Phone, meet film.
A smartphone app for analog film.
Hi! My name is Abe Fettig, and I'm building FilmLab, a mobile app that lets you use your smartphone to work with analog film. All you need to use it is your smartphone, some film, and a light source such as a light box.
During May and June 2,059 people backed FilmLab on Kickstarter! The Kickstarter campaign is complete, and I'm now hard at work on the first beta release. FilmLab 1.0 will be released for iOS and Android this fall.
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I will remember 2017 as the year when FilmLab went from an idea to something real. I’d been thinking about the concept of a film viewing / scanning app for a couple of years, although more from the perspective of thing I wished I had to use, than as a a viable business idea. But during 2016, I started taking the idea more seriously, and talking about it with my wife and business partner Hannah.
If I was ever going to work on the film scanning app idea, the time seemed right. Film photography was making a comeback, but almost all the local photo labs had gone out of business, so many film shooters had started developing and scanning their own film at home. Existing film scanning software was designed for desktop computers, and some of it was no longer being updated and only ran on old operating systems. Meanwhile, more and more computing was moving to mobile devices. Smartphone camera capabilities had been improving rapidly, with features like manual controls and raw capture available to developers for the first time. Didn’t it make sense that there should be smartphone software for viewing and capturing film?
Hannah and I decided it made sense for me to work on the app for a month or two, as an experiment. If it turned out to be too much work, or there wasn’t enough interest, we’d move on to other projects. But it was time to give the idea a try.