Visual Supply Co. is a brand that’s really making a name for itself in the image editing arena lately. Between their fantastic plugins for Lightroom, Aperture and Adobe Camera Raw, and their VSCO Cam app for iOS (and soon Android devices), they have a pretty substantial audience of amateur and professional photographers alike. Visual Supply Co.’s latest release is the VSCO Film Pack 04, which emulates popular slide (transparency) films from decades since past. However, they have chosen fairly “modern” film stocks from Agfa, Fujifilm, and Kodak for this pack, which leaves room for some classic stocks such as the famed Kodachrome line in the future. I had a chance to spend some time with VSCO 04 (already being a big fan of 01, 02, 03, and VSCO Cam), and I wanted to share my findings with you all.
Spec List taken from the VSCO Product Page
- Agfa Scala 200 – / — / + / -/+ / + / ++ / Contrast + / ++ / +++
- Fuji Astia 100F – / — / + / ++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait
- Fuji Fortia SP – / — / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / Landscape / Portrait
- Fuji Provia 100F – / — / + / ++ / +++ / ++++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait
- Fuji Provia 400X – / — / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / HC + / HC ++ / Portrait / Vibrant
- Fuji Velvia 50 – / — / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Landscape / Landscape+
- Fuji Velvia 100 – / — / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Landscape
- Fuji Velvia 100F – / — / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait
- Kodak E100G – / — / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm (GX) / HC / Portrait / Vibrant
- Kodak E100VS – / — / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / Balance Warm + / Portrait
- Kodak E200 – / — / + / ++ / ++ Alt / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait / Vibrant
Ease of Use
I’ve been using VSCO within Lightroom 5 (as that’s my editor of choice when it comes to image management / manipulation), and in all honesty, it couldn’t be simpler to use! Once you have your image in the develop module, all you have to do is scroll through the various film emulations and click on the one you’d like to try. These are non-destructive edits on your raw files, so feel free to experiment! In this case, I decided to try the Fuji Provia 400X setting.
Once you’ve selected the film you want to emulate, you can begin to do any additional processing you’d like to apply to your image. Notice how the preset applies many different adjustments to your image in a single click.
There are a ton of post-processing adjustments built into the VSCO presets which make it incredibly easy to fine-tune your image to your liking quickly and efficiently.
VSCO Film Packs are a really interesting set of plugins that enable us to give our digital images an “analog” feel. And while there are some that would say this is not an actual improvement, I disagree! From what I have seen across the four installations of the Film Packs, I would have to say that I’m really pleased with what all four of the packs are able to do. Pack 04 emulates some of my personal favorite E-6 stocks (Provia 100F and Velvia 50) and does it well!
I really enjoyed the punchy colors and bold contrast of the various presets, as they really pushed my files to the next level. (Highly printable is the phrase I would use.) I think that between the four Film Packs released so far, 01 and 04 are my favorites.
To really get the most out of the VSCO Packs, it’s ideal to use a camera supported by VSCO, and to use a raw file instead of a jpeg. That’s not to say you can’t use an unsupported camera, but you will get the best results from one off the list. Personally, I use both Canon and Fuji as my primary cameras, which are both fully supported by VSCO.
Additionally, when you’re working with VSCO, you want to make sure your file has good lighting, as light is everything to these presets. Harsh light is not going to give you the best results, so if you have a controlled lighting scenario, even better!
Visual Supply Co. has another solid pack of presets with 04, and at $119 it might be a hard pill to swallow for many. I realize that there are many folks (myself included) that like to “DIY” their images and not even bother with presets, but when it comes to professional workflows, speed is paramount. I was really pleased with the the film emulations as they happened to be some of my personal favorites, and the quality of the reproductions are really enjoyable and it produces a really fun look to images. Again, at the current price, VSCO Film Packs are not a cheap option, but if emulating film-stocks is something you’re interested in, then this is far and away one of the best options out there. It’s tightly integrated with Adobe Lightroom and it makes for a quick and efficient workflow. I’m happy to recommend this (or any) film packs to just about anyone. You can download the pack directly from Visual Supply Co. if you’re interested.
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