FilmLab, a Kickstarter campaign run by former Google Apps employee Abe Fettig, has set out to create a mobile app that converts film into digital images. Apparently, all you need is a smartphone, film and a light source, such as a light box (the one used in the Kickstarter demo is available on BH just a little over $100), and it will convert your negatives into positives.
The app works by utilizing RAW capture to get as much detail as possible, then stacks multiple images to create one high quality photo that’s easily saved to your device or shareable on other apps. Before it finalizes your shots, it provides a real time preview of the processed imagery, and can even correct your perspective if you’re shooting at an angle. In addition, if you would like higher resolution images that what a smartphone camera can provide, you can use a digital camera and macro lens to capture the negatives.
According to FilmLab’s Kickstarter page, the app is comprised of a new image processing engine designed for recognizing and processing film, but the details of this engine are vague.
The following sample images provided on FilmLab’s Kickstarter page were scanned by laying negative strips on top of a light box and captured on an iPhone 7 Plus. It’s also noted that they were taken using the app’s automatic exposure and color balance setting, which is still said to be unfinished, and haven’t been color corrected. And really, they look pretty damn good. See for yourself:
The app works on both iOS and Android, and if it delivers everything that’s promised, this could be huge for film faithfuls who are tired of paying to ship their film out to labs, then waiting for their files and negatives. At the time this post was written, FilmLap had surpassed its funding goal of $20,000 with 20 days left in the campaign.
If you would like to support the campaign, a pledge of just $18 will give you early access to FilmLab beta before it’s released on the app store.