Roll Analysis - Q&A + Help

Hi friends,

I’ve put together some common questions on the new roll analysis feature in V3. This may answer some questions you have, or if you have new questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will try to address.

“Can I use Roll Analysis with negative I’ve already converted?”

Yep! As someone with a large catalog of previous work, one thing I wanted to consider was making it easy to go back and use Roll Analysis on previous conversions you have made with Negative Lab Pro. And, in fact, you don’t even have to reconvert any of your previous photos to use Roll Analysis on them.

To use Roll Analysis on previous conversions, simply:

  1. Select a group of your already converted images (preferably a single roll)
  2. Open Negative Lab Pro
  3. Go to the Roll tab and click Create New Roll
  4. Give your roll a name, and add it to a group if you’d like to organize it

Important caveats using roll analysis on previous conversions:

  1. All of the advice on digitization and setup that I previously described still apply. For instance, using the same exposure settings and white balance settings, only selecting from the same roll, etc. Your output will only be as consistent as your input. So if you didn’t digitize consistently, your output may be off.
  2. Any adjustments you made previously (based on the single image analysis) may no longer be needed. For instance, let’s say you had to manually adjust the color balance on your single-image analysis to make your skin tones look OK. Well, those same adjustments may be unnecessary (and actually throw off) the result once you are using the roll analysis. So, you may actually want to go back and “reset” your editing settings after you add the Roll Analysis and try editing it fresh from there.
  3. If you’ve previously used “Sync Scene” on the roll, then you will need to unconvert (go to the Convert tab and select “unconvert”) and then reconvert. The reason for this is that “Sync Scene” in previous versions would overwrite the individual analyses (which the Roll Analysis needs to access to calculate rolls on prior conversions).

So… if you try to add a roll analysis to a previous conversion, and something seems off, first see if reconverting the images improves the roll analysis. If something is still off, it might be worth seeing if a rescan helps!

“Can I use the analysis from one roll onto another roll?”

While it is generally a good idea to use the roll analysis that is specific to a roll, in some cases, you might want to use an existing roll analysis on a different roll than it was created for.

For instance, you could use the roll analysis from a regular stock film (say, Kodak Portra) on a specialty film (like Redrum or Lomochrome Purple) with interesting effect.

But generally you should not expect the roll analysis of one roll of Kodak Portra to apply perfectly to all future Kodak Portra that you shoot, unless you’ve kept very strict control of all the variables mentioned earlier. For instance, even small changes in the Lightroom white balance will create big difference, so in this case you would need to make sure that you used the same Lightroom white balance settings across rolls of the same film stock.

“What if I’ve shot a calibration chart in my negative? Can i use that?”

Yep! If you included a color calibration chart in any of your photos, you can use that to make a single frame calibration. Simply crop in to just include the calibration chart, then after conversion, go to the Rolls tab, select Create New Roll, and then select Single Frame as the source. This will create a single frame calibration you can use on the rest of your roll.

The “single frame” calibration can also be useful if you find that a particular shot has converted well on its own, and you want to bring that calibration over to other shots.

“What happened to ‘Sync Scene?’ Is there a way for me to replicate this behavior?”

In v3, you can create “single frame calibrations” and use that calibration on other images.

This has a number of advantages over Sync Scene. 1) It’s non-destructive, meaning that it won’t overwrite any of the original conversion calibrations, 2) It’s adaptive, meaning it can automatically adjust for dynamic range differences between frames.

To create a single frame calibration, go to the Rolls tab, select Create New Roll, and then select Single Frame as the source.

“Where is the roll analysis stored? Can I transfer it?”

The roll analysis is saved in two places.

First, any roll currently applied to a photo is saved directly to the LR metadata of that photo. So if you ever move catalogs in LR, all that data will transfer. Second, your roll calibrations are saved to a rolls.json file in the following folders:

On Mac: / Users / { username} / Library / Application Support / Negative Lab Pro / Rolls / rolls.json
On Windows: C: \ Users \ [username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Negative Lab Pro \ Rolls \ rolls.json

“Is Roll Analysis always be better than single image analysis?”

Not always. While the Roll Analysis will usually be a truer representation of the film, there are situations where you may prefer the look of the single-image analysis, or when it may be closer to your vision.

“Do I have to use Roll Analysis?”

Nope. You can continue using Negative Lab Pro with just single-image analysis if that’s what you’d like, and you’ll still take advantage of all the other new features in V3.

“Does Roll Analysis work with B+W Images?”

Not really, although feel free to experiment. If anything, you could experiment with the “Darkroom Paper” setting, and that will basically give you a better feel of the un-optimized dynamic range of each shot.

"How do you recommend I edit my roll?*?

The consistency that Roll Analysis provides makes it so much easier to batch edit than with single-image analysis! Even if your initial roll analysis result is a bit off, you should find that syncing your edits will now work a whole lot better.

Here’s how I edit an entire roll in about 2 minutes:

  1. After roll analysis edit the color balance and tones of your first image. I usually try “auto-neutral,” “auto-mix” or “auto-warm.” If none of those look quite right, I’ll just edit the temp and tint slider by hand.

  2. When you’re happy with that single edit, click “sync.” Make sure the appropriate settings are selected, and click “sync settings.” This will bring these settings to all the images in your roll.

  3. Now, navigate through your roll and make any necessary individual adjustments. The most common tonal adjustment I make between shots is “brightness.”

Bingo-bango, you’re done!


More questions?

Let me know below!


What about expired or cross processed film? Will roll analysis ‘repair’ the color shifts or ‘see it’ as film-specific and leave it untouched? Or anything else…

If I shoot some indoor portraits and some outdoor landscapes on a single roll (Kodak Porta 400), would you recommend using the roll analysis for the whole roll? Or would you split very different lighting conditions (such as indoor and outdoor) into two roll analysis?
As far as I understand, it would make sense to use a single roll analysis even for different shooting conditions?

It will still try to color correct the roll (trying to find a neutral black point, a neutral white point, and correct color balance). With Roll Analysis, this correction should be more evenly applied across the roll, with less variability vs individual analysis. There are still some aspects of expired or cross-processed film that will not be “corrected” in the since that even when the color balance is neutral, the colors and tone will still render differently than if the film were not expired or cross-processed.

In general, it’s OK (and even beneficial) to include some diversity in the scenes for Roll Analysis.

The longer answer to this is that it really just depends on what you are trying to achieve.

The “Cinematic” Approach: With this approach, you want any non-daylight lighting to render with its natural temp/tint intact. So, for instance, you want overcast scenes to render cool, and warmly lit indoor scenes to actually render warm. If this is what you want, then you should include all different lighting conditions in your roll analysis. (Or, potentially use just the daylight scenes in the analysis, then apply the analysis other non-daylight scenes).

The Scene-Corrected Approach. Similar to above, you can use roll analysis across the entire roll (or just daylight scenes), and then you can use the mids color sliders to correct any scene specific lighting you want. This keeps the “color multipliers” in-sync across the roll, but just changes the mid-tone color balance. This should deliver very natural looking corrections.

The Scene Maximalist Approach. With this approach, you want a neutral gray object to render as neutral gray in each scene (regardless of the lighting or conditions). In this case, you would then just use individual analysis, or use Roll Analysis on each scene within a roll. Using Roll Analysis with each scene should be better in terms of scene consistency than individual analysis. This approach works well for things like Portraiture, where you want skin to render essentially the same regardless of the color temperature of the light of the scene.


nate, can you share some raw examples of those problematic photos that benefit from Roll Analysis? I’ll be happy to compare them to my manual processing method where i fixed problem with strange auto detected colors in slightly different way.

So far, I’ve had more luck processing wildly different shooting conditions within a single roll as different “virtual rolls” in NLP.

One thing that I miss from the older versions is how easy it was to use “sync scene.” The v3 method of doing this requires many more clicks, and you have to type something into the roll name field. Coming up with a unique name for each sub-roll is kind of a hassle. Would it be possible to auto-generate a unique roll name, as it does when you’re creating a roll from the initial conversion menu?

I think that YouTube video would be handy(right about now)

Yes. Agree that the process can be easier and this is something I will add.

Yes, working on it!

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I am having a bit of trouble using the roll analysis using a dedicated film scanner (plustek opticfilm 8200). I’m getting wildly different results, one of the frames even being completely magenta?

I’ve used each frame’s respective white balance with the film border, and when using the single frame analysis they come out okay with differences between each frame. I’m sure its user error haha so I was wondering if there are any specific steps that scanner users have to follow to get the WB correct in the conversion.



What software are you using to scan? You will need to make sure that the software is creating consistent exposure and white balance on the scans, otherwise, the Roll Analysis will not work properly.

For instance, on Vuescan, you need to make sure that you have “locked exposure” and kept all the gain levels the exact same through the entire scanning process.


I’m currently using Silverfast 9 SE

I am getting the same wildly different results on negatives scanned with Slílverfast on an Plustek 8200i.

Out of curiosity i gave Vuescan a try with just a few negatives, using the lock exposure feature and so far it seems to give way better and more consistent results.

Waiting to get back a bunch of negatives and will report back once i got these all scanned and converted.

What are your Silverfast settings? Make sure you are scanning as a 48bit HDR RAW. If you are doing this with DNG, you will likely need to to run the “file > plugin extras > update Vuescan/Silverfast DNGs” utility prior to converting. (In some cases, you may also need to restart Lightroom after running that utility to make sure that it is correctly sourcing the profiles).

You might want to try with TIFF instead and see if you get better results.

Oh, and make sure you have multi-exposure off, or any other settings in Silverfast that would produce variations between scans.

Yeah i have been scanning as a 48bit HDR RAW and DNG. Everything else is turned off and i run the plugin afterwards.
It has been working fine multiple rolls and still works just fine if i don´t use roll analysis, i just now get various color casts if i do so.

Will play around over the weekend and see if Vuescan really changes anything or give TIFFs with Silverfast a try.

Edit: Managed to scan two rolls today, one Kodak Gold and one Ultramax. Did so with Vuescan and followed the guide. Not one conversion is showing any kind of issue that i was getting before, i guess the fixed exposure in Vuescan did its job. Really happy with how these turned out now.

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What’s the advice regarding roll analysis and black and white conversions? Is it worth it? Will it bring any advantage or are we better off making a photo on a per scene basis?

Awesome, that’s great to hear!

The only advantage of Roll Analysis with B+W would be that it could potentially make the dynamic range more natural (or closer to what you would expect in a darkroom setting). If you want to go for that look, use Roll Analysis and change it to the “Darkroom Paper” setting.

For me, though, I usually prefer the more full-optimized, finished look on black and white, which is more of what you will get with the single-image analysis.


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Hello Nate,

If I’m scanning DNG’s on Silverfast 9, while keeping the exposure setting locked, should I still use the white balance tool on the first frame and sync it to the rest of the roll?

I guess I’m just a bit confused on what I should do since the roll analysis guide says skip this step if you are scanning TIFFS?


If you are scanning DNGs, the big thing will be to make sure the white balance settings are the same across the roll… I usually prefer to white balance on the first frame and sync with Silverfast DNGs, but some users prefer the colors they get from keeping it at the “Shot at” whitebalance.

I mostly use NLP for photos shot many years ago and taken over several days under different lighting conditions and exposures that can be under or over.

Does roll analysis make sense under these conditions and how do you propose to use it?

As long as the negatives are still in good condition, and you are still able to organize by rolls, I think you should find Roll Analysis to be a useful tool.

Any kind of deterioration of the negative can, of course, impact the analysis. And using the context of actual rolls eliminates variables of differences between film types, as well as differences in the chemical development process between rolls.