Lightroom/Camera Raw: Ability to invert negative scans to positives (color and black-and-white)

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I would dearly like to see the Lightroom 4 Beta team implement an additional feature in the final release. That feature would be the ability to take a camera+macro lens image of a B&W negative -- essentially a camera-based scan of a negative -- and invert the negative image to a positive image at the beginning of the development process in such a way that the resulting sliders in the LR4 Develop Module would not operate in reverse. As I understand it, this capability exists in Photoshop, but I don't own Photoshop. I do own Photoshop Elements 9, but that program only supports an 8-bit workflow, not 16-bits per channel, and round-tripping between LR & PSE9 requires the reimportation of a TIFF file that is more than twice the size of my NEF RAW files. Since this programming wizardry already exists in Photoshop, I would think that it would be a relatively simple matter to transfer and adapt that code for LR4 -- but then, I'm not a programmer, so what do I know...

I've been digitizing 40-year-old Kodachrome slides from my Peace Corps days in Africa, using a 55mm Micro-Nikkor (macro) lens, coupled to a Nikon ES-1 Slide Copy Attachment, and even on a D300s body, I can get truly excellent results. I can't wait to continue that work using the pending 36 megapixel Nikon D800 body with an upgraded f/2.8 macro lens (mine is the old 55mm f/3.5 design). I really, REALLY want to be able to camera-scan my many B&W negatives without having to generate huge intermediate TIFF files.

You can respond to this request by emailing me, Jeff Kennedy Thanks, in advance, for taking the time to review and consider my request. I LOVE Lightroom 3, and from what I've seen, I'm going to love LR4 even more. I REALLY appreciate the effort that Adobe takes to solicit input from the photographic user community.

BTW, if the feature I request *can't* be implemented right away, could the LR support team provide detailed, interim instructions as to how to use the "backwards" sliders, and in what sequence? That would be very much appreciated. I'm sure many older LR users have considerable analog image collections that they would like to digitize, and doing so in-camera is both 1) of surprisingly high quality, 2) MUCH faster than using flatbed scanners and 3) of much higher quality and resolution than flatbed scan and MUCH cheaper than professional drum scans.
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Jeff Kennedy

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  • excited by the prospect of adding this feature

Posted 7 years ago

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Kevin Barre

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom needs RAW Inverse for capturing negatives with a camera..

The only current solution for editing negatives is to invert the curves, export the images, and then re-import into Lightroom. But this isn't possible with RAW files. It would be awesome to be able to select an "Invert" button, and then have all other functions of Lightroom work exactly the same, so that high quality capture of negatives using a macro lens would be possible.
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Roy Burroughs

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Camera Raw: Color Invert for Negative film.

I'm looking at digitizing thousands of color negatives to digital files via a high-rez camera.  I would love to have an invert color option within Camera RAW.  What better way to preserve old film that with a RAW digital file! Even better with a feature to eliminate the color cast of the film.  I think many PS users would embrace it.  I could see this being a huge draw for entry level users as well, as many are trying to figure out what to do with old negatives that are deteriorating.
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Jack Klaber

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Take into account that 35mm. color negatives of 100-200 ASA films have an effective resolution of not more than 2000x3000 pixels. Color slides of the type of Kodachrome 25 have higher numbers but not much more than approx. 4000x6000 if professional lenses have been used.These numbers were found by the Kodak people that researched the resolution necessary to digitize color negatives when they were doing the concept research for Photo CD scanners in the early nineties. 
You can use high-rez cameras or scanners, but you are not capturing pictorial information, just patterns of grain and unsharp airy-discs.......In microscopy this is called empty magnification. Here I would call it empty resolution.
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Tim Reeves

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4k x 6k is 24mp
So to effectively scan at this resolution on a modern digi cam with a cfa we need a minimum of triple that resolution.

Most modern digital cameras are around 24mp, so 3 to 4 shots per frame stitched with a perfect lens should get you close to kodaks figures.

We still need an invert function, and this request is almost as old as lightroom.
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Andrew Rodney

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Jack, keep in mind that newer PIW's from Kodak produced larger scan sizes than 2Kx3K. I know, I used to run one. At the time, an 18MB scan (max resolution from the image pack) from the original PIW was a lot of data for desktop machines. Kodak up'd that for good reason. As someone that also ran a couple drum scanners (ScanView, Howtek), there was plenty of reasons we scanned above that so called 'effective resolution' you state. In those old days, it was common to have to output retouched images to an LVT 4x5 for repro. You didn't do that from a PhotoCD scan at the so called effective resolution you state if you wanted the best quality output the technology of those days provided. 
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Jack Klaber

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Andrew, I was a Kodak PCD & PIW technician and account manager and still have all the manuals and tech. sheets at hand.
The Pro PCD was a 4x5" scanner that could scan 135 and 120 film at 4x6k max. resolution. The 4x5" sheet film scan was done at 4096x5230 resolution, the 135 (24x36) was done at 4096x6144 resolution while the 120 (6x4.5) was done at 4096x3072 resolution.
To scan a color negative from a Kodacolor 400, 200 or 100 film with 4x6k resolution was futile and just created a big 64BASE image that had no more usable information than the 2x3k 16BASE. This is what I called "effective resolution".
But EKTAR and KODACHROME 25,40 and 64 35mm. slide films could definitely profit from a PRO scan at 4x6k !! 
(Edited)
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Andrew Rodney

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We are in agreement that 35mm PCD pro scans were higher resolution than 2kx3k for good reason.
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Jack Klaber

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Tim, there is no need to scan three times the same image to offset the CFA of a DSLR. This would only be effective if you had a monochrome FPA  sensor with 4x6k pixels and then take 3 exposures using 3 appropriate color filters.
The same would be true for a monochrome linear CCD scanner.  
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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 Jack Klaber said: You can use high-rez cameras or scanners, but you are not capturing pictorial information, just patterns of grain and unsharp airy-discs.......In microscopy this is called empty magnification. Here I would call it empty resolution.
Jack, I think the primary objective being discussed here is using camera capture to expedite capturing film images (<1 sec. vs minutes). I also agree with Andrew Rodney that the effective resolution of fine grain 35mm negative and slide emulsions is a lot higher than the numbers you stated. My results using camera film capture with a 5D MKII 21 mp camera produce images from 35mm Fujicolor Super G100 color negatives and Kodachrome 64 slides that look near identical in detail sharpness to normal camera images shot with the same lens and camera. Using an even higher megapixel camera would be beneficial especially if capturing larger format film images (645, 4x5, 8x10).

BTW- A similar post was merged here that no longer pulls up doing a search. It might be of interest:

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/color-invert-for-negative-film-in-camera-raw
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maxpierson

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The point of using a DSLR versus a flatbed scanner isn't to improve the quality of the resulting scan, the point is that using a DSLR is multiple times faster than a flatbed.  We are asking for a modification to ACR/Lightroom to support this workflow because a lot of people working in mixed film/digital environments are using it.

So a discussion of the theoretical resolution of film is off topic, there are many other threads on the internet where this subject can be hashed and rehashed and rerehashed.
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Steve Lehman

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Maxpierson, 

Could you go over this camera procedure again.  I guess I could put one of my 5 cameras to use.  Like Jack's, my v850 is a good one but I agree it might be a tad slower than your camera procedure.   So now I am interested in your speedier concept, rerun it?   Earlier, I was sold on my flatbed procedure and my v850 does a fantastic job with transparency, slides, neg's and anything we can throw at it that requires dual light scanning.   It has all adapters and include (Jack's) 120, 4x5 and 8x10 formats.  The adapters for that scanner will do 12 slides and 12 neg's at a time.   Plus, aside from the v850, I have a fully automatic multi-threading slide scanner that zooms through a much larger batch, (while I am restoring the last batch) and I don't have to shuffle the cards.  But if there is a faster rate of speed via camera, I heard it before, but I want a rerun if its procedure - if you don't mind going over it once more.   Is there an adapter for the camera lens?  It must do one at a time but if there is an adapter, then it's an easy change maybe - I'm picturing it like a shuffle of a cards, maybe?    As for the camera RAW thing, it can be run through a DNG converter to change it to a TIFF, the diff being 16 bit converted to 8 bit, ready for printing.   

Steve Lehman, mcse
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Jack Klaber

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Indeed Todd, expediting capturing film images (without compromising the information quality) is of prime importance, especially when thousands of negatives/slides must be processed.....
Be advised that up to 4x5 a 4x6k scan is sufficient to capture the effective information in the sheet film. Technical camera's use a bigger diffusion circle (airy disc) and thus, the spatial resolution of sheet film is lower than 135 and 120 film. 
8x10 sheets I would preferably scan with a transparency scanner such as f.i. the Epson V850 Pro Scanner. Although it is much more time consuming, I don't believe you have thousands of 8x10 sheets waiting to be digitized. Setting up a professional light table to photograph 8x10's is no sinecure..... 
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Be advised that up to 4x5 a 4x6k scan is sufficient to capture the effective information in the sheet film. Technical camera's use a bigger diffusion circle (airy disc) and thus, the spatial resolution of sheet film is lower than 135 and 120 film.
Jack, it can be argued what scan resolution is required to provide the highest-level of detail capture. There is no arguing that  a 1.0 megapixel camera and a 100 megapixel camera take the same exact amount of time to capture the film image and that is less than one second! With a traditional scanner the same 100 megapixel scan will take ~100 times longer than the 1.0 megapixel scan. From my testing the camera capture results using a diffused light source are superior to a film scanner exhibiting lower grain, dust, and scratch rendering. Here's a 1:1 view example of a Plustek 7600Ai scan file and Canon 5D MKII camera file about the same resolution. The same degree of sharpening and noise reduction was applied to both images.

Click on the image to see it full-size for comparison. I was both quite shocked and pleased at the same time after running this test. My Plustek 7600Ai film scanner hasn't been touched in years....any buyers?

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Vbus

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We have had the opportunity to compare digitalization of a batch of  Portra 400 color negative on a Heidelberg Tango scanner and our PhaseOne system and the results are - in our opinion - far better with the digital back. Not speaking of the speed, digitalizing with a modern medium format camera gives you a RAW file (with all post-prod ajustements available) that a conventionnal scanner cannot produce
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Steve Lehman

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Vbus,
Anytime a drum scanner is used, it's much better than a typical digital scanner.   
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Vbus

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Well I disagree with that. Modern medium format camera (Hasselblad or PhaseOne) with high-end macro-lens put the Tango on his knees...
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Steve Lehman

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Maxpierson, 

Could you go over this camera procedure again.  I guess I could put one of my 5 cameras to use.  Like Jack's, my v850 is a good one but I agree it might be a tad slower than your camera procedure.   So now I am interested in your speedier concept, rerun it?   Earlier, I was sold on my flatbed procedure and my v850 does a fantastic job with transparency, slides, neg's and anything we can throw at it that requires dual light scanning.   It has all adapters and include (Jack's) 120, 4x5 and 8x10 formats.  The adapters for that scanner will do 12 slides and 12 neg's at a time.   Plus, aside from the v850, I have a fully automatic multi-threading slide scanner that zooms through a much larger batch, (while I am restoring the last batch) and I don't have to shuffle the cards.  But if there is a faster rate of speed via camera, I heard it before, but I want a rerun if its procedure - if you don't mind going over it once more.   Is there an adapter for the camera lens?  It must do one at a time but if there is an adapter, then it's an easy change maybe - I'm picturing it like a shuffle of a cards, maybe?    As for the camera RAW thing, it can be run through a DNG converter to change it to a TIFF, the diff being 16 bit converted to 8 bit, ready for printing.   

Steve Lehman, mcse
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Steve, at the link to the other post I provided a Dropbox link to an article Mark Segal and I co-authored on Luminous Landscape. You can download the article and a detailed instructions PDF along with other materials for processing camera capture color negative film files. I've included a 35mm Fujicolor Super G100 color negative captured with a Canon 5D MKII 21mp camera for comparison.

Camera film capture using a diffused light source provides better definition and lower grain than using a film scanner. This is covered in the LULA article with a picture example using a Plustek 7600i scanner and Canon 5D MKII 21mp camera with Sigma 50mm macro lens.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u5pnzbesvqen1hv/AABZyaWAn33jCwEinkT45iFAa?dl=0
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Yes right Todd, some how in all this confusion, I thought a camera was involved in someone's  scan process.  You describe a scanner like many we have, like your Plustek 7600i.   We finally used a v850 multi-feed with a dual light, dual optical system, produces a quality negative or slide.  Being in a company, everything is built for speed with multiple feeders and then we get calls for 120, brownie film from the 1950's plus 4x5 and 8x10 formats and transparencies.   
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Yes right Todd, some how in all this confusion, I thought a camera was involved in someone's  scan process.  You describe a scanner like many we have, like your Plustek 7600i.
Steve-The article Mark Segal and I co-authored describes using a camera to capture film images. Please go to the Dropbox link and download the folder containing the two article PDFs and other materials for further details on the "scannerless" process Mark and I use. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Steve Lehman

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Todd,  

Yes Todd, I see what I wrote before, as you rerun it.   I was only confused for a minute by the way everyone discussed it, as it was like all of you are saying the same thing in different ways.  Do you insist that we use your studied system and device?   We may in the future, but not for now.  Me and my company of partners looked it over with our employees (already, and we all think it's much like what we're doing already but with a different device.  We're not dumb-bells, we're a group of software engineers invested in many companies and we happen to have every Adobe Photoshop or Light Room versions, since invented.  We admire what you studied and developed and we may use part or all of it, or none of it.  Meanwhile, we'll refer back to it as needed.  For now, we have lots of devices we use that might be different than yours, proven to process multiple slides, negatives, and much older transparency formats, that cannot be processed by your device, and we do ours very quickly with precision, and it saves us lots money and time.   Our demographics is 45+ and they have very old photography.   If we changed to a different device or system such as yours, which is different than our own, we'd have to spend time and money on new training.   That's our conclusion.   Thank you for sharing.   

Steve Lehman, mcse   
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Steve in your reply earlier you said, "Could you go over this camera procedure again.  I guess I could put one of my 5 cameras to use.  Like Jack's, my v850 is a good one but I agree it might be a tad slower than your camera procedure.   So now I am interested in your speedier concept, rerun it?

Sounds to me you might like to give scannerless film capture a try, correct? I replied with a link to detailed information and materials to do so. No one's asking you to change your workflow.

Also the two OPs could care less that some users don't see the value in using camera based film capture. They've both made a simple request that would be very useful for anyone using a scannerless film processing workflow:

Ability in LR/ACR to Invert the Image data and have the Develop controls operate normally and not reversed.

Most of the "high-quality" film scanners (Nikon, Minolta) have been discontinued. Users seeking high-quality and expedient film scans can assemble a scannerless system very inexpensively. More details at the link I provided and on the Web. ;>)

Todd Shaner, ACP & Champion
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled "Invert" command in the Develop module of Lightroom.

Hello Lightroom team! It would be quite handy for me, if there was an "Invert" command in the Develop module of Lightroom. (especially for B&W images) Please?

Thank you.
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There is, or at least you can simply make one: create an inverted curve, so a curve that goes from top left to bottom right. Save it in a preset.
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No good Johan!

Although inverting the tone curve does do the job of changing the negative into a positive, it is at best a 'kludge' to overcome a serious deficiency in Lightroom that has been requested by customers and ignored by Adobe for the past 6 years.

I can photograph a film negative with my macro lens and a slide copying attachment - works very well, producing a raw copy. Importing into Lightroom, I apply the negative tone curve to get a positive. Making a few more adjustments, being mindful of the reversing of some develop adjustments, I can get something that looks pretty reasonable.

Now I'd like to apply a preset to give the image a different look - oh crap! Only one tone curve can be applied, obviously, and now my negative tone curve has been obliterated, making my image a punchy negative. Not a good look!

This is why Lightroom needs a real NEGATIVE control, so that the develop adjustments aren't all screwed up and we can still apply presets as normal.

How hard is this? Has Adobe only got one programmer working on Lightroom who is completely overwhelmed by the volume of bugs and very good ideas being reported here.

Come on Adobe wake up. Six years is far too long for a very sound feature to be implemented in Lightroom. It's not difficult - just about every image editing tool has a NEGATIVE function! Why not Lightroom?

So sick of the Adobe ignoring its customers, but still taking our money and using us to test their sloppy programming, only to be mostly ignored when we report problems that should be fixed in a very short time frame. The silence from Adobe says it all - don't care as long as you mugs keep paying.
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Jeff Stovall

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With the 7.3 release of Lightroom Classic and addition of profiles, Adobe have almost given us the ability to invert negatives in Lightroom. We can create inversion and color correction LUTs in Photoshop then bring those into Lightroom as profiles for one-click inversion and color correction in Lightroom! The sliders still work backward, but no more messing with the Tone Curve.

http://www.cuchara.photography/blog/2018/5/one-click-inversion-of-color-film-negatives-in-lightroom

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Jeff, can you post a share link to a few of your LUT based film profiles? This will allow others here using camera film capture (self included) to give them a quick try. Thank you!
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Jeff Stovall

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Here are a couple of sample profiles created using Portra400 outdoors. I am doubtful that these will work for someone else because I think the LUT will be dependent on your particular scanning setup, but it will be interesting to see what happens. For my test, I was able to use one of these 2 profiles to color correct about 90% of the images on 3 different rolls of film. The other images were under different enough lighting conditions, i.e., indoors and pre-dawn, that the profiles did not apply.

I have found that the negative MUST be white balanced under the Adobe Standard profile before applying the inversion profile. I use the unexposed frame outside the image for white balance.https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bSkl6lNTxeoXGAxEBEnMb4xWIzE3IRg2

Paste the XMP files into a folder in the location below, then restart Lightroom and they should appear in the Profiles Browser under the heading "Sample Film Negative Profiles".
Windows: C:\ProgramData\Adobe\CameraRaw\SettingsMac:/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/Settings
(Edited)
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Jeff, thanks for sharing this information. I was able to get a reasonable image rendering using your Portra 400 profiles with various color negative films. However, it required making some extreme Tone adjustments to remove excessive highllght and shadow clipping. Also the LR WB eyedropper doesn't work properly when clicked on neutral color areas. I had to adjust the WB controls manually. My film capture setup uses a 5500K color temperature Canon Speedlite and Canon 5D MKII and 600D cameras. Not sure if your profiles are camera model dependent, but if so that would explain what I'm seeing.
LUT based profiles are definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully Adobe will also pick up the ball and implement a raw file invert function to fix the backwards control operation.
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Jeff Stovall

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Todd,
Thanks for trying them out, but as I suspected, these profiles are specific to the negative scan process. I think you will find that the profiles produce much better and more consistent results if you create them yourself from your own negatives. After going through the process a couple of times, it is very quick and easy. And once created, those profiles will work for every roll of that film stock scanned under the same conditions.

Also, you cannot auto white balance on the inverted negative. It seems like it should work, but the Adobe SDK on profiles said that the profiles are applied at the end of the image rendering process, so the white balance tool is still seeing the non-inverted image.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Also, you cannot auto white balance on the inverted negative. It seems like it should work, but the Adobe SDK on profiles said that the profiles are applied at the end of the image rendering process, so the white balance tool is still seeing the non-inverted image.

Yet another reason for Adobe to do some additional work and fix both.
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"Also, you cannot auto white balance on the inverted negative. It seems like it should work, but the Adobe SDK on profiles said that the profiles are applied at the end of the image rendering process, so the white balance tool is still seeing the non-inverted image."

What if you did the inversion with the profile's HSV look table rather than the RGB LUT?  The SDK documentation says that the HSV look table is applied earlier in the image pipeline, so maybe it's applied before any of the Develop settings.  If so, then you could do white balancing and the sliders wouldn't be inverted?

I only have a fuzzy understanding of how one might create such HSV look tables in this instance, though.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Since Adobe is the developer and owner of the DNG specification it shouldn't be too difficult for them to implement a raw data invert function that doesn't also invert the LR controls. The primary issue is how to implement this capability AND maintain compatibility. Some more info here: http://dcptool.sourceforge.net/DCP%20FIles.html

The processing pipe
So, this is how, in vastly simplified form, you process your raw data in context of a DNG Camera Profile, assuming the Forward and Reduction Matrixes are not present (see the specification for more detail):

    
    1.Linearize, rescale, do black level compensation, clip, etc.
    2.Derive interpolated ColorMatrix and HueSatDelta matrixes based on the color temperature.
    3.Get to an XYZ (absolute color space) via the interpolated ColorMatrix.
    4.Convert to HSV.
    5.Apply the interpolated HueSatDelta mapping table to get new colors.
    6.Convert back to XYZ.
    7.Do your exposure compensation, fill light, etc in whatever color space you want
    8.Convert to HSV, apply the LookTable and ToneCurve, convert back. Or, if I read the spec right, use the LookTable and the ToneCurve as the basis for your adjustment settings
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It’s great that the new profile structure opens another door for this task.

But in all other ways I no longer hold my breath for any implementation of inverting images (besides the curve trick we all use). Why?

After one year Adobe still hasn’t made LR compatible with HEIF / HEIC image format - the format produced by the most used camera on the planet (iPhone).

That should make clear how low on the scale a wish from a group as small as us here is.

If inverting is ever implemented, I’ll be happy. But I’ve stopped waiting a long time ago..
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Rodnei Larini

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom mobile: Method for Inverting negative photos.

Feature to invert negatives. Can do in desktop but not in mobile app.
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Rodnei Larini

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Thank you all for the comments on my parallel comment, which was merged to this one.
To address a few points:
1. I use a self-made negative/slide scanner made out of wood, lighting and a canon 7d. Once I upload to the computer, I transfer to my mobile via network drive;
2. Yes, you are able to use the curve to invert the negative into positive. However it would be great to have a quick button (function) to make the process faster. Imagine, I have over 500 negatives. To do this into all via mobile is not smart.
Thanks again.
Regards
Rodnei
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Did you remember to make a preset for that curve? That is almost as quick as a button.
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Antoine Hlmn

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Event though, all the other sliders are then « inverted ».
I’m not sure how the sharpness and noise reduction algos cope with such images...
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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I've encountered no issues with color or B&W negative film. Noise Reduction works well to reduce grain visibility. Sharpening typically requires higher settings, but also works well. Fine-grain 35mm film shot with a good lens looks a live camera shot. The biggest issue in LR is dust spot and scratch removal. The Spot Removal tool is pretty crude and slow compared to PS's Spot Healing Brush with Content-Aware Type selected.
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Anthony Blackett

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Camera Raw/Lightroom: Creating profiles using a Look Table (merging).

Thanks John,

I have used the process outlined here https://www.iamthejeff.com/post/32/the-best-way-to-color-correct-c-41-negative-film-scans and find it very good. So getting a good result in Photoshop is quite easy. I have used this procedure in Photoshop to create a LUT and then a Camera Raw profile for a few different negative colour film types. The results in Lightroom are reasonable, but with Lr develop adjustments working on the negative, the tone adjustments are reversed and many others cannot be used because they produce wild colour shifts, such as vibrance and saturation. The white balance and auto tone tools are useless too. A bit of manual adjustment of WB works. Here is an example of a DSLR 'scanned' film negative with one of my profiles applied.



And after a bit of adjusting



It would be so much better to have a tool or tool set that could do these steps natively in Lr so that all the develop tools can be used normally on a raw image.

A negative tool has been asked for by users for 7 years now and it is so disappointing that Adobe hasn't even given those users the courtesy of responded to the requests. Not even to say 'No we will not be implementing a negative function'. Just nothing, completely ignored. Like myself, there are many photographers with considerable archives of film negatives who are experimenting with DSLR 'scanning' to digital raw and would dearly love to process them in Lr. It's hardly rocket science, with a good starting point being an invert option coupled with a remove film mask colour cast (not by changing white balance) so that all the Lr develop tools work as normal.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Camera Raw/Lightroom: Creating profiles using a Look Table.
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Steve Lehman

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Anthony,

With all the help above, there should be some hints of what to do, but I will say again:  To invert a negative you can do this in LR or Elements too. 

Once you have the negative, click Filer>Adjustments>Invert. 

This will reverse the negative to a positive.  Your positive should respond to any other adjustments in Photoshop (later on that).   Likewise, refer to my answer above and to Todd Shane's answer too. Both of us utilize the Epson v850 scanner.  This scanner gives positives in crisp color and not much needs to be adjusted and all of them will be right-side-up and frontward (label in front).  It takes 12 at a time which is a little work but worth our time. 

Also, I use a 50 slide scanner (3X more expensive) which takes twice as long to scan all 50 but is easier, all 50 slides are negatives, then I invert them to positives.  It's become a routine with a quick zap of the color or fade adjustments, takes less than 2 seconds in a routine.  The 50 slide scanner has a "fog" on each slide as it doesn't scan the best but this can be eliminated and sharpness comes back to a crisp positive with a few quick clicks.  The 50 slide scanner has its faults as it can break down some after 2 years.  It can be fixed for 1/3 of its sale price which is still a little expensive. I am using my old 50 slide scanner for the 5th year as I am getting it refurbished (one time) this year to use for another 3 to 5 years.  We use it for customers at work and its been used for 2000 slides at a time, maybe 3 times now, otherwise, small batches.  Over that scanner, I will recommend the Espon v850 for the best in scans.    

This might be why Adobe has not responded to you.  Elements and LR and Photoshop have always had Filter>Adjustments>Invert for negatives to positives.   When you get used to Photoshop, you will see that the adjustments of the image is fast and easy.  Have a good eye for it so that when its enough quit your adjustments, otherwise, it could run ya stir crazy, don't need to be that perfect.   

Remember all slides are set for a 2X3 foot screens (in the old days) which were in 3000 resolution for the big screen.  Their size will convert to a 4X6 or 5X7 easily.  I scan my photos at only 1000 so they will fit onto a disc better.  The positives converted to a 4X6 at 300 dpi, as follows:  Slides at actual size (1.34" X 0,83") at 1000 dpi, are the SAME SIZE as 4x6 at 300 dpi - they are exactly equal.  Your Photoshop does batch conversions for this.  Look in elements under File>ProcessMutilplePhotos.  In that dialog box, you can convert to 4X6 size AND to 300 dpi size at the same time, AND keep at TIFF (RAW) for photo prints, OR convert from TIFF to JPEG if you want a slide show.  For a slide show, be sure to make them 4X6 size JPEG (at 300 dpi) so the screen will show them big enough.  AND, don't use a slide show software which only sets them to a show and  nothing else.  Instead, just put them info a folder, and in Windows Media Player select the folder and it'll run your photos as a show on screen.  Also, your TV might have a USB port which will run the photos automatically the same way, no slide show software needed and you don't need Windows media player.  The TV has all you need to run it from a flash drive on the TV.  

I have the experience since I have done this for my customers a lot.   
I hope all of this has helped some of you.   

Steve Lehman, mcse   


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Anthony Blackett

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Steve,

I'm fully aware of what Photoshop and Elements can do regarding inverting a negative image, but I use Lightroom Classic to process my RAW images and I'm certainly not interested in buying a dedicated scanner. For my purpose I have a scanner, my DSLR a macro lens and a slide copying attachment, a combination that does a great job.

Lightroom does not have an invert function and that is what has been asked for here for more than half of Lr's life. Sure, there are workarounds that can invert a negative image, like inverting the tone curve or applying a profile, but all suffer from the same problem - reversed or unuseable tone adjustments. These methods are just trying to overcome Lr's basic deficiency, no proper invert tool. There are certainly no tools to properly deal with colour negative film 'scanned' into a RAW image.

Here is a 1:1 comparison of a RAW 'scanned' film negative processed in Lr and the same image processed in Photoshop. On the left is the image processed in Lr using a profile I created (in Photoshop and Camera Raw) and applying some manual develop adjustments. On the right is the same RAW image after opening from Lr into Photoshop, applying the same profile in Camera Raw, saving the result back to Lr as a PSD, then applying White Balance and Auto Tone adjustments. It might be difficult to see clearly in the small image here, but the quality of the two images is chalk and cheese, especially in the shadows, where the PSD image has blocked up almost everything to black. The PSD image is actually quite awful.



So for me, neither Photoshop nor Elements offer a satisfactory solution. The solution is obvious and I would think, not very difficult. Adobe just chooses to remain deaf and silent on the request, and that's very disappointing.


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Steve Lehman

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I don't think Adobe is ignoring you.  I think you didn't make yourself clear in the first place.  At least I wasn't clear at first, for sure. 

Comparing your two images, I can see what the real problem is.  You should not be saving in PSD.  Save it in PDF and you will have a choice of JPEG compression or an uncompressed like TIFF OR the best of both, an adjusted compression in between.   PDF in Adobe is flexible and you won't be using Acrobat or Reader. 

There's no skin of my nose, if you are quite perturbed with Adobe's software and with Adobe, go ahead and search for something you can live with.  No software is perfect as you want it to be.   

However, I think you have not looked over all the choices you have in Photoshop.  For one thing, you have not told me you run Elements or Photoshop, as you keep mentioning only LR which doesn't invert negatives, and we got that message clear now.  But if you used Element with it, and it is cheaper than LR, and like the rest of us professionals use several of Adobe products, you might have what you want. 

And if PDF doesn't do the job for ya, try another format.  There are lots of uncompressed container formats.  I don't suppose you got into those yet?   Those will contain your image in an compressed format yet the image placed inside will be uncompressed while the container format is compressed.  It does save space while you retain the full image too.  Nifty huh?   We use those mostly for videos but they can be used for any (large) image file, and negatives tend to use lots of space, especially when inverted.  Study container formats:  test on Friday.   

If this doesn't do it for ya, then wallow in your anger longer, and find another photo editor, maybe.  You can always save your image in another brand of software in PSD again, and try to open it in LR but don't expect it to be perfect.   And I think "perfect" is what you're trying to get, so hard.  Sure the shadows show but there might be a remedy if you're patient.   

SL   

 
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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"I don't think Adobe is ignoring you.  I think you didn't make yourself clear in the first place.  At least I wasn't clear at first, for sure."

Steve it sounds like you're still not clear on why a LR/ACR raw file invert function is being requested. We are well aware color negative raw files created with a camera copier setup can be processed with good results using PS/PSE. However, this requires creating a separate RGB image file (PSD, TIFF) using ACR or LR. The resulting file has the camera profile and other settings permanently applied to the image file, which breaks the non-destructive workflow. This RGB file is significantly larger than the original raw file, which also needs to be saved for possible future editing changes.

What is being requested here is a fully non-destructive workflow for processing color negative raw files using only LR or ACR. Inverting the Tone Curve is not a viable solution since it causes the WB and Tone controls to work backwards and behave in a non-linear manner. What's required is an invert function that is applied to the raw data before any other control processing. The objective being to allow editing color and B&W negative raw image files in the same manner as normal camera images.
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Anthony Blackett

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Todd,

Couldn't have put it better. That's precisely why we use Lr with RAW images.
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Steve Lehman

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Todd,

He didn't make it clear to me.    My software gets positives like a camera image, so I have not problem with positives using my method.   I don't use the camera-scan method.  And those might be the problem.   

I have had the greatest respect for your Champion status Todd, as I have praise your answers.   I used to be a Champion but my (Windows) software engineering credentials takes the place of it now, as I left to tend to my company for a long while.  This is your 3rd time to correct me.  I'm not sure how your correcting me helps this guy's software problem.   It was the first time, nothing would be said, as it's very interesting to me.   

Steve Lehman, mcse   


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Steve Lehman

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Todd,

Anthony said:  "... my DSLR a macro lens and a slide copying attachment, "
That's not the scan method I use, and it's not a ACR scanner.   
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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"I'm not sure how your correcting me helps this guy's software problem."
Steve, I was actually trying to help you. I'm glad you now understand the request being made here and why it's needed. As they say "DIfferent strokes for different Folks!" You may want to give it try sometime.
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Steve Lehman

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Todd, this is your third time being mean spirited.  
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I don't view Todd's comments here as mean-spirited. Rather, I find them a constructive contribution to a detailed discussion about  why this feature is being requested. As he invariably does, Todd avoided any ad hominem comments and focused on the objective issues.   These sorts of back-and-forth discussions about features and alternative solutions can be the most effective way to get to a truer understanding of users' needs, their workflows, and possible solutions with and without LR.

I have a legacy Nikon 5000 scanner, and while it continues to work like a champ, Im worried about what happens when it breaks, and I've wondered whether I'll get significantly better results using a DSLR instead.  I've previously proposed here an alternative LR-only solution for B&W negatives (inverting the tone curve and exporting/re-importing as 16-bit TIFFs). So I'm very interested in how a raw-based workflow might work for me.
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Anthony Blackett

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John,

Here is an attempt to answer that question. Starting with a colour film negative DSLR 'scanned' to a NEF image, I have applied my invert and colour correction profile, shifted the colour temperature by -800K, dropped the highlights to -100 and pushed the shadows to +100 in Lr. The result is the reference image on the left in the image below. I then reset the develop settings, opened in PS, ran an action that inverts, removes the colour cast and auto sets the tone curve (this is what I used to create my ACR/Lr profile), then saved it as a TIFF (16 bit ProPhoto). Back in Lr, I set the colour balance (using the sampling tool), dropped the highlights to -100 and pushed the shadows to +100 on this TIFF, just as I had with the NEF image. The result is on the right.



Although difficult to see in the small image above, apart from a slight difference in colour balance, the most noticeable differences are in the shadows. In the full size images, the adjusted TIFF has no detail in the shadows. In the NEF image I can see folds in the man's trousers, but in the TIFF, the trousers are just black. Here is a 1:1 zoomed in view of the two images for comparison.



Pushing highlights and shadows to these limits might appear to be extreme, but it does demonstrate the difference between adjustments in RAW and other image formats.

RAW processing in Lr still wins hands down for me.




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Todd Shaner, Champion

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"I have a legacy Nikon 5000 scanner, and while it continues to work like a champ, Im worried about what happens when it breaks, and I've wondered whether I'll get significantly better results using a DSLR instead."

John, from my experience using a Plustek 7600i film scanner and a Canon 5D MKII with Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro lens the camera capture wins in every respect. This is regardless of using a full raw workflow or ACR/PS TIFF workflow. The key is to use a diffused light source, which reduces the visibility of film grain, scratches, and dust particles without affecting resolution. This makes processing the film images much easier and provides better overall image  quality. Here's an example from my previous post:

https://d2r1vs3d9006ap.cloudfront.net/s3_images/1724618/32213-15bzjei.jpg?1523663673

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Risto Roponen

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Negative image to positive.

I'd really like an option to convert the colors from my self taken negative paper b&w pictures to positive. Now I need to use some other apps for it before using Lightroom and the quality drops dramatically. This phase is essential for that kind of photographing and I'd really appreciate the feature.
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Rick Schuster

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Hi Risto, 
I don't think your images should be degraded at all by inverting them outside Lightroom.  If you're using something like Photoshop, I don't think it would be degraded at all, unless it's being saved as a low-quality JPG.  Perhaps some other programs would degrade an image in ways I don't understand.  By the way - I'm not trying to argue with you at all, just trying to help.
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Rick Schuster

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Thanks, Kevin.  I've only been doing b&w, so I'm sure the experience is very different working with color inversions.  
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Rick Schuster

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Since I've given up on this feature ever being added, I've created a workaround of inverting my images before importing into Lightroom.  If you use Photoshop, I'd recommend creating a 'droplet' to make it easy to invert a whole folder full of images at once (Google "Photoshop droplet" to learn how) .  Here's my droplet for inverting b&w jpgs -- https://www.dropbox.com/sh/krxm8llrwq0k2gz/AADMfPZvrAmeKSk9oUcUVTQBa?dl=0 -- feel free to download and use it (I'm on Mac, so I don't know if this file works on Windows).  Drag a folder full of images onto it and it opens each image, inverts and re-saves (overwriting the originals).  (test it on duplicate images to make sure it works for you).  Before you run it, save an image from Photoshop as a JPG and set the quality to the highest quality setting (or you could create a different droplet that would save as a TIFF if you don't want to risk any image degradation due to compression).  This droplet would invert color images as well, but without any color correction -- for that you'd want to create your own droplet with your preferred color correction settings.
I shoot my negs in JPG as I don't believe the dynamic range of the backlit neg requires shooting RAW.  More about that at my blog post here:  https://shotonfilm.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/35mm-camera-scanning/
(Edited)
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Kevin Barre

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The problem with inverting in Photoshop comes in when dealing with raw files. Raw is critical for dealing with color negatives—particularly older ones where the color has shifted, or they were originally exposed poorly. My go-to process for shooting transparencies is to bracket three exposures in-camera, and then combine those raw files in Lightroom. This is impossible for color negatives, of which I have BOXES full. With an easy "Invert" button, it would save those negatives.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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There are actually two issues with LR that prevent it from properly processing camera raw color negative film image files.

1) Lack of a true Invert function that inverts the raw data BEFORE any of the controls are applied.
You can use and inverted LR Tone Curve and get used to using the controls backwards.
A better option suggested by John R. Ellis is to use Edit in PS and then invert it in PS and save back as a TIFF. When doing this it works much better if you first adjust the LR WB using a custom camera profile as outlined below. You can temporarily invert the Tone Curve (create a preset to save it) and then follow the below instructions to set the WB. When the WB is properly set make sure to return the Tone Curve to its normal 'Linear setting before using Edit in PS.

2) Insufficient WB Temperature control range, which is currently limited to 2000.
The orange mask in many color negative film emulsions is lower than this setting. Further, the Adobe camera profiles are dual-illuminant (6,500K + 2850K). Whenthe Lightroom WB Temp setting is below ~4,000 the 2,850 (Tungsten) table isused for color correction, which does not work well with most color negatives.
Fortunately The Adobe DNG Profile Editor (DPE) can be used to extend the camera profile's Temp and Tint ranges for use with color negative film camera raw files (i.e. captured using a camera). I suggest creating four versions of the Adobe Standard camera profile with Temp and Tint settings -25 +25, -50 +50, -75 +75,and -100 +100. You'll need to export one of the camera raw files to DNG file format with it set to Adobe Standard profile. Open the DNG in DPE and in the Color Matrices tab change the Temp and Tint settings and then go to File>Export and rename the profile so you can identify it by filename. Example: 5D MKII Adobe Standard WB -25 +25. Then process the remaining three settings the same way. Save them to them below folder location and when done restart LR to load the new profiles. You'll need to do this for each camera model you use to capture the color negative film images.
Windows—C: \ Users \ [your username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Adobe \ CameraRaw \ CameraProfiles \

Mac—Macintosh HD / Users / [your username] / Library / Application Support / Adobe / CameraRaw / CameraProfiles /

Use the Custom WB Camera Profile that requires a WBTemp setting no lower than 5,000 to correct the WB. You may also want to create and try custom WB camera profiles using one of the lower contrastprofiles such as Adobe neutral and the higher contrast and color saturation Adobe Color. They all are based on the same Adobe Standard profile, but with different contrast and color saturation, which may be helpful.