Film Look in Video – Dehancer Pro Review / Kodak, Fuji, Agfa

Imagine you could shoot your video in same look and feel as you shoot film ? Imagine Ilford HP5, Gorgeous Fujifilm Velvia, Discontinued Fujifilm 400H, Kodak Vision in all it’s favours, even Svema film too which I review awhile back …

I going dive into a piece software made from film photography, in the darkroom by passionate film shooter and creators. If you are into film photography you’ll certain find this interesting and at least mind bending in terms what you can do with this plugin. You will definitely learn something new along the way…

Adox Color Implosion 100
Adox Color Implosion 100

Introduction

First thing I thought, isn’t this just a gimmick? Just another digital tool trying to emulation film? As film photographer I was skeptical but I’m also curious too. However, I believe these guys have put quite a bit of work into make this piece of software. Now not just digital work but darkroom work with darkroom prints from hard to get film stocks which are well expired or discontinued.

Color grading video is a serious matter. I’ve got to say the more I’ve looked into this matter, the more I’m impressed with their approach. Especially in regard to analog photography. The folks behind this software plugin are very passionate about film.

I’m going to be honest with you guys straight out of the gate. It’s not normally a review I would do. First up Dehancer reached out to me over Instagram to review their product. So this is a sponsored video but going to be honest and straight up about it!

Now the reason I’m doing this review is to answer these questions;

  • Is this plug-in worth it ?
  • Is it better than free LUTs ?
  • Does it benefit photo / videographers?

I hope to answer these questions without bias in this video.  As I very much like to share my experiences with photographers and even videographers too in this regard. Whether it’s alternative, film or digital, this plug-in crosses all of those divides.

The tool I’m going to talk about and try out in this video is called Dehancer Pro. A plug-in make for DaVinci Resolve. Currently available on MacOS but a Windows and Linux version I believe is in the making.

Plus, I’ll give a conclusion with pros and cons to this product.

Rollei CN200
Rollei CN200

So what is Dehancer Pro Plugin ?

As they describe it:

Any variation of film interpretation in Dehancer can be saved as a LUT file. These LUTs are designed for DIT tasks, but sometimes they are used for a standard grade. This is okay, but remember that this is just one of an infinite number of film states. And most importantly, LUT contains only a color-contrast transformation and is in no way able to convey the rest, more important visual characteristics of a film image, which are adjusted by following tools:

Film Grain, Bloom, Halation, Film Breath, Gate Weave, Vignette

Hence, it is not possible to compare Dehancer Pro plugin with LUT files. Dehancer Pro is a complete, comprehensive film emulation tool that cannot be even partially replaced by the LUTs.

Feature in brief

As they describe it:

  • Exposure, Contrast and Analogue Range Limiter tools, based upon printed samples and simulating real analogue media behaviour
  • Color Density tool emulates analogue saturation and desaturation
  • Expand tool – a simple and effective way to control black and white points independently
  • Realistic Film Grain simulation with adjustable size, amount and impact (with separate controls in shadows, midtones and highlights)
    https://blog.dehancer.com/2020/11/04/dehancer-ofx-plugins-3-2-0/
  • Bloom effect with flexible controls brings misty glow and soft, vintage feel, turning lifeless digital picture into a piece of art
  • Halation film emulsion effect, visible as a subtle red glow around bright light sources, specular highlights and contrasting edges
    https://blog.dehancer.com/articles/separate-plugins/
  • Defringe tool for simple and easy chromatic aberrations control
  • False Color output filter for visual quality control
  • Basic set of conversion profiles for movie cameras, including Arri Alexa
  • Vignette effect with size, aspect, position and exposure control
  • Generate LUT module allows LUT export for DIT on-stage grading
  • Complete native support of ACES pipeline
  • CMY Color Head – substractive color correction tool with exposure compensation
  • Animated Gate Weave and Film Breath effects dynamically bring image to life
    https://blog.dehancer.com/articles/film-breath-and-gate-weave/
Lomo Purple
Lomo Purple

Video Preparation

For this review, I’ll shoot in Log format on my Fujifilm X-H1 which is F-Log.

I may need a ND filter and some way of seeing my Zebras. Because Log format usually have a minimum ISO of 800, at least on my camera. I will use an external monitor for this. If I don’t use the Zebras on my monitor, I shoot to nearly the right of my histogram.

Let’s face it, there are plenty of LUT and film simulation software out there. Even free LUTs foo. It was definitely all the rage a couple of years back for digital still photography such as Silver efex and Color efex. Which I’ve used both.

Now I use DaVinci for a couple of years and love it. It’s incredibly powerful. But I must admit that colour grading is not my forte. I rely very much on the in camera film simulation of my Fujifilm X-H1 camera. The X-H1 is my main video camera.

Most of my videos on the channel are about film photography.  So I’m looking at the Dehancer Pro Plugin from DaVinci Resolve from that perspective.

I do like the Fujifilm simulations but have option to do this post instead of the camera gives me a lot more options. Certainly in regard to reusing footage and not worrying too much about colouring the scenes to match.

Log Camera Profiles

But first I need to dive into F-Log. This is Fujifilm’s log profile, each camera manufacturer has their own. Most manufacturer will also provide a REC 709 LUT this can be used as an input into the Dehancer Pro Plugin too. You can also go down the ACES route for colour science. However I want to keep things simple for this review.

First off I’m using F-Log at all on my camera. Which is probably a shame because I’m missing out.

What really interesting is the LUT’s  used in Dehancer from analog photography point view, is that it’s all done in the darkroom with color profiles are printed in the darkroom. An entire darkroom process.

The Questions

Is this plug-in worth it ?

I would say yes, especially the lite version because it saves a heap of time to get a unique look with lots of tweak for each of these film types There’s a lot to like and plenty of options to make things your own. I would like to see a student discount version too.

Is it better than free LUTs ?

Of course there are free LUTs available but Dechancer Pro is more than this. When you consider you can tweak each film simulations with lot more options including how the film responses to over and under exposure in real terms. Then there are halation, bloom and grain on top of at. When you consider the cost of paid LUTs then Dehancer Pro starts to make even more sense. Free LUTs are like free lunches your still hungry afterwards!

Ilford HP5
Ilford HP5

Does it benefit photo / videographers?

I believe so if you’re making video for a living or for Vimeo/YouTube of a regular basis. It really does save time to achieve a look without complexity of a colour node workflow especially if you are not familiar with nodes in DaVinci. Having saying that at some point you need to learn nodes which works perfectly inconjuction with Dehancer Pro

Pros

  • Creates a unique look without much effort
  • Granularity and flexibility between each of the features
  • Simplified workflow with the possibility to enable/disable each feature.
  • 56 Film Simulations including motion picture and still photography

Cons

  • Available for MacOS only and only works in DaVinci. Unlike FilmConvert
  • It demands a lot of GPU. GPU’s are quite expensive right. However I used AMD RX580 which is quite an old card to make this video.
  • Would like to see more Ilford B&W film simulation such as FP4+, Delta 3200.

Conclusion

For wedding and event videographers this is a must. Especially the Bloom and Halation options with of course the film simulations. The look of film can be very much reproduced at every aspect. Of course nothing will really replace film but with that said the Dehancer Pro used with subtlety you’d be hard press to tell difference.

Plenty of folk will argue on this, it really comes down to the right tool for the job at the right cost. If you have an incredible budget to shoot hundreds of metres of Kodak Vision on 16mm with the cameras then you have the means. However for the rest of us the Dehancer Pro plugin is a welcomed tool to achieve an unique look of film at very little cost and with lot of the frustration and time take out of the equation.

 

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