Fabulous Film Fridays – January 28, 2011
There are two things I’ve learned about this Fabulous Film Fridays project so far:
1. Processing wintry white scenes shot on Velvia film to look normal in the digital conversion is hard; and
2. Conversely, when the mechanics go awry, it’s nice to have digital tools to salvage a photo!
Let’s deal with the second point first, just to be different. At the tail end of last year, Darwin and I were out shooting an old car wreck using Linny the Linhoff. It was a wonderful snowy, moody day. But something went awry with the film tracking in the Linhoff; it didn’t advance properly and it seems my image of the old car is gone. Strangely, Darwin’s is intact, lucky dog. Another image I took that same day of the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff was sort of half double exposed like this:
Luckily, I was able to scan the film twice and get all of the foreground in so that I could stitch it together (not all of the foreground is captured in the example above because the negative strip was longer than our film holder for the scanner!) So here is my salvage attempt:
Which brings me to my first point: it’s tough to get the whites in the image to be faithful to the film! On a light table, the film definitely has some magenta in it, but it’s not this purple! It’s also a bit punchier. I tried neutralizing the whites in curves and levels but then the sky tends to blow out. I can make this a bit punchier, but then I have to rein back the colour. Even with digital I find snowy scenes can be a challenge when you have a colour cast; starting with such a strong one makes for interesting processing. I will have to work on this one some more. Part of what I like about this project is how film looks ‘in person’. I find it challenging to make a faithful rendition in this case. Maybe you film shooters who shoot Velvia in winter have some suggestions…?