to see pictures to easily help you identify the type of film you have.
Standard 8mm Movie Film
The standard 8 mm film format was developed by the Eastman Kodak company during the Great Depression and released on the market in 1932 to create a home movie format that was less expensive than 16 mm. The film spools actually contain a 16 mm film with twice as many perforations along each edge than normal 16 mm 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 8 mm film, each with a single row of perforations along one edge, thereby fitting four times as many frames in the same amount of 16 mm film. Because the spool was reversed after filming on one side to allow filming on the other side the format was sometimes called Double 8. The frame size of regular 8 mm is 4.8 mm x 3.5 mm and 1m film contains 264 pictures. Normally Double8 is filmed at 16 frames per second. Common length film spools allowed filming of about 3 minutes to 4.5 minutes at 12, 15, 16 and 18 frames per second. Kodak ceased selling standard 8 mm film in the early 1990s, but continued to produce the film, which was sold via independent film stores. Black-and-white 8 mm film is still manufactured in the Czech Republic, and several companies buy bulk quantities of 16 mm film to make regular 8 mm by re-perforating the stock, cutting it into 25 foot (7.6 m) lengths, and collecting it into special standard 8 mm spools which they then sell. Re-perforation requires special equipment. Some specialists also produce super 8 mm film from existing 16 mm, or even 35 mm film stock.
Reference Wikipedia Standard 8
Super 8 Movie Film
Super 8 mm film, also simply called Super 8, is a motion picture film format released in 1965 by Eastman Kodak as an improvement of the older 8 mm home movie format, and the Cine 8 format. The film is 8 mm wide, exactly the same as the older standard 8 mm film, and also has perforations on only one side. However, the dimensions of the perforations are smaller than those on older 8 mm film, which allowed the exposed area to be made larger. The Super-8 standard also specifically allocates the rebate opposite the perforations for an oxide stripe upon which sound can be magnetically recorded. There are several different varieties of the film system used for shooting, but the final film in each case has the same dimensions. By far the most popular system was the Kodak system.
Reference Wikipedia Super-8
16mm Movie Film
16mm film was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1923 as an inexpensive amateur alternative to the conventional 35mm film format. During the 1920s the format was often referred to as sub-standard film by the professional industry. Initially directed toward the amateur market, Kodak hired Willard Beech Cook from his 28 mm Pathescope of America company to create the new 16mm Kodascope Library. In addition to making home movies, one could buy or rent films from the library, one of the key selling aspects of the format. As it was intended for amateur use, 16mm film was one of the first formats to use acetate safety film as a film base, and Kodak never manufactured nitrate film for the format due to the high flammability of the nitrate base. 35mm nitrate was discontinued in 1952.
The silent 16mm format was initially aimed at the home enthusiast, but by the 1930s it had begun to make inroads into the educational market. The addition of optical sound tracks and, most notably, Kodachrome in 1935, gave an enormous boost to the 16mm market. Used extensively in WW2, there was a huge expansion of 16mm professional filmmaking in the post-war years. Films for government, business, medical and industrial clients created a large network of 16mm professional filmmakers and related service industries in the 1950s and 1960s. The advent of television also enhanced the use of 16mm film, initially for its advantage of cost and portability over 35mm. At first used as a news-gathering format, the 16mm format was also used to create programming shot outside the confines of the more rigid television production sets. The home movie market gradually switched to the even less expensive 8 mm film and Super 8 mm format.
16mm is also extensively used for television production in countries where television economics make the use of 35mm too expensive. Digital video tape has made significant inroads in television production use, even to the extent that in some countries, 16mm is considered obsolete as a TV production format by broadcasters. Nevertheless, it is still in extensive use in its Super 16 ratio (see below) for high-quality programming in the US and UK. Independently produced documentaries and shorts (intended mainly for TV use) may still be shot on film. Furthermore television documentary film-makers will frequently use clockwork 16mm cameras to shoot scenes in extreme climates.
Double-perforation 16mm film has perforations down both sides at every frame line. Single-perf only has perforations on one side of the film. The picture area of regular 16mm has an aspect ratio close to 1.33, and 16mm film prints use single-perf film so that there is space for a monophonic soundtrack where the other perf side would be on the negative. Double-sprocket 16mm stock is slowly being phased out by Kodak, as single-perf film can be used by regular 16mm as well as Super 16, which requires single-perf. Today, most of these uses have been taken over by video, and 16mm film is used primarily by budget-conscious independent filmmakers.
The variant called Super 16mm, Super 16, or 16mm Type W uses single-sprocket film, and takes advantage of the extra room for an expanded picture area with a wider aspect ratio of 1.67. Super 16 cameras are usually 16mm cameras which have had the film gate and ground glass in the viewfinder modified for the wider frame. Since Super 16 takes up the space originally reserved for the soundtrack, films shot in this format can be "blown up" (enlarged) by optical printing to 35 mm for projection. However, with the recent development of digital intermediate workflows, it is now possible to "digitally blow up" to 35mm with virtually no quality loss (given a high quality digital scan), or alternatively to use high-quality video equipment for the original image capture.
A variation of the Super 16 format is the DIY-crafted "Ultra-16", which is formed by widening the gate of a standard 16mm camera to expose the area between the perforations. The placement of the perforations on a standard strip of 16mm film (to the left of the division between frames) allows for use of this normally unexposed area. The Ultra-16 format, with frame dimensions of 11.66mm by 6.15mm, allows for a frame size between those of standard 16mm and Super 16 while avoiding the expense of converting a 16mm camera to Super 16, the lens requirements of Super 16 cameras, and the image vignetting caused by traditional 16mm cameras. Thus, standard 16mm optics may be used to achieve a wider image. The image readily converts to NTSC/PAL (1.33 ratio), HDTV (1.78 ratio) and to 35mm film (1.85 ratio), using either both the full vertical frame or the full width (intersprocket) frame, depending upon application.
1.37 aspect ratio
enlarging ratio of 1:4.58 for 35mm Academy format prints
camera aperture: 10.26 by 7.49 mm (0.404 by 0.295 in)
projector aperture (full 1.33): 9.60 by 7.01 mm (0.378 by 0.276 in)
projector aperture (1.85): 9.60 by 5.20 mm (0.378 by 0.205 in)
TV station aperture: 9.65 by 7.26 mm (0.380 by 0.286 in)
TV transmission: 9.34 by 7.01 mm (0.368 by 0.276 in)
TV safe action: 8.40 by 6.29 mm (0.331 by 0.248 in); corner radii: 1.67 mm (0.066 in)
TV safe titles: 7.44 by 5.61 mm (0.293 by 0.221 in); corner radii: 1.47 mm (0.058 in)
1 perforation per frame (may also be double perf, ie one on each side)
1.66 aspect ratio
camera aperture: 12.52 by 7.41 mm (0.493 by 0.292 in)
projector aperture (full 1.66): 11.76 by 7.08 mm (0.463 by 0.279 in)
projector aperture (1.85): 11.76 by 6.37 mm (0.463 by 0.251 in)
1 perforation per frame, always single perf
1.85 aspect ratio
camera aperture: 11.66 mm by 7.49 mm (0.459 by 0.295 in)
projector aperture: 11.66 mm by 6.15 mm (0.459 by 0.242 in)
1 perforation per frame (may also be double perf, ie one on each side)
The two major suppliers of 16mm film today are Kodak and Fujifilm. 16mm film is used in television, such as for the Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology series and "Friday Night Lights" and "The O.C." in the US. In the UK, the format is exceedingly popular for dramas and commercials. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) played a large part in the development of the format. They worked extensively with Kodak during the 1950s and 1960s to bring 16mm to a professional level, since the BBC needed cheaper, more portable production solutions while maintaining a higher quality than was offered at the time, when the format was almost exclusively for amateur filmmaking. Today the format also is frequently used for student films, while usage in documentary has almost disappeared. With the advent of HDTV, Super 16 film is still used for some productions destined for HD. Some low-budget theatrical features are shot on 16mm and super 16mm such as Kevin Smith's 16mm 1994 independent hit Clerks.. Ironically, thanks to advances in film stock and digital technology - specifically digital intermediate (DI) - the format has experienced a dramatic improvement in picture quality since the 1970s and is now seen as revitalized option. Vera Drake, for example, was shot on Super 16mm film, digitally scanned at a high resolution, edited and color graded, and then printed out onto 35mm film via a laser film recorder. Because of the digital process, the quality of the final 35mm print is high enough to often fool professionals into thinking the footage was shot on 35mm.
In Britain most exterior television footage was shot on 16mm from the 1960s until the 1980s and some even until the early 90's, when the development of more portable television cameras and videotape machines led to video replacing 16mm in many instances. Some drama shows and documentaries were made entirely on 16mm, notably Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, The Ascent of Man and Life on Earth. More recently, the advent of digital and high-definition television with its 16:9 aspect ratio has led to the use of Super 16. For example, the 2008/09 BBC fantasy drama series Merlin was shot in Super 16.
The Academy Award winning Leaving Las Vegas (1995) was shot on 16mm.
The first season of the popular series, Sex and the City, was shot on 16mm. Later seasons were shot on 35mm. Scrubs was shot in 16mm with the Aaton A-Minima and the Aaton XTR up to the ninth season.
The first 3 seasons of Stargate SG-1 (bar the season 3 finale and the effects shots) were shot in 16mm, before switching to 35mm for later seasons.
The Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The Hurt Locker was shot using Aaton Super 16mm cameras and Fujifilm 16mm film stocks. The cost savings over 35mm allowed the production to utilize multiple cameras for many shots, exposing over 1,000,000' of film.
Color fading of old film and color recovery
Over a period of many decades, the pigments in color 16mm film slowly degrade and become transparent. The pigments degrade at different rates with red being the longest-lasting. This inevitably results in color film that now appears to be reddish, with few other colors. This was especially noticeable on many pre-2000 video releases of color Warner Bros. cartoons released prior to August 1, 1948 - MGM/UA Home Video had to resort to faded 16 mm "dupes" of the cartoons (some with the logo of Associated Artists Productions - or a.a.p. for short - intact), as they had no access to the original Technicolor negatives.
In the process of digitizing old film into a modern digital movie format, the faded film can sometimes be restored to full color with the use of digital color enhancement methods that amplify the faded pigment colors, but do not amplify the red pigments.