Dehancer for iOS
Dehancer for iOS

Getting the look of film using Dehancer

Everyone appreciates the beautiful hues, tonality and imperfections of analogue film, but let's face it — shooting film is expensive. First there's the cost of film itself (which continues to climb in price), then the cost of shipping exposed film to a lab, the cost of developing, scanning, then shipping the negatives back. I recently shot a few roles of Kodak Gold 200, and when all was said and done, I had spent nearly $100 (~$2 per photo).

Perhaps I could reduce cost by learning to develop and scan my own film, but that would require even more money and hardware, not to mention time.

For some photographers, film is worth every penny. The feeling and experience of using a film camera, how film forces a photographer to work slower and be more intentional, and the unique character, personality and imperfections of film are largely missing from the modern world of digital photography.

Impractical? Yes. Rewarding? Absolutely.

Nothing will replace shooting actual film, but for the photographers and videographers who want the aesthetics, hues and tonality of film in their work, there is a viable alternative: digital film emulation.

Look around online, and you'll find plenty of presets and filters that stylize digital images to look like film. I've used a bunch of them, and while I don't always use film emulations in my work, occasionally I'll shoot a photo featuring a a subject, setting or "vibe" that feels like film. An image that could be creatively more emotive and convey the right tone using the hues and look of a particular film stock.

For example, when I edited the RAW image below, I didn't want a clean, sharp, digital image. I wanted an image that had texture, dense color, and atmosphere. I wanted to accentuate the purple and magenta light in the atmosphere. I wanted an image that felt less modern, more nostalgic. More similar to my memory and impression of being there.

Original raw image

To get the look I wanted, I applied the Fujifilm Velvia 50 film emulation in Dehancer Photo. I picked Velvia 50 because it was a color positive (slide) film known for its deep, saturated colors and punchy contrast. Landscape photographers loved it. Now, sadly, it's gone (unless Fuji has a change of heart and revives it), but the film lives on through digital emulation in products like Dehancer.

Dehancer Fujifilm Velvia 50 emulation + edits

Getting this look in Dehancer required minimal effort. I simply picked Velvia 50 as my film profile, adjusted contrast, plus a few small color tweaks. I also applied some colorful, clumpy film grain, plus a touch of halation to add a soft, magenta glow around areas of high contrast. That's about it. I could have created something fairly similar by hand using Lightroom and Photoshop, but Dehancer made it so much easier and faster.

I originally captured this image using a Canon EOS R5, but if I took the same image today, I could now use Dehancer for iOS: a new, portable mobile photography editing app featuring all the same 60+ classic film emulations and editing interface from their desktop photo and video plugins.

Editing interface in Dehancer for iOS

For mobile photographers, this means capturing and editing RAW (and Apple ProRAW, if supported) images on an iPhone without air-dropping to a laptop or desktop (then back again for posting to social). Everything can be done on the phone, on-the-go, anywhere, at any time.

To learn more about Dehancer for iOS, check out my video and blog post.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Dehancer for generously sponsoring this video!

❤ Favorite things this week️

  • Iceland is being invaded. Not by vikings or photographers, but a controversial purple flower known as lupine that is rapidly spreading across the continent. A seemingly innocent flower that could forever change Iceland's landscape, for better or worse.
  • Feeling the downtempo, folk songcraft of Jake Xerxes Fussell on Good and Green Again (Spotify). Simple, introspective songs about loss, nostalgia and heartbreak.
  • Rick Beato on why AI will likely destroy popular music (YouTube). Just imagine millions of machine-generated songs being published per day; all designed to feed content algorithms and emulate whatever style is trending at the moment. AI is really starting to freak me out.
  • Speaking of music before computers and AI, this old public television performance of "Mississippi Queen" by Mountain in 1970 has been rocking my world. Gorgeous tone, saturation and distortion.
  • With social media being so toxic and awful, maybe it's time to bring personal blogging back? I tend to agree.
  • I could listen to Rick Rubin and John Frusciante talk about music and the creative process for hours. Which...they do, in part one, two, three and four of Rubin's Broken Record podcast. Speaking of Rubin, looking forward to reading his new book.
  • Listening to Rich Roll's interview with Seth Godin is time well spent.

👋 Thanks for reading! Find me elsewhere on Glass / Vero / Instagram / YouTube.

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