Most scanning companies use automated or semi-automated software to invert colour negatives. Over the years we’ve found that there are very few scanning packages that can make a decent job of doing this inversion. The very best software appears to be Fuji Colorkit, a software package that came with our Fuji Lanovia C550. This produces by far the best colour we’ve seen but is quite prone to clipping a little in the highlights and blocking up shadows.
Because of this, we have developed a process where we hand invert every colour negative. This process ensures that there are no clipped highlights and no blocked up shadows and we also correct any colour casts in the shadows (e.g. Kodak Ektar has a tendency for deep blue shadows just before blocking up and Kodak Portra 400 deep shadows can tend to magenta). We can also colour match our negative inversions to contact prints if you wish (some of our clients always send a contact print through with their film). The results of this have been acclaimed as some of the best results our clients have seen.
Our general goal is to produce an image that has a reasonably low contrast with open shadows and moderate saturation. We can also process to give a more transparency look if that is required. Finally, we have had clients ask us to post process the film in a way that matches a certain ‘look’ or reference image. Layered Photoshop files are available on request.