What is a film cell? They are the actual cells taken from 35mm film that is run in the cinemas. Since its introduction to the world in 1889 by Thomas Edison, 35mm film hasn't changed much. After the end of silent films, an analog soundtrack was added to the left side of the film, and in more recent years different aspect ratios have been used. The most common aspects you will see these days are Flat format (with ratio of 1.85:1) and Cinemascope (Which is an anamorphic widescreen with a ratio of 2.35:1).
What do you look for? When searching for film cells you will come across them being sold in two different ways. The first way is in strips (see 1 below). This usually means you won't have to spend alot of money in order to get good cells from your favourtite movies. Most of the time they are cut into strips of 5 cells and sold in lots of 5 or 10 strips, thus giving you 25 or 50 cells in total. The second way is to buy a trailer (see 2 below). A 35mm trailer is the short of a movie that is shown at the cinemas right before the main feature is played. These are a fantastic way to get thousands of cells with excellent scenes. The all vary in diameter (usually between 2.5" to 3.5") and are released with different version numbers (VER#) relative to which preview is being shown of that movie.
Note: Be wary of some trailers that are VER #1 and have a short runtime. They are normally regarded as "teasers" and are the first preview of the film to be shown to the public. Most of the time they don't provide as many usable scenes as the later versions.
So why buy a film cell? Well since the introduction of digital projection, 35mm film is slowly being phased out. Trailers from certain movies are becoming extremely scarce which in turn is increasing the value of the film cells for those more popular movies. The ideal way to present these cells is to frame them together with a movie postcard and an engraved plaque (see 3 below). Once complete, these displays become the ultimate movie room feature and collectable item.
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