It’s FilmConvert’s Birthday! 🎂

It’s FilmConvert’s Birthday! To celebrate, you can get 33% off FilmConvert Nitrate and CineMatch plugins. We’ve got some exciting treats in store for you this week, but we also wanted to share the story behind how FilmConvert came to be.

FilmConvert was launched in 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand. In the early stages, we had a sister company that focused on post-production, and customers would want to shoot on film. At this time, a 10-minute roll of 35mm film was around $1000 NZD (per roll), and many customers couldn’t make it fit with their budget.

At the same time, we had some RED One’s available to rent, however, RED color science was still very new and wasn’t to everyone’s taste. We decided to try make the RED One look like film, so users could have the best of both worlds. Our first instinct was to mimic the film process as much as possible and take in digital footage and give back the look of a Cineon film scan. From there, it could be treated like any other film process.

We originally wrote this for the RED One specifically. This was also before RedLogFilm, and so we were typically trying to convert sRGB images to Cineon, which quickly went into the too hard basket. Eventually, we applied a print film and viewing simulation on top of our targets. This defined the original FilmConvert look.

Promotional video of FilmConvert Pro, the earliest version of our plug-in. 

Since then, FilmConvert has bloomed into the product you see today. We introduced our new version of the plug-in FilmConvert Nitrate in 2019, which now features 19 different film stock emulations and over 100 camera packs from all the major camera brands.

During those early days of FilmConvert is where we first conceptualised the idea of CineMatch. As we were matching cameras to film stocks, we wondered if there’s anyway to match one camera to another.

The process was put on hold for a bit while we were working on FilmConvert, and we saw a rising demand in people shooting on multiple cameras. Drones, action cams, and even iPhones were becoming a more popular shooting method, which really light the fire under CineMatch’s camera matching technology. During this time, we were able to learn a lot more about color science, as well as how certain camera controls behaved depending on the footage that was shot.

There were some hurdles along the way, and creating the matching technology was no easy feat. We realised that the way that data moves when changing your exposure should be the same as in camera, which is what inspired the RAW like color correction tools. We were operating in a camera space and not fighting against the image itself, making the image data more malleable.

Finally in 2020, CineMatch was released. Now, CineMatch supports over 100 cameras from all the major camera brands, and provides easy color correction solutions for your LOG and RAW footage

Last year, we were able to release Halation for FilmConvert Nitrate, a by-product that comes from shooting celluloid film in which bright areas get a red glow or ‘halo’ around them. This has been something in the works for a while, as we wanted to ensure proficient and accurate results. We’re really proud of what we’ve come up with, that adds to the dreamy and romantic look and feeling of celluloid film.

Example of FilmConvert Nitrate’s Halation

But our journey isn’t over yet. We have a lot of exciting new developments coming for both FilmConvert Nitrate and CineMatch that we can’t wait to share with you. Thank you for all your continued support over the years, we’re so excited to share what we have in store soon! 🧡

A rare photo of the FilmConvert team!