News & Events

New product: Irrelevancy Filter cleans up your images – by Aaron Gold

April 1, 2020

One of the biggest challenges film photographers face is developing their images only to find extraneous elements in their photos that distract from the composition. Four-One industries, a Los Angeles-based startup that specializes in film camera accessories, has developed a new device that eliminates this problem: The Irrelevancy Filter.

The Irrelevancy Filter uses technology based on the multi-zone exposure systems found in modern digital cameras. Using a proprietary pattern-analysis algorithm, the Irrelevancy Filter analyzes the image to determine which zones contains the primary subject, then scans the other zones for objects in the foreground that do not match the rest of the composition. It then fires negative photons directly towards the film plane to eliminate these unwanted elements, relying on the average density of the surrounding image elements to fill in the space with patterns similar to the background.

An photograph taken without the Irrelevancy Filter

The same photograph taken with the Irrelevancy Filter

The Irrelevancy Filter screws on to the standard filter mount found on most 35mm SLR lenses. A single board houses the electronics, photon inverter, and a tiny lithium-ion battery which can be charged via a micro-USB port or a built-in solar panel.

Four-One’s chief engineer, April Fulzdae, says that while the technology is still a work in progress, the company feels that it is now advanced enough to be released to the public. “Speed is still the limiting factor,” she said, “but for now the device works at shutter speeds up to 1/1000 of a second, which is fast enough for most mechanical film SLRs.” Ms. Fulzdae says they expect to release a version 2.0 with a smaller electronics package and 1/4000-sec capability in the next six months.

Prototype Irrelevancy Filter with casing removed

“So far the device has worked well with nearly all of the black and white and color films we’ve tested, removing all irrelevant elements with no adverse effect on the rest of the image,” says Ms. Fulzdae. “Our only challenge has been Lomochrome Purple. For reasons we can’t quite figure out, about half of our test photographers find that when they use it with the Irrelevancy Filter, all of their pictures come out blank.”

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Marius
    April 1, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Nice, it would perfectly fit my collection next to my thickening file and my elbow grease bottle! 😀

  • Reply
    Terry B
    April 1, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Oh, God, not another stupid April Fool’s post. Will they never cease?
    Four-one? C’mon, guys, this is just too easy.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      April 1, 2020 at 10:18 am

      April Fulzdae is highly regarded in her circles. Such disrespect! I expect more from you Terry 😂

      • Reply
        Terry B
        April 1, 2020 at 11:46 am

        When you get to my age, Hamish, maybe you, too, will become sick of ’em. It’s got to the stage where as 1st April approaches, I dread in anticipation of what will appear. On the day, I stay in bed until 12 noon has passed to avoid being caught out by the better hoaxes.
        To be clear, I don’t dislike all pranks, such as those that show some imagination and could (almost) be believable. But apart from these, all April Fools pranks should be banned by law and any who ignore the law should face a £500 immediate and non-appealable fine, or a three month stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure and face a non-stop barrage of equally mind-number jokes.
        Now if you got this far before twigging, you’ve just been April Fooled.😛

  • Reply
    William Parker
    April 1, 2020 at 10:18 am

    A brilliant concept, however I think some of my frames would probably be blank 🙁

  • Reply
    Recky
    April 1, 2020 at 10:54 am

    I have been lucky enough to receive a prototype of the highly effective Irrelevancy Filter. I must issue a warning to all users, however, that not all teething problems have been ironed out. I recently photographed a large-scale print of one of Ansel Adams’ iconic landscape images, and, to my dismay, the negatives came out completely blank! What’s more, I kept the device in my laptop case overnight, and all my digitally taken holiday photographs have disappeared off my hard drive! I am fuming!!!

  • Reply
    Jacob Firsel
    April 1, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Nice one, Hamish.

    Keep safe, my friend.

  • Reply
    Martin
    April 1, 2020 at 10:55 am

    I wonder, will it also work with the Cyanotype 35mm paper I read about over at Emulsive?

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      April 1, 2020 at 10:57 am

      Without doubt

    • Reply
      Terry B
      April 1, 2020 at 11:51 am

      Oh, no, Martin. Not another one!😀 I couldn’t get over that the paper looked exactly like the loo roll I use. 😮

      • Reply
        Roger B.
        April 1, 2020 at 3:27 pm

        Terry: You still have loo paper?!

        • Reply
          Terry B
          April 1, 2020 at 6:29 pm

          Roger, yes. Fortunately my last order was placed well before the panic buying cleared Morrisons stock. It was a standard 9-pack, so I do feel very lucky and fortunate that I went for a 9 pack instead of my usual order for 4. Was this a premonition?

    • Reply
      Martin
      April 8, 2020 at 9:12 am

      Tried the analog version now, works perfectly – got a roll of blanks.

  • Reply
    Andy F
    April 1, 2020 at 11:02 am

    You know, given advances in AI and computational photography, this idea is worryingly close to becoming reality.

  • Reply
    Kees Broekhuizen
    April 1, 2020 at 11:05 am

    In Italian :Se non é vero é bene trovato.

  • Reply
    Andrew Craig
    April 1, 2020 at 11:21 am

    I have something similar on my PC; it removes photoblogs!

  • Reply
    Clive W
    April 1, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Presumably if it uses photons (even inverted photons) then it will work with digital sensors as well as film. The phone makers are desperate to get people buying again, so building in one of these could be a game changer. Are you reading, Apple – or Apprle?

  • Reply
    Mark vd Wal
    April 1, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    😂👍. Puts the point back into photography – well worth the wait! Heard the irreverent filter prototype was quarantined indefinitely. Stay safe and sane folks.

  • Reply
    David Hill
    April 1, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    This is closely related to the technology used by Chevrolet for their Invisible Trailer feature. That implementation is for live digital video; the Irrelevancy Filter it’s a clever adaptation that optimizes for film.

    Me — I’ve traditionally handled the issue by switching on the Somebody Else’s Problem field, and obstructions simply become irrelevant. Or irreverent, I’m not sure which.

  • Reply
    Louis Sousa
    April 1, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    One can take pictures of family pictures and eliminate the ex wife. It would be nice to have memory / face recognition feature so one could bulk eliminate.

    • Reply
      Roger B.
      April 1, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      Stalin developed that technology and deployed it as The Party saw fit.

      • Reply
        Rob B
        April 2, 2020 at 11:38 am

        Well, they do say that military technology eventually filters down.

  • Reply
    Jonathan Leavitt
    April 1, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    The real technological achievement is that they found a way to generate anti-photons. Previously the photon was believed to be its own anti-particle.

  • Reply
    Ken Rowin
    April 1, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Ha, Ha, Ha!!! There are quite a few people I would like to see disappear. If I the filter up to my eye and say “click”, do you think it will work?

  • Reply
    Charles Higham
    April 1, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I was sent a working prototype by Four One at Christmas. I shot a whole roll of Porta 800 in London at a fashionable New Year’s Eve ball
    in a Park Lane hotel which was full of celebrities. Imagine my shock when the film was developed it was just an empty building.

  • Reply
    Terry B
    April 1, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Not an April Fools jest, but Franzis Projects already has software that goes somewhere near to achieving this. It works by detecting subjects that have moved and then clones them out of the image. For it to work, two identical images have to be taken and then it compares them to identify any changes. Anything it detects as having moved it will remove.
    Declaration: I use a number of Franzis Projects software, but I’ve not tried this one, and nor have I any connection with the company.

  • Reply
    Castelli Daniel
    April 1, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Leica users don’t need no stinkin’ irrelevancy filter ‘cause we don’t take no irrelevant pictures!

  • Reply
    James Evidon
    April 1, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    I understand that. there will be a Mark II model soon made with an Unobtainium frame and the filter material from fused Dylithium Crystals.

  • Reply
    Kodachromeguy
    April 2, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Too late, Aaron. Such a filter has already been installed in most digital users’ cameras for many years. But there the frames are not blank, just irrelevant.

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