Dehancer vs. Filmconvert

We are often asked about how Dehancer differs from Filmconvert, so we have decided to write a detailed article on this topic. At first sight both are plugins with film profiles. What is the difference between them?

Prehistory

It is important to understand that the Dehancer project has existed for a long time, since 2014. At the beginning, our interest in imitation of film colors was application task, as we are photographers. We shoot on film for more than 30 years and continue to do it now.

We have our own analogue laboratory with darkroooms for black-and-white and color printing, where we print our photographs and study analogue photo/cinema processes, combining scientific research with empirical observations. If you add to this our interests in the field of psychology of perception, cognitive science and professional mathematical skills — there is no chances for a carefree life. Hands own wants to create the best color application in the world.

We’ve always understood that not the first and not the last to do it. For almost 20 years we have been following what is happening in the world of digital photography. Unfortunately, during this time we have not found photo processing applications that is more or less suited to reproduce the aesthetics of film colors. There are a lot of such programs, plug-ins and presets, but none of them satisfied us, so we decided to create our own.

Even if such an application already existed, we would still try to make our own. First of all, according to our vision of beauty. Secondly, what if it will work better than the others? Anyway, there are not so many people in the world with a background similar to ours.

First several years we’ve been working on a software for photographers. During this time, we were able to make a some of (possibly scientific) discoveries, developed a methodology for a film characterization and created mathematical algorithms to the interpretation of instrumental measurement results. In fact, we created a software kernel for photo processing and tested how it works on several thousand beta users.

About a year ago we decided to use our know-how for video production industry. Until this time, we had no knowledge of other solutions in this field. Dipped down to the topic, we found out the video processing software leaped forward. Both technically and aesthetically.

Of course, one of the best solutions to give the “soulless” digital image of “analogue warmth” is the Filmconvert plugin. It was a pleasant surprise for us, because we have never met products of this level before.

At the same time, we can see that our efforts are somewhat different with Filmconvert team is streving on.

Benefits of Dehancer

1. Quantity of film profiles

There are currently 19 film profiles in Filmconvert and this list has not been updated for several years. At the same time, Filmconvert doesn’t even have some basic movie films, let alone photographic ones. Dehancer currently has 42 film stock, including most of the modern movie films. In the near future we plan to add another 10. In addition, there are about 50 films in the queue for characterization now, so we plan to increaze this list to 100 in the near future, and eventually to 150 or more.

A reasonable question — do you need such a large number of film profiles? It’s customary to think that it’s enough a few, most often colorists are limited to one.

We’re sure colorists are need many film profiles. Firstly, the choice of one or two profiles is usually caused by the fact that the other profiles do not work as well as we would like them to. Secondly, the choice of film is a creative function. Sooner or later, any favorite profile becomes annoying and you want to try something new. Third, a large base of quality profiles allows you to better understand their differences and choose the best for a particular scene.

Practice shows that 10-15 favorite profiles are usually used in photo digital processing. This list is gradually updated in time by each photographer — some profiles are removed from the list of “favorite”, some are added. Beta-testing shows that colorists usually choose 4-7 favorite profiles in Dehancer and 1-2 profiles in Filmconvert.

2. Aesthetic quality of film profiles

Filmconvert profiles are really good. But thanks to our work experience with the analogue image, methodology of profiles building wich basing on print (instead of scan) processes, and also nonlinear mathematical know-how, we were able to create profiles even more precisely and aesthetically verified.

3. Unique profiles and analogue processes

We characterize not only modern photo/cinema films, but also discontinued films. We are constantly looking for them in the best possible state of preservation, studying and measuring their characteristics. In addition, we characterize photographic processes.

For example, Dehancer has such exotic films profiles as Kodachrome 64, Adox Color Implosion, Agfa Scala, Agfacolor Portrait XPS 160 and others. The Ambrotype exotic process profile, built on 168 years old technology. A profile obtained using technology close to that of Prokudin-Gorsky. And so on.

What’s this for? For example, thanks to the physical processes that follow Prokudin-Gorsky’s profile (black-and-white shooting through color separators), today it is the best profile for separating colors, including cold/warm colors, which is especially important for cinematic images.

4. Push / Pull

You probably know that films have different colors and contrasts, depending on how they are exposed. Each Dehancer film profile is made up of 3 profiles of the same film, shot at different exposures, with the ability to choose any exposure option from -2 to +2 steps. In Filmconvert you are working with a single exposure film (perhaps a reference film, but not the best one for this film).

5. Analogue Exposure / Contrast

In the latest version of Filmconvert Nitrate, developers have significantly improved the Exposure tool. At the same time, in our opinion, Exposure in Dehancer works even better, especially at the edge values. Probably because it fully replicates the actual tool measurements of the print media.

Unfortunately, there is no Contrast tool in Filmconvert at all. The shape of the Tonal Contrast curve in Dehancer also follows the real analogue contrast of the printed media.

6. Saturation tools

We have implemented the Color Density tool in Dehancer, which simulates the saturation of printed media. This is a saturation setting that “knows” about the peculiarities of human perception of different spectrum shades. Unlike the standart computer model on which most of the digital Saturation tools are based, including the one used in Filmconvert.

7. Analogue Range Limiter

Dehancer has an important tool called Analogue Range Limiter that allows you to nonlinearly compress the dynamic range of the scene to the media range. The tool is based on real instrumental measurements. In other words, you can realistically reproduce the optical density range of the print media, if necessary, to produce the softer shadows and light characteristic of solid media. There is no such tool in Filmconvert.

8. Camera/Film profiles download

It’s 2020, and we’re a little surprised that Filmconvert forces its users to download camera profiles separately from the site and then install them on their computers. In Dehancer, all profiles (both film and cameras) are automatically downloaded with a single click of the Check Updates button.

Benefits of Filmconvert

1. Grain

Filmconvert is the Gods of grain! Guys are constantly improving the grain and provide more and more tools to work with it. Grain in Filmconvert is given so much attention that the plugin is becoming more and more of a grain plugin, not a color plugin. There is no grain in the Dehacner yet. When it will appear, then we will compare, but in the meantime Filmconvert unequivocally ahead of us on this task.

2. Camera Profiles

The number of cameras and capture formats that Filmconvert supports is amazing. From iPhones to the main professional cameras. Hundreds of profiles for input format! In Dehancer there are only two camera profiles now — for Arri Alexa Mini and Fujifilm X-T3 F-Log (so it turned out).

3. Contrast control separately from color

Filmconvert allows you to control the color and contrast of the film separately. We do not think that this is the right way, because it contradicts the psychophysiological patterns of human perception. However, this is an instrumental Filmconvert possibility wich cannot be omitted to mention. We are not sure that we will add such a feature to the Dehacner, beause this workflow takes away from achieving an aesthetic result, rather than bringing it closer to it.

4. White balance management

Filmconvert allows you to control the white balance inside the plugin. We don’t see any fundamental differences from the WB in standart Davinci Resolve features, but maybe we just haven’t fully understood this point yet. In any case, there is no such possibility in Dehancer yet.

5. LUT export

Many colorists likes Filmconvert for the ability to export LUT with settings for the scene. We are not sure yet that we will add this feature to Dehancer. So this is another plus of Filmconvert.

Summary

In our opinion, Filmconvert is not so much focused on working with color, as on the coordination of heterogeneous materials received from different cameras, as well as on the imitation of film grains. Both are certainly convenient and extremely useful, as they allow us to speed up the process of obtaining a decent result. At the same time, Filmconvert pays little attention to the film profiles themselves.

In turn, Dehancer is completely color-centric. The attention of developers is focused on the characterization of films and analogue processes. It gives to users powerful base of qualitative, various and well operated coloristic decisions on the basis of film colours.

More plugins, good and different!

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