Normal 8 / Doppel 8 - A Film Format with Two Names
The Normal 8 / Doppel 8 format is an intriguing chapter in the history of film. Although often referred to as two separate formats, it is actually the same film format. The distinction in names has historical and technical reasons, which will be explained below.
History and Development
The 8mm format, later known as Normal 8, was introduced in the 1930s by the Eastman Kodak Company as a response to the need for a more affordable film format for the amateur market. It was developed to provide a cheaper alternative to 16mm film, which was the dominant format for amateur filmmakers at that time.
The name "Doppel 8" originated because the film was actually manufactured as 16mm film and then split in the middle to create two 8mm films. This process was both economical and practical, as it allowed for the production of 8mm film without the need for an entirely new production line.
Technical Details and Special Features
What made the Doppel 8 system special was the way the film was exposed in the camera. The film was first threaded through the camera and exposed on one half. After that half was fully exposed, the film was flipped and the other half was exposed. After development, the film was cut in the middle and assembled into an 8mm film.
The result was a film with a width of 8mm that was exposed on both sides. This double-sided exposure system was the reason for the name "Doppel 8".
Just like the Super 8 format, various types of film were available for Normal 8 / Doppel 8, including black and white and color versions. Most Doppel 8 films had a length of 7.5 meters and could capture about 4 minutes of footage when shot at 16 frames per second (fps), which was the standard for amateur films.
The Legacy of Normal 8 / Doppel 8
Although the Normal 8 / Doppel 8 format was largely displaced by the Super 8 format, it has still left a lasting impression in the history of film. It was the first truly affordable film format for the average consumer, allowing millions of people to create their own films.
In recent years, similar to Super 8, the format has experienced a renaissance as filmmakers and artists appreciate the unique look and history of Normal 8 / Doppel 8 films. There are even some companies manufacturing new cameras and films for this format to meet this demand.
In conclusion, the Normal 8 / Doppel 8 format is an essential part of film history and continues to inspire generations of filmmakers and enthusiasts.