The Fujifilm X-H1 Development Story Film Simulation ETERNA

Getting access to the look of ETERNA on a camera is an exciting opportunity and some have already been toying with it in Lightroom by hacking the EXIF of their .RAF files to change the camera type to X-H1, which I don’t recommend, but it’s a fun experiment. As with any film simulation, the color bias and balance is what makes the digital film type unique and ETERNA tends towards a cyan desaturated look to keep the viewer focused on the entire screen, which is different than most photographers that go for a more vivid reproduction of color designed to draw the viewers eye to a point in a still image. In Fujifilm’s words:

“In photographic expression, the basic communication is complete in a single frame. For that purpose we put emphasis on color as an important element to deliver the photographer’s message. For example, the blue sky is enhanced so when reflecting back to the memory, it is as clear as it can be. The colors are enhanced to an extent so that the image still looks natural. Other colors are treated the same way.  In FUJIFILM, we refer the color reproduction as “Image Color”.”

“In cinema, there are the transition of time, the movement of performers, and the sounds and voices. The image designing in cinema should complement all these elements to create a seamless flow. If the cinematic image design were completed in each frame in the same way as the photographic expression with enhanced colors, then the flow would not be so smooth.

In Cinema, the saturation is suppressed, so a particular color would not stand out. The tonality is wide to deliver the atmospheric vibe of the scene. This is the characteristic of cinematic image design. People often refer to it as “Cinema Look” or “Film Look”.”

ETERNA is designed to have 12 stops of dynamic range like F-log and to give a cinematic film look, but with less work, so you can shoot a high-quality motion picture quickly. This also leaves room for post-production.

“Velvia is a good example of image color. When you compare it with the standard PROVIA, you can see that it is not just high in saturation. The saturation level is adjusted on each key color. Blue, for example is added with a touch of magenta, to reproduce the impressive blue sky. The image color is achieved by adding colors on top of each other. It is like an art of addition”

We take the same approach to achieve the cinema look, but in the opposite direction.
The saturation is suppressed and is slightly adjusted on each key color. A touch of magenta was added on blue to achieve the image color, but to achieve the cinema look, the color is shifted toward cyan. The blue sky in the background will then complement the story. The cinema look is like an art of omission.

I personally love Fujifilm’s color science and the only film type I shot more than Fujifilm growing up was Kodachrome, which I hope someone brings back someday. X-H1 Development Story #4 -Film Simulation ETERNA- is an interesting look at color science, but I wish they would have gotten into the weeds a little bit more about the limits of how much this simulation can be manipulated since it’s designed to be graded like F-log. It won’t have the rang of an F-log file obviously, but many have worked wonders with this kind of footage.

ETERNA and internal F-log might convince photographers to get more into video/film again if they had any kind of background in video/film/TV production. I actually used to really enjoy the madness that was linear film/video editing before non-linear editing showed up. It’s just a very different kind of work and it started to turn me off before non-linear editing took off.

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