The Analog Look in Lightroom: A Review of RNI’s All Films Pack
There’s a lot of options in the preset and profiles space, but in my experience, one has stood above the rest. If you’re looking to bring a bit of analog spirit to your images, here’s why RNI’s All Films 5 pack is the product you should get.
I first took a look at RNI’s profiles with the release of their take on Aerochrome, a very unique and challenging to replicate infrared film. Since then, they’ve released their All Films 5 product, which includes over 150 other profiles. They’re currently available for both Lightroom/ACR and Capture One, with upgrade options from the previous pack available. Additionally, they have a demo available, featuring a film look from each category, like vintage and instant stocks.
Lightroom’s Profiles Versus Presets
One of the biggest benefits of RNI’s pack is the fact that it’s designed entirely around profiles. For those not familiar with Lightroom and ACR’s lingo, profiles are different from presets in one important way: profiles leave the sliders alone while still making their changes. This means that you can apply a profile and still have the whole range of each slider to further refine your image. For some of the more dramatic (and drastically image-altering) profiles, this can make the difference between being able to edit the shot effectively or not.
Along with the technical implementation, there’s also the nature of how the profiles were derived. RNI claims to have “real film stocks carefully digitized using the most advanced color science and best equipment” and I’ve seen no reason to doubt them. These aren’t cliche, simplified takes on a generalized film look. Instead, they’re a true-to-eye implementation of that particular stock and speed, often featuring versions, fades, and expired styles to further round out each stock’s options.
The RNI All Films 5 Experience
Installation is very easy. For Lightroom Classic, my preferred version (although these are also compatible with LR CC and ACR), installation is two steps for either Windows or Mac. Simply unzip the pack of profiles, then copy them to your App Data folder for Camera Raw on Windows, or just run the package installer on Mac.
One major benefit if you’re a LR CC user on either desktop or mobile is the fact that these profiles are compatible with the platform: this means you can access those same profiles on your phone, desktop, or laptop and get a consistent starting point with a variety of devices.
Using them is just as easy. In LR Classic, they show up both under the presets panel and can be selected as a profile in the basic panel. While the profile browser option gives the ability to check out small thumbnails, on a fast enough computer, I prefer the experience from the presets panel. In the presets panel, mousing over each name is enough to preview the effects on your whole image, and I find it easier to just go in a straight line, rather than bounce between both columns in the profile browser. Either method you choose, however, will give you the same benefits of them being applied as a profile, including the ability to adjust the amount of effect and make all normal changes via the other develop panels.
RNI’s Emulated Film Stocks
All FIlms 5 features 180+ simulations, but they are broadly divided into Black and White stocks, Infrared, Instant, Negative, Slide, and Vintage. Along with the various films, you also get access to a toolkit of grain, fade, vignette, and contrast adjustments. For a complete list of the included presets, check out the product page at RNI.
Within each category, except infrared, there’s a number of “bases,” typically one film or process, but these are then expanded into numerous variations, bringing each category to a much greater number of total “looks.” Some of these variations can be slight, like adding a warm fade, while others can be a complete change to the feel of that base.
Aerochrome, the infrared film base, is a bit different. In this category, there are 18 looks, all offering a different color palette and level of contrast, but based around the same idea of replicating Aerochrome’s unique, otherworldly style. For more on Aerochrome specifically, check out my earlier review of it here.
While I’ve only been able to shoot with a few of these film stocks in real life, all of the ones represented within this pack feel like accurate representations. Even beyond accuracy, however, I’m impressed by how compatible all of the looks were right off the bat. While not every one may be a good stylistic match to each photo, they all performed quite well in terms of luminance and contrast. When exposure or contrast was shifted, it was only done to replicate the intended effect of the profile, meaning I didn’t find myself having to tweak these settings after the fact. RNI mentions this is their film-like highlight compression in action, and I think it’s very helpful.
My Favorite Profiles
As you might have guessed from my earlier coverage of the Aerochrome-only pack, I absolutely love the results yielded by that set of profiles. With this pack containing all of those profiles and more, I was curious to see which would be my favorites by the end. After a few months of use, I’ve actually ended up with a few that I think sell the pack alone.
For me, these are the black and white profiles, Technicolor profiles, and Kodachrome profiles. While all of the included profiles are great, these represented either a big time-save in replicating the peculiarities of the process or proved to be versatile across a range of subjects. Specifically for black and white processing, having a consistent and gorgeous preset is of great value to me when processing weddings and portraits, where being able to quickly produce a good-looking black and white is important.
Overall, I think this set of profiles is a great value if you’re new to presets and profiles, or are looking to get a single, high quality, and diverse range of looks that take advantage of the latest CC features and developments. Covering infrared, black and white, and a variety of film stock looks with a single set is great, especially when they’ve all been created with the same attention to color science and detail that RNI obviously used. RNI All Films 5 is available direct from RNI, and is available for both Lightroom and C1, although this review covers the LR version.
What I Liked
A diverse set of looks that all meet the same standard of excellence
Good value when considering the number of profiles available
Includes more obscure offerings like Aerochrome and comes with a bonus toolkit
Profile-based design integrates excellently with Lightroom
What Could Be Improved
Except for Aerochrome, you’re unable to purchase a single set of profiles, like black
One-click install for Windows may help some users who are less comfortable with folders