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ARSCLIST  March 2015

ARSCLIST March 2015

Subject:

Re: Photo and negative preservation and digitization referral?

From:

"Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 22 Mar 2015 20:29:00 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hi, Lou,

I realize that you are not going to do this, but I'm hoping you'll pass 
on the information to the overseer so that they can become knowledgeable 
as they acquire these services.

For original preservation techniques, please consult the work of Henry 
Wilhelm. Cold storage (below freezing with proper packaging) seems to be 
the best option (though not recommended for audio tapes).

Main website:
http://www.wilhelm-research.com/

A paper by someone I know and respect about a smaller archive's cold 
storage:
http://www.wilhelm-research.com/canada/Vancouver_Archives_2004.pdf

Wilhelm's landmark 1980s book which I bought when it first came out is 
now available as a free PDF:
http://www.wilhelm-research.com/book_toc.html


My published scanning statistics include born digital to show the size 
of the whole archive (currently just shy of 100,000 images), but we 
scanned about 57,000 images and learned something doing it. We scanned 
many film formats from 16 mm film strips and 110 camera negatives to 5x7 
original transparencies. We scanned negatives, transparencies, and 
prints. The negatives were both silver- and dye-based and the 
transparencies were multiple variations of both the "Ektachrome" and 
"Kodachrome" processes, with the former including a large batch of 
Fujichrome from the 1990s. There were prints up to 8x10 inches scanned 
as well.

There were over 400 images from the 1950s and a few shy of 4000 from the 
1960s in the collection--4416 total in Lightroom. There were no original 
film elements prior to about 1950, but prints went back to the 1910s.

Our storage is not spectacular, but we are less concerned since these 
have no commercial value, the digital surrogate are what will be used 
going forward. I've yet to want to go back and re-digitize an image. 
Perhaps our most archival storage is of the 35 mm transparencies as I 
care about them the most. All are now stored in hanging archival sheets 
in seven jam-packed file drawers. Probably only 2 drawers are really 
worthy of that (if that).

My point is that one needs to find someone experienced to do this and do 
it carefully. There are many decisions to be made and the Tim Vitale 
papers contain wonderful fundamental quality information that helped me 
understand how-good-is-good-enough and whether I was likely to be 
missing something. Here is a link to the specific Vitale papers that are 
most interesting:
http://vitaleartconservation.com/PDF/estimating_historic_image_resolution_v9.pdf

http://vitaleartconservation.com/PDF/film_grain_resolution_and_perception_v24.pdf

http://vitaleartconservation.com/PDF/Brief_History_of_Imaging_Technology_v26g.pdf

There are also other articles there about the conservation and storage 
of film and paper:
http://vitaleartconservation.com/PDFgallery.htm



Hi, Don,

The wonderful Nikon film scanners are gone but apparently not missed in 
the world of professional image duplication. We have had several long 
discussions on the Nikon digital imaging mailing list about camera 
scanning and several people who do this for a living--and their 
reputation depends on it--are using DSLRs to digitize images. One friend 
is using a Hasselbald Imacon scanner because his Nikon LS-9000 did not 
hold the larger 120 film images as flat. I have a Nikon LS-5000 and edge 
sharpness is probably not as good as an Imacon or what one can achieve 
with proper camera scanning.

When you consider that the LS-5000 which was optimized for 35 mm film 
scanning could record 4000 dpi, that means that the 24 x 36 image area 
was about 24 MP (rounding up to 1 x 1.5 inches). Now that 24 MP sensors 
are common and sharp macro lenses are available (I'm thinking especially 
the Zeiss line that my friend who has the Imacon also uses) there are 
amazing options. The key to good scanning is proper lighting (both for 
reflective and transparent imaging). The camera approach has everything 
else beat with throughput, though apparently the latest Imacons are 
faster in part due to a higher-output light source.

Cameras with the lovely Sony 24 MP APS-C sensors such as the Sony NEX7 
that my friend pairs with the Zeiss lenses and my Nikon D7100 which I 
pair with Nikon glass at the moment, we have lots of pixels and lots of 
image depth.

So, while I realize that camera scanning can be second rate, there is no 
reason that it cannot be as good as dedicated scanners. I have also been 
pleasantly surprised at some document scans that I've made with 
CamScanner on my Samsung Galaxy 4.

Of course, the benchmark for high-quality scanning is drum scanning done 
by a real artist. My friend-with-the-Imacon knows someone who fits that 
description if you are interested.

I'm only clogging this list with these comments because I wish to help 
avoid a project done wrong. The information to do it right is out there. 
I don't know how many service bureaus will do it right. I've been 
unpleasantly surprised at many media conversions.

Cheers,

Richard

On 2015-03-22 10:33 AM, Lou Judson wrote:
> Thanks Richard, but we are talking about photos from the 1950s and 60s, not born digital, not thousands of them, and preservation of the original negatives.

-- 
Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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