep in mind that the center diameter is equally important. For example, the 2000 and 2300 foot reels are the same diameter. The 2300 foot reel has a smaller center core to allow more footage. What happens, especially with metal reels, is that the projector has to turn the reel very quickly to take up the start of the show and as the reel spins it picks up momentum and thus stress the film/sprockets/snubber etc.

The standard reels in 35mm are 1000 and 2000 (before platters). 1000 feet of 35mm is equal to 400 feet of 16mm or 200 feet of regular 8mm. 2000 feet of 35mm is 800 feet of 16mm or 400 feet of regular 8mm. You need to do a little conversion for super 8 because 8mm has a pitch of .1500 (half the pitch of 16mm at .3000) but Super8 has a pitch of .1667 and thus a subject will be a little longer in total footage compare to the regular 8mm version.

You can handle film in most any length if you have the proper equipment to move it with the proper torque and don't stress the equipment or the film (and estar based products will put more stress on the equipment than the film).


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