There are some very popular Film Simulation Recipes that it seems like everyone is using, or has at least tried, on their Fujifilm cameras. Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Portra 400 v2, Reggie’s Portra, Kodachrome 64, Vintage Kodachrome, Vibrant Arizona, Reala Ace, Fujicolor Reala 100, Pacific Blues, and Kodak Tri-X 400 are currently the 10 most popular (based on article page views this month). Those particular Recipes are a lot of people’s favorites! But there are others that are less popular and, obviously, much less frequently used.
With over 300 Film Simulation Recipes on the Fuji X Weekly App, there are bound to be some that are underutilized. Several are intended for very specific scenarios and aren’t especially versatile, so it’s understandable why those are chosen less often than others. Some might just get lost in the crowd; perhaps my sample pictures weren’t strong enough to demonstrate the Recipe’s potential. There’s a group, however, that should be more popular than they are, but are underutilized because they’re not yet available to everyone. These are the Fuji X Weekly App Patron Early-Access Recipes.
My Film Simulation Recipes are free, and the Fuji X Weekly App is free; however, there’s a real expense to all of this, and I do want a little reward for all of my efforts. The best way to support this website is to become a Patron subscriber to my Apps (aside from the Fuji X Weekly App, there’s also the Ricoh Recipes App and the RitchieCam App). As a reward for supporting Fuji X Weekly, the Patron subscription unlocks the best App experience.
What, exactly, does “the best App experience” mean? For one, Filtering is unlocked. Want to see only the Recipes that are fully compatible with your specific camera model? Want to display only Recipes that use a certain film simulation, white balance type, or dynamic range setting? That’s the Filter feature, and it’s available to Patrons. Another is Favoriting. There are five different colored stars that can be used to organize Recipes into categories. For example, you can use red stars for Recipes that you found to be good options for portraits, yellow for golden hour, green for landscapes, etc.. Or, yellow stars for what is currently in C1-C7, blue for what you want to try next, green for ones you tried and liked, and red for ones you tried and didn’t like. You can use these however it makes the most sense for you, but only if you are a Patron. Oh, and if you’ve made your own custom Film Simulation Recipe, you can use blank Recipe cards to add them to your App.
Another perk of being a Fuji X Weekly App Patron is that you get early access to some new Film Simulation Recipes. These Early-Access Recipes will become available to everyone in time (as they are replaced by new ones), but for now only Patron subscribers can view them. Some aren’t publicly available for everyone for a short time—usually at least a few months—and others stay as Early-Access Recipes for a year or more. For example, Eterna Bleach Bypass was a Patron Early-Access Recipe for over a year, and just two days ago it became freely available to everyone after it was replaced by Expired Kodak Vision2 250D. Currently, there are 14 Early-Access Recipes in the Fuji X Weekly App.
Because not everyone can use these Early-Access Recipes, they’re not nearly as popular as the ones that are available free to everyone. Only App Patrons can use them. Some of these Recipes are really good, though, deserving of much greater attention than they’ve received. This article is simply shining a spotlight on five of them. If you are a Patron, I invite you to find them in the App and give them a try. If you are not a Patron, I ask that you consider supporting this website by becoming a Patron subscriber, which will in turn give you access to them. If you don’t have the Fuji X Weekly App on your phone, download it for free today!
Royal Gold 400 was introduced by Kodak in 1994 as a replacement to the original Kodak Ektar 400 film (which is a little different from the Ektar that came later). The Royal Gold line, which also came in ISO 100 and 200 versions, was marketed as a “step up” from Kodak Gold, with finer grain and more vibrant colors. It was more-or-less an updated Ektar emulsion that was renamed for marketing reasons (Gold sold a lot more than Ektar). In the early 2000’s Royal Gold was replaced by the High Definition/Royal Supra line.
This Film Simulation Recipe wasn’t initially intended to replicate Royal Gold, but simply began as an attempt to achieve a “memory color” aesthetic of photographic prints from the 1990’s and early 2000’s; I wasn’t concerned about the specific films or processes. After shooting with this Recipe and reviewing the results, I was reminded of Kodak Royal Gold 400 film… sometimes. Of course, one film can produce many different aesthetics, depending on (among other things) how it was shot, developed, scanned and/or printed. Royal Gold 400 didn’t always or even usually look like this, but sometimes it did, and I found some examples in a photo-box and online that were quite similar—I’m not sure why, but my suspicion is that the film was mishandled, either from being stored improperly (possibly exposed to too much heat) or waiting too long to develop after exposing. Film can be finicky, but that serendipity is something that makes it special.
The 1981 Kodak Film Simulation Recipe was modeled after some old family pictures found in a photo box. These prints were made in July of 1981—a date stamped on the back—and printed on Kodak paper. The other technical details are unknown, but most likely they were captured with a cheap point-and-shoot of some sort (possibly even a 110 camera) with Kodacolor II color negative film, which was the most popular amateur emulsion of that era. Due to age and improper storage, the prints are fading, with a pronounced orange (sometimes yellow, sometimes red) cast, and colors overall less vibrant than they once were.
I thought that the aesthetic was interesting, so I began to develop a Recipe inspired by these photographs. It took a couple of days, and a few compromises, but I was able to create a look that mimics the general feel of those old pictures made in 1981 and printed on Kodak paper—the reason why I call this Recipe 1981 Kodak.
I binge-watched a number of classic movies from the 1950’s, and I was really inspired by their picture aesthetics. After some research, I discovered that Kodak ECN 5248 25T motion picture film was used in several of these flicks. The problem, of course, with trying to replicate the look of a motion picture film stock is that not only is the aesthetic dependent on the usual factors of how shot and developed, but also on the lighting and filters used, which can be different movie-to-movie and even scene-to-scene. Instead of attempting to mimic the look of any particular movie or cinema film stock, I wanted to create a certain feel or mood—a “memory color” reminiscent of color movies from the 1950’s.
Kodak made Kodachrome color-reversal (slide) film from 1935 through 2009. There are three era’s of Kodachrome: 1935-1960, 1961-1973, and 1974-2009. Each era has its own look; the second and third eras are probably the most similar. Kodachrome is actually a B&W film, with color dyes added during development. It was a unique and complicated process. Because of how the film works, it’s the most difficult emulsion to scan, often producing a blue cast that doesn’t exist when viewing the slides through a projector or on a light table.
Professional labs will have a profile to color-correct Kodachrome scans, but even that’s not usually a 100% match. As it used to be said, “There’s nothing like projected Kodachrome!” If the scans aren’t carefully corrected, the results are often significantly more blue than the slides. The feeling that all the world’s a sunny day (as Paul Simon sang) is completely gone. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot these incorrectly color corrected Kodachrome images, and they’re prevalent. This Recipe mimics those too-blue scans of Kodachrome film.
This Nostalgic Emulsion Recipe was a collaboration between myself and my 15-year-old daughter, Joy. She wanted a certain look, which she described as “dark with deep greens” and similar to some music videos, including Daylight by David Kushner. “That’s the aesthetic I want to make,” she told me, while stopping on a forested scene.
I really like the moody and nostalgic feeling that this Film Simulation Recipe produces. It has a retro negative film look, maybe along the lines of Fujicolor Super HQ or Agfa XRG or something like that, but not exactly like any specific emulsion. You can expect dark shadows and a cool cast that leans green. I think it works best when there’s a lot of lush vegetation, and is good for toning down an overly warm scene.