Fujifilm has released test footage that demonstrates the astonishing capability of the new X-T2’s film emulation modes. These modes aim to replicate the look of original film stock with unnerving perfection.
In the video, shot by Takayuki Yagishita of Limetec, 15 of the simulation modes are taken for a 4K test ride. A breathtaking cloudscape vista captured using the X-T2 and an ATOMOS SHOGUN ProRes 4:2:2, with the hypnotic music of Sayumi Koga as a backdrop, stand as an impressive validation to the capabilities of the colour modes.
The 15 modes used were:
- Velvia/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft
- CLASSIC CHROME
- PRO Neg.Hi
- PRO Neg.Std, Black & White
- Black & White+Ye Filter
- Black & White+R Filter
- Black & White+G Filter
- Sepia, ACROS
- ACROS+Ye Filter
- ACROS+R Filter
- ACROS+G Filter.
Something to make absolutely clear; these emulations aren’t just some Instagram filter slapped on top of the footage. When you use one, it is built into the very coding of your image capture. This has both benefits and downsides.
The upside to things is, to put it simply, they look fantastic when applied correctly. While filters and post-production tweaks attempt to add specific textures, shadows or colour temperature to a photo, they are basically a layer of gravy and artificial to a keen eye. These emulations legitimately enhance an image in exactly the way different film types would. This is hardly surprising as Fujifilm is itself a master of film, and can simulate the elements within each mode with panache.
The downside is of course that building the emulation into your image’s foundation, since it isn’t removable. Once an emulation is applied it cannot just be stripped out in an image editing software if there’s a problem, and messing with the film look settings in most programs will be inherently difficult. Many will be tempted to stick with shooting in flat or RAW rather than take a chance with having any settings baked in.
Of course this video isn’t the be all and end all of proof that this system works perfectly. It’s an incredibly controlled situation that has been stomped by YouTube’s compression. This means grading it in detail is a near pointless exercise at this point but is definitely tempting.
One unfortunate result of the digital revolution in photography is the change in our approach to shooting. Rather than meticulously working to get the exact look and feel of a shot on location, we are ever more tempted to get a close approximation and “fix it in post”. I personally respect this emulation tool and the WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) philosophy behind it. In essence it gives you the option at short notice to say “F* it, we’ll do it live”.