Make old photos new again by digitizing film with this smartphone app

Converting film into digital files is a time-consuming process, but a new prototype program is aiming to do the deed with just a smartphone and a light source. FilmLab, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, is an app that scans and converts negatives into positive digital files.

Once the film is processed with chemicals and is no longer sensitive to light, the film strip is placed on a light source, such as a light table. The app then accesses the smartphone camera and automatically detects the edges to find each frame. Select a single frame from that negative and the camera will snap several photos, convert the inverted colors of the negative into a positive print and save a digital file.

To get around the resolution limitations of a smartphone, the app shoots multiple RAW files of the same frame, stitching them together to get a higher resolution file. Or, for even more resolution, users can shoot photos of the film on a digital camera, then still use the app to convert the negatives.

Under development by Abe Fettig, a 20-year programmer with previous experience working for Google and Listening Room, the app is designed to easily digitize negatives, including automatic cropping and conversion. The software is under development both to digitize old photos and to allow the growing number of modern film photographers to easily convert and share their photographs. Fettig is planning to make the platform compatible with multiple film types, including 35mm, medium format film and slides, all with both color and black and white support.

Since the app uses RAW files, the program is expected to be compatible with cameras equipped with that capability, including iOS devices from the iPhone 6s and later and Androids running Lollipop 5.0 and later. Fettig is asking the Kickstarter community to help finalize the app’s development, including enhancing the resulting image quality through automatic white balance and color adjustment.

Early backers can gain access to the program’s beta version for an $18 pledge. The app, which will sell for $30, will also be available to backers outside of beta for $5. If the campaign and the development are successful, backers will be able to gain access to the beta version as early as July, with the full version expected to launch later in the summer or early fall.

Smart Home

Hands-on with the Glas, the most beautiful thermostat you’ve ever seen

Johnson Controls today opened the doors for consumers to buy Glas, the company's answer to Nest and Ecobee, the Honeywell Lyric, and basically every other company that thought it would turn that simple round dial on the wall on its ear.
Photography

8 easy ways for you to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC

If you haven't already, you should back up your photos to a computer. Here's how to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC using third-party services and a wealth of storage devices.
Photography

The Nixplay Iris might just make digital picture frames cool again

The digital picture frame's popularity has fizzled because of time-consuming updates and low quality -- but can a Wi-Fi connected frame change that? The Nixplay Iris is an 8-inch smart digital picture frame that wireless updates photos.
Cars

Porsche goes rallying, and it’s not with the model you’re thinking of

Porsche channeled its racing heritage to turn the 718 Cayman, not the Cayenne, into a rally car. The GT4-spec model was built as a fully functional concept, and it will participate in its first rally during August.
Photography

Color grading pushes Pinnacle Studio 22 toward more pro video editing features

Designed for videographers that aren't pros but aren't basic users either, Pinnacle Studio 22 expands its advanced tools with color grading and four-point editing. The updates bring more advanced tools to the platform.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Photography

Photo FOMO: VSCO makes harsh sun look cool, Apple wants to make 360 look better

In this week's Photo FOMO, see how VSCO is trying to improve photos in harsh sunlight with new presets, how Apple thinks they can make 360 look better, and find out just how many photographers actually read licensing agreements.
Web

Adobe Spark Page makes web design easy — here’s how to use it

Using artificial intelligence and simple tools, Adobe Spark Page is designed for easy web page design. Here's how to use Adobe Spark Page to create a travel journal, event page or any other one-page website.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

From white skies to blurry subjects, how to fix common photo mistakes

You snapped the photo at the perfect moment, but the image is blurry. Understanding the most common photography mistakes can help capture better memories and more likable Instagrams. Here's how to fix these seven common photography…