Onecameraonelens hosts over a dozen film simulations which were created by myself. Leica M10, Agfa, Kodachrome and Fujicolour are just a few of the examples of film simulations that have been based on classic film stock, while others are tweaked versions of Fuji’s own film simulations, giving an altogether different look.
The idea of this site is to build up a collection of simulations based on real film stock, however, the approach taken is slightly different from others, and this blog will explain how much work goes into creating the perfect film simulation (or as perfect as possible).
The point of creating film simulations is to get the camera to reproduce as close as possible, straight out of camera, a look that resembles film stock, or one that needs little to no editing in software later. Because of the experience of using a Fujifilm camera is very similar to using an old fashioned 35mm film camera, a lot of people like to recreate this as closely as they can. There’s nothing quite as exciting as taking photos with your Fujifilm camera and looking at the jpegs to see such stunning retro (or modern) images.
The first part of the process is to decide what film type needs to be emulated. This will be done by researching different looks of film, discovering old 35mm photographs and looking at other sources such as presets and LUTs on various computer programs. You can never do enough research to get things right.
Once an idea for a film simulation comes to mind, the process officially begins and the recipe starts to take shape.
A photograph, either digital or printed is placed near the screen and the camera is attached to the computer to use Fujifilm X Raw Studio. At this stage I have three images that I work on, one a photo with a person on it, one a photo of flowers and the final photo one with blue sky, green grass and trees in it. I constantly tweak one of the photos until it looks like the sample image and then go back and forth to my test photos until it starts to look like the real thing.
It is trial and error at this stage, and deciding on the right in-camera film emulation as a base point is priority. A lot of older chrome type films can easily have Classic Chrome as a base, while more colour film types will use Provia or Astia etc. Black and white is a bit simpler, but you still need to get your black and white type (monochrome or Acros) correct, along with adding the Red, Green or Yellow.
The process is literally, at this point, going through the settings in Fuji X Studio Raw and changing each one. Once you know the contrast, highlights and shadows are roughly what you need, it’s the all important White Balance section that takes the most amount of time to get looking right.
The White Balance affects everything in the image, and the offset settings of Red and Blue can make all the difference between getting things right and wrong. Quite often it will look right on one image, and then you take it across to an image with a person in it and the colour tones will be completely wrong. So you must tweak, with your test images to find a middle ground.
Once happy with the test images, the next stage is to try out the film simulation on even more photographs, with different subjects in them. When happy with this, the film simulation is stored in the camera and taken to the next shoot. At this point I will use the particular film simulation on location, and take photographs as normal. If I can see things not looking right through the viewfinder, I will tweak the settings in camera slightly to try and correct them, before getting back to the computer and just running through the process again to ensure things are as close as they can be to the look of the old film stock.
The process can take a few hours to perfect, and sometimes I label film simulations as Version 1 or Version 2. This is usually because looking at original photographs/LUTs etc, these can have slightly different looks in different circumstances, so Version 1 might be a general version of the new film simulation, while Version 2 might be more for people or different light conditions.
I do this for fun, and to hopefully bring other people some enjoyment. Some people will like some looks, some people will like other looks, that’s why I’m building up the collection as a resource for people. These film simulations may not always be perfect, because of the nature of photography, but hopefully they are damn close to what they are intended to be.
Think of film simulations as a starting point. In perfect conditions they should not need any tweaks in software once you’ve taken the photo, but it’s up to you. Please support me and my work by mentioning the website onecamreaonelens.com or using the hashtag #OneCameraOneLens and I will continue to create the most authentic film simulations that I possibly can.
Please like and share this blog so that people will understand how much work goes into making film simulations.
PART TWO coming soon – Complete guide to storing simulations on your Fujifilm.