Thanks to cheap secondhand cameras and a general ‘retro trend’ film photography is experiencing a true revival. However, most photographers who shoot film still need digital versions of their images to show them off online or send to friends and family, which is why film-scanning hardware and software is a necessary part of the equipment.
Software developer Abe Fettig has found current solutions too expensive and slow and has therefore used his spare time to start working on the FilmLab app as a side-project. FilmLab now exists as a prototype and is impressively simple. Negatives or slides of any size have to be placed on a light table and can then be scanned using your smartphone.
Pointing the app at the roll of film automatically identifies the images, corrects for distortion and converts negatives into positives. A tap on the shutter then records several Raw files which are merged for optimal image quality. Alternatively, if you want better image quality and/or higher resolution, you can also load images taken with a DSLR or other camera into the app for conversion into digital positives.
Abe is now hoping to work full-time on the app for a while to iron out the bugs and make it work with more types of film stock and phones. You can support this project by donating $3 to the app’s development and getting access to ongoing updates, or by donating $18 for access to the first Beta builds that will let you be among the first users to try out new features.
The plan is to offer the app as a $2/month subscription service once it is finished, with a one month free trial period. This would make it inexpensive, or even free, for those users who do a short-term project digitizing film. You can find out more about the project and see some scanning samples on the FilmLab Kickstarter page.