2 Perf - Techniscope


2-Perf or Techniscope is a 35mm motion picture camera film format introduced by Technicolor Italia in 1963. The Techniscope format uses a two film-perforation negative pulldown per frame, instead of the standard four-perforation frame usually exposed in 35mm film photography. It has several advantages and is attractive for several reasons

  • 2 perf’s 2.33:1 aspect ratio is easily cropped to the 2.39:1 widescreen ratio, because it uses half the amount of 35mm film stock and standard spherical lenses
  • 2 perf release prints are made by anamorphocizing and enlarging each frame by a factor of two
  • 2 perf doubles the amount of film stock

When Technicolor introduced Techniscope, colour duplicating stocks were not good enough to do a decent blow-up to 35mm 4-perf CinemaScope. Technicolor basically offered an attractive and cost effective deal to people using the format.

2-perf was used with great effect by James Cameron to shoot the real Titanic wreck for the movie Titanic. It was digitally converted to 4-perf Super-35 (with a hard matte.) The advantage was the longer running times possible on the camera loads while submersed for such a long time diving down to the wreck.

Editing was a bitch though as there was no room for a splice, however the digital intermediate made this point redundant as each frame could be scanned with out the need for physical editing.


How did Technicolor treat 2 Perf?

They adapted a specialized optical printer, adding a 2 x 1 anamorphic squeeze and, at the same time, they optically 'blew up' the half-frame image to fill the full, 4 perf, anamorphic format. It could then be projected in the same way as regular film in virtually any cinema around the globe. Despite this 50% enlargement of the image, 2 perf was allegedly clearer and sharper than CinemaScope, another popular format at that time, ironic it performed better than the system it tried to emulate.

It is alleged the laboratory work was slightly more expensive than normal, however what was the biggest attraction were that production costs in film stock were cut in half. Plus further savings were made without the need to hire expensive anamorphic camera lenses.

You'll be surprised to learn these movies were shot 2 perf

  • The Ipcress File (United Artists 1965)
  • Fistful of Dollars (United Artists 1967)
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (United Artists 1967)
  • Once Upon a Time in the West (Paramount 1969)
  • American Graffiti (Universal 1973)



I have worked with 2 perf on several projects over the years and I have been suitably impressed with the quality of the recent material. My favourite project was a small production test in preparation for a full feature. The money men were sceptical about the process until they saw the short which was called BirdieMama. This was a fun project for me, becoming one of my first full projects as DI Producer from inception to the final output. I produced, compiled, conformed, edited, dusted and graded the entire show from start to finish.

I also re-versioned the entire project from a second EDL for a 30 second MTV sting from the original master timeline. Which is a small indicator as to how quickly you can change the edit creating multiple versions. This small test landed the full feature which was brilliant.