Best Practices for Cropping Before Converting Negative

Hi all,

Got a conversion workflow question.
I tend to get mixed results when converting cropped negatives, vs a whole strip of film.
Is it a good idea to convert a whole strip of negative at a time, and include the negative space between exposures? or perhaps is it better to include some of the border in the cropped version before conversion?

I think this user is experiencing the same thing as me:

I find that with individually-cropped negatives, NLP can sometimes get a little heavy-handed in the conversion, and give me extremely saturated colors, weird white balances, blown-out highlights, or crushed darks.

When converting multiple negatives, the conversion tends to give me more accurate and neutral colors/tones. However, the results tends to look under-exposed. I assume that’s because it’s taking the blank space between the exposed parts of the negative into account in the conversion process.

Additionally, I find that individually-converting images from a single shooting session (with similar lighting conditions, camera settings, etc.), or even syncing the scene, might give me different results, so I opt for converting a whole strip at a time so I can get a little more consistency, albeit with the aforementioned under-exposure as a result.

Any thoughts on this? Are there any best practices for the conversion process? Am I doing something wrong, or is this pretty normal?

I got weird results when I tried conversions again and again. Once I used the “unconvert” function, results got much better.

What I usually do with a new film type is to create lots of virtual copies and then apply different conversion settings. This gives me side-by side comparisons with relative ease.

So far, my preferred settings are “basic” with saturation set to 3 or lower before conversion, then I set “linear+gamma” and maybe a warmer tone. Btw, I set tolerance to 10%.

I have tried with and without cropping and find that both ways produce nice results. Anyway, I always crop borders off, so I now do it before I launching NLP. I also wb my shots as recommended. My source material are Canon CR2 raw files.

Update: images with areas that are very bright can profit from a crop that excludes these areas according to an answer Nate gave in an other post.

I can confirm that this can help balance images. I also keep my crop tolerance at 15 instead of the default value of 5. This helped to get better images during my tests.