What is 3-perf Super35?

Some producers choose to shoot 3-perf Super-35 over 4-perf Super35, since the amount of cropping with 4-perf Super35 is quite excessive and could almost be described as wasteful.

When shooting in 3-perf Super 35, the height of the frame is cut by one perforation and is thusly 25% smaller, resulting in the movement of the film through the camera being shortened as well (less film going past the gate per exposed frame).

At the standard 24fps and 25fps (European) shooting rates, 3-perf Super-35 uses 25% less negative per minute than the standard 4 perforation film formats shot at the same frame rate, but you still get the same image/frame size on the negative! Since you use 25% less negative per minute, this means that a typical 400ft film load, shot at 24fps, will last 33% longer and hold 33% more images. Here's the math:

35mm 3-perf shot @ 24fps with 400ft of film will last 5 minutes and 55 seconds.
35mm 4-perf shot @ 24fps with 400ft of film will last 4 minutes and 26 seconds.

Of course, loading and unloading films will use up several feet of film, so the above is only a theoretical reference.

The ratio of the 3-perf Super35 frame is 1.76:1.

35mm Kodak FilmThe positive reasons for shooting 3-perf Super35 are the same as above, plus more takes between magazine changes/film loads and longer run times per magazine over the 4 perforation framed formats.

Some of the negatives are the same as with 4 perforation filming, but some are different: Digital Intermediates are currently very expensive. A less expensive alternative is to use an optical printer, but the image quality suffers. With 3-perf Super35, cropping still seems wasteful (as compared to techniscope), although no where near as bad as when using 4 perforation formats. Many cameras need to be converted to shoot 3-perf, which can be expensive to do - and the conversion may be irreversible. Some cameras may not be able to be converted to 3-perf at all. Places that work with 3-perf, although becoming more popular, are still much harder to find.