The history of 35mm film is a fascinating one, spanning over a century of technological advancements and artistic innovations. From its humble beginnings as a novelty item to its current status as a beloved medium for filmmakers and photographers alike, 35mm film has undergone numerous changes and adaptations over the years. In this blog, we will explore the evolution of 35mm film, from its inception to its current state, and examine the impact it has had on the world of art and entertainment.

The Birth of 35mm Film

The story of 35mm film begins in the late 19th century, when a French inventor named Louis Lumière developed a new type of camera that used a strip of celluloid film to capture moving images. This film was only 35mm wide, making it much smaller than the standard film used at the time, which was 70mm. Lumière’s invention was a game-changer, as it allowed for more portable and affordable cameras that could be used by anyone, not just professional filmmakers.


The first public screening of a 35mm film took place in Paris in 1895, and it was an instant success. People were amazed by the lifelike images that could be captured on such a small strip of film, and soon, 35mm film became the standard for motion pictures around the world.


The Golden Age of 35mm Film

The 1920s and 1930s are often referred to as the “Golden Age” of 35mm film, as this was a time of great innovation and creativity in the film industry. During this period, filmmakers began to experiment with new techniques and styles, such as the use of sound and color, that would forever change the way movies were made.


One of the most significant developments during this time was the introduction of Technicolor, a process that allowed for the creation of vivid, lifelike colors on film. This was a major breakthrough, as it allowed filmmakers to create more realistic and immersive worlds on screen.


Another important development during this period was the use of synchronized sound, which allowed for dialogue and music to be recorded and played back alongside the images on screen. This was a game-changer, as it allowed for a new level of storytelling and emotional depth in films.


The Decline of 35mm Film

Despite its many successes, 35mm film began to decline in popularity in the latter half of the 20th century. This was due in part to the rise of digital technology, which allowed for more affordable and accessible filmmaking equipment.


In the early 2000s, many major studios began to switch to digital filmmaking, citing cost savings and increased flexibility as the main reasons. This shift was met with resistance from some filmmakers and film enthusiasts, who argued that the unique look and feel of 35mm film could not be replicated with digital technology.


The Resurgence of 35mm Film

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in 35mm film, as filmmakers and photographers alike have rediscovered the unique qualities of this medium. Many independent filmmakers and artists have embraced 35mm film as a way to create a distinctive look and feel in their work, and some major studios have even begun to release films on 35mm again.


There are many reasons for this resurgence, but one of the main factors is the growing appreciation for the tactile and organic qualities of film. Unlike digital images, which can be easily manipulated and altered, film has a physicality and depth that cannot be replicated.


The history of 35mm film is a rich and complex one, full of technological advancements, artistic innovations, and cultural shifts. From its humble beginnings as a novelty item to its current status as a beloved medium for filmmakers and photographers, 35mm film has undergone numerous changes and adaptations over the years. While it may no longer be the dominant medium in the film industry, its unique qualities and timeless appeal ensure that it will continue to be a vital part of the art and entertainment world for years to come.

By Iye