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Scanning Color Negative Film -- Nikon Coolscan, Mac

 
 
Richard Karash
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      07-30-2008, 05:10 PM
Yes, I'm going back to some older images.

Scanning color negative film, mostly Vericolor VPS from 80's with Nikon
Super Coolscan V. Software is Nikon Scan 4 and VueScan (current ver).

Nikon Scan seems to do a fine job of scanning slides. The images are
"right" the first time. But, I cannot figure out how to control the
options in Nikon Scan, other than the basic positive vs. negative. The
scans of color negative film are awful.

VueScan does better, but still involves multiple steps. Can anyone
help me do it more simply than this:
- Scan the negative in VueScan. After manipulating the sliders, the
best I can get is a modest contrast image with a severe cyan color
cast. But, it's a 14 bit image, so there's hope.
- Save as TIFF. VueScan gives it a color profile of AppleRGB. I want
to open this file in Adobe Camera Raw, but I cannot. I assume it's the
color profile.
- So, I open the TIFF in Photoshop, convert to profile sRGB and resave
as TIFF.
- Then, open same file in Camera Raw (Bridge... select photo... Open
in Camera Raw).
- Here I can correct the color (grey eyedropper if there's a neutral
tone). This requires radical use of the sliders, but I get a good
image:

Temp +25
Tint +50
Recovery 50
Blacks 20
Brightness +20
Contrast +50 to +100

(The original VueScan TIFF is low contrast and cyan color-cast)

- Now, with the file open in Photoshop and roughly on the right mark,
I can work with it.

In VueScan, I have
- archive quality
- Digital ICE, the middle setting, not heavy
- Color Negative film... Vericolor...

Anyone have suggestions for getting good, reasonable color scans of
color negative film the first time??

Otherwise, I'm tempted to go to the mini-lab and let them scan to CD
with their Fuji Frontier.

TIA.

-=- Rick

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Richard Karash <(E-Mail Removed)>
Richard "at" Karash "dot" com
 
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Jufí
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      07-30-2008, 05:39 PM

"Richard Karash" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:300720081310086097%(E-Mail Removed)...
> Yes, I'm going back to some older images.
>
> Scanning color negative film, mostly Vericolor VPS from 80's with Nikon
> Super Coolscan V. Software is Nikon Scan 4 and VueScan (current ver).
>
> Nikon Scan seems to do a fine job of scanning slides. The images are
> "right" the first time. But, I cannot figure out how to control the
> options in Nikon Scan, other than the basic positive vs. negative. The
> scans of color negative film are awful.


Haven't used it in a while, but aren't there a few sliders along the side of
the main window that open to subsets of controls? I had good luck with the
Coolscan I had, and I do remember that there were a ton of controls and I
was usually able to get a nice scan, with a very few exceptions.

>
> VueScan does better, but still involves multiple steps. Can anyone
> help me do it more simply than this:
> - Scan the negative in VueScan. After manipulating the sliders, the
> best I can get is a modest contrast image with a severe cyan color
> cast. But, it's a 14 bit image, so there's hope.
> - Save as TIFF. VueScan gives it a color profile of AppleRGB. I want
> to open this file in Adobe Camera Raw, but I cannot. I assume it's the
> color profile.
> - So, I open the TIFF in Photoshop, convert to profile sRGB and resave
> as TIFF.
> - Then, open same file in Camera Raw (Bridge... select photo... Open
> in Camera Raw).
> - Here I can correct the color (grey eyedropper if there's a neutral
> tone). This requires radical use of the sliders, but I get a good
> image:
>
> Temp +25
> Tint +50
> Recovery 50
> Blacks 20
> Brightness +20
> Contrast +50 to +100
>
> (The original VueScan TIFF is low contrast and cyan color-cast)
>
> - Now, with the file open in Photoshop and roughly on the right mark,
> I can work with it.
>
> In VueScan, I have
> - archive quality
> - Digital ICE, the middle setting, not heavy
> - Color Negative film... Vericolor...
>
> Anyone have suggestions for getting good, reasonable color scans of
> color negative film the first time??
>
> Otherwise, I'm tempted to go to the mini-lab and let them scan to CD
> with their Fuji Frontier.
>
> TIA.
>
> -=- Rick
>
> --
> Richard Karash <(E-Mail Removed)>
> Richard "at" Karash "dot" com


 
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Richard Karash
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      07-30-2008, 06:18 PM
In article <iH1kk.410$aA5.331@trnddc05>, Jufí <(E-Mail Removed)0m> wrote:

> "Richard Karash" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:300720081310086097%(E-Mail Removed)...
> > Nikon Scan seems to do a fine job of scanning slides. The images are
> > "right" the first time. But, I cannot figure out how to control the
> > options in Nikon Scan, other than the basic positive vs. negative. The
> > scans of color negative film are awful.

>
> Haven't used it in a while, but aren't there a few sliders along the side of
> the main window that open to subsets of controls? I had good luck with the
> Coolscan I had, and I do remember that there were a ton of controls and I
> was usually able to get a nice scan, with a very few exceptions.


Thanks... I knew there were controls but couldn't find them.

In Nikon Scan 4, one clicks the "Tools" button to get the palette of
sliders. Yes, there are controls for the scanner.

-=- Rick

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Richard "at" Karash "dot" com
 
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Richard Karash
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      07-30-2008, 07:45 PM
In article <g6qcav$iba$(E-Mail Removed)>, <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

> Richard Karash wrote:
> > Yes, I'm going back to some older images.
> >
> > Scanning color negative film, mostly Vericolor VPS from 80's with Nikon
> > Super Coolscan V. Software is Nikon Scan 4 and VueScan (current ver).
> >

>
> I use a Coolscan IV ED scanner but on a PC.
>
> Old negative film can be a mess. What you have to do, at least on
> the PC, is to set up a scan profile in the Nikon scan window
> for the exact type and age of film you have. THE critical part is
> to use the "Analog Gain" part of the Tools Palette to get the exposure and
> color balance near correct.
>
> Use the histogram under "Curves" to be sure nothing is overexposed
> (run off the right side of graph), or at least only specular highlights are
> overexposed.
>
> In some bad cases (the oldest Vericolor being one) you will need to
> play with the Curves sliders themselves for the individual colors.
> You may need to expand or contract the range of one or two colors.
> In some cases you will need really violent changes here.
>
> Once you get it right for one negative it will be close for others
> with the same film type made at the same time. You can save these profiles
> with "settings".
>
> But the good news is that even the oldest color negs can be successfully scanned.
>
> Doug McDonald


Thanks, Doug.

-=- Rick

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Richard "at" Karash "dot" com
 
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Richard Karash
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      07-31-2008, 01:56 AM
In article <PB8kk.15845$(E-Mail Removed)>, saycheez
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> As to the rest of your workflow: you are a victim, as we all are, of the
> insane way Adobe has cobbled together the raw converter with the Photoshop
> desktop, duplicated or crippled some functions in or the other, never
> documented all of the converter functions in terms of how they compare to
> comparable tools in the regular desktop, etc.


Yes... In doing these scans from Nikon Scan and from VueScan, some of
the tiff files can be opened in Adobe Camera Raw via Bridge and some
cannot. I cannot see the pattern. I thought it was the Apple RGB
profile embedded by the scan software, but I see counterexamples. A
little messy, but with an extra step it works.

> To some degree you are approaching the old argument of whether to scan flat
> and make adjustments in Photoshop or make adjustments in your scan tool and
> be stuck with whatever you get (I think I expressed my preference).


With 8bit scanners, it's imperative to adjust the settings at scan time
to get the best file. With 14bits, I feel I have a little more room,
but it still makes a difference. I try to make sure the scan has a
reasonable histogram and reasonable color balance, and do the rest in
Photoshop.

Thanks, saycheez, for your comments. I think my preferences match
yours.

-=- Rick

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Richard Karash
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      07-31-2008, 03:53 PM
In article <300720081310086097%(E-Mail Removed)>, Richard Karash
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Scanning color negative film, mostly Vericolor VPS from 80's with Nikon
> Super Coolscan V. Software is Nikon Scan 4 and VueScan (current ver).
>
> Nikon Scan seems to do a fine job of scanning slides. The images are
> "right" the first time. But, I cannot figure out how to control the
> options in Nikon Scan, other than the basic positive vs. negative. The
> scans of color negative film are awful.
>
> VueScan does better, but still ... snipped....


Well, I take back what I said above. I had the sliders screwed up for
both pieces of software.

With both Nikon Scan and VueScan it made a big difference to find the
"Default Settings" option and start from there. Both software now give
me reasonable scans with default settings from both slides and
color-negative film. Whew!

The sliders and curves adjustments in Nikon Scan are intuitive and
similar to Photoshop. The sliders in VueScan are obscure to me.

Just in case it helps someone else trying scan Kodachromes with a Nikon
Coolscan, here's what I've now learned:

- Digital ICE at "Normal" does a magnificent job of removing dust
specs. In VueScan this is "Use Infrared for Cleaning and I used the
Medium setting with similar good results. (There are varying comments
about whether ICE works with Kodachrome. This is mid 80's film and it
works great.)

- If there are any deep shadows in your slide, using Digital DEE at
30-50 in Nikon Scan will open up some shadow detail. I don't know how
to activate this in VueScan.

Here is a comparison example, Coolscan V ED, Nikon Scan 4 software...

First, the scanning setup and the overall image... A summer street
scene in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany in 1986:

http://2under.net/images/080731-Setu...rome-Tests.png

Now the "straight scan" without the additional features. Notice the
dust and the dark interrior spaces.

http://2under.net/images/080731-StraightScan.jpg

Finally, ICE dust removal at "Fine" zaps the dust specs and DEE at 30
opens up the shadows significantly:

http://2under.net/images/080731-IceNormal+DEE30.jpg

Thanks to those who commented here.

-=- Rick

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Richard Karash
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      07-31-2008, 04:02 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, David J.
Littleboy <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> "Richard Karash" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > - Then, open same file in Camera Raw (Bridge... select photo... Open
> > in Camera Raw).

>
> Bridge may or may not be the right thing, ...


Bridge is the only way I know to open a jpg/tiff file in Camera Raw.

> ... but Camera Raw is definately the
> wrong tool to use for film scans. Camera Raw is for converting digital
> camera raw files, and only handles 3 colors per pixel RGB matrix images
> (tiff/jpeg) as a convenience.


I like that convenience... I like the sliders for Temp, Tint, Blacks,
Recovery, Vibrance, Clarity, etc. I don't think these are available
except in Camera Raw.

I appreciate your comment David, but is there a reason not to want to
use these in the workflow, taking the scanner output and getting it
into Photoshop in good form?

> Use Photoshop iteself for scanned files; it has the tools you need. (I seem
> to remember that Vuescan can store a "raw" file that includes the IR
> information also. I'd think that only Vuescan would be able to deal with
> such files.)


This is interesting... What would you do with the IR channel within
Photoshop? I found the automatic cleaning in the scanner software
(Digital ICE) just fabulous.

> I find scanning negative materials a pain, and sympathize.
>
> www.scantips.com tends to be really basic, but might have some helpfull
> stuff on scanning negatives.


Thanks.

-=- Rick

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Richard "at" Karash "dot" com
 
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