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Free film for correcting camera phone photos

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Anyone who has tried to take pictures of their reef with their phone knows how challenging it is to get true coloring. Camera phone sensors interpret light differently than our eyes, particularly blues. Getting a program to white balance your photos helps, as does reducing the blue channel on your lights (assuming you are running LEDs). However, that still makes color rendering not quite true to life.


One way to help perform some color correction in photos is to use filters that are in the orange-to-red range. I'm not talking about an Instagram filter, but to actually put a piece of colored film in front of your camera lens as you take the picture. You can by a $5 swatch of orange film from Vivid Coral Technologies, but I have found a way to get a whole mess of different colors of film for free!


What you will want to get is a swatchbook of theatrical gels. Gels are used in theater and film to color lights. Rosco is one of the biggest manufacturers of theatrical gels. You can pick up a swatchbook of several hundred samples of their gels from any of their official retailers for free! Go to this website: http://www.rosco.com/us/wtb/index.cfm to search for a Rosco retailer near you.


If you don't have a Rosco retailer near you, you can request Rosco mail you swatchbooks. The books are free, you just pay shipping and handling. You can order swatchbooks here: http://www.rosco.com/sbreqs/


I already had a sample of Vivid Coral Film that I've been playing around with. (In addition to doing color correction, if you shoot pcitures through the film under just blue LEDs you can photograph your coral's flourescence. If you check out my tank threads you can find some examples.) But, I just picked up a swatchbook over the weekend.


The E-Colour swatchbook was the only one my local theater supply company had on hand:



It has close to 500 different gels in it:



Each gel has a paper backing so you know the name and number of the gel:



You can easily slide the paper out of the way to get to the gel you want:


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On the site to order a swatchbook, which one would you suggest?

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I'd suggest the Roscolux, but I honestly think any will do.

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Very clever, great idea! What are the dimensions of the swatches in the Rosco book?


The E-Colour swatchbook is 3.25" x 1.5". I think most of Rosco's other filter books are about the same size, though the GamColor and GAM CineFilters look to have different dimensions. You won't be able to use this hack to make free filters for a nice DSLR camera. Although you still could get a free swatchbook, figure out what gels you like, then order bigger gel sheets of the corresponding colors off of Amazon or whereever.

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Thanks Mirya, I have Canon G11 point and shoot that the gels may work great on.

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