Velvia 50 - A penny for your thoughts!

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by d_s|40, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. As a young guy, I've pretty much taken up photography at the boom of the digital era. Lately I've dabbled in film and I must say, I love the Velvia look. The next step is trying to achieve the same feel with digital. Whilst Velvia is nice, it does have its limitations. I've done my research and without wanting to flog a dead horse, I'd rather approach it a little differently. That is why I posted in this forum. Without wanting to sound rude, I am of the opinion that there are a few older and wiser shooters in here that have used velvia 50 or RVP extensively in their youth. What I would like is a subjective opinion on the colour range of this film. I have my own opinions, but would love to see what people who know this film stock inside out think. This would help extensively in my "quest" for a nice looking, saturated and almost "painted" image setting. I know I will not find the golden bullet. I think I've come close, but am still happy to look and learn.
    If you could please give me your opinion on how you think velvia 50/rvp reacts to these colours, it would be appreciated!
  2. I agree, but I can come very close I think! If not, then it would certainly help me in creating a very vivid setting with a distinctly individual look.
  3. I second What Les has just said. Film is film Digital is Digital. They meet at times but the thing is with film every type is different Velvia 100 is nothing like the 50 and so on. Many people say that Slide film is the closest to what Digital looks like. I am not one of those many.
  4. I am aware of these issues guys and I appreciate the responses, but if you can please address how velvia rvp/50 reacts to the colours listed above, I'd be very appreciative.
  5. You can get a rough approximation by shooting a neutral grey scale, and figuring out the color curves.
    But the real uniqueness of films is the inter-layer effects, where when you get close to one of the six corners of the color hexagon, colors get pulled closer to that corner. This is a more non-linear transform.
    There are companies that make a living selling post-processors to simulate this effect.
    There are also companies that make a living selling post processors that reverse the effect of Ektachrome fading (Applied Science Fiction division of Kodak).
  6. Thank you John. Have looked into those companies, being Nik and Allien Exposure. In my limited experience, neither look anything like Velvia. I found I could emulate them quite easily with photoshop and lightroom (where curves are not used).
    Thankyou Les. Let us hypothesis a "daylight" situation. How do you find various colours reacting? Are greens strong and of a particular hue? Are yellows swaying towards another colour?
  7. stp


    You should also know that the Velvia 50 available today is not the same Velvia 50 that us "older and wiser shooters" used in our youth. I've used the old Velvia 50, Velvia 100F, Velvia Pro, and now the new Velvia 50. They are all different to some degree. Finally, a question like this can't really be answered verbally. Trying to describe how strong the greens are and their hue, or the yellows swaying towards another color, can't be done verbally and have it mean something sufficient for you to then go to your computer and emulate the film.
  8. Only thing I can say is shoot a few rolls have them processed at a reliable place and project them decide for yourself.
  9. Thanks Stephen - I totally understand you. What I am trying to do I guess is gather a general feeling or sentiment. As to whether it will match Velvia, well, it is extremely unlikely. I think this thread would be handy tfor people to read how velvia photographs anyway.
    From my limited experience, I find purples to be pleasantly bold and rich, greens to lighten a little bit and saturate very vividly and reds to almost darken and solidify with saturation.
  10. Thanks Larry, I have done so already. Now I'd like to compare my thoughts with other, more experienced users.
  11. You may look on Flickr.
  12. Buy a 5 pack of Velvia, and go around town shootinmg comparison shots with Digital. Then, you will know.
    Honestly, I am not sure their are many Velvia veterans left in this forum. Most have moved on to DSLR's. Yes, a few notable old Kodachrome users here, some Elite Chrome 100 fans, and some neg shooters, but I have been here since maybe 2004 or so, and cant recall any regular Velvia fan regular posters. Maybe you would have better luck at or the Group "I Shoot Film."
  13. david_henderson


    The way Velvia looks is not just a function of how it handles colour, but also of a very limited dynamic range. Are you going to want to throw away nearly 50% of the dynamic range of your dslr to emulate a film? I like Velvia 50 a lot, probably used it for 5000 exposures a year for more than ten years, but having to squeeze everything into 4.5 stops or thereabouts isn't something I miss. To me that intensely contrasty performance is a bigger characteristic of Velvia 50 than how it responds to different colours.
    A further complicating factor is the fact that Velvia reacts to colours differently according to the angle (strength ) of light. in low light it will pick up the slightest hints of colour in the light and exaggerate it. In strong midday light it is surprisingly accurate. In strong low light it will accentuate the yellow side of the spectrum. In short, what you're thinking of as a relatively simple "formula" is in reality a large and complex matrix with an overlay of limited contrast. Getting values for the matrix should be fun since they are entirely subjective and I'd hazard a guess that you won't find enough people to fill in a valuable matrix to arrive at anything like a consensus. People can't give you what you want because there isn't a single answer that applies all the time for any colour.
    Just to be sure that I'm getting my point across properly you could take a carefully scanned and corrected Velvia slide, put it up on a calibrated screen and compare the result with a dslr shot taken of the same subject at the same time. Then see what you have to do to the dslr shot to get it close to the Velvia scan. In theory those actions are your formula. Problem is that when you repeat the exercise in slightly different conditions, the same formula won't deliver the same result.
    And of course this is why software providers have found it difficult to make something that emulates Velvia consistently.
  14. NEW Velvia 50 is the Panf+ of Color Slide film.
  15. Thanks for the extensive response, David. That is a very similar conclusion that I came to after using the better known plugin programs. Some autumn scenes will come out great and some macros of roses would render them big red blobs of nothing. This is when I realised I would like to come up with my own formula.
    As to whether I mind crushing shadows and ramping up the contrast? Sure, I love it. ;)
  16. Maybe do this... Shoot Velvia 50 in a film camera and just get it right from the beginning.... Sorry just a thought.
  17. I do Larry. That is not the point though. The fact is, that it is expensive, scanning is difficult and more importantly- it will help people with their digital workflow. Not to mention that there is nothing to say that this film will be around forever. I personally find the plugins to be too simplistic. They focus on saturation and tone curves, when I feel that hue and luminance play an important role as well. The aim of this thread is not for me to find the "golden bullet" as I explained earlier, but to bounce a few ideas around and maybe come up with a setting that can maybe fool one or two people every now and then. ;)
  18. Call me A Ludite but I don't understand. I use a scanner for both Color and B&W film but my work flow is mostly B&W and when I do use Color it is mostly Slide film and then I put the slide on a light table next to me as I scan and adjust.
    With Negative film I well just try to get it the way I remember shooting it. With B&W it is how i thought I saw it with what makes the film I used add to it.
    Sorry I will be long dead before people say OH wow that looks just like Velvia 50 from 2010 and the know what they are talking about.. :)
  19. Ah, yes, but the point is not for people to say "that looks just like Velvia 50", but moreso for people to say "wow, those colours are really something". Personally, I find Velvias colour palette desirable. I wish to borrow some "ideas" from it for my digital photos. That is why I am talking in generealisations. Sure, I can ramp up tone curves in lightroom and set the camera control to vivid, etc, etc, but that's only half the story.
  20. I back off I am too old for this... Read that as I am out of my element. It was nice though knowing I have another self induced limitation. :)
  21. I don't always (seldom) shoot color but when I do I shoot velvia 100 (not F) The color blows me away. Digital color looks a bit flat in comparison.
  22. stp


    Michael, I usually buy my film from B&H, and I don't think they are carrying velvia 100 in pro packs anymore (just singles). They have 100F, but like you, I don't like to use that film.
  23. Funny I find the 100F perfect for situations where shade needs to be black and not that off shade of blue it gets with other slide films yet not blow out the highlights to make it black..
  24. personally, i'd like to know how to how to simulate that digital 'look' with film : B
  25. I would find it interesting to see your side-by-side comparison of your velvia scan & DSLR imitation of it.
  26. personally, i'd like to know how to how to simulate that digital 'look' with film​
    Use a cheap scanner and blow out the highlights!
  27. Can you post a few of those digital images where you came CLOSE to Velvia 50?
  28. Not sure if this helps, but I use DxO software and they have a preset that will emulate certain slide films. The Elite version has Velvia 100 as an option, and the "film-pack" add-on I believe has Velvia 50. I've tried them both and it's pretty good. Definitely gives you the pop at the expense of increased contrast and blocked up shadows. Although that's somewhat characteristic of Velvia. You might try the free trial download and see if that's anywhere near your tastes. Nothing beats actual slide film, but in my opinion that only holds true for viewing the actual slide. Scanned and/or printed it just loses something.
  29. Shoot some scenes with digtial and velvia put the velvia on the lightbox and adjust the digital image until it looks the same. Be sure to do it for shade, direct sunlight, varying times of day and different weather conditions. In the end you may be able to build up a collecting of adjustments to apply to your digital image to make them look close to velvia.
  30. It might be hard to exactly reproduce Velvia (as others have repeatedly said). I do think you could get in the ballpark though. Everyone has already told you how. Shoot some shots with your DSLR and the same shots with Velvia. Compare and adjust the DSLR shots to match. Save the adjustments as an action or something. Try a couple shots of a Color Checker as well if you want to know how the film reacts to specific colors.
    As someone also already said, the high contrast of Velvia (and slide film in general) has a lot to do with the look as well.
  31. Wow interesting thread, I was planning to do something similar, but with negative film (superia, portra). With slides we could do the side by side comparison between raw converter/lightbox, but how about negatives? Would a comparison scan do the trick?
  32. [​IMG]To measure the delicious Velvia 50 colour-shift with long exposures, and also somehow plot that in a linear way for a post-processing action, would be quite an achievement.
  33. If you don't mind, why do want to emulate Velvia 50 digitally? If you see something in Velvia that deserves commitment, perhaps you should shoot Velvia along with your digital shots. I personally would prefer to see DSLR photographers leave film in peace.
  34. One of the problems here is that you're trying to emulate what something looks like on a light table digitally. And that's tricky since you can't compare a light table and computer monitor very scientifically and even if you calibrate's still subjective.
    Emulating velvia scans is also tricky since every scanner sees things differently and then everyone treats their photoshop files differently to match how they saw the slide on a light table.
    But I think matching digital files to velvia scans is very possible. Canon's picture style system is very powerful and you could shoot a color checker chart with that and then with 135 film and match the two. Without that, you might have to resort to curves and a photoshop action--way less scientific. But either should get you close. Shoot some slides yourself; no way will you get anything close based on descriptions of how other people think an emulsion looks... Velvia is also extremely high contrast, which is a little tricky since you'd have to recalibrate your expectations for a four-stop instead of nine-stop range. There's a LOT you can't shoot with it. You could finish off the effect by adding a little grain and a little wide radius usm to get a "sharp" look.
    I may try some side-by-side tests. From what I've seen digital and velvia aren't that different but velvia does hang onto little bits of color really well (and also destroys skin tones).
  35. Well, thought I would also contribute a bit.
    First of all, let me declare that I love Velvia. I am shooting Velvia 50 these days and just love the colors and contrast. It is mostly for landscapes ... autumn can a very very colorful season.
    Now, regarding simulating Velvia 50 in a digitally captured image, the problem is not straightforward. The most intuitive method to do so has already been suggested a few posts above, i.e. shoot same scene with Velvia 50 and with your digital camera and do adjustments on your digital photo to make as close to Velvia 50 image as you can.
    However, things are much more complicated underneath. Not just for this particular problem, but for all similar problems.
    I don't have much deep understanding of film chemistry, so the following is a bit different as far as photo development may be concerned.
    The underlying cause of the look of Velvia 50 (or for any sensor, film or digital) is the spectral response of the image capturing device. You (the OP) can restate the problem as how to simulate Velvia 50 film's spectral response with a digital sensor.
    One formal method to do so could be to assume that there are three kinds of spectral responses of the film and of the digital camera's sensor: Reg, Green and Blue. Next, take a set of images with Velvia 50 and somehow determine the RGB response of the film from that. Perhaps Fuji's data sheet for this film can do that for you. Next, you need to either reprogram the spectral response of the digital camera's sensor (so that it captures images just as Velvia 50 film does), or change it after the image has been captured. The looks of both the sensors' (film and digital camera) output will be similar if the both their spectral responses are similar. Now, the problem of matching a digital camera sensor's spectral response to Velvia 50's is the biggest problem. More like an engineering and optimization problem.
    Hope this sheds more light in understanding the intricacies of this problem.
  36. Do you guys think he has given up yet ;)
    As H S said, the 2 materials have different spectral responses. Mapping one to the other is not a linear process. I really don't think that you can emulate RVP on digital. This has been mentioned before but for one shot you could maybe sit there and persevere until they looked similar but then you would need to repeat the process for a different shot. Those colours you mentioned... why those specific colours? Do you think that once you map those colours it will all be fine?
    At work, we have a system for rendering CG with a simulated film look and guess what, RVP is one of the profiles. Looking into the code and theory behind it, it is much more complicated than you make it out to be and we are still working on it. For some background theory you should look at some tech papers which discuss film simulation for CG.
    If you want the look of Velvia you pretty much have to use Velvia. If you want your own personal look for "wow" images, then why are you asking us? Its a personal thing and you should tweak until you are happy.
  37. Everyone tries, but no one does, which is why I've gone back to shooting Velvia in addition to digital.
    I think part of the problem is you literally cannot create data (or color) that does not exist. There is only so much you can tweak things.
    That said, if you figure out a way that really works, there'll be plenty who want your recipe.
  38. Try Fuji S3 PRO or S5, they have velvia settings in camera. They have unique Fuji sensor, resolution limited to around 8 mega pixels, but they have best colors in Jpegs and dynamic range still not reached by Nikon or Canon.
  39. Chuk, I would rather that the OP not give up on his quest. The right way to see this is to realize what the fundamental problem is, what various factors involved are and what are the best options before the OP. Having this information, OP is not only in a better position to make a reasonable decision, but is also now more aware of all these underlying intricacies. In short, I think this thread is a very valuable informative thread for the OP and for everyone else.
    In fact, I am glad and thankful that OP started this thread with his query.
  40. Here's my 2 cents :)
    Seems like there are roughly two groups emerging in this thread. The first group believes that the problem is a worthy one of solving and the second believes that Velvia (especially 50) is a somewhat magical film which is going to be hard to impossible to emulate.
    Let me outline first that I also shoot film 90% of the time. And Velvia 50 is used in about 70% of those shots. I also believe to a certain extent that this film is exceptional in what it tries to achieve. And of course if you look at the passion with which other photographers past and present speak about it then you can see that I'm not alone here.
    In a way this question really harks back to the old Film vs Digital debate. Here's my take on it. Many years ago film manufacturers (Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, etc) at sometimes great expense to themselves set up R&D departments filled with very smart scientists to try and create formulae for different types of film. These formulae would ultimately decide on how to take the 'input' from a camera (in the form of light waves) and convert it into 'output' (in the form of colour on negative/slide film). This 'layer' of the industry was an incredibly important part of the photographic world and hence competition inspired each iteration of film to improve upon the last. This period of time lasted a while and we can only theoretically imagine just how much effort or man days work and thought was put into this process over that period.
    Move on to the present digital day and that 'layer' has all but dissappeared. Now we don't have rooms full of smart scientists doing that work. The onus of mapping input (light) to output (colour) has now been taken on by both camera manufacturers (Nikon, Canon, etc) and Software developers. Neither of these parties are yet or maybe never will be experts in the land of colour as those original 'rooms of scientists'. So is it really no surprise that when an image in RAW format pops out of digital camera these days it looks as 'dull as dishwater'? (especially when compared to viewing a well exposed Velvia 50 transparency on a light table). But work is being done in this area mostly by software developers and I am sure that over time we will get closer to simulating certain types of film. However we musn't forget that we also have the issue of comparing a backlit or projected transparency vs digital display image which is a whole other kettle of fish...
    Anyway, I guess what I am saying here is, sure, go ahead and try and recreate the Velvia 50 look. And after all that is a scientific problem and so must have a scientific solution (assuming the gamut of one format can fit within the other). BUT, if you really want the Velvia look right now, then shoot film... It's not as hard or as expensive or as time consuming as it looks. And you will be surprised how much LESS time you spend in front of a computer after shooting the image.
  41. Les ... er, no. You are comparing apples to oranges. Velvia has no brains of its own, it does not feel anything. Programs are not creating a Velvia look by themselves. The central tenet in all this is the perception of humans. There are two mediums that are capturing light and transforming them before perception. At present, the two transformation are different, yet physical and quantifiable in non-obvious ways.
    The other way to look at the problems is that the reference is the human color perception and the idea is to come up with a transformation for a digital cameras which gives the same perception as Velvia's output.
    Velvia does not perceive anything (as a mouse does). A program is not doing anything by itself (as the machine in your analogy apparently is doing). There are no two independent references (as a machine's perception and the mice' in your analogy), only one (human's). Thus you are comparing apples to oranges.
  42. D S:
    If you are really interested in mimicking the look of Velvia 50, borrow someone's film camera and shoot a variety of scenes with the film side by side with your digital camera set to RAW capture. Get the film developed and put the chromes on a light box. Then open your digital files on the computer (you of course have calibrated your monitor, correct?) and try to get them to look like the chromes.
    That's really all there is to it. If you want the result you need to get out there and do the work. Repeat the process as necessary if you need to make exposure adjustments for shooting a film with such a narrow latitude. That's probably going to be the toughest part for an all digital shooter to get used to.
    I suspect that you'll get close to the look of Velvia in some cases but never an exact match. There are too many variables. I have tried some pre-packaged profiles that were supposed to make digital files look like Velvia, and they were an absolute joke. However, these were generic one-size-fits-all solutions. I'm sure that you'll have better success by working diligently on individual images.
    Good luck!
    Oh, and stop using my initials. ;-p
  43. The only way to try to approximate the colors of Velvia is to use Velvia alongside your DSLR and then color match. Saving this as an action will NOT work for different shots.
    Here is a test for those using DXO: Convert this Ektar shot to Velvia using software without color match to the Velvia shot and post the results.
  44. Since you have the answer, you can evaluate the quality of the results yourself.
  45. Les, you are right, I think I did. :)
  46. Mauro: I'm a film lover and only shoot film. But you can get *close* to the the Velvia picture above without using color matching, at least on the basis of a shot-by-shot comparison. I'm not going to post my results because everyone's definition of 'close' is different, and furthermore, I don't have a calibrated monitor here, which actually doesn't make much of a difference in this kind of comparison, but I'm not going to get into that argument with the people who just fall back on the, 'You don't have a calibrated monitor, thus you are a moron and I win.'
    That being said, try converting to LAB and add a curves layer. In curves, boost the contrast on L with a nice 'S' curve. In the a layer, shift the midpoint to the right by about 7 units, and in b, shift it to the left by 8. That's in the ball park. I actually didn't use those exact adjustments in a and b, since I thought it needed a yellower sky, but bluer water, so my a and b curves were more complex (particularly a, since there was a lot of magenta in strange places that needed to be taken care of), but the idea still stands.
    It can also be done in RGB, but I think it's more straightforward in LAB. In RGB, I added two curves layers. The first, set to Luminosity, added contrast with an 'S' curve. The second, set to color, had the R and G midpoints shifted to the left by about 10 (give or take) and a more complex B curve with a boost in the shadows and a big cut in the highlights and a flattened midtone region. Again, this gave a yellowish sky and blueish water, which is what I see in the Velvia version.
    To clarify, I don't think it's that difficult to 'get in the ball park' with a direct comparison between shots. The last 10-20% is much harder to get at, and I think it would probably be difficult to get in the right neighborhood without the Velvia shot to work with. Personally, if I wanted the Velvia look, I'd just shot Velvia, which is what I think you would say too.
    Long live film.
  47. "I'm not going to post my results because everyone's definition of 'close' is different"​
    I think that's the crux of the problem - I've seen plenty of Velvia-like attempts, but I don't think I've seen anything where I would mistake the image for actual Velvia.
    In some sense that doesn't matter - what matters is you're satisfied with the result. In fact if you had a guaranteed Velvia-o-matic filter, you might find that it trashes a lot of your photos that you think you want Velvia for. Instead what you want may really be only some of the characteristics.
    The only reason I want one (a filter myself) is because then at least I could feel less guilty about manipulating the photo. Velvia did the manipulation for you and using it you had no choice, so you could guiltlessly feel like you were playing within the parameters you were handed. Whereas doing PP I feel like I'm creating a false image. I'm not sure there's really a difference there, but hey, I'm neurotic.
    Finally, as noted before, I don't think a true Velvia filter is possible outside of some serious engineering, probably requiring significant sampling and actual computer code. Yes, "in the ballpark" or at least something you can convince yourself is similar, but not the real deal. There are just too many factors - reciprocity, sensor response (which varies by camera and may literally lack the requisite data), ISO differences, white balance effects, etc. Certainly I don't see any possible "one size fits all" solution.
  48. Why attempt to re-create the wheel? If you like the look of Velvia, by all means, SHOOT VELVIA.
    I'd like to understand the OP's rationale here. Why the need to reproduce a look digitally you can readily attain with film?
    It seems to me to be counter-intuitive.
  49. I understand the OP, as I think do many others - film is more work and less "instant gratification". It's also very easy to mess up with little hope of recovery. Being able to get all the advantages of digital in combination with the response characteristics of Velvia is very enticing.
    That said, I'm shooting film again because I think the quest while valiant is hopeless and RZ67s are dirt cheap these days. Plus the work it takes, has some advantages in focusing you to the task.
    In the mean time, I shoot Fuji S5 and S2s because they are the next best things (I have a D300 too - which is great, but different). Still, the Fujis are not Velvia...
  50. By the way, I'm not the same Tim Gray as the one right above me. I made the longer post at the top of the page.
    Yup Matt, we are basically in agreement. The real deal is tough. Spectral sensitivities play a big role here, not just of the film and sensors, but of the monitors, scanners, our eyes, etc. It all interacts in complicated and non-linear ways. For example, the RGB spectrum the film is sensitive too is NOT the same as the spectral dye densities of the dyes in the film (which is why Kodak gives us both). And there's no law that says your scanner uses the same RGB filters as my scanner, or that your DSLR uses the same RGB filters as the next guys. When those scanner filters interact with the dyes, it's different for every scanner-film combination.
    On the other hand, if you wanted to knock out some of magenta cast in Mauro's Ektar shot and boost the contrast in a 'Velvia-like' manner, that's pretty easy. The nuances are difficult. I'm sure there's no 'one-size fits all' filter. Hell, there's not even a one-size fits all filter when shooting Velvia. Depending on the light, you might need grad filters, warming filters, long exposures, etc, all of which change the final image.
    I just shoot film, as I said in my first post. I don't find it that awkward or expensive. If you really want Velvia, just shoot Velvia.
  51. Going through my slides made me realize how much I miss my Velvia and Kodak 100VS. However, I don't miss the stunning expense and inability to easily digitize the slides. It's a trade.
  52. Tim, with a direct comparison you can try to get it close. Without a direct comparison is pretty much impossible because a slight change in color temperature drastically affects Velvia's color reaction.
    So yes, the best way to aproximate Velvia is to shoot it and try to copy it... As funny as it sounds.
  53. Tim, I just requested a name change. I didn't think it was possible for two different members to have the same forum name. Guess it's the price we have to pay for having the same name, eh? In any event, I'll be happy to refer to myself as THE OTHER GUY until we get this name thing cleared up! ;)
  54. THE OTHER GUY replying again...
    How is film more work? You shoot it, develop it, you're done. Unless you scan it. And even if you scan it, it's pretty simple to calibrate a scanner to ensure you get all that Velvia goodness digitized. Heck, they even make Velvia targets specifically for this purpose. Beats twiddling sliders in Lightroom or your editor of choice.
    It's only easier to screw up if...
    a) you don't know what you're doing, or
    b) you miscalculate the exposure.
    If you're going to shoot film, either make sure your in-camera meter is working correctly or buy a dedicated meter. The only screw ups I've experienced in 15 years have been user error, and that applies to any capture medium. You blow a shot, you blow it.
  55. You might be able to do it once or twice, but not on a consistent basis.
  56. The only screw ups I've experienced in 15 years have been user error, and that applies to any capture medium. You blow a shot, you blow it.​
    True, but if you shoot RAW (and even JPEGs to some degree) you have significant latitude to recover. With a Fuji S5 I've recovered up to 4 stops. Granted that was less than ideal, but still usable. However, pretty much any RAW file, except perhaps at the highest ISOs, can pull a completely usable 1 stop out or more.
    With slides you probably have at most 1/2 stop latitude, maybe 3/4, (unless of course it's the whole roll and you're smart enough to push or pull process).
    Everyone screws up and most of regularly despite best efforts, so truly digital has some advantages. Digital is much more like shooting negatives than shooting slides in that regards.
  57. THE OTHER GUY again...
    Everyone screws up and most of regularly despite best efforts, so truly digital has some advantages. Digital is much more like shooting negatives than shooting slides in that regards.​
    Oh yeah, I agree with your statement Matt 100%. Not saying digital doesn't have its advantages; it most certainly does. But, regardless whether you're shooting film or digital, you still gotta get the exposure in the ballpark, that's all I was saying.
    Oh, and those S5s are pretty sweet. The flesh tones you can get from them blows most anything else in the 35mm realm outta the water. Never seen a 4-stop recovery, but I've worked on botched wedding shots which required 3+...kinda amazing what you can do with Fuji files.
  58. Thanks for the overwhelming response everyone. There has been a lot of food for thought discussed in this thread and a lot of things to consider. The reoccuring suggestion is that a good way to gauge the colour and contrast response is to take a variety of photos in different scenes with the different mediums and then calibrate/edit from there.
    An idea I just had was to take a photo of n it8 target with velvia under various lighting conditions and at the very same time, take a photo of the same it8 target with a digital camera at a constant WB. Would it be possible, then, to use some kind of program to match the colour of a scan of the velvia and use this as a calibration file?
    This would be very crude, and adjustment will be needed to suit individual images, but it could be a start.
    As to whether I would like to emulate Velvia 50 - well, I must say, I withdraw my statement. But I must say, Velvia 50 has one of the most please colour pallettes to my eye and to try and lift some of my digital images with a colour tweak would be awesome.
    Regardless, I'll have you all know that I am waiting on an order of velvia 50, 100 and provia 400x to arrive. I have no intention of abandoning film - in fact, I'd love to shoot with it more. But in those instances where digital shines, I'd love to have a few more options in playing with colour.
    I'm also hoping this thread can continue. I certainly hope that the innovators amongst us develop and share open "platform" colour "interpretations" that will assist us in achieving a kind of satisfaction that years of development into the film world yielded.
  59. And no one got nasty during any of this I am proud of all of you. :)
  60. Have you tried any of the pro film emulsion emulators? I have to think you're reinventing the wheel. There must be a bunch of threads on from people asking the same question. I would think if anyone could come close it would be somebody like DxO. Certainly they must have had some people working on it that know much more about the subject than most of us. At least the DxO filmpack should have different profiles for different cameras.
  61. To be sure, the only blowing away digital does is highlights. If you can't get skin tones right with film then please review your workflow as there must be something wrong in it. Otherwise, you can let the public review your version of the "Afghan Girl" . . . or countless other references readily available.​
    Ends this:
    And no one got nasty during any of this I am proud of all of you. :)
    Oh well...
    BTW - I love Velvia (no, I really love Velvia) but it definitely doesn't do skin tones!
    I have to unfortunately agree on the "Afghan Girl" thing though (assuming it is talking about the photo of the week). Toooooooooo manipulated, even if a good idea...
  62. Yep tooooooo sensitive to point out the obvious and I still think it has been a mild thread.
  63. It just sounded a little less than totally diplomatic toward Tim, but yes, I am too sensitive generally speaking...
    No harm no foul.
    And yes, it has been mild.
  64. the same stupid threads were made with regard to kodachrome when it was canceled (and before). If you want the look, shoot the film. if you dont, dont. I just dont get the fascination with faking it.
  65. Another fervent Velvia user here, but I've had decent success with Fred Miranda's Velvia Vision:
    Still, there's nothing like the real thing.
  66. Hi Rob, yes, I have looked at countless plugins. I have not been that happy with any of them. Many of them are based around a rgb saturation boost and a tone curve. I'd like to investigate hues, luminosity and saturation.
  67. :) Now you folks are making me smile... thanks.
  68. Les Sarile - yes, of course I know NG "Afghan Girl". It's a fantastic photo. However due to a coincidence of the "Photo of the Week" (see also home page):
    (which is in my mind seems a direct play on "Afghan Girl") and given the fact we're talking about manipulation to achieve Velvia, I thought you were harking back to the above photo and maybe making a jab about over-manipulation of digital images, including skin tones. Obviously I misinterpreted - sorry.
    Of course the real "Afghan Girl" was undoubtedly not shot on Velvia (which love it as I may, often is deadly to skin tones), nor can I really say that if I was thinking "skin tones" that photo would be first to come to mind, but regardless I think your point about film advantages here remains. That said, in the digital realm the S5 is exceptional (in my opinion) on skin tones, where other digital cameras are not, so I support Tim's basic assertion.
    Oh, I guess Afghan Girl was Kodachrome:
    DS - Not sure why I was deemed sufficiently off to earn a specific "derail" comment. Confused or not, I was trying to respond to a prior comment. But whatever, I definitely got it wrong.
  69. I see no derail here And That looked like a shot of a damn Black felt/acrylic painting.... nothing like the original... I am on your side here as I never even look at the shot of the week as well they are never what i think a real shot should be being an open air photographer.
  70. Still think it's a little harsh, but I get your point...
    Now we are starting to get derailed so I will move on!
  71. I actually missed Dan's comment above regarding "if you like it, just shoot it". That's fine, and I certainly will. But that's not how innovation works. I don't have the technical mind to do these things, but maybe somebody that does will look back at this thread and the contributions and it will prompt the process of finding new techniques to play with colour in the future.
    Just accepting something when there is the possibility of innovation and learning is a very silly move. Film is already becoming harder to come by and there is a monopoloy of places that develop slide film (well, in Australia anyway). If I find a way to apply something I learn about colour from a film stock to a digital image, how does this make this a stupid thread? If this has been dicsussed before it's because people were looking for the "golden bullet" I mentioned earlier. I am not. I am looking to learn through experience and communication with other users.
  72. Yep End of subject... Oh wait I can't lock this out.. LOL
  73. Appropos of nothing, there was a free Velvia action developed by Paul Bleicher some years back that did a reasonable job approximating a roughly velvia-like look. It operated based on the idea that DS has started with: instead of just a curve and saturation adjustment, it used Selective Color to work the colors independently. In concept, pretty sound.
    That said, there are a few problems with creating a generic version of a Velvia emulator. First, it has to be based on a specific starting point. In the case of Paul's action, it was based on the color response of the original digital Rebel, with pretty neutral capture settings. Second, that specific starting point varies with the light in the scene (I guess technically this is the Spectral Power Distribution or some such). I think Mauro noted above that Velvia's response shifts significantly with the color temperature of the light hitting it. (Shoot Velvia in the shade and you don't just get darker, you get bluer. Shoot your digital camera in the shade and, well, the camera will often auto-"correct" back towards neutral.)
    Anyway, if you wanted to build an emulator (and I have no experience with the emulators that cost money), you could do worse than start with comparing as people have said, and adjusting each color range directly through Selective Color or specific hue/sat adjustments.
    A lot of the debate here comes down to "is it worth it" to do this instead of just shooting Velvia. Personally, I think if someone wants to spend some time on it, that it's worth doing for that person, and that's good enough for me as long as s/he recognizes the limits of the exercise...
  74. To the OP:
    It is possible to replicate the look of Velvia, but it could be more complex than we think. Some posters on this thread have suggested you to shoot Velvia and a DSLR and compare both pictures. The problem with this approach has been also mentioned. There are too many variables.
    Non-linear responses is not really the problem. The problem is the quantity of situations the Velvia could be used for. You may match a particular picture using a particular set of curves fro RGB, but the next picture will not have the same RGB curves. Depending on how you set your experiment, you could see a pattern of response to color. In this particular case (and only in this case) you could interpolate the curves.
    But the problem continues, because this is not a problem that you solve by interpolating two points in a scale of color. The problem is a multipoint interpolation problem (sorry, if this doens translate right). In the real world this means interpolation between differnt kinds of pictures (darkness, colors). The precision of your model depends on the quality of your formulas (for curves) your correct interpolation and quantity of points of references. You can use finite and matrix mathamatics to solve this problem easily.
    After you have your model, you need to apply to real life examples. And you amy need to perfect it. So we are talking about a serious engineering project.
    I have not tested many Velvia emulators before, but what I have seen is just a simple curve RGB to apply to all pictures. And this clearly, will not work correctly. However you may find a righ recipe for an aproximation without using complex mathematics. Is possible, but it will not be precise.
    Why emulate Velvia or Kodachorme? Well, one reason, at least for me is that Kodachrome doesnt exist anymore. Even if I purchased some rolls on Ebay it would be expensive to send to the only lab in the US that process it (from Mexico).
    Anyway, I would be interested in any Kodachrome or Velvia emulations out there.
  75. Something simpler I just thought:
    One thing nobody cannt argue is that Velvia should be consistent from one part of the frame to the next. So if we fragment each color of the picture by 100 segments. Red, Blue, Green and Greyscale from 0 to 100.
    In your tests, check the response of Velvia to each segment of the spectrum and you should find similar responses to the same exact segment of the spectrum in all the pictures. But you need to evaluate RGB and Greyscale separately. Use Excel to take note of every value you find and create the curves according to each color.
    Use several pictures to test your curves and it may work. Non-linearity is again not a problem because we are not using curves, we are using statistical values.
    I hope this helps
  76. THE OTHER GUY yet again...
    I meant 35mm digital, not film. I shoot film, plenty of it. I should have made that clear from the get go, my bad.
  77. Les,
    Your comments towards me were pretty harsh. You need to lighten up, bud. You appear to have some unresolved anger management issues. Maybe switch to decaf, eh?
  78. These complications to imitate apply to most films. They are the reasons why people don't just shoot landscapes with Ektar, develop it at the drugstore and convert it to Velvia in PS. Or why people don't shoot portraits with Velvia and convert them to Portra in PS. Or shoot Provia and convert it Tri-x in PS.
    Or should try to make Tri-x or Velvia out of a fix sensor DSLR....
  79. I shoot lots of Velvia 50 so I guess I might as well chime in finally ... I agree that if you like Velvia 50 you should just shoot it and help keep it alive, but when/if the day comes that it's cancelled it would sure be nice to have a digital approximation. I'd love a digital body that has settings for Velvia 50, or Kodachrome 25, or Tri-X, or whatever (especially if you could use the Velvia 50 settings at ISO 1600, for example). I have a hard time believing that such a thing is not possible, at least in terms of creating a digital file that would closely approximate a scan of the film. Most of the photographs I enjoy are book reproductions anyway, not original slides, and as much as I'd miss slides on a lightbox or projected, shooting reproduction-ready in-camera digital files that emulate any film flavor imaginable would sure make a digital world a lot more livable.
    However the complexities already mentioned are pretty daunting, so in all sincerity I wish you best of luck with it.
  80. There's a lot of anger in this thread. Are egos hurt because of a (too) demanding question? The question is perfectly legitimate - how to recreate a desired effect in digital pictures.
    I have shot a lot of velvia myself (the original 50 and the newer 100), now being a eos 5D user. I especially liked how green colors was rendered, unable to tell exactly what it was. One less desirable characteristics (for me) was magenta showing up, for instance in mid-day (gray) clouds.
  81. My experience has been if you shoot RAW and have a film sample of the same scene then it's not too hard to duplicate the look. Nailing the white balance is the first and most important step. And by nailing the white balance I do not mean AWB or the "correct" WB, but the WB that mimics how the film saw the scene. Unfortunately this is not always 5600K like you would expect, and that has really puzzled me at times.
    If you don't have a film sample of the same scene at the same time (i.e. same lighting) then you have to have a very good eye for the film you're trying to emulate if you're doing it by hand. You have to have some experience and a feel for how the scene would look on that particular film.
    To be honest I'm not as interested in emulating color films and don't attempt it often. I love the freedom that digital RAW gives me to shape the color and tonality any way I want, so I don't feel a pressing need to try to perfectly emulate a particular film. That said, it's helpful to have some experience shooting different films so you have a broader idea of how a scene could look. Example: I see countless night shots that are perfectly white balanced. Those of us who used to shoot night scenes on film know that Tungsten balanced film yields a very blue look under the full moon, and is often preferable. You don't have to shoot the film, and in fact I don't think there are any Tungsten balanced slide films left. But if you never did shoot the film you get stuck in a mode of thinking you must have a "correct" WB rather than the one that is most pleasing.
    When I try to emulate a film look, it's typically B&W. I have performed B&W conversions manually and using Silver Efex and Alien Skin Exposure. Both plugins do a very good job with their presets. Though you still have to tweak some scenes, they have plenty of tools to help you do that quickly.
    Speaking of which, Alien Skin Exposure 3 has presets for the various Velvia films. I have not performed controlled tests to see how well they work. My initial impression was that they seem to work OK for some scenes if fed a neutral digital file. A couple other attempts didn't seem to look right, but again I did not have actual slides of the same scene to judge by. Some of their other color film presets work very well.
    I did try Exposure 3 on some digital files from a location where I had some K64 slides to compare with. It wasn't even close. However, after playing with the WB I was able to pretty easily match the Kodachrome. That was one instance where the whole film WB thing left me puzzled. Kodachrome should be daylight balanced, but I couldn't get close to the K64 without first setting a WB of 4350K / +12 Tint in ACR. Go figure?
    I have performed more controlled tests with the B&W presets and both plugins either nail it, or get you very close so that a few tweaks with their controls yields a perfect match. I have been very impressed with those plugins in B&W, especially printing to a 3880 in ABW mode.
    I have a few rolls of Velvia 35mm laying around. Might be interesting to do some controlled tests against Exposure 3 and see what it takes to mimic the actual slides.
  82. I'm pleased to report that I have a Lightroom preset in alpha stage that does some very interesting and pleasing things with colours that may be of interest to digital shooters. It's managing to pop colours, increase contrast and, funnily enough, it's even turning skin tones red. If it isn't a golden bullet velvia setting, it certainly has the same kind of "psychological" effect as velvia. There is easily about 10 hours worth of work that's gone into it, and probably another 10 hours before I even think of turning it loose. The blue and green channels need a little more tweaking to taste. If anyone can suggest an upload site, I shall upload it this weekend.
  83. Daniel, there is a free trial of the Velvia plug in and I tried it for comparison. As you indicated, it is not useful to produce Velvia colors (same as all other plug ins I tested).
  84. I do not know of any way to produce Velvia colors from a DSLR (or any other film) without actually shooting it alongside and matching the colors. But then obviously it defeats the purpose of using the DSLR since you have a Velvia original.
  85. Yes, it is impossible to emulate velvia when it is used in conditions other than "daylight".
    As you can see, the alien skin exposure preset simply ramps up the red, green and blue saturation and applies an s curve.
  86. Yep. And even daylight may not be straight forward.
  87. Mauro - I'm not convinced that's a valid test since Ektar is not what I would call a "neutral" film to begin with. And I have no idea how the scanner may have influenced the image. (You can't drop Ektar on a light table and compare the colors.)
    You would need to start with a very neutral file, preferably RAW. The closest thing in film would probably be a portrait film. White balance may be a big issue and 5600K may not actually create a match. I would guess that white balance is a big part of the issue in your quick comparison. When I tried matching K64 the K64 had radically different colors versus digital for the same scene under nearly identical light, kind of like your samples above. At first I had no idea how to get the colors close and the plugin didn't help at all. Neither did any of the standard PS controls. Then I went back to the RAW file and started playing with the WB slider, and the colors fell right into place. A few contrast and saturation tweaks and it was a match. You can't exactly grab a WB slider for either film in your comparison, and Exposure 3 can't do anything about that either.
  88. Playing around with curves in LAB can quickly correct the majority of the color differences seen above. I'm talking about the magenta-ish Ektar and the gold-ish Velvia.
    I have no idea which of the two is more 'accurate' to the original scene. Maybe the magenta or gold dominance in one of the scans (respectively) is closer to the original scene, maybe not.
  89. I will try to run a side by side with a DSLR although it is clear that plug ins do not know the time of day, season, direction of light or have mapped the individual responses that Velvia should create in this scenarios. They are marketing scams to me. Color match obviously didn't have a problem.
  90. Daniel, here you go, studio shots failed trials as well.
  91. Both color and black and white are horrific and have no relation at all with the film they claim to emulate.
  92. Did you ever develop those Velvia rolls from your trip? Any of those you may have a DSLR shot for comparison?
  93. I am not sure if anyone uses the film type preset in Silkypix and was wondering your view on it. I won't say that the result out of Silkypix is anything like Velvia, but if you are after really saturated colors and good color separation, it seem to be able to deliver. For example, I believe this one was processed in Silkypix (not sure if film preset is used or not though):
    I am mainly a film shooter (just have a digital P&S) and Velvia is one of my favorite films for low light or cloudy, rainy days. I think the pic I referred to here would be dramatically different from the Velvia shot of the same scene and the color seems to be a little over-saturated for my taste. However, what I am interested in is that Silkypix seems to be able to have a good color separation, which I feel is one of the advantages of Velvia. With proper setting, maybe Silkypix could produce photos where subtle colors could be properly separated and be saturated but still relatively realistic. If this is the case, maybe software like Silkypix could be worth a try and could be a backup plan for me when Velvia becomes harder to get or when the situation is not suitable for Velvia (e.g. high contrast scene).
    I know that it maybe a little off the topic but I am curious how people here think about Silkypix. Thanks.
  94. Here are some results from my last incarnation of my setting. I quite like it. The first is a typical flower shot, with foliage.
  95. Another flower with exactly the same preset.
  96. Is it a direct match for velvia? No, but it is influenced by it, and I'm extremely happy with the results. It works in a very different way compared to velvia presets for ps plugins. It is my interpretation of hue, saturation and luminance based on LR's camera standard calibration for the d700.
  97. I can't belive this thread is still alive. Want to do one next on making Plus-X in Rodinol full stand for an hour at E.I. 125 a Digital mode?
    Read the Message and just go on.
  98. Haha, well that's the funny thing about colour, perception and memory. I'm almost trying to emulate a feeling and not a static colour reference. I will be the first to agree with people in that emulating velvia, shot for shot is a night impossible task due to the chemical reaction that occurs at exposure that is near on impossible to emulate with a digital file.
    The closest we can get is if somebody with enough patience and perserverence, sat down and shot a scene, a colour chart and took notes on white balance, etc etc, and basically developed a program to say.. Ok, here is the white balance, here is a table of colour edits and this is how the photo will react. The time, money and investment required would be near on insane. I don;t know anybody that would bankroll a project like that. What would be neat is, if experienced film users collaborated in creating an open source reference for these edits and add to the body of knowledge. ;)
  99. Or us B&W photographers. :)
  100. Well, comparatively speaking... how long have people been developing, shooting and processing film for (chemists and photographer alike)... and how long have people been shooting digital for? Velvia was 100 or so years in the making. Digital has a long way to go still. Let's just hope HDR and digital manipulation and CGI don't kill of the simple photographic traditions yet!
  101. LOL I doubt that i just passed the craft on to another child along with another deep chest freezer.
    If anything there will be HC/110 and PolypanF and Eastman5222 going into the future. as the all 3 stay well in the freezer....

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