The first Kickstarter project I got involved with was a photography book called Wonderland by the amazing photographer Kirsty Mitchell. Back in 2015 I fell in love with the effortless, fantastical images Mitchell was producing and knew that I had to get my hands on the book. Having it signed, plus an acknowledgement in the back of it was just the cherry on top.
Since then I've seen a number of interesting photography related campaigns come and go but most recently I stumbled across the Film Lab campaign. In short, Film Lab is an App which takes a photo of a strip of negatives or single negative and converts it to colour, allowing you to store a digital version of your negative, as well as giving you a quick idea of what the finished print will look like.
Film Lab went live with the Beta version this week and we were warned that there are glitches and bugs galore but the creator wanted feedback from others. Today I gave it a whirl and whilst he wasn't wrong about the apps many issues I can easily see the full potential of the finished thing once all the kinks have been ironed out.
Many people scan their negatives but this is a time consuming and costly way of digitalising your images, and frankly I don't have the patience. I know one person who does it very well but if it's not in a darkroom and covered in chemicals I just can't bring myself to do it with the due care and attention needed.
That's where the app comes in.
You lay your film on a light box (or iPad as I've seen many doing), hover your phone over the negatives and wait for the app to adjust the colours and exposure before hitting the shutter button. It then saves each individual frame as a single image on your phone/computer, having corrected the colours and exposure.
So you start with your negatives on the Lightbox:
And then let the app do it's magic.
However, the teething problems are indeed rife with this Beta version. The app consistantly struggled to convert the negatives into anything, and when it did the colour was unstable and the image was over exposed.
Film Lab 'scan'
Print from negative.
Other issues included the apps failure to recognise frames and it crashed more than once, but this is exactly what the creator, Abe Fettig warned us about. So with all of these issues reported, and new code being written, I'm eagerly awaiting the next version. For someone like me (lazy), this app will help document all my negatives and create a digital library. This is not something I would have done previously for the afore mentioned reasons so I'm excited to have the means to catalogue my large amount of negs I have stored. Sadly I don't think they're going to be a decent enough quality to print from but that's not a major inconvenience for me.
All in all I think Abe Fettig is onto something here as long as he can work out all the issues, which I believe he can, so fingers crossed I maybe posting more of my unseen stuff in the near future.