I shot 35mm stills in my teens in the 1970s, and medium-format stills in my twenties, and there is still nothing that is like the “film” look, amidst everything digital today.
The film-versus-digital conversation is still going on, just as the book-versus-digital conversation is still going ferociously.
I still read printed books and magazines, especially those books that demand a great deal of thinking and meditation from me, and those I would “dog ear” without mercy. At the end, having wrestled with the book and its pages, I would have digested the important parts of the book, internalized the contents, and created knowledge and hopefully wisdom out of the book. I give each book as much respect as I can, by reading it seriously and then digesting every bit of it. Some books are glossy and well manufactured, but do not pass muster when it comes to the crunch – content. Some books look plain and simple, but the content sings to my mind and I would savor the wrestle I have with it as long as I read it.
Likewise, having shot serious large-format (yes, those wooden view cameras) and medium-format using twin-lens reflex and 645 cameras from Mamiya, Bronica and Rolleiflex, I can tell you there is nothing like film, just as printed books mean a great deal to me.
But alas, the digital revolution has ravaged the film scene and almost anyone today can call claim to be a photographer, or videographer. My dad and I used to dabble with 8mm film video, and that was great.
So, is film dead? Not quite, the rise of lomography has brought film back to life, and even medium-format film, landing medium-format film in the hands of almost anyone who does not mind waiting for their shots to be developed in a lab over some time, rather than having a tiny SD card to download photos immediately on their computers.
I have a unique situation. I have deteriorating eyesight which takes from me much of my previous prowess as a still photographer shooting with medium-format film with manual focus lenses. These days, I need cameras that can help me with autofocus, while I spend my creative energies to compose the shots instead. Yes, some of the anticipation and fun is lost, but at least I am still dabbling with image-making I love.
So, when I came across filmconvert, a unique software that brings back the “film” look to videos, giving the look of random film grain and color “pop” to video, I knew I had to try it out. For digital still photography, I shoot mostly in the RAW format and use a RAW converter to adjust the image to as much of a film look I can recall or imagine. But for video, a dedicated tool would be great, without the full-fledged non-linear editor getting in my way.
Filmconvert is really simple, which is right up my alley.
First, you choose the video footage from your hard disk or elsewhere.
Next, you select a film look, such as the Fuji Velvia look I love so much when I was shooting medium-format photography. For the very same reason, I have a Fujifilm X100S camera that has a built-in film emulation for Velvia and other Fujifilm stock. Within filmconvert, you can also do color correction for midtones, highlights and shadows.
Once you are done tinkering with the video footage with a film look you desire and even color correction, you render the footage. This step depends on the speed of your computer, but it can run in the background while you tend to other tasks. It is not that painful a wait.
And that’s about it! Filmconvert is that user-friendly to someone like me who shoot mostly editorial-use images and videos, and so have no desire to dabble with high-end NLEs. Once rendered, the videos are ready to be uploaded to your preferred content delivery networks (CDNs) for your websites, social and mobile platforms.
For those of us who are nostalgic and for those of us who like simplicity, there are always dedicated tools for the job. We don’t need to sacrifice our creative preferences.
Dr Seamus Phan is the Head of Content and CTO at McGallen & Bolden. He is an expert in branding, marketing, communication, leadership training, crisis management, and entrepreneurship. This article may appear concurrently on his blog. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2018 Seamus Phan et al. All rights reserved.