Totally Rad are the producers of the film emulation presets titled Replichrome. Currently there are three sets of presets, Replichrome I: Icon, Replichrome II: Slide, and Replichrome III: Archive. The initial inception of the Lightroom presets, now known as the Icon Series, came with the intent to get it right. Not to create stylized versions of film but to create accurate depictions so that the digital images with the film presets would appear as close to actual film as possible.
The issue here, as many of you film shooters probably know, is that there are a number of variables that make film photography perfectly imperfect: how the film is exposed, the film scanner type, and the lab. As digital photographers, we expose for the highlights, not the shadows. Film photographers notoriously overexpose their rolls in order to get richer results. This is an option that as digital photographers, we don’t have. Overexposed highlights are just blown information. But for the other two variables, Totally Rad made particular decisions. The presets include multiple scan type versions with the Noritsu and the Frontier. As for the lab, Totally Rad aimed to match one of the industry leaders Richard Photo Lab of Los Angeles. I was able to reach out to the creator of the Totally Rad presets and when asked about the decision to choose Richard Photo Lab as their standard they said it was the romantic fine art aesthetic and softer palette of the Lab that ultimately led to their decision. That particular look and feel is what has remained the standard for wedding film photographers.
Replichrome I includes the following films:
• Kodak: Ektar 100, Portra 160, Portra 400, and Portra 800
• Kodak: BW 400CN, Plus-X 125, T-Max 3200, Tri-X 400
• Fuji: Pro 160C, Pro 160S, Pro 400H, Pro 800Z, Reala 100
At the time of its creation there was no thought of a Replichrome II or III. The film type choices were meant to be the standards for the current film shooting industry. What shooters are shooting now has to do not only with the quality and look that is preferred but also simply what is still available. They are also the films I am personally the most familiar with and shoot (when I do shoot film), specifically the Fuji 160s, 400, and 800 as well as the Kodak black and white films.
The following images are meant to give a sense of the set of presets. My choices with the images, where to show a higher-key image, a darker higher-contrast image, a sample of skin tones, and an image with a wider area of value range.
- Skin tones
- High-key images
- Batch edits
- Low-light images
- Grungy and more stylized images
Overall, I love this set of Lightroom presets. I've switched over to using the Kodak Portra and Fuji Pro presets for my wedding work. The presets have captured the subtleties of film photography or as close as we can get with digital. The aesthetic of Richard Photo Lab shines through in this set the most. Those looking for the nuances of film photography should look at Replichrome's Icon set.
Replichrome II: Slide
Replichrome II is a set of slide films that includes the better known Fuji films as well as novelty films like Scotch Chrome, and some of the discontinued Kodak slide films. The set also includes two scanner versions, Noritsu and Epson. These films will for the most part create a richer and more stylized image than the previous set. Here are a few examples from Replichrome II.
Replichrome II includes the following films:
- Kodak: E100, E200, Ektachrome, Panther, EPP, P800-1600
- Fuji: Astia 100, Provia 100, Provia 400, Sensia 400, Velvia 50, Velvia 100
- Others: Agfa 200RS, Agfa 1000RS, Agfa, CTX, Agfa RSXII, Agfa Scala, Scotch Chrome
- Low-key images
- Rich and warm tones
- Batch edits
- Skin tones
Overall I was surprised with this set. For my purposes, the Fuji films are something I may keep in my back pocket for particular images. I don’t think personally I would run one of these over a batch edit, but I think especially with the Fuji films, you could. The other sets are not for me, but they are still very well done and have high attention to detail. What I love is that the tweak kit for this set is not the same re-used kit from the first set, but a specific set for these presets. For example, the grain presets are meant to emulate specific styles from the film types.
Replichrome III: Archive
When I spoke with the creator of Replichrome, he mentioned that it took months of finding and hoarding film in the testing and creation of Replichrome II so I was even more curious how it would be possible to do real world test of all of the "Archive" films. Finding and testing the films for the Archive set was an even more intensive process. Part of the issue is that the films would certainly be expired so many were tossed out and deemed unusable. The Archive set is certainly meant to be a more unique and niche set.
Replichrome III includes the following films:
- Agfa: HDC 200, Pro 200, Ultra 50, XRG 100
- Kodak: Kodacolar VR100, Ektar 25, Ektar 1000, PJ800, Ektacolor Pro 160
- Others: Centuria Super, Konica Optima 100, Optima II, Super XG, Orwocolor, Unichem, VIP 100
- Black and White
- Individual Stylized Edits
- Vintage Aesthetic
- Batch Edits
- Skin Tones
- Traditional Portraits
In some of the brighter images I liked the soft vintage effects that were possible, but for the most part this set would be less for a wedding photographer and suited better for specific and most likely niche applications. Where I do think this set sings is with the black and white films.
If you are looking for a more stylized look, then Replichrome III may be for you. But I think where the Replichrome series is at its strongest is the nuanced detail of the more prominent and currently in use films, specifically the Kodak and Fuji films included in Replichrome I. In summary I would have to applaud Totally Rad for not simply creating a set of presets for the sake of making things look cool, but for taking the time to test, study, and research, in order to create a believable product.
Replichrome I, II, and III are available to purchase separately for $99 each from the Totally Rad online store.