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Dusting off old 35mm slides and scanning


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24 minutes ago, Chuck Nacke said:

While I do work on a calibrated monitor, my color vision is not great, typical

male Red/Green issues.

You have my sympathy, I share the same problem (red/green colour deficiency). Tricks I'm forced to rely on are;

  • Use or include a grey reference card whenever possible, and take a WB (either in camera or with WB eyedropper in post) from that
  • If no grey reference card available (almost always when copying old slides), and there are some things that should be nominally neutral grey or white in the image
    • PS top menu>Filter>Camera Raw Filter...
    • Use the WB eye-dropper* and click on a neutral area. (Click and drag to sample a larger are if needed - even works for whole image)
    • OR
    • PS top menu>Image>Adjustments>Curves
      • Use the WB eyedroppers below the plot to set white and grey balance (or even black point). These can be particularly useful as it allows adjustment of mid-tone WB independently of highlights which can work well with some slide colour casts or to correct different colour temp in shadow versus highlight.
  • If no grey card available and no neutral white or grey to sample in the image, then try the following which I believe are similar (ish...) to using Auto WB in camera, but these are easily fooled by the subject matter. e.g. a shot full of green foliage.
    • PS top menu>Edit>Auto colour
    • PS top menu> Filter>Camera raw Filter... change White balance to "Auto"
  • As a final resort, I'll start (randomly) dragging sliders around manually in an attempt to see what looks best to my unreliable eyes. But this usually leads me to what I'm told are the worst results. So I try to do everything I can to avoid that. Others (including Michael) are fortunate in having much better colour perception than me and so maybe they can just drag sliders around, but I've learnt the hard way that this just doesn't work for me.

In your image 2J09T0W the lower soldiers look fine to me, and making a WB correction from the white stripes on the T doesn't appear to shift things much (to my eyes anyway).

 

In your image 2J04XH8, the soldier's face looks wrong to me - but I wouldn't dare try to adjust the colour with sliders. But using the WB eye dropper on the grey metal gun strap clip, or his shirt button, or even better click and drag on an area of his grey hair seems to improve things, perhaps with -10 on saturation too?

 

Mark (musings of a colour deficient photographer)

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1 hour ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Michael,

 

I do appreciate your comments and that you took the time to talk about this.

 

While I do work on a calibrated monitor, my color vision is not great, typical

male Red/Green issues.

 

Chuck

 

Firstly, don't mention it Chuck. I enjoy this as long as I don't cause anyone any upset. It is good to be able to talk directly. I did wonder if you had colour perception issues but did not want to bring it up lest it cause upset. I was already aware of Mark's issues.

 

It is difficult to get to the root of the colour cast issues without being hands on as there are different possibilities - the different emulsions, problems with the scanner and the colour perception problems. Take my word for it though, there are colour casts either magenta or orange. They can be corrected to some degree but there are limitations partly because of the nature of the originals (mixed lighting, possible intrinsic casts in the different emulsions) and there are no neutral areas on the subjects to use an eye dropper on. This is why I got onto skin tones as it appears to be a little known fact among stills photographers that skin tones fall in a very narrow range of hue and can be used for colour correction. This is a common technique in video editing using vectorscopes but these have never made it across to the stills world. And there is also the simple colour numbers technique I mentioned above also. I will come back on this in more detail if anyone is interested but I need to check the details myself first.

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59 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

You have my sympathy, I share the same problem (red/green colour deficiency). Tricks I'm forced to rely on are;

  • Use or include a grey reference card whenever possible, and take a WB (either in camera or with WB eyedropper in post) from that
  • If no grey reference card available (almost always when copying old slides), and there are some things that should be nominally neutral grey or white in the image
    • PS top menu>Filter>Camera Raw Filter...
    • Use the WB eye-dropper* and click on a neutral area. (Click and drag to sample a larger are if needed - even works for whole image)
    • OR
    • PS top menu>Image>Adjustments>Curves
      • Use the WB eyedroppers below the plot to set white and grey balance (or even black point). These can be particularly useful as it allows adjustment of mid-tone WB independently of highlights which can work well with some slide colour casts or to correct different colour temp in shadow versus highlight.
  • If no grey card available and no neutral white or grey to sample in the image, then try the following which I believe are similar (ish...) to using Auto WB in camera, but these are easily fooled by the subject matter. e.g. a shot full of green foliage.
    • PS top menu>Edit>Auto colour
    • PS top menu> Filter>Camera raw Filter... change White balance to "Auto"
  • As a final resort, I'll start (randomly) dragging sliders around manually in an attempt to see what looks best to my unreliable eyes. But this usually leads me to what I'm told are the worst results. So I try to do everything I can to avoid that. Others (including Michael) are fortunate in having much better colour perception than me and so maybe they can just drag sliders around, but I've learnt the hard way that this just doesn't work for me.

In your image 2J09T0W the lower soldiers look fine to me, and making a WB correction from the white stripes on the T doesn't appear to shift things much (to my eyes anyway).

 

In your image 2J04XH8, the soldier's face looks wrong to me - but I wouldn't dare try to adjust the colour with sliders. But using the WB eye dropper on the grey metal gun strap clip, or his shirt button, or even better click and drag on an area of his grey hair seems to improve things, perhaps with -10 on saturation too?

 

Mark (musings of a colour deficient photographer)

 

As I mentioned in the previous post and earlier, skin tones can be used instead of a neutral area to colour balance. I only became aware of this when I started into video editing a couple of years ago.  Vectorscopes provide a simple visual method of determining if a skin tone is correct or not but colour numbers can also be used. Looking at Chuck's image of the soldiers, a typical RGB reading from the skin (arm) of the lower soldiers might be 200, 108, 85. This is far too high on red - a more likely number would be say 145, 108, 85 (not exact but just for example). The cast on the soldiers in this image is very powerful to my eye. The colour numbers just verify it. There is a definite orange-red cast.

 

Similarly there is a definite magenta cast evident on the face of the soldier in the other image. Here the blue channel is much higher than the green - with correct skin tones blue will always be lower than green.

 

By the way, if you don't already use it, the Digital Color Meter app on the Mac can be used to read the colours directly from the website and it allows reading in various colour spaces. These are different but the relative differences between the RGB channels remain qualitatively the same.

 

Here is a link  that I just came across to a YouTube video that talks about using skin tones with specific reference to vectorscopes and video but the principles are the same - skin tones fall in a very narrow range of hues and can be used to colour balance. 

 

 

 

Edited by MDM
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47 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

You have my sympathy, I share the same problem (red/green colour deficiency). Tricks I'm forced to rely on are;

  • Use or include a grey reference card whenever possible, and take a WB (either in camera or with WB eyedropper in post) from that
  • If no grey reference card available (almost always when copying old slides), and there are some things that should be nominally neutral grey or white in the image
    • PS top menu>Filter>Camera Raw Filter...
    • Use the WB eye-dropper* and click on a neutral area. (Click and drag to sample a larger are if needed - even works for whole image)
    • OR
    • PS top menu>Image>Adjustments>Curves
      • Use the WB eyedroppers below the plot to set white and grey balance (or even black point). These can be particularly useful as it allows adjustment of mid-tone WB independently of highlights which can work well with some slide colour casts or to correct different colour temp in shadow versus highlight.
  • If no grey card available and no neutral white or grey to sample in the image, then try the following which I believe are similar (ish...) to using Auto WB in camera, but these are easily fooled by the subject matter. e.g. a shot full of green foliage.
    • PS top menu>Edit>Auto colour
    • PS top menu> Filter>Camera raw Filter... change White balance to "Auto"
  • As a final resort, I'll start (randomly) dragging sliders around manually in an attempt to see what looks best to my unreliable eyes. But this usually leads me to what I'm told are the worst results. So I try to do everything I can to avoid that. Others (including Michael) are fortunate in having much better colour perception than me and so maybe they can just drag sliders around, but I've learnt the hard way that this just doesn't work for me.

In your image 2J09T0W the lower soldiers look fine to me, and making a WB correction from the white stripes on the T doesn't appear to shift things much (to my eyes anyway).

 

In your image 2J04XH8, the soldier's face looks wrong to me - but I wouldn't dare try to adjust the colour with sliders. But using the WB eye dropper on the grey metal gun strap clip, or his shirt button, or even better click and drag on an area of his grey hair seems to improve things, perhaps with -10 on saturation too?

 

Mark (musings of a colour deficient photographer)

Mark,

 

Thanks my Alamy friend.  I do try all the tips you mention above and then as a last resort I intrupt my 14 year-old daughter and ask her to look at the image.

She has much better color vision than I.  I did this for years with her older sister, who is in London right now and lives and works in NYC now.

 

Michael,

 

I do appreciate your technical responses.  Yes I know there is more I could do with these images and there is no excuse for not correcting some of my scan

color problems. I am doing these at the ASAP request of our agent.  I.E. I am doing the best I can under the circumstances.  Part of me would really like to

be working as a photojournalist in the Ukraine, the young part, but I am 64 and a couple of days and I'm too old for that work.

 

Chuck

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On 21/03/2022 at 22:36, MDM said:

 

As I mentioned in the previous post and earlier, skin tones can be used instead of a neutral area to colour balance. I only became aware of this when I started into video editing a couple of years ago.  Vectorscopes provide a simple visual method of determining if a skin tone is correct or not but colour numbers can also be used. Looking at Chuck's image of the soldiers, a typical RGB reading from the skin (arm) of the lower soldiers might be 200, 108, 85. This is far too high on red - a more likely number would be say 145, 108, 85 (not exact but just for example). The cast on the soldiers in this image is very powerful to my eye. The colour numbers just verify it. There is a definite orange-red cast.

 

Similarly there is a definite magenta cast evident on the face of the soldier in the other image. Here the blue channel is much higher than the green - with correct skin tones blue will always be lower than green.

 

By the way, if you don't already use it, the Digital Color Meter app on the Mac can be used to read the colours directly from the website and it allows reading in various colour spaces. These are different but the relative differences between the RGB channels remain qualitatively the same.

 

Here is a link  that I just came across to a YouTube video that talks about using skin tones with specific reference to vectorscopes and video but the principles are the same - skin tones fall in a very narrow range of hues and can be used to colour balance. 

 

 

 

Excellent. I now want a real time vectorscope!!

I did write an Excel program to do similar analysis a couple of years ago, but it's not real time.

I just did a quick Google search for Photoshop Vectorscope plugin and found this https://vectorscope.co/ which might be useful. I'll look into it more this evening.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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2 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

Excellent. I now want a real time vectorscope!!

I did write an Excel program to do similar analysis a couple of years ago, but it's not real time.

I just did a quick Google search for Photoshop Vectorscope plugin and found this https://vectorscope.co/ which might be useful. I'll look into it more this evening.

 

Mark

 

That one looks pretty basic and looks like a standalone app. He says it should run on a Mac with Java installed.I am not sure that Java even runs on Macs anymore.

 

In any case Nobe Omniscope looks very good and professional with a version specifically for stills (Lightroom and Photoshop). There is a trial download as well. There are several different scopes including a vectorscope and an RGB parade. The latter is very useful as it graphs the RGB channels against luminosity so you can tell if there are colour casts in shadows not present in highlights for example. 

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Just to add you need to be looking at an app that allows you to mask parts of an image so you can mask the face or other body parts in order to isolate the skin tones on the vectorscope. It is pointless just projecting an entire image onto the scope in order to colour correct skin tones (or indeed the entire image if the light is uniform). However it is useful to do that as well in order to see where the other parts of the image plot. A neutral area should plot in the centre of the circle. 

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I just downloaded Vectorscope (https://vectorscope.co/) on Windows 11 and it seems to work. I can define a rectangular sample area (with click and drag) anywhere on the screen, when the app starts up, but that's fine. I'll play some more and if I'm happy I'll see if I can get it running on MacOS (Big Sur) too.

 

Mark

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1 hour ago, M.Chapman said:

I just downloaded Vectorscope (https://vectorscope.co/) on Windows 11 and it seems to work. It can define a rectangular sample area (with click and drag) anywhere on the screen, when the app starts up, but that's fine. I'll play some more and if I'm happy I'll see if I can get it running on MacOS (Big Sur) too.

 

Mark

 

Sounds like a lot of messing about if you can't get it running on the Mac.  Even if you can (or can't) and continue going back and forth between Windows and Mac), there could be big questions about colour management and different colour spaces. Nobe Omniscope looks very interesting and advanced to me and it is not very expensive - worth a look at the trial version at least. To be honest, the relatively small cost of the PS and LR versions seems a small price to pay for someone with serious colour perception issues, given the convenience of having the scopes within LR and PS and the presumed colour accuracy associated with that.

 

I have been experimenting importing some stills into Final Cut Pro (FCP) and the technique of colour balancing using the skin tone line certainly can be made to work. WIth masks in FCP, you can colour correct selected areas of the image directly and the masks can be any shape you want to make them, as it is important to select only skin tones to get it working properly. 

 

There is a very advanced, professional video editing program called DaVinci Resolve which is free (remarkable in itself) and works on Mac or PC. I have never used it as I dived into video editing with FCP and have not had the time or energy to learn another program just yet.  DaVinci Resolve has all sorts of scopes and other devices for colour grading. It might be worth a look for you - you would need to learn the basics of how to import, analyse, modify and export a still image which is what I have been doing in FCP. Because you work in sRGB, you can edit in the Rec709 space which is apparently almost identical to sRGB so there should be no translation issues.

Edited by MDM
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18 hours ago, MDM said:

Sounds like a lot of messing about if you can't get it running on the Mac.  

It's now running on my Mac in Big Sur. Don't worry - I'll check out it's accuracy. I agree Nobe Omniscope looks very good but it's also much more expensive and therefore harder to justify when Alamy licence fees are the way they are. I only need the app for occasional skin tone tweaks for which (assuming it's accurate enough) it works well. If I was shooting weddings (as you do) it would be a different matter.

 

NB. If anyone else wants to try Vectorscope on a recent Mac, note that it will need Java to be installed and there are also some permission issues to fix with the Vectorscope app (the zip file doesn't unpack correctly). If anyone wants more details then please ask. It runs fine on Windows.

 

Mark  

Edited by M.Chapman
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20 hours ago, MDM said:

Nobe Omniscope looks very interesting and advanced to me and it is not very expensive - worth a look at the trial version at least.

 

I downloaded Nobe Omniscope and gave it a try. It doesn't appear to have a PS/LR plugin, so has to be used in screen capture mode for me. I struggled to get it to work at first as it just crashed. But then I remembered, when I selected the input, it had (bizarrely) asked for access to my camera (which I granted). So I went back into security settings and granted access for screen capture. Now it works. It produces some lovely plots, but setting the capture area is a bit weird (uses a small preview window). I used both apps to monitor some skin colour patches in PS. The results are similar, but not exactly the same, between the two apps.

 

Vectorscope.co (~$16 + VAT)

Vectorscope.png

 

Omniscope (£78)

Omniscope.png

 

If you'd like me to compare the results with any particular images let me know.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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It's interesting Mark and thanks for posting.

 

At the moment I have no need for extra scopes as Final Cut Pro would do the business if I needed it.

 

I posted the idea for the benefit of others whose colour vision might be compromised. I think the main use would be for copying slides where it is difficult to determine a good white balance but it requires a person in the picture (so Chuck's pictures are excellent candidates). Shooting raw would give a lot more leeway than scanning to TIFF as well.

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13 hours ago, Normspics said:

Should I use noise reduction software on scanned images of slides to handle the film grain? Do you use an unsharp mask to sharpen the image? Any help would be appreciated.

Other than the LR default I haven't sharpened or NRd for archival. But I haven't tried to get scans through QC.

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I've been using noise reduction (sometimes using Topaz AI, sometimes using LR/PS sliders and selections) with minimal sharpening to submit digitised 35mm slides using the normal QC route. For me, a key step is to downsize digitised 35mm slide images  to 3,000 x 2,000 pixels (because submitting any higher resolution just emphasises the grain and imperfections in my original slides). It's also essential to remove and dust and scratches whilst viewing at 100% before submission (downsizing to 3,000 x 2,000 makes this faster too).

 

Mark

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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42 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

I've been using noise reduction (sometimes using Topaz AI, sometimes using LR/PS sliders and selections) with minimal sharpening to submit digitised 35mm slides using the normal QC route. For me, a key step is to downsize digitised 35mm slide images  to 3,000 x 2,000 pixels (because submitting any higher resolution just emphasises the grain and imperfections in my original slides). It's also essential to remove and dust and scratches whilst viewing at 100% before submission (downsizing to 3,000 x 2,000 makes this faster too).

 

Mark

 

Thanks Mark that is very helpful.

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36 minutes ago, Normspics said:

Thanks so much

If you haven't yet got archival permission, the bar is quite low. Anything looking very different or a building no longer there, fashions, transport- I have stuff from the 70s to the 90s and I'm now considering some digital images from around 2004.

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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

If you haven't yet got archival permission, the bar is quite low. Anything looking very different or a building no longer there, fashions, transport- I have stuff from the 70s to the 90s and I'm now considering some digital images from around 2004.


Yes I’m not going to try for QC but just wanted to produce the cleanest images possible. I have negs and slides from the 60’s through to the eighties. I also still shoot the odd roll I have a Rolleiflex and I bought the Lomo Bel Air X 6-12, took the Bel Air to Cuba and have some nice colour negs of Havana. These latter shoots are for personal use not Alamy.

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I have not tried to copy and upload any of my slide images yet but have been thinking about it.  I have Nikon DX format cameras and the ES-1 copier and was thinking of getting the 40mm macro lens that would match up with the DX cameras and the ES-1.  I have thousands of slides from the 60s and up and was thinking of giving it a try us archival route.

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22 minutes ago, Marvin McAbee said:

I have not tried to copy and upload any of my slide images yet but have been thinking about it.  I have Nikon DX format cameras and the ES-1 copier and was thinking of getting the 40mm macro lens that would match up with the DX cameras and the ES-1.  I have thousands of slides from the 60s and up and was thinking of giving it a try us archival route.

The Big Thread of repute is here. It's, er, quite big.

 

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I did this one today which I am quite pleased to have found, The woman driving has a huge big smile.

 

There is something magical about this time travel. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Station Wagon

 

Photographed in 1963, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

I0000PmvdRw5ORKk.jpg

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5 hours ago, geogphotos said:

I did this one today which I am quite pleased to have found, The woman driving has a huge big smile.

 

There is something magical about this time travel. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Station Wagon

 

Photographed in 1963, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

I0000PmvdRw5ORKk.jpg

50 E Broadway.

Seems to have been (part of) the location of this epic fight. 🙈

(via)

 

wim

 

edit: she couldn't have known, because that movie was made somewhere end of the 70s.

Edited by wiskerke
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