Negative Lab Pro v2.1 - Film Metadata, Clipping Control, and Much More

UPDATES (12/2/19:

Lots of new goodies to share in v2.1, like…

  1. Custom Metadata - Just for Film Shooters
  2. Smarter Exports and Positive Copies
  3. Vuescan and Silverfast DNGs - Better Profiles and Compatibility
  4. Lot’s of other Awesome Features & Improvements

(Oh, and yes, this will be free upgrade for existing users :smiley: )


Let’s jump in!

:star2: 1. Custom Metadata (Just for Us Film-Shooters)

Ever since I started shooting more film, it bugged me that there wasn’t a good way to capture the richness of the analog process inside the metadata. Lightroom’s metadata engine is incredible (and fortunately for us, extendable), but by default it is decidedly focused on digital photography workflows. So until now, my workflow has involved separate spreadsheets, complicated 3rd party tools, or simply hoping I can remember everything!

So, with a lot of input from the Private Facebook Group and this very forum, I’ve extended Lightroom’s metadata engine to make it the perfect tool for capturing your analog workflows.

A simple, fast workflow for adding and editing film-centric metadata
Negative Lab Pro extends Lightroom’s own metadata engine with a custom section for film shooters. It’s built right in to Lightroom. In the Library module, just select the dropdown to the left of the “metadata” section, and select “Negative Lab Pro.” When you start add your analog metadata, you get all the time-saving features Lightroom has built-in, like Metadata Presets, Autocomplete, and Selectable Lists of past values used.

:arrow_down: Click the video below for demo :arrow_down:

Perfectly Organized for Film Shooters
The custom metadata section is divided into 4 editable sections (equipment, shooting, digitizing and development), plus a section of metadata generated from your Negative Lab Pro status and settings. You don’t need to fill in everything, just fill in what you have and what’s important to you.

Sortable and Searchable
Once you’ve added your new metadata, you can use it directly in Lightroom for sorting and searching through your photos. Want to see everything photo you’ve taken using your Hasselblad 500cm, together with Portra 400? No problem!

:arrow_down: Click the video below for demo :arrow_down:

Non-destructive & Safe For RAW
The original standard metadata is not changed in the original RAW. This is critical, because Lightroom uses the metadata in RAW files (like Camera Model and Lens) to select the corresponding camera and lens profiles to use in rendering, so you don’t want to overwrite this. Instead, the custom metadata is stored non-destructively in Lightroom’s catalog. Then, when you export the RAW to tiff or jpeg, it allows you to generate and store the analog metadata in standard EXIF and IPTC fields.

:star2: 2. Smarter Exports and “Positive Copies”

Not only does Negative Lab Pro v2.1 extend LR’s metadata, it also adds a custom “export service”, so that you can take advantage of the metadata when you go to share it with other services. You can access this inside Lightroom’s export module by changing “Export to” to “Negative Lab Pro”, or by right-clicking an image and selecting one of the built-in export presets.

:arrow_down: Click the video below for demo :arrow_down:

Auto Captions
Now that we have all that custom, film-centric metadata, let’s do something smart with how we caption it. In Negative Lab Pro, you can now select what and how you want to caption your photo. This caption is built in to standard metadata fields on export, so it will automatically show when you upload to services like Flickr. It will also copy it to the clipboard, so it’s easy to share on places like Facebook or Reddit, which don’t include metadata.

Write to Standard EXIF Fields
It can automatically write the analog metadata to standard EXIF fields. Which, again, is really nice for both sharing on photo platforms like Flickr and for archiving.

Auto Keyword Generation
It can automatically generate film-centric keywords based on the metadata you input, and write them to standard metadata fields.

Right-Click > Positive Copies
Positive copies are really useful when working with film negatives in Lightroom, especially if you need to make some small tweaks using Lightroom’s normal toolset. Now, you can make positive copies without needing to open up Negative Lab Pro… just right-click on an image (or group of selected images), and go to “Export > NLP - Make Positive Copy”.

Presets for Exporting Files to Flickr, Facebook, Instagram and more…
The presets provide optimized file and metadata setting. You can also call them contextually using the “right-click, export” from the library or develop modules. Below is an example from a file I exported then uploaded to Flickr. The red boxes how the analog info I added was translated into metadata for the Flickr upload.

Full Customization of Export Settings
You can customize any aspect of the export presets and save them as your own. So if you want to change the file naming structure, or output sharpening, or color space… well, have at it!

:star2: Vuescan and Silverfast DNGs - Better Profiles and Compatibility

Negative Lab Pro v2.1 brings significant improvements to consistency and color rendition across RAW DNGs produced by Vuescan and Silverfast.

All-New, Dual-Illuminant RAW Profiles for Vuescan and Silverfast DNGs

This basically means you should see better, more consistent color renditions when using a Vuescan or Silverfast RAW DNG. In particular, you should now get better results by using either the white-balance selector tool to sample off the film border, or use the “auto wb” feature of Lightroom, prior to conversion. You will need to make sure that “Negative Lab v2.1” profile is selected prior to white-balancing.

Depending on your scanner model, the level of improvement could vary. For instance, Epson V800/V850 users should see a large improvement vs. the previous profiles, but other users will see smaller improvements.

Universal Scanner Compatibility for RAW DNGs (new utility)

Now, instead of needing to wait on me making a profile for your scanner model, you can go to “File > Plugin-Extras > Update Vuescan/Silverfast RAW DNGs”. This script will update the RAW DNGs you have selected from any scanner model, to make them compatible with the new dual-illuminant profiles.

:star2: Other Awesome Features & Improvements

In addition to the major new features above, there are a lot other improvements and features added in v2.1.

"TIFF Prep Utility" Improvements
If you are using NLP with TIFF files, this tool can help improve your results with Negative Lab Pro (particularly if your tiff images are linear, 16bit). The new prep utility uses 16-bit precision color multipliers in linear space to prepare your tiffs for a happy conversion in Negative Lab Pro. You can access it by going to “File > Plugin Extras > Tiff Prep Utility”

Improved low-contrast control
The previous algorithm for decrease contrast tended to break down. The new algorithm is more stable and gives users more leeway.

White Clip / Black Clip control
You can now control the white and black clip points directly. This is especially useful in working with negatives. By default, Negative Lab Pro will essentially “normalize” a scene, setting the darkest pixel to black, and the brightest pixel to white. But you may want to fine tune those points, to either increase the clipping, or remove clipping. Because Negative Lab Pro is non-destructive, you’re never permanently clipping any data.

Updates to Color Balance Controls (mids / highs / shadows)
The "mids’ color sliders now use a gamma-based algorithm for adjustments, which produces more natural color corrections. Each point in adjustment now corresponds to a 0.1 point gamma adjustment in that color channel.

Reset Control With Single-Click
Similar to how “double-clicking” a property name in Lightroom will reset that value to 0, you can now “single-click” a property name in Negative Lab Pro, and it will reset the value of that property to zero.

New Tone Profiles: Linear Flat & Linear Deep
These were configurations I found myself using a lot, so I built them into tone profiles.
Linear Deep is close to Linear, but with sight deepening of shadows and blacks to give it more life.
Linear Flat gives a generous amount of headroom to both the black and white point. This is closer to the output produced by some scanning apps (probably to leave more headroom for future editing), but this super-flat look is a popular aesthetic today.

Sharpen: "Leave as Set"
The new default option for sharpening will be “Sharpen: Leave as Set” - this will leave your sharpening settings alone and not overwrite changes you’ve made directly in Lightroom. SO, whatever you have manually set sharpening to in Lightroom will be retained. If you want to zero out all sharpening settings, use “Sharpen:None.” Sharpen: Scanner and Sharpen: Lab still work as previously described in the guide.

Updated digital camera models support
Camera profile support is now up to date with all profiles supported in LR 9.0…

Bug fixes and Error Reporting
Numerous bugs have been squashed (and probably some new ones created as well). I’ve also added better error reporting, which should provide more descriptive error messages if something is wrong.

Good stuff, right?

STAY TUNED… I will be updating this post again on Monday with more details, download info, and discount info.

Creator of Negative Lab Pro


Super excited! Saving the rest of my trial scans to check out Universal Scanner Compatibility for RAW DNGs for use with my Opticfilm 7500i. Will my remaining conversions stay after the update?

Hi @yimmi - even better, you’ll get a fresh 12-free conversion when you update. :slight_smile:


Have to share this great screenshot from the Negative Lab Pro facebook group by André Duhme …

The left image is Photoshop’s auto curves…
The right image is Negative Lab Pro v2.1 Beta using Auto Color…


Haaaaa… I bought it today after a week of trying it and got this email 3 hours later!!!
Doesn’t mind, I am super happy with it and looking forward to this update.

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Super excited Ned. Thank you so much for your hard work and for listening. Need to start considering changing my workflow based on NLP.

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I bought earlier in the week too hahah, I was tempted to hold out and see if there’d be a discount on Friday or Monday but I was too damn excited to continue with NLP. Not bothered though as I 100% think that it’s worth the $99


Damn, I super excited about using the new Custom Film Metadata and Dynamic Exports.

I think all film shooters have been waiting for this!

Thanks for your continued hard work Nate.

Regards from Blue Mountains, Australia.

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Thanks for all your work.
Your plugin is truly amazing !

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Its Monday here in the UK, soooo excited!

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The Mac version doesn’t want to install on MacOS Mojave, it says that the developer is unknown. I know that there are ways to work around this, but I don’t recall having to do that with previous versions.

Did you follow the instructions in the ReadMe.txt file to “RIGHT-CLICK” the installer, hit “open”, and then when the warning comes up, hit “Open Anyway”?

If you did this and it still isn’t working, let me know…

Also, I’ve created a separate thread for discussing any issues. If anyone is experiencing issues, please post here–> Version 2.1 - Bugs and Issues

UPDATE FOR USERS ON CATALINA - You’ll need to hold down OPTION + RIGHT CLICK in order to see the “open” option. Working on getting the app “notarized” by Apple so that this warning does not come up…

Doh! sorry about that.

No worries, and thanks for letting me know! Also, just realized that I had forgotten to include that info about right-clicking in the update instructions (my bad!), so I’ve added it there too now, thanks!

Really appreciate that @emgk! Thank you! :pray:

Cannot find the universal Dgn

In Lightroom, go to “File > Plugin Extras > Update Vuescan/Silverfast DNGs” and then follow the instructions. If it is greyed out, it means you need to select the DNGs first.

This is rather maddening. Among the improvements to an already stellar looking workflow, this update could incorporate and perhaps replace my AnalogEXIF and other external scripting back into Lightroom (with some obvious upfront leg-work) and add things I’ve wished for as well?
And I’m still sitting here in LR5, refusing to move into Adobe’s subscription model. Hmmm… This is the mixedest of mixed bags for me.
(aka - this update looks fantastic)

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Hi Nate,
Testing the tiff prep fonctionnality, it doesn’t seems to work.

I have an error message : Something went wrong as we were trying to analy=zing tiff colo multipliers.
Command (…) -quiet)

NLP is on the same drive as lightroom CC 2020. I’m using the version 2.1.2. of NLP

EDIT : Just reinstalling the plugin seems to have fixed it.

Hi - please post a screenshot of the error on the forum for version 2.1 bugs and issues: Version 2.1 - Bugs and Issues

If the photo you’re trying to update is on an external or networked drive, it must be connected.