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Direct scan of 16mm negative (complete with orange mask) - how to use FCP X to turn that into a positive image?


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I'm astonished I even have to ask this - but no amount of searching these forums or googling provides an answer.  I have some 16mm negatives I scanned in with my film scanner (a heavily modified WorkPrinter-16 HD), and I want to edit it in Final Cut Pro X just like I do all the reversal film I've scanned. The "Negative" effect of course just flips the orange mask to blue, so that's no good.  My still film scanners all know how to deal with color negative film, why on earth does FCP not?  How has nobody at least created a for-purchase plugin I can use to do it?

I found an "OpenFX" plugin that does exactly what I need, but no support for FCP with that.  And there are any number of FCP plugins offering to give me the "film look" to my digital footage, but of course that's not what I want!  I've got all the "film look" I need in this actual film...

What am I overlooking here?

Thanks,

Duncan

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Can you just perform an auto white balance on the orange mask, using the color grading tools in FCP?

If possible, it would be ideal to white balance the digital camera during the scanning process so you don’t introduce extra noise in post.

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I do white balance the digital camera before scanning, and lock it in to that setting (because trying to white balance against that orange film would be a disaster!)

My understanding of the orange mask is that it is affected differently by image on the different color layers, so it's not as simple as subtracting out the orange (or the blue, after running the negative filter on it.)  Print film and photographic paper are built to reverse the effects of the orange mask precisely, as are any number of still film scanning programs.  It's not a mystery how to do it, for those in the know, it's just a mystery to me why FCP X users aren't provided with any tools for this by anyone (as near as I can tell.)

Duncan

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Ya know, it's a great question. Nobody has a solution to do this that I'm aware of, not even in Resolve. I think the reason why is because you can't really get the backlight and color calibration right when you don't see the inverted image. So it would be impossible to make a template lets say, that just works, because it would be way off no matter what. Auto white balance does not work, I've tried a lot. The only thing you can do is futz with the colors in Resolve. The invert tool by the way is in the color pane node under the LUTS dropdown, which is a strange place to put it, but it's there. So you'd invert, then fix from there. If you never change your scanner, you can make a template in Resolve color panel and apply it to everything that goes into Resolve. Not sure how you can achieve any of this with FCPX, it's still just a toy compared to Resolve which is free btw. 

I do this all the time with a Lightbox and my iPhone camera, using photoshop to cleanup the image. 
IMG_9099.thumb.jpeg.43f4e69cd36ee6e4811750d455ba0c84.jpeg
 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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Oh but there IS a plugin for Resolve!

http://www.filmlabs.org/index.php/technical-tips/invertcolorneg/

Wait, Resolve is free?  Let me go look at that.  (If you need to own a BlackMagic product to get it free, I'm OK there too, as I use an UltraStudio 4K in my scanner setup).

My still image scanner programs do it not with a template per se, but built in settings for each kind of known film (Kodak Gold 400, Portra 800, etc.)  But it seems like you could also help it along by using some blank areas of any given film to help calibrate it.

Duncan

 

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38 minutes ago, Duncan Brown said:

Oh neat! I downloaded it. I'll have to muck around to see if it works. Doesn't appear to do anything special, but I'll have to check. 

 

38 minutes ago, Duncan Brown said:

Wait, Resolve is free?  Let me go look at that.  (If you need to own a BlackMagic product to get it free, I'm OK there too, as I use an UltraStudio 4K in my scanner setup).

Yes DaVinci Resolve has been free since the very beginning. The "studio" version is the paid version. The difference is nominal, mostly plugins and codecs, the program functions identically otherwise. 

38 minutes ago, Duncan Brown said:

My still image scanner programs do it not with a template per se, but built in settings for each kind of known film (Kodak Gold 400, Portra 800, etc.)  But it seems like you could also help it along by using some blank areas of any given film to help calibrate it.

Are you using a real stills scanner? 

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I just downloaded it and (allowing for me knowing diddlysquat about using OpenFX or Resolve) I actually got it to work pretty well pretty quickly.  For the moment I can just use it to convert the footage to use in FCPX, but who knows maybe I'll become a convert!

I have several still-photo slide and negative scanners that I've been using for years (Nikon and Epson).  The 16mm scanning is only the last 5-10 years.

Duncan

 

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