As a digital shooter with a love/hate relationship with film (love the process and the look/hate the uncertainty and the cost), I’m happy to see the increased number of film preset options on the market, giving my files the appearance of film without the high price tag. Last month, Totally Rad! introduced their third set of film presets, Replichrome III: Archive. It contains a collection of 22 rare films calibrated with both Frontier and Noritsu scanners, providing users with a total of 183 presets. Like it’s Replichrome predecessors, a tweak kit is again included, which controls the digital aspects of film – grain, tone curves, contrast – to further enhance our images with that delicious analog mood.
Although our digital files will never be the real deal, I love that the film preset craze, and their producers, are not only preserving a piece of visual history, but for the first time giving users access to obscure film many of us have never experienced. The beauty of this pack, is that most of these films disappeared years ago or are extremely rare to come across today. Several of the brands you’ll recognize and very likely used if you shot film in the past, like Agfa™, Kodak™ and Konica™, but chances are these specific types of film wouldn’t have crossed your path. And unless you were a film aficionado, the other brands, Unichem™, Orwocolor™, and VIP™ to name a few, may be completely new to you like they were to me.
You know that feeling you get when you’re playing around with presets and you find the one? And then, after applying it, your whole body gives a deep sigh of satisfaction knowing that this image is perfect just like that. Yep. That’s the feeling I got when I started messing around with Archive, and I can’t help but think it’s nostalgia pulling on my heartstrings with these warm, washed out tones taking me back to the photos of my childhood. To be able to achieve a similar look on photos of childhood today, is the icing on my carefully edited, Canon 5D Mark III, raw-file cake.
These presets immediately took me back to the past. I felt, as I played with these presets, that I could easily have put the resulting images into the folders of photos I have in shoeboxes upstairs, and no one would have noticed any difference. So I decided to take some pictures from our recent trip to Athens and give them a vintage look, so they’d look like images from my childhood. I always wanted to go to Greece when I was young, so I wonder if I’m rewriting my childhood and giving myself the holiday I wish I’d had.
The images are RAW files from my Sony a7 mark ii, and I used the Sony versions of the presets. And to reduce the number of choices I always chose the Frontier Scan option, because that’s what my film images are usually scanned with. This is not a look I would want to go for very often, but I would definitely use these again if I wanted that nostalgic feel. And one of the things I love about Replichrome is the “tweak set” they always provide with their presets, which lets you fine tune (and more importantly reset) the effect on the images. – Kirstin McKee
And now Staci Kennelly:
The new Replichrome III: Archive presets might be my favorite of the packs. Totally Rad seems to have captured not only the look of film, but its essence as well. As a film photographer, they have given me reason to pick up my digital camera, knowing I can still get the emotion I seek out of film…but more on that in my next post. – StaciLee Kennelly
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of Replichrome:
• Replichrome is intended for RAW images (not jpgs)
• Replichrome works in LR 4 & later, and ACR 7 & later (CS6 & up)
• Replichrome works with virtually all camera models except digital Hasselblad
• Choose your preset first, then edit your “basics” second
• Use the underexposed (-) version for a more desaturated look
• Boost your shadows if your images are too dark
• Tone down your highlights if your images feel too bright
• Play with Camera Profiles without applying the entire filter for a partial look
• Enable Lens Profile Correction if you apply a vignette (avoiding a double vignette)
• Use the Tweak Kit on your RAW files with the filters as a digital darkroom tool
• Have fun!
As with any group of presets, expect that you will fall in love with some, but not so much with others. Replichrome III: Archive has its share of both, but I have found more often than not, it’s a matter of finding the right image to match up with the more unique looks. Overall, I discovered that I fiddled less trying to get my images exactly the way I wanted them to appear with Archive as compared with using other film presets, including both Replichrome Icon and Slide Film. Perhaps it’s because Archive begs for the application of fades, grain and warmth, leaving me with minimal work once the preset is applied. In my professional work, I often use camera profiles without applying an entire filter on my work, and I can tell already that Archive offers some look that I’ll be returning to again and again. I’ve also found the tweak kit is an indispensable tool for my business, and I use all of the Replichrome tweak kits while editing my work whether I use a filter or not.
Replichrome III: Archive also offers an array of black and white options too, so stay tuned! Staci will be sharing a comparison of black and white film to a few of Archive’s 6black and white variations, but you’ll have to wait until next week to see the results!
For the purpose of full disclosure, the three of us received a free copy of Replichrome III to test. All opinions expressed in this review are our own.