Here we go again — I really can’t stop myself. Every time VSCO releases a new film pack I hem and haw for about four seconds, trying to convince myself I don’t need it…. And then I fold. Now, full disclosure: in some cases I’ve had the good fortune of working with them on beta versions and get complimentary access to the packs. But when I don’t — as is the case with the new Film 05 — I just hit the buy button.
Does this mean my entire photographic look changes each time a new one comes out? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean I get to play with a new toolbox and with each and every release, some of the new emulations have triggered ideas, or found their way into my workflow in some shape or form. In many ways it’s like buying a great photography book… It inspires and shakes the status quo even if you don’t end up copying everything you’ve seen.
This time VSCO Film 05: The Archetype Films Collection sets its sights on “mass market, consumer film emulations from the golden era of analog.” Basically, the stuff mom and dad used to shoot us with — well, some of us anyway ;)
The collection is extensive in itself but VSCO have also included a bunch of variations to each film stock adding COLD, WARM, VIBRANT, SOFT HIGHS and PORTRAIT to the usual multiple + and - versions.
The other new twist in this pack is a folder called Night-Tungsten; the films included in this specific folder are all 400 ASA/ISO or higher (what you would’ve used to shoot night time images) and their white balance have all been tweaked the way a scan would’ve been to compensate for tungsten lighting. These simulations obviously introduce various colour shifts and further expand the available palette.
Another important change from previous implementations: all presets drop file sharpening to zero and many of them also include negative Clarity in the Basic panel. This helps in creating a slightly more diffuse look and takes the edge off (!) digital files by making them slightly softer. It makes sense and can add a nice touch but it’s important to be aware of, since it won’t necessarily work on every image. Of course the great thing about these presets is how easily they can be modified, so it’s rather trivial to create a version that either won’t alter sharpening at all or will incorporate your usual sharpening profile.
The trend from 03 continues and again, this pack makes extensive use of both calibration profiles and RGB curves, all of which can be used independently, mixed and matched or further tweaked. It also includes specific profiles for Fuji, Nikon, Canon, Leica and Olympus cameras as well as generic presets better suited to jpeg files.
Listen… I’m not impartial at all here. I like VSCO Film — Everything I do starts off with a VSCO based preset. And while it’s certainly legitimate to question how much of these you actually need, the fact is I’ve always found something worthwhile in every single pack; for me that’s enough to justify the purchase. In terms of film emulations in general, I have yet to find something as interesting and more importantly as versatile as what these film packs bring to the table.
VSCO Film 05: The Archetype Films Collection is available now for $119. As is customary with every new release, all packs are 25% off, 50% off if you already own another VSCO product. This offer is good through March 11th 2014.