Dumped. Chromes. Kodachromes.

REF: Location, West Lodon. 



Crashing sounds, the sight of a man dumping boxes from the rear of a large van. Too dark to make out clearly through the rain.

WHITE VAN MAN ONE: Why? (scowling, shrugging)
WHITE VAM MAN TWO: Not your fucking problem! (aggressive, defensive)
WHITE VAN MAN ONE: Kind of is, this shits going to rot here. 
WHITE VAM MAN TWO: Yeah well i'm fucked, got to get this shit out. Gotta another house removal tomorrow. 
WHITE VAN MAN ONE: Dumping that here too are you?
WHITE VAM MAN TWO:  Council will sort it, there problem. 
WHITE VAN MAN ONE: Private road, council will do nothing!
WHITE VAM MAN TWO: What do you want? Got some nice stuff in here... (pointing into van)
WHITE VAN MAN ONE: Nothing. Just stop pushing shit out of the back of your van.
WHITE VAN MAN TWO: Pulls rear shutter down, drives away. Piles of boxes, folders, clothes sit soaking up the rain.

In this pile of detritus, surely the haul of a person recently passed. I came across these:

I don't think my drum scanner has ever been blessed with such beautiful Kodachromes. There's thousands, mostly Kodachromes. With a smattering of early Ektachromes. A large amount exhibit some mould. All beautifully annotated with dates and locations. This little set date from 1962 to 1966. These are just first pass scans without any colour correction or spotting.
The lead protagonist, Zoe. Appearing a regular intervals, always looking chic.
Who are theses people? Are they dead? Why dump the slides?
I'll let you know if I find out.


Newcolor / Recent past

drum scan primescan

Having formerly proclaimed my dislike for living in the past, I now spend my time sitting in front of a ancient Powermac G4 using Heidelbergs last iteration of software, Newcolor for my Primescan drum scanner. Why the about face? 

Having mounted up forty odd chromes of various vintages, I spent a small age setting up each scan in Silverfast. Many hours later, reviewing the scans it was very clear that despite setting and confirming focus on every frame at least half the frames were soft! Not cool. 
It's often been noted, Silverfasts focus problem. The solution always put forward is use the software that came with the scanner. Enter my dusty G4 and Newcolor (sic).

Newcolor looks funny by modern UI standards. But after spending an afternoon in it's company it became blindingly obvious the software was vastly superior to Silverfast in it's layout and function.
Above all it prizes productivity - doing a batch of 40-50 slides felt painless. Even allowing me to set specific apertures for specific files, a feature I sorely missed in Silverfast. 
Missed focus, not as yet! 
At what cost?
Up until mid last year there was no way of fully disabling some form of USM sharpening. No longer is this the case. Using a profile tweak and settings designed for colour negatives, one can now scan without any sharpening. 
The other complaint is mostly do with pulling a 'raw' scan from the scanner. In this regard Silverfast still has the edge. But carful profiling and keeping the image data from the scanner in it's native PCS Lab colour space and converting later in Photoshop to a more appropriate editing space (Chromespace, DCam etc...) has allowed me to pull scans that are comparable to Silverfast - all without missing focus. Also the native software makes the scanner sound different. There's a little ease in as the drum comes up to speed. it feels gentler. 
I've grown rather fond of OS X 10.2.8 - The last system Newcolor can run under. It's an OS from a time when Apple very much where out to prove there worth. Check my instagram to see a few scans...

Some recent scans of last years life. Hand printed RA4 from Labrynth. Hopefully the basis of a new book / show. 


French Finds

Found glass negatives. Quick scan and convert on the Nexscan.


In Other News.....

I've launched a film. Well more a response to CineStill USA. It's a remix of some Kodak Vision3 motion picture stock with the remjet removed by a leading UK photochemical lab! - meaning the film can be shot and processed in any C41 lab or home lab the world over. Loads more info over at my blog tracking the project, CineVision Blog.

If you want some to play with, I've got samples for sale at Cinevision.tictail.com or from Labrynth Lab, East London. It comes in two flavours 640T, a tungsten balanced, fast speed, low grain film based on Kodak 5219 with massive latitude. There's also a daylight balanced 320D film based on Kodak 5207 that requires more playing with!


Drum Scanning etc.....

I use a lot of film. I need to scan it, I have a back log running into nearly three years worth of film. Mostly colour negative with a smattering of B&W. This has inevitably lead me to operating an amazing drum scanner, the Heidelberg D8200. For the last few months I've been testing and refining my scanning workflow. Getting colour negative to scan simply and with predictable results that look like a decent first pass from contact or enlargement has proven to be a journey. The web is littered with mixed wisdom, oddball profile based hacks, software with horrid UI's and lots of confusion. 

The D8200 is 250Kg precision beast, it's native software, less so. I should declare I've only tentatively explored NewColor and LinoColor. Both have a few limitations that don't lend them to colour negative scanning, Linocolor is 8bit and runs on OS9 (I enjoy history but prefer not live in it) but can pull of bloody good chrome scans with due attention. NewColor at least runs on something from this century, OSX 10.2 Jaguar. But fights you with constant amount of sharpening being performed regardless and no way to extract a linear gamma 'raw' file. (there is a work around thats recently surfaced). 
The software for these beasts was perfect for there time. These machines where productions beasts converting 1000's of Chromes to near print ready files, colour negative was a late addition and the whole market just disappeared ending any further development in early 2000's.

Studio Development - drum scanning 2015

This leaves me with Silverfast. This software is near modern, running under 10.6 (Snow Leopard)!! It can interact with the scanner and most importantly can pull a 48bit 'raw' scan with linear gamma. The small price being the software is clunky, occasionally misses focus and exceptionally expensive for what is essentially abandon ware. 


HOE Redux

 More hats from H.o.E
Benjamin Wisely & House of Eliska © 2015