Fstoppers Reviews the Advanced DVLOP Film Emulation Preset System

Fstoppers Reviews the Advanced DVLOP Film Emulation Preset System

While there are plenty of companies that offer film emulation presets, not all of them are created equal. In order to get things perfect, DVLOP has teamed up with Jose Villa, one of the most popular film photographers in the industry.

What Is DVLOP Film?

If you are familiar with DVLOP presets, you know that they use a custom profile in order to match the colors across different cameras and camera manufacturers. So, if you shoot Sony and Canon, you don't need to worry about fine-tuning individual images so that they look consistent. Instead, DVLOP profiles do that work for you in the background by applying a custom profile that is built specifically for each individual camera.

This DVLOP profile is one of the key differences to how their presets work. But for the film emulation presets, they needed to go a step further. For this release, they created an entirely new set of profiles in order to better match the look you get with film. More specifically, they wanted to match the specific look that Jose Villa gets when he shoots film. This new profile is called DVLOP Film and is the backbone to these presets.

While there is nothing special in regards to the specific rolls of film that Jose uses, the process of developing those rolls of film is where the differences are. When developing film, there are so many little things that can affect the final output. Things like the type of scanner, the person handling the film, and even the temperature of the room can all play a role in how the final image will come out. So, when DVLOP set out to reproduce that Jose Villa look, they needed to make sure all the test rolls went through the same process being used by Jose. So, alongside Jose, the DVLOP team shot countless rolls of film along with seven different digital cameras.

What this did was not only give them the film images to work with, but also gave them the digital equivalent of the exact same scenario and lighting. With this information, they were able to not only create a digital equivalent for the Jose Villa look, but were also able to exactly match that look across camera models

Why Another Film Simulation Preset? What's Different?

I know what you are thinking: “why do we need another film simulation preset?” The answer to the question can be broken down into a few key elements.

Skin Tones: While there are other preset builders that have replicated these films, those presets have always been about producing the best overall match to the film. With DVLOP, the mission was to produce the best overall match of the film as it relates to Jose Villa. What this means is that they placed much more attention to detail when it comes to skin tones.  

Dual Illumination: Dual illumination profiles is one of the main features that help DVLOP rise above all other presets. What this technology does is help colors be more accurate across different white balances. For example, if you photograph an orange dress in daylight and then take another photo of that dress in much warmer light, the color of that dress will have slight variations even when you have the correct white balance dialed in. But with DVLOP, you actually get two separate profiles, one for the daylight and another for the warmer conditions. The great thing here is that these profiles will automatically be applied to your image in varying amounts depending on where you have your white balance set. This is how DVLOP gets you much more accurate colors across a varying array of shooting conditions.    

Camera detection with cross-camera color accuracy: With most presets, you have to manually choose a preset based on the camera you are shooting with. So, if you shoot Nikon, you have to choose the Nikon preset. If you shoot Sony, you need to choose the Sony preset. And most preset companies stop there. They don't supply a preset specific for the Sony a7 III and then another for the Sony a9. Where this becomes hectic is when you shoot with multiple camera models or brands or even when you work with another shooter that uses a different brand. In the past, you would have to manually apply each specific preset depending on the image you were editing. With DVLOP, that's all done for you in the background. Simply select your preset and the correct profile for your camera will be applied. Not only a correct profile for the brand of camera you have, but down to the specific camera model. This makes the entire preset panel much less cluttered as well as making your life much easier.   

The same attention to color accuracy for black and white: Even though you can't see colors in a black and white image, those colors still play a vital role in the way a black and white image looks and feels. Because of this, each black and white preset has the same attention to color accuracy as the color presets. What this does is ensure accurate toning across all makes and models of each camera.

In Use

When actually using these presets, I found them to be extremely accurate. I generally have images from two or three different camera brands during a single wedding, and after applying the preset, I couldn't tell a difference. My Sony files looked like my Nikon files, and they both looked like my Fuji files. In the past, I had to fine tune my white balance and tint in order to get the colors to match from camera to camera, but with the DVLOP profiles, I just didn't have to do that anymore.   

Delta 3200 - Deep Black

What I Liked

  • DVLOP custom profiles seriously make working with multiple cameras so much easier

  • Dual illumination profiles make skin tones and colors much more accurate and easy to reproduce.

  • Skin tones across the board always come out amazing

400H - Noritsu

What I Didn't Like

  • Preset naming was a bit confusing. For example, you have a "400H" and then a "400H - For the Love of Film," and I didn’t know the difference. But after watching a live edit with Jose Villa on the DVLOP Facebook group, I learned that the "400H" represents what the preset looks like out of the scanner, while the "400H - For the Love of Film" preset represents what Jose would traditionally do to the image after getting it back from the developer.

This is a small clip from the live edit, but you can see the full hour in the DVLOP Facebook group.

  • Because the profiles are custom-built for each individual camera, not all cameras are supported. But thankfully, they have a vast array of cameras that are supported, so chances are you are good (even the new Nikon Z7 is on the list). But this is just something you need to keep in mind before buying. You can see the full list of supported cameras here.

HP5 plus 400 - Deep Black

400H - Noritsu - For the Love of Film

In conclusion, if you are in the market for film presets that are perfect for portraits and getting those amazing pink-tinted skin tones, then this is the pack for you! Or even if you work with multiple cameras and brands and just struggle with matching your colors, these packs would be great for your workflow. This set is currently broken up into two different packs, one for color and one for black and whites, and they sell for $125 each. 

Jason Vinson's picture

Jason Vinson is a wedding and portrait photographer for Vinson Images based out of Bentonville, Arkansas. Ranked one of the Top 100 Wedding photographers in the World, he has a passion for educating and sharing his craft.

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Its about the toning and not the physical color of the skin. These look great on all colors of skin. I'll try and get some more diverse examples added!

Everyone's emulating film. Whatever happened to emulating reality? Why no presets aimed at color accuracy?

Because that's what a Color Checker (or equivalent custom profiling system) is for. It makes little sense to use a generalized preset for color accuracy when so many variables in a given scene can affect it.

reality sucks dude.. that's why

Not for C1! no THX!

Presets, to me, have never been about turning you into the person that designed them. It's about adapting them to your style and making them your own. That's the great thing about the DVLOP packs, you get much more then a simple preset with some sliders moved around. There are also people putting out some amazing work with these presets that look nothing like Jose's work. From light and airy to dark and moody.

Great writeup, Jason. Looks like I have some learning to do.

Thanks Brandon! Definitely worth looking into!