16mm was extensively used for television production in countries where television economics made the use of 35mm too expensive, as in the case of Britain.
Double-sprocket 16mm film has perforations down both sides at every frame line. Single-sprocket only has perforations on one side of the film. The picture area has an aspect ratio of 1.33, and there is space for a monophonic soundtrack.
Today, most of these uses have been taken over by video, and 16mm film is used primarily by budget-conscious independent filmmakers. A variant called Super 16mm or Super 16 uses single-sprocket film, and takes advantage of the extra room for an expanded picture area with a wider aspect ratio of 1.67. Super 16 cameras are usually 16mm cameras which have had the film gate and ground glass in the viewfinder modified for the wider frame. Since Super 16 takes up the space originally reserved for the soundtrack, most films shot in this format are blown up to 35mm for projection.
In Britain most exterior television footage was shot on 16mm until the 1980s, when the development of more portable television cameras and videotape machines led to video replacing 16mm in many instances. Some drama shows and documentaries were made entirely on 16mm, notably Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, The Ascent of Man and Life on Earth. The advent of digital television and widescreen sets led to the widespread use of Super 16. However, improvements in film stock have resulted in a dramatic improvement in picture quality since the 1970s.