For the Love of Film – Part III

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This is Part III in our series on creating new Color Film presets for Effects. You can check out Part I and Part II in case you missed them.

Waiting is the hardest part! I forgot how nerve-wrecking it is waiting a week for film to get processed. We are so used to the instant gratification of digital cameras. After biting my nails for a week the film was finished and it was time to get to work scanning.

We ended up with only two rolls where it was too fogged to be usable. We then went to work trimming out the good frames. I was shocked at the big differences from film to film. Many were actually flatter and lower saturation than I remember, certainly compared to what we see from modern digital cameras.

I then fired up my old scanner and to my surprise the software for it still worked. We scanned each film using the same basic settings and no automatic adjustments. We really wanted to get the true colors from each film.

Next it was time to create the presets, a step which can be more of an art than science. We opened each scanned film image side-by-side with the “control” digital capture.

In Effects we stacked our filters and settings to match the grain, tone and color reproduction of each of the films. In most cases, this requires the Black and White filter (set to Luminosity to add film grain), the Tone Enhancer (for the advanced curves) and the Color Enhancer (for adjusting saturation and individual color response). We also used Apple’s digital color meter to spot read values from both photos as we made adjustments.

The last step was to validate and tweak the presets on a range of photos. Let me tell you. It was a really fun adventure creating these presets. From locating long-lost films to shooting film cameras again, to scanning. The entire process was a blast. We hope these presets bring back the nostalgia we have and hopefully you have for film photography.

If you have any questions about any step of the process, feel free to ask by leaving a comment.


One comment on “For the Love of Film – Part III”

  1. On April 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm vartkes wrote:

    I always wonder how one got about ‘duplicating’ the film styles in post processing. You give some hints on how you did this in On1 and it is helpful. If one day you have the time to make a video of the workflow of post processing I certainly will appreciate it and learn from it.
    Thanks for doing this much anyway.

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