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Ralf Jurrien : March 16th 2007 - 18:20 CET

DxO FilmPack

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DxO LabsDxO FilmPack : To successfully complete such a challenge, it was vital to follow a strict scientific procedure and combine it with the know-how of extremely experienced photographers. In order to have the most reliable base possible from which to work, DxO Labs engineering team produced a series of traditional silver-halide-based photographs of calibrated test charts and real subjects (still lifes, objects of varying colors and textures, etc.) under very precisely controlled lighting conditions. Once the photos had been taken, the DxO Labs engineering team needed to ensure that the processing phase for the negatives and transparencies would not introduce any spurious variables into the results obtained.
DxO FilmPack Kodak Kodachrome films
The help of two highly-regarded professional laboratories was enlisted. Multiple sets of all the films were developed separately, firstly by Picto in Paris (France), and also by Duggal in New York (USA). The only exceptions to this were the Kodachrome films, which were developed by Kodak’s own professional laboratory (the only remaining laboratory capable of processing this legendary film). Once the films had been developed, calibration required a scrupulous digitizing process using a professional color scanner. Two distinct lines of action were taken: calibrating the color rendition (based on colorimetric measurements taken from all the scans) and determining the grain structure of each film.

Photography software solution
The method used for the latter is worth explaining. When it comes to “re-creating” the grain of traditional photography, software solutions available until now have confined themselves to artificially generating Gaussian noise, the appearance of which is “tweaked” to imitate this or that film. It’s not hard to check, either by accurate measurement or by visual inspection, the extent to which this empirical approach leads to not very credible results.

DxO FilmPack
By contrast, DxO Labs’ derives a “grain matrix” directly from the test images. For each of the films, the calibration models were averaged so they could then be applied to the digital images as realistically as possible. Once the process was complete, there remained only the validation of the results: true to the customary DxO Labs approach of seeking to associate the scientific process with the skills of image professionals, the “looks” were verified both by DxO Labs technicians and by a number of expert photographers. In the same spirit, a specific procedure was followed to endure that the new “Toning” renditions available in version 1.1 of DxO FilmPack were as accurate as possible. DxO Labs asked a professional silver halide specialist to produce a set of tonings with all the required skills and processes. By using specific types of paper and processing chemistry, various renditions were achieved for each toning. A selection was then made with the photographers and the most interesting results were calibrated by DxO Labs to be incorporated into DxO FilmPack.

DxO FilmPack - Availability
Five types of toning are available. From the coolest to the warmest, these are: Gold (cold bluish tones), Ferric-Sulfate (bluish-green), Selenium (brownish-grey), Sepia Terra (tobacco tones) and Sepia-Gold (ochre and brown). Finally the generic Sepia profile is closest to a yellow tone. It should be noted that the “toning” options can be combined to the film type and the grain type options for a very wide variety of effects. Choosing a film type or another will modify the contrast curves that are applied to an image. So the same toning applied to a Kodak Tri-X profile or an Ilford HP-5 film type will generate different results.

DxO FilmPack - Kodak Elite 100
DxO FilmPack also lets you explore your own original film styles: applying the color rendering from one film and the grain from another. Better still, the visibility of the grain and its coarseness can still be modulated. Three presets offer to reproduce the grain reproduction of 35mm, 6x6 cm, or large-format cameras. One last remark about the two very special “cross-processed” looks provided in DxO FilmPack. These are development techniques that involve processing slide film (in this case, Kodak Elite 100) in the processing line for negative film, and negative film (Fuji Superia 200) in the baths reserved for slide films! The very original results obtained in these cases have been faithfully reproduced, to allow digital photographers to draw inspiration from some of the more outlandish creative ideas from the era of silver-based photography.

About DxO Labs
DxO Labs offers products and solutions ensuring excellence in digital imaging. DxO Labs develops and licenses intellectual property serving the entire digital imaging chain: licensing of optics and silicon architectures for embedded still and video image processing; image quality evaluation and measurement tools and methodologies; image quality enhancement software for consumers. The company’s key customers and partners include:
• Consumer electronics manufacturers such as digital camera vendors;
• Imaging components suppliers: camera module manufacturers and sensor vendors;
• Demanding photographers, as well as photography journalists and imaging experts.

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