Photographing negatives...

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by thoughtcryme, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. thoughtcryme

    thoughtcryme TPF Noob!

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    I realize that this might be the wrong place to discuss this.
    I contemplated for awhile what section of the board this belongs in and couldn't decide.
    This being the film discussion board it seems right, but since I'm using a digital camera to do it I dont know.
    Sorry if that's the case, but I didn't just put it here without knowing the rules or giving it thought.

    I realize that film scanners exist and are the best tool for the job.
    If I had that option I would take it, and I wouldn't be asking about this.
    I came across some places on the web where people demonstrated how they used their digital cameras to digitize negatives.
    These do not need to be award winning photos.
    The purpose is merely to share them with family and friends who are all over the world.

    I wasn't able to get them in focus with my dslr(which is damaged btw).
    Can't afford a macro lens.
    So I created a macro filter for a point n shoot out of a jewelers loupe.
    It actually works as a macro filter very well, which shocked me.
    So I started shooting the negatives.
    The orange cast is a problem as it turns blue when you invert the image.
    However, not all the shots suffer from the orange cast.
    Some of them came out with almost no color cast at all.
    Even the gutter on the film looks right in them.
    The ones I did were just test shots, of old degraded negatives.
    The problem is that I can't figure out why some of them had no orange cast.
    I can't recreate that.
    Could've been the angle, the light I used, I don't know.
    Which is why I'm posting this, in hopes that someone here has done this and knows what's what.

    This is one of them that had almost no color cast:
    [​IMG]http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30642372&l=a9db15dfbc&id=1368265361
    And this was the resulting photo:
    [​IMG]http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30631488&id=1368265361&fbid=1232245810782#!/photo.php?pid=30631488&id=1368265361&fbid=1232245810782

    I'd be happy if I could make them all look like this.
    There are a few other ones there that don't have that same orange color cast.
    The quality of the resulting image is not very good.
    But you can see who's in the photo, where it was taken, and how long ago it was taken.
    That's all I care about.
    Some of these negatives are 20+ years old, so I'm fully aware that they won't be winning any contests.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  2. the Virginian

    the Virginian TPF Noob!

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    The orange cast is a color correction filter in the film to make it easier to get a neutral rendering on color print paper. I don't know why it doesn't show up on all of them if you're using the same light source. Have you checked the cost of having a 1 hour lab scan them and put them on a CD?
     
  3. thoughtcryme

    thoughtcryme TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I stopped in and called several places.
    I have so many of them that it's cost prohibitive.
    Even if I only did 1 box of them.
    The general price is basically $8 for the 1st ten negatives, then $1 for every additional strip, give or take.
    In the long run it would be cheaper to buy a dedicated film scanner.
    That's not something I can afford right now.
    And if I took them somewhere in small chunks, I'd still end up paying upwards of $500- $1,000 to have them all scanned, and they wouldn't even be the highest resolution possible.
    They also won't give them to me as negatives because they say the machine turns them into a positive automatically.
    And I want them as negatives for archival purposes.

    I didn't know the orange cast was the result of a color correction filter.
    And it confuses me as to why the orange doesn't show up on all of them.
    Now I'm starting to see a green cast sometimes too.
     
  4. the Virginian

    the Virginian TPF Noob!

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    If you have the right kind of camera, for about $80 you can get a slide duplicator that mounts to the front of the camera. That may seem expensive for something that can't be used for anything else, but the photos are virtually free after that and you can probably sell it when you're finished. The green cast is from either shooting the original photos in the wrong type of light (hopefully) or they're already fading. The image is made up of dyes and they fade at different rates.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  5. thoughtcryme

    thoughtcryme TPF Noob!

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    So the slide duplicator consists of what basic elements?
    A small backlight with a frame attached to it to hold the negative?
    Maybe a magnifying lens mounted on it?

    About how much light would you think has to be generated to illuminate the negative properly?
    Would a small handheld flourescent tube be enough?
    Or a couple decent LED lights?
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  7. the Virginian

    the Virginian TPF Noob!

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    The only time I've seen one used was in the '80s at a paper I worked for that was used to convert color slides to B&W negatives so the photogs could make prints. It was just an extension tube with a film holder. Models with optics existed then but for some reason they used the cheapo version, then complained that the negs were soft. :confused:

    The ones I've seen from a Google search have lenses built in and are what I would use. Most were T mounts, but some will fit certain point 'n' shoot type cameras. Search for digital slide duplicators unless you have a full sized sensor. B&H has one for $90, but I've seen cheaper ones somewhere. General Brand | Digital Slide Duplicator | SDD | B&H Photo Video

    As far as a light source goes, back in the day, a strobe was used, but a lot of cameras these days don't have a sync. cord connection. A light sensitive adapter under the strobe that is triggered from your built in flash's light would be a good way to solve that. Moving back and forth is how you adjust exposure. You want something that gives even, reliable illumination that doesn't give screwy color casts, especially in the mid tones that are difficult to edit out. Don't hold me to it, but a strobe's blue-ish light might be a plus and cancel at least part of that orange cast.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  8. thoughtcryme

    thoughtcryme TPF Noob!

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    I found an old handheld light with 2 white LED tube lights.
    Not very bright.
    But when I set negatives on it it seems like enough light.
    I've put a few negatives on it and looked at them with the loupe and not a single one has had the orange cast so far.
    Another idea I thought of was to try chemical lighting.
    I have dozens of white Cyalume sticks.
    Some are 30 minute high intensity and should give off enough light.
    Light sticks also have built in diffusion which might be good.
    I'll post results.
    2 other things I'm grappling with on this is reflections and texture.
    It's very difficult to get the camera lens close enough to the glass that sandwiches the negatives without getting reflections from the lens on the top layer of glass.
    And depending on what I use for a diffuser, I get remnants of the texture in the final image.
    I've seen youtube vids where they use white paper.
    I don't know how they get around the fiber and texture.
    White spray paint doesn't allow enough light through.
    The best I could do was use a semi-transparent plastic layer close to the light(for minimal diffusion), then a thin white translucent plastic layer above that as the work surface.
    I'd like to get this down right, then write a tutorial on it for others who want to do the same thing.
    Similar to how many folks like to do emulsions and pinhole cams.
    Because of course you can just buy something like a slide dupe, but that's nowhere near as rewarding as creating something on your own.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010

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