3 Perf Conversion Kit for the ARRICAM System

In addition to the traditional 4 perf movement that has so far been installed in all ARRICAM cameras, a 3 perf movement is now available. This movement can be installed in either the ARRICAM Studio or the ARRICAM Lite. The "3 Perf Conversion Kit” (K4.54281.0) contains a 3 perf movement, a 3 perf film gate, two 3 perf format masks and a 3 perf filter holder.

Most wide screen 35mm projection formats, including 1.85 and Super 35/2.35, do not use the full 4 perforation height of the 35mm frame. In fact, the only two formats that use the entire 4 perforation height for picture information are anamorphic photography and material originated specifically for 4:3 full-frame TV transfer.

Instead of a traditional 4 perf movement, which advances the film 4 perforations for each new image, a 3 perf movement advances the film only 3 perforations, thus eliminating the previously unused space, and saving about 25% in film stock and development costs with no reduction in image quality.

So far shooting 3 perf has been a popular choice for television series. It allows them to reduce production costs while still retaining a high quality 35 mm film master, which can be transferred to any future video format if needed. Currently, all modern telecines can accommodate film shot at 3 perforations per frame. Andree Martin, Vice President of Technical Services at Clairmont Camera, adds that "most of our 3 perf shows use a combination HDTV and TV ground glass. They shoot for standard TV (1.33), but protect for HDTV (1.78). And the 1.78 aspect ratio image fits very neatly between 3 perforations.”

With the advent of the Digital Lab and the fast rising popularity of the ARRILASER, two developments that are closely related, many producers are now looking at the option of shooting 3 perf for a theatrical release. In the past 3 perf was mostly relegated to material destined for television because of the difficulty of creating a 4 perf release print from a 3 perf negative. Even though some productions have gone the route of an optical blow-up from 3 perf to 4 perf, they found that the extra cost of such an optical usually obliterated the savings in film stock and development. But these givens are changing. It is now possible to scan the complete 3 perf negative into a digital intermediate format, perform all post-production steps in the digital realm, and then use the ARRILASER to record the images back onto 4 perf Internegative (IN) or Interpositive (IP) to create standard 4 perf release prints. For a film that will go the digital lab route anyway, shooting 3 perf has no disadvantage and saves money.

For more information about 3 perf and a historical perspective,
here are some articles (Thanks to David Mullen, a Cinematographer
from LA, for sharing his research):

  • In the Sept. 1973 issue of the SMPTE Journal, pg. 742, is an article titled "A Universal Format for Film Production" by Bernstein, Wysotsky, and Konoplev. It is a translated reprint of an article in Tekhnika i Kino Televideniya of January1973. It recommends shooting in 3-perf full-aperture as a way of generating either 1.85, 2.35 anamorphic, or 4:3 TV versions from the same negative.

  • In the March 1975 American Cinematographer magazine is an article by Kenn Davis proposing a new lens system with a 25% anamorphic squeeze, in order to get a 1.85:1 image onto a regular 16mm frame, and a 2.35:1 image onto a 3 perf 35mm frame. He then goes on to explain other advantages of a 3 perf system, including for 1.85 production.

  • In the June 1976 American Cinematographer magazine is an article by Miklos Lente, proposing a 3 perf format called "Trilent-35". It used the Academy width but the 3-perf height.

  • In the July 1986 American Cinematographer magazine is an article by Rune Ericson titled "3-Perf in the Future".

  • In the February 1998 issue of "International Photographer", Vittorio Storaro proposed his "Univision" 3 perf Super35 format.

For the technically minded, the dimensions of
the two ARRICAM format masks for 3 perf are:

3P HDTV S35 1.78 (ANSI):
24,9 mm x 13,9 mm (0.98" x 0.547")
3P TV 1.33: 22 mm x 13,9 mm (0.866" x 0.547")


















UPDATE: 2002/03/20

ARRI wins Scientific
and Engineering Award

by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences in Hollywood.


Project of superlatives Pete Williams, Head of Digital Imaging at Weta Digital, told us about his positive experiences with their ARRILASER film recorders.

ARRI invites you
to an exclusive showcase presentation on the occasion of this years NAB in Las Vegas.


Aquamat for sale
ARRI will present, for the first time at NAB 2002, the new AQUAMAT FOR SALE


Five new ARRICAM components are introduced, including Lite Universal Viewfinder and Top Load Adapter 2.

A description of the new ARRICAM 3 perf
movement with background on the 3 perf format.


A 12 mm and a 180 mm lens are added to the
Ultra Primes line.