Leica Film Lab for IOS or Android


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I got in on a kickstarter campaign for a developer in NY who wrote a program to automatically or manually convert negatives/slides to digital images (soon to be Raw) using apple or android phones. Name is Film Lab and the testers have shown some very nice results and Abe is super responsive. IOS has precedence but Android betas not yet as functional.

I decided not to download a version (Android) until I could figure out by emails that many of bugs worked out and I would not have to spend a lot of time with the learning curve. However, there are folks on this blog/forum who find this up their alley. It seems a good idea and product fleshing out.

Anyone here have experience with FilmLab?


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FilmLab preview version 0.2
Posted by Abe Fettig (Creator)

Hi Kickstarter backers! Since my last post, I've been hard at work getting the next beta build ready to go. The iOS version should be available in the next 24 hours (as soon as Apple approves the update), and the Android version should be ready to go next week. Here's what you can look for in this update.

Manual crop / perspective adjustment
The big new feature in this release is manual crop and perspective adjustment. If you've been playing with one of the previous 0.1.x builds, you've no doubt run into the situation where FilmLab's frame-detection engine failed to identify the frame you wanted to capture. Something like this:


See how it captured two frames instead of one? The automatic detection is something that will be fixed eventually, but for now I wanted to give people the ability to fall back to manual mode. Plus there are situations where you might want to be able to set a custom crop for creative reasons. So the latest build introduces a new crop/perspective tool, which lets you adjust the frame area after capture. To use it, just click the little crop icon:


Then you can drag the corners around until you've made a box around the frame you want. Tap the crop button again to dismiss the crop tool, and you'll be looking at your cropped and perspective-adjusted image, with automatic color/exposure settings applied.


The crop/perspective tool is the first feature in a new lossless editing framework I'm building. FilmLab is saving the original captured image, and re-processing it after you adjust the crop. There will be more manual editing features coming in future builds.

Other improvements
Device orientation / rotation support. Now you can rotate your device without breaking the FilmLab UI. Yay!

Raw capture support. If you're using a device that supports raw capture, FilmLab will use raw under the hood. For now, the only difference this makes is that your image won't have as much noise reduction and smoothing applied to it, and will have slightly better dynamic range. Future builds will add support for combining multiple raw captures to reduce noise and improve resolution.

IPhone SE/6S camera improvements. Previous builds showed a very dark camera on the iPhone SE and 6S, and didn't work well on those models. This has been fixed.

Android phone fixes. On some Android devices, FilmLab's camera runs at a very slow frame rate, or crashes on startup. Both of these issues come from FilmLab naively choosing a resolution that isn't optimized for video. Beta 0.2 fixes this issue, although I can't promise that it will fix every single device-specific problem just yet. If your Android phone doesn't work with version 0.2, please let me know!

Faster editor loading. The transition between the camera (where you get a live view of things) and editor (where you can view, edit, and save your captured image) is faster and smoother, especially on Android.

No more jumping between positive and negative modes. Previously, the camera would switch between positive and negative mode as it tried to detect what was in the scene. But since positive/slide film isn't actually supported yet, this only made things worse. So for now, I've made it stay in negative mode all the time, which feels a lot better. Full support for positives will be added in a future build.

Bug fixes. A couple of crasher bugs have been fixed.

Known bugs and issues
There are still plenty of bugs/issues are present in 0.2. Here's a partial list (listed in rough order of priority, so things at the top should be fixed soon):

  • Positive to negative conversion is overexposing highlights.
  • Black and white film is still being treated as color film.
  • Multiple raw capture isn't enabled yet.
  • Crop/perspective tool UI still needs work. The corners can be hard to drag when near the edges, the sides aren't yet draggable, and there's no zoom so fine-grained adjustments are difficult.
  • Manual control over film type, exposure, contrast, and color balance isn't implemented yet.
  • This build doesn't include any improvements to frame detection.
  • Camera doesn't yet show a live preview of detected frames.
  • Positive/slide film isn't yet supported.
  • Autofocus isn't working great yet. It can take multiple attempts to capture an in-focus image.
  • Output is still limited to 8-bit JPEG, even if raw capture was used.
This was a big release with a lot of changes under the hood. My goal is to switch to smaller, more frequent beta releases going forward. Expect at least one more update before the end of September.

Have a great rest of your week, and I hope you get a chance to get outside and shoot some film!


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Top Veteran
I was rather hoping that someone on this forum might be attracted to this method of generating digital images from their film stock using the phone camera scheme....and comment. Abe has put a lot of work into making this functional under Ios and Android as well as making it automatic or almost fully manual.

It seems to me an nice alternative to the regular lab scans , in a pinch, or maybe even for other applications on web. One of these days the phone cameras are going to be so good that with RAW and high res/high dynamic range that it would be very high quality to scan with this technique....for those that want to shoot film, and especially if home develop or wish to make digital prints (alternative processes anyone?).

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