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Does Anyone Still Make Film Reels?

By Dillon Wallace

We live in a world dominated by digital platforms, but that doesn’t mean the analog love isn’t still out there today.


It may be 2021, but if you know where to look, you can still buy movies on film reels, and even today, several major Hollywood directors still choose the old medium to shoot their films on.


While a lot of movie theaters may not play movies on film, some of the biggest names in filmmaking still shoot their movies on film. Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg and Wes Anderson are a few of the most prominent directors today who fully support shooting and viewing their movies on film.


But why? What makes film so special that it has transcended time and technology?


The Nostalgia of It All

Part of what makes film reels so special may be the nostalgia associated with them. It’s the medium that a lot of older filmmakers learned and perfected their craft on, and as a result, it carries a special meaning for them to continue its use. To save a bit of history. Additionally, those older Hollywood directors like Tarantino, Speilberg and Nolan probably grew up shooting their own home movies on Super 8 or other physical film formats. The film versus digital debate is a similar debate to the reason several older directors in Hollywood still prefer the use of practical effects over heavy CGI usage.


Its Ease of Use

It may come as a shock, but some directors prefer the simplicity of film. Point and shoot and then splice and edit it in post. There aren't a gazillion effects and treatments you can do to physical film, and the beauty is, you don’t have to. It’s simple in nature and simple in its use.


For the Look

Physical film gives an authentic look that digital hasn’t been able to replicate. Sure, you can put a filter or treatment on it in post production to make it look like physical film, but it never seems to match the raw nature of shooting on actual film. The colors shot on film are hard to replicate, which is why so many directors/filmmakers who shoot their movies on film have such an artistic liberty to their cinematography and shot selection. Can you imagine a Wes Anderson framed movie shot on digital? It just wouldn’t feel or look the same.


Where Can You Get Your Own Film Reels?

Whether you’re wanting to shoot your own movie on film or watch a movie on film, you have options even now, smack dab in the middle of the digital revolution. Your best bet is to do your own web search as there are several companies out there, but sites like is a good place to rent or buy movies on film reels. You can even rent a projector to watch the movies, both classic and contemporary.


If you’re looking to shoot your own film, then you can check out Modern Sound Pictures. They sell leader and splicer tape, film reel cans, storage racks and much more. You can also find a wide variety of film reel formats available for use. And of course, eBay is always a good option for old film formats and the like. Just do your research before you place your bid or buy.


And that leads us to the most important note of all –– if you have your own collection of old 16mm or 8mm film reels (or maybe your parents do), then now’s the time to get that beautiful vintage film digitized. The truth is, those old physical copies won’t be around forever. They’re already obsolete, don’t let them degrade to ruin, which is why it’s more important now than ever to preserve those memories with digitization!

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