The film gauge that filmmakers use – the width of the strip – heavily affects the mood and tone of the movie. While many filmmakers today choose to gravitate towards digital, Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, and Quinton Tarantino have been very strong advocates for keeping film alive.
Today there are just a few major gauges of film
16 millimeter film is grainier and often results in a dirtier texture. Think about the raw and unpolished look of low budget horror films from the 70’s and 80’s such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead.
35 millimeter is lush and colorful and is the most common choice. It’s the Industry standard for Hollywood film-making. Almost twice as wide as 16 mm therefore less grainy to the point where it’s easy to confuse with digital. It’s used for everything from Subtle comedies to giant spectacle films
65 millimeter much less common. This enormous gauge was fairly common from the 1950’s to 1970’s for grand and lavish classics. It’s crisper, richer, and is the best-looking when it comes to all-around picture quality.
Paul Thomas Anderson shot “The Master” in 65 millimeter becuase he felt it would help invoke the 1960’s feel of his period piece.
Is much larger than traditional 65 millimeter film and is intended for films that will be screened in IMAX theaters.
Danny Boyle used 3 different types of film for “Steve Jobs”
16 mm was used in the grainy, washed-out 1st act which took place in 1984 when Steve Jobs was trying to find his way.
35 mm was used in 1988 to give the film a more contempory look to mirror Steve’s growth.
By the time we reach the 3rd act in 1998, Boyle ditches film altogether and goes with digital, giving the film a modern polished feel, reflecting Steve Job’s technological advances.
Watch this video by SFX Secrets for more