Film studies is currently undergoing a needed and healthy expansion of methodologies
and critical approaches, including media, cultural and technology studies. This is
crucial not just for examining cinemas present but also its past. Using format
theory, this article opens up our understanding of what cinema has been, rather than
what it should have been. It does this by documenting the minor technological
footprint of movie theatres when compared to the expansive one consisting of 8mm and
16mm small-gauge projectors. In the United States by 1980, these portable
devices,outnumbered commercial theatres by an estimated factor of 1000:1.