Two Ways to Turn a Negative Into a Positive Image Using Capture One

If you shoot film and are looking for tutorials on how to invert your negative scans using Capture One, we bring two ways to try.

Are you a film photographer new to digitizing your shots using Capture One? It’s easy to get lost in all the controls and functions if you’re moving from one editing software to the next. So, to help you learn the ropes, we bring two quick ways you can invert negative scans of your film snaps, or digitized negatives shot using your DSLR camera, into final positive images.

The first tutorial was put together by Quentin Décaillet in 2016, and it still works. All you need are a few tweaks using the following tools: Levels, White Balance, and Styles and Presets. Watch and learn:

The trick to Quentin’s method is to invert the image by swapping the values of the whites and the blacks using Levels. You’ll end up with a positive image that will only need a few more adjustments. Next, correct the colors through the White Balance tool. Using the white balance picker, click it on the area that should be white – the dark film border, which was originally white before swapping the white and black values. The resulting inverted image will look much closer to a final image. Then, apply adjustments like contrast and color correction. You can proceed to save your edits as a Style so you can quickly pull it up and apply it to your other scans – pretty handy for creating profiles for each film stock you’re scanning or digitizing using your DSLR camera.

The second option is a new tutorial Capture One officially released two months ago. It also involves just a few steps. First, switch the Mode under Base Characteristics from Photography to Film Negative (or Film Positive, if you’re scanning slides). Next, set the individual Red, Green, and Blue Channels Mode instead of the default RGB mode. You’ll find that in the Channel Mode for Auto Levels under the Exposure tab. Last, apply White Balance adjustment as you would normally.

You can crop your image using either the Crop tool or the Auto Crop tool. The first method skipped this step, but if you want to make a more precise color correction using Auto Levels, cropping out the black frame border is highly recommended. The Levels may also adjust automatically following the auto crop if you choose Auto Levels on Interior Crop found in the Optimization drop-down menu.

Do check out the official Capture One User Guide for more of their detailed guidelines and tutorials.

Cover image from the video by Quentin Décaillet