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Totally Rad! Replichrome II Presets for Lightroom

September 05, 2014
Replichrome II Graphic

Unless you’ve had no access to the outside world, it’s clear that film is making a comeback — photographers shooting actual film and the digital emulation of film. What is it about film that makes photographers drool and go weak in the knees? Why the love affair with film?

It’s certainly not what you generally see attributed to digital images as “film.” I’ve lived and worked as a professional photographer long enough to have actually *gasp*, shot film and trust me, if I delivered images shot on film that looked like most of the subjective film emulations being peddled, I’d have been relegated to the starving artist camp.

What is it exactly? Some would argue that it’s dynamic range and sharpness. There are plenty of sites dedicated to proving and disproving these arguments. The real love affair with film is with the soft color palette (color grading), the tonal response and the grain. An artistic quality that’s at once nostalgic and elusive.

How do you capture a quality that eludes description? You could either load up a roll of film or you let someone with a passion for film, a head for the technical aspects with a sprinkling of magic do the homework for you. Someone like Totally Rad! You know, the guys who brought you RadLab, Dirty Pictures, Pro Retouch 2.0, Totally Rad! Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets and the wildly popular iPhone app PicTapGo. Cue the Announcer.

04-Replichrome
© Andrew Funderburg (Fuji Astia 100F: Noritsu)

Introducing, Replichrome II. A collection of slide film presets for Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. 19 film stocks (Kodak, Fuji and Agfa) and over 200 presets. But wait. Isn’t this the same as VSCO presets? Yes and no. Totally Rad! makes no bones about who they’re up against and they are happy to prove why their presets are far superior and a better choice for discriminating photographers.

How is this magic accomplished, you ask? Well, it’s actually science, not magic that makes this work. But the magic starts with the wizard himself, Doug Boutwell. If you met him, you’d assume he’s a laid-back southern California surfing dude. And you’d be right. He’s also a pilot, so don’t go judging a book by its hip exterior because as soon as he starts talking, you’ll discover he’s also a scientist. And a damned good one at that. Albeit a bit more on the mad scientist side, but the Replichrome series of Lightroom presets are from his unique talent of blending art and science — a digital alchemist of sorts with a passion and dedication to bring film to the digital age.

Back to the science, they actually exposed real film and methodically digitized the results to authentically capture all the characteristics of each film stock. The film was then scanned with a Noritsu and Epson V750 Pro scanner (with a custom IT8 calibration). Processed film varies wildly depending on the lab and each scanner imparts a distinct characteristic, so 3,556 source images were scanned from 19 different cameras.

© Andrew Funderburg
© Andrew Funderburg

The presets are organized by film type (Fuji, Kodak, Agfa, Scotch), then subdivided by Noritsu and Calibrated with -/+ variations. Rounding out this impressive list of presets is a Tweak Kit with all sorts of tools to tweak color, contrast, curves, grain, sharpening, toning and vignettes. Replichrome installs into Lightroom, but it also works with Adobe Camera Raw if you only use Photoshop for your RAW file conversions.

02-Bridge to Camera RAW

© Randy Kepple Photographs
© Randy Kepple Photographs

Replichrome II has a very simple, one-click installer. No confusing PDF installation guides to wade through or messing around copying and pasting files into various folders…just double-click and you’re done. There is even a custom install option to install only the profiles needed for your camera(s). The zipped Replichrome II file is 260 MB. The other Totally Rad! Lightroom presets are under 500 KB, so you know there’s some magic thrown in. Selecting only Canon and Fujifilm installation (bodies I shoot with) indicated it would only use 85 MB of hard drive space.

Installer

Once installed, using the Replichrome presets is as easy as choosing a look from the Presets Panel. Just like any other preset in Lightroom, you can mouse over a look and see a preview. You can even tweak a preset and save it as a customized preset. Best of all, if you ever have any questions, their customer service is fantastic and fun. (Almost as fun as Fundy Software…wink wink).

© Kimberly Kay Photography
© Kimberly Kay Photography (Fuji Velvia 50: Noritsu L)
© Kimberly Kay Photography
© Kimberly Kay Photography (Fuji Provia 100F: Noritsu)

Film emulation is definitely subjective, but Totally Rad! has tried to eliminate most of those variables. “The fact is, trying to nail down what Portra 160 looks like, or any other film for that matter, is a bit like trying to nail down what a guitar sounds like, or what wine tastes like, or what love feels like,” said Doug Boutwell. Buying the Replichrome II presets won’t make you a better photographer, but it’ll definitely give you more creative options.

© Randy Kepple Photographs
© Randy Kepple Photographs (Kodak P800/1600: Calibrated)

“You’ve got a lot of choices in your pursuit of a more romantic, beautiful character for your images, even if perfect accuracy isn’t attainable—and that’s worth celebrating. It’s an exciting time we live in, indeed,” Boutwell added.

It’s as close as you can get (digitally) to loading up a roll of your favorite film. And best of all, you’ll have more time to focus on being creative. Still not sure? Download a set of free Replichrome presets and see for yourself!

Do it all in Fundy Designer!

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