We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Film Stock?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Film stock is the basic component of all motion pictures, allowing images to be captured and reproduced through the use of a camera. Since the early experiments with celluloid film in the late 19th century, the motion picture world has undergone constant revolution through the development and improvement of film. Thanks to applied technical wizardry, film has moved from the grainy black and white images of the original Kodak camera to the colorful marvels of modern stock in just over a century.

Originally, film was built on a paper base, making the composition of moving pictures an incredibly difficult process. Celluloid film stock, which was flexible and less delicate than paper, became heavily marketed by several early film pioneers, including George Eastman and Thomas Henry Blair. Despite the considerable advantages given by celluloid film, early film stock was deficient in a few serious matters: it was unable to process red light, and had no standardized size.

In the early days, film cameras were often unique to their creators, leading to all kinds of variation in the size of film used. As equipment became more standardized, film stock began being issued in a few typical sizes, most notably the 35, 16, and 8 millimeter widths. The matter of film being rendered in realistic color was not addressed until the early 20th century, with the invention of panchromatic film that could see red, blue, and green layers of light.

Today, modern film stock is a lot more complicated than it looks. Instead of a simple piece of dark flexible material, a typical piece of film contains several different layers of emulsions and filters. On top of a safety base, an anti-hilation layer prevents fogging, followed by layers of red, green and blue emulsions each with a filter between them. The film stock also contains yellow, magenta and cyan dyes that are released during processing to give a full spectrum of color.

In purchasing film stock for a motion picture, speed and resolution are two key qualities to consider. The width of the film determines the resolution, or image sharpness, given by the film. 8 mm film typically has the lowest resolution, while 35 mm film is the standard form almost all major motion pictures. Film speed determines how sensitive the film is to light; if a lot of night scenes are planned, higher film speed may be necessary. However, higher film speed may lower the resolution, so filmmakers tend to look for a happy medium in terms of resolution and speed.

Film stock can be quite pricey, depending on the width of the film and length of the roll used. With 35 mm film, a 1000 ft (304.8 m) roll will result in approximately 10 minutes of usable film, and will usually start at about $500 US Dollars (USD.) Using lower resolution film, such as 8 mm, will result in more time per foot of film, and may be a wise solution for amateur or low-budget filmmakers. Some enterprising independent filmmakers choose to avoid film stock altogether by shooting on digital cameras, but film cameras are still considered the giant of the motion picture industry by most experts.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for EasyTechJunkie. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Jun 09, 2014

Digital cameras are great, but there are some things I miss about film, too. I had a couple of photography courses in college and I really enjoyed my darkroom class. It was a lot of fun to watch the images appear. We really had a good time learning the techniques of black and white developing.

I think the Fuji Corporation is the only company that still makes 35 mm film for regular cameras. I don't know if anyone still makes black and white film. I think it's something of a loss to the photography community.

By Pippinwhite — On Jun 08, 2014

I think making good film stock is a dying art. I work for a newspaper and our microfilm from the thirties through the nineties looks great. However, the film from the late nineties until now is really starting to fade. We have it in a climate, humidity-controlled environment, and the boxes are acid-free paper, so my only conclusion is that the film stock is really sub-par.

Even though I know most companies don't even make film anymore, and microfilm is less and less common, there are still a lot of companies that use it for archival purposes, so it would be really nice if they could do a better job of producing better quality stock.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.