You like looking at literal garbage the answer to all those questions, is yes, then you’re in luck, because there are a variety of film scanning apps out there for your mobile phone. Yes, that weird black rectangle in your pocket that is covered in germs and slowly destroying society could maybe potentially have secretly been all this time. A very capable film scanner today, i’m taking a look at four different mobile film scanning apps that allow you to take your color and black and white film negatives turn them into digital images so that you can post them to instagram. First up is film box. Film box is an app that i kept getting targeted ads for on instagram and facebook, because no data is sacred and everything is available as soon as you start using anything on the internet, which tells me that there is some ad marketing campaign budget behind film box, Which is maybe a good sign, and it also seems like it’s one of the more popular options out there. It is available for both android and iphone devices. It also currently sits at an average of 4.3 stars out of 5 based on two and a half thousand reviews on the app store film box is also available for free, so let’s boot, up and log on to film box and give it a try. I have used a cell phone before so filmbox has a pretty flashy kind of like intro video as well, that you also might have seen as like an ad online, where it’s, just kind of like take your phone.
Take your negative and scan those images so that you can get digital film scans using your cell phone. The app walks you, through a variety of instructions, on how to use it, and it shows you this video of a guy, just like touching the film with his bare hands and just kind of like gripping it there, which leads to damaging your negatives and also fingerprints. So don’t do that, and also if i was them, i would have used like a better example in the marketing, because this just comes across as obviously like. Not knowing much about film. You can use film box to capture frames off of color negative and black and white negative film. The most comfortable way of doing this would be to position the phone over top of the film that is just laying on the light source or something like that flat. But it actually has you just hold it a few inches away from the light source so that you can capture it, which is super awkward and weird. So we line up some frames and we take our picture for some color negative examples here and uh. Then it just kind of does its magic and inverts the negative and gives you the colors except it’s. Awful film box is awful. It it gives you terrible color everything looks gross. It makes me sad. It makes me feel sad i’m not doing anything wrong here. It just doesn’t look good it handles color really poorly.
If we decide to go all in and check out black and white as well, then you can see that it i mean, has a better time, because you can just simply invert black and white and get better results. There’S some small level of control and cropping and moving stuff around and editing and stuff, but it doesn’t matter, it’s a bad inversion and the color looks terrible it’s sad to look at it’s. Sad to think that people are are using this and also it’s, really sad to think that people are paying for this. Once i scanned some images on the app, i realized that i couldn’t actually export them, because that’s locked behind a paywall, an expensive paywall, so there’s that it’s also got some like in app video collage options. So you hit the play button and it will cycle through all the images that you’ve captured yeah. I didn’t add that music it’s a bad, app and it’s tailored more towards, i guess, preserving family photos and old negatives, but that’s just going to make. You feel sad because you’re going to look at these old images and be like everything, looked terrible back, then everybody that all my my family or friends, people who have passed away or have grown old now looked awful when they were alive and young. Everybody looked terrible. Better off now, people that are dead or old, but moving on, we got film scanner. Pro is our next one.
Up and again it is free. It is available for iphone and android, but it’s sitting at a lower volume of reviews, which means to me that this guy, this film scanner pro, is the it’s the underdog opening up film scanner. We have uh two very basic, very easy to understand options color or black and white, and these are for negatives, so we hit color and it just boots you into the camera, and this just gives you the option to take images, but also, at the very least In this one save them to your phone outside of the app then once you’re done, you can just go back in and select your images and do your cropping and you’re rotating and take a look at what you’ve captured so that it can perform its magic by Giving you the almost exact same inversion of colors and awful terrible gross looking results as film box it’s like the same app it’s, just not as locked behind a paywall, so point in its favor. I guess it does give you a variety of editing options at the bottom, once it’s done the inversion, so you have exposure and gamma and red green and blue adjustments along with contrast. If you want to adjust saturation highlights, shadows and haze, then that is locked behind an at least smaller pay wall than film box. Black and white is again about the same in terms of inversion and quality, as it is in film box.
So there’s not really too much to compare and look at from the difference, two down, which means there’s two apps to go now: listen in all seriousness. I understand that there is a variety of qualities for cell phone cameras and everything, and there is some great technology in these things. This is a somewhat older iphone, which is fair, but a lot of these apps that you have to judge it on is based solely on just its ability to like invert color, which is a huge thing. If it’s marketing the ability to capture color negative images off your film, if you’re, trying to cut corners using cell phones, are not the option, even if you’re getting like macro attachments and everything there’s just way better ways of doing it. Moving right along we’ve got the kodak mobile film scanner and kodak is it’s, it’s a friendly name. You know, kodak from your youth from the grizzly bear and the jackets that might be kodiak apart from actually making film that we care about. Kodak is a brand kind of gets thrown on a lot of garbage like trash products which aren’t great and aren’t worth the markup just because they have like the recognizable branding of kodak on them. The kodak mobile film scanner app goes along with the physical kodak mobile film scanner like stand product that you can buy, which is 40 to 60 dollars and is literally just a hole in a small platform.
Over top of a small led to put your slide or your negative, it is something that you should definitely not waste your money on or buy, because you can build one or do anything else. That accomplishes the same thing and still allows you to use the app again. The app is free and it’s available for iphone and android on the app store. It averages 2.7 stars out of 5 based on 42 reviews, so not great for this one. You do have to like get it to a certain height above your film specifically, because it is based around using the app with the physical stand. But you can forego that if you have a stack of books and like a light up usb pad such as the one that i’ve been showing off here. I can throw a link to that in the description, because people have asked me about that before the kodak app is, i think, slightly better than film box and film scanner pro just in terms of looking at it for color inversion. Again, it is slightly better for color. Sometimes i was able to get better colors as opposed to weird mushy gray, subdued grossness from my color negative examples here. In the end, though, it is still very similar to film scanner pro and film box. There is less control than film scanner pro you get a slider to kind of shift the color slightly so that’s about it. For this one, not behind a paywall, though so it does have that over film box, which is still the worst one it’s been a long crazy ride.
Getting to this point in the video of having fun and and learning growing, loving together and yet all good things come to an end. Film lab this app had a kickstarter back in 2017 and actually raised like ‘ 000 for it. So people were super excited about that. I remember hearing about it and then i remember hearing nothing about it. Ever again, it got attention from like full photo websites and everything and full full reviews about this specific app. Originally, i think this app was not a free app, but it is now so i don’t know if that’s supposed to be an indicator of quality. Listen i’m, not gon na lie to you and i didn’t think this would happen. But film lab is cool, as film lab is like a negative viewer. Essentially you open it up and it’s just a camera. That is inverted entirely on your screen. So the point of this is to just kind of aim it at your images, and it will do everything for you, as opposed to the other apps, that just capture the negative and then work their magic afterwards, film lab will show you in real time an inverted View of your color negative and black and white negative images on the film. It is kind of glitchy and really likes to jump around in terms of contrast and color and everything just based on the intensity of the light and what you’re pointing it at there’s.
Also, a sync setting which can kind of help if your light source is really glitching out and it’s, not kind of handling it well. But the main thing here is: it has decent color. It is decent. Looking color there’s color here, i can see real colors as opposed to all of the previous ones. All the other ones are garbage film lab is the only one that has given me in brief instances decent color. It is definitely best used for viewing negatives or you’re kind of going through if you’re preparing to use a real scanning device to scan your negatives or you have a backlog of scanning and you’re trying to sort through things. And you want just a quick, pretty mediocre preview, but film lab is not terrible. I was actually super blown away by how not garbage film lab was because all the other ones by that point had just wiped me had just floored me with them being real things, especially again, film box, that people are paying for. Just imagine capturing a bunch of images on your film box app and then ordering a book of of images that look like this. Like a physical book i want to put out, i want to put out a photo book of of just terrible scans like that and i’ll be like buy. This photo book, hardcover bound 50 i’ll, sign a limited number of them, and then the film scans are just all terrible.
If you don’t want to download an app at all, you can go into. I know on iphones. There is just a setting to invert your screen. So if you just take a picture of a black and white negative – and you just want a straight inversion – you can do that uh and that’s, not an app that’s, just a setting that is in the accessibility menu that won’t invert color, because it doesn’t do anything With color it’s, just a straight flip, so don’t pay to unlock this or buy one of these maybe pick up one of these if it’s like super dirt, cheap and you’re. Looking for something super quick and cheap and simple, but i also don’t really like these either, but there is no denying that the scanza or any of these, like really cheap film scanner units that aren’t kodak branded. You give you pretty much better results than any of these. Apps do but really, if you’re shooting film and you want good results from your work work that you have put money and time into like capturing these images or, if you’re, preserving old memories of grandparents images and like summer vacation trips from when you were a kid And you want results that won’t make you think like jeez film, looks terrible, then take your film to a lab. Most labs have really really nice scanners that give you incredible results. There are super high end labs that have super high end scanners, and there is ones that have more affordable scans as well.
You can get results from a lab for your images, as well as like super 8 and 16, especially that is so incredibly hard to get at home a lot of the time for most people. I cannot recommend like utilizing and looking out for labs enough. If you can’t afford to go to a lab or there’s, not a lab locally, then you can invest some money into getting a flatbed film scanner like an epson, v600 or 700 or 800.. These things can also be expensive and take a lot of work to get good looking scans, but in the end, they’re going to give you things that are at least way way better than messing around with like a cell phone camera and any of these apps. And if you don’t want to go flatbed, then there is a growing community in terms of people who do it and also products that are offered in order to help you do it of dslr film scanning at home, which is essentially getting a nice digital camera. Using some macro lenses and a light source and just capturing your frames on your film that way, and then you can edit those images and invert the colors and do everything that you need to using programs like adobe, lightroom and negative lab pro. A lot of these apps are probably aimed for an older generation of people who don’t shoot film anymore, aren’t, really savvy with like cameras and labs and and resources like that, but are looking to preserve memories and transfer pictures and everything and they’re just thinking.
Oh, i can do it with like a tablet or a cell phone download, the app but it’s just not worth it, and it feels like you’re being cheated. Even if these apps are free there’s such a massively low bar of quality with this stuff, maybe just mess around with the film lab app, because i thought it was pretty neat. But beyond that don’t bother with any of this stuff. Film deserves to be properly scanned or printed or viewed, because when it’s done right, then reliving these old memories or viewing new work is like way way way more rewarding because of what this format is capable of offering thank you for watching. You can check out links in the description below for any of these apps if you’re going to disregard all of my advice in this video there’s also links to the analog restrictions. Patreon. If you want to support this support me, i can do more stuff weather’s, getting nicer i’m, going to go out and shoot some stuff super 8. 16..