This week Video Village, the creators of such apps as Lattice and Screen, have released what appears to be an incredibly powerful look creation tool.
It’s called Filmbox.
What is it?
The subtitle is “really good film emulation”.
A bold claim, but is it true?
I’m leaning toward yes, but more on that later.
Another way to add grain, you might be thinking. But that’s only a small part of the story. The website says
A holistic reproduction of photochemical motion picture imaging.
Based on empirical data and refined for creative utility.
Built for high-end production. Right in DaVinci Resolve.
This release follows their last plugin, Scatter, which is meant to accurately simulate diffusion filters in post.
The team is clearly interested in creating flexibility in post for image creation aspects that used to be “baked-in” to post.
This one gives fine controls for customizing your own film negative and print stock.
But film isn’t just one look. How accurate is it really? Video Village says:
Filmbox does not represent pure empiricism. We certainly tried to gather good data and stay close to that data but our methods are not prefect and there were subjective decisions made about how to tune and implement the data into a functional system that produces creatively satisfying results. We encourage you to try it and see if our model of film lives up to your mental model of film.
It’s worth noting that both film and Filmbox can be made to have many looks, and what people think “film” looks like is a bit of a moving target. This is especially the case now that almost nothing is actually printed to film, and many people’s memory of “film” is actually of some hybrid film/digital processes.
Try it for free!
The Video Village team isn’t going to leave you to wonder if it’s any good, you can try it out yourself for free!
Rather than a limited trial or watermarked output, they’ve opted for a “Filmbox Lite” plugin that you can download for free to try yourself.
This version can only be used for non-commercial projects, and is limited in its features, but you can get a really good sense of how it works.
After installing and playing for a bit I was able to make some nice looking images that definitely had a “filmic” feel to them. Reading the manual is required for proper use of color management.
The full version includes many more features for customizing color, contrast, grain, gate weave, dust, and more.
How much for the whole thing?
The pricing is laid out on their buy page, with options for indie projects and studio budgets alike.
The yearly license for indie (to be used on productions with total budget under $2.6 million) is $349 and studio-sized pricing of $4,999 per year.
It’s clear that a lot of work went into sampling film stocks and making simple-yet-powerful tools for users. This is meant to be a high-end professional tool and is priced as such.
Currently the plugin is Mac only, though the team says a Windows and Linux version are in the works.
Overall it looks like a promising film emulation and look creation tool for a colorist or filmmaker’s arsenal.
Full review coming soon.