ASMP Webinar July 26 – Digitizing Photo Archives

I’m happy to be back in the ASMP fold, doing a webinar next week on digitizing photo collections. Of course this will be based on our new book, Digitizing Your Photos, but with a special emphasis on the relevance to professional photographers.

I’ll be demonstrating how camera scanning can allow for large-scale conversion of film and print originals to digital images, which is important for those of us who have large film archives. I’ve digitized more than 50,000 of my own images, and continue to add new images.

I’ll also be touching on business models that photographers can consider for new services for their clients. There are a lot of companies and institutions that have large collections of physical photos. I’ve been able to help some of my clients with the process, as part of my professional services. I’ll discuss some business models for adding these services.

Rail System for copying film – DYP Movie of the Week

This video from Digitizing Your Photos  outlines two related types of film copying equipment – rail systems and bellows systems. I’ve been using these systems for more than a decade to digitize large amounts of my own film. They are fast to use and relatively easy to set up for a photographer experienced with lighting.

At the moment, these systems are do-it-yourself, but we’re working on finding someone to produce them commercially. In the meantime, we’re about to start renting ones I personally own. Click here to find out more.

Rail Systems for Rent or Sale

UPDATE: We’ve decided to offer a limited number of these units for sale. We’re rolling these out at a price of $300. We’re taking preorders now. Contact us at support@theDAMbook.com


A lot of readers are asking how to get a rail system for 35mm slide and negative copying. I’m working on some sourcing options for this. In the meantime, we’re going to offer the units that I personally own as rental items.

What we can provide

The rental is for a rail, a film stage, a generic camera plate if needed, and step down ring to allow your lens to connect to the shade if needed (These units have a 52mm lens connection.)

These units have had the rounded corners filed down to show the full frame of the image. You’ll get a natural black border on standard 35mm film.

Here’s an example of a negative scanned with a rail system and turned positive with the techniques outlined in my new book. The black border is created in-camera and shows the entire frame of the image. Note that each different unit will produce a slightly different black border. 

Rail System Options

We have several styles of unit, all made from Nikon slide copy adapters. Some have the rear diffusion glass, and in some the glass has been removed.
• Without diffusion – this requires that you have a nice even light source such as a softbox or lightbox. Shooting without diffusion means there is no chance of dust particles sticking to the glass and appearing in every shot.
• With diffusion – This will make it easier for some people to make a smooth and even illumination across the frame.

Nikon PB-6 and PS-6

I also have a Nikon Bellows unit for rent. To use this, you need a full frame small body Nikon camera (e.g. D750, D800, D810, D600, D610, D700) and a 55mm or a 60mm Nikon Macro lens.

D1, D2, D3, D4, And D5 cameras do not fit on these units.

What you need

You’ll need your own camera and macro lens, as well as a light source (strobe or LED recommended). YOUR CAMERA DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A NIKON.

Camera – Rail systems can be used with any brand or model of camera.

Lens – In order to connect the lens shade, you’ll need to use a “normal” length macro lens. This means a 50mm-60mm range for full frame DSLR and 35mm range for APS-C or micro 4/3 camera.

Digitizing Your Photos – It is strongly recommended to have a copy of my most recent book in order to get the most out of your rental. Shown below is a video from the book.

Terms

Rental is $50/week, or $150/month. You pay shipping both ways (we prefer if you can provide a Fedex or UPS account number.) When we send the unit out, we need to take a credit card deposit for $300.

If you are interested in rental, drop us a line at support@theDAMbook.com or make a Facebook comment below. Let us know whether you want a Rail or bellows system, whether you want the diffuser or not, and how soon you’re looking to get started.

 

 

 

 

Capturing context – DYP Movie of the week

When digitizing your photos, it’s important to capture any “nearby” information. Dates and notes on slide mounts, writing on the back of prints, notes on boxes and envelopes and other information can help you understand the content  and ownership of the images. It can be time-consuming to stop and transfer these notes to your scans.

In Digitizing Your Photos, I show how I approach the capture of nearby information. The fastest, simplest and most complete way to record these notes is to shoot photos of it, and include those photos in the catalog. In the case of prints, it’s simple to flip the print upside down and shoot the backside. Boxes and folders can also be photographed as you shoot the contents of these containers.

When coping slides, I suggest that you shoot the slides as a group after copying individual slides. Use front light to show any writing, and make sure the light rakes in from one side so that blind embossed writing shows up. This video from Chapter 2 shows the hardware setup I recommend to shoot the slide mounts.

Film Copy Setup – DYP Movie of the Week

The easiest way to build a copy setup for film (slides, transparencies and negatives) is to lay a lightbox on the copy stand and then put a negative carrier on top of that. This video from Digitizing Your Photos shows you how set one of these up (including how to make sure that the camera and the film are parallel to each other.)

I cover several other setups for copying film in the book, but this one requires no special tools and can be made wth stuff that is commonly available at camera shops.

Remove Silvering – DYP Movie of the Week

This post kicks off a series of tips and techniques from Digitizing Your Photos. These posts will focus on  a particular technique from the multimedia eBook, and include one of the videos from the book.

It’s common for vintage prints to exhibit Silver Mirroring (or Silvering). The reflections caused by residual silver can obscure the shadow detail in the print. Fortunately, it’s easy to remove the mirroring in the copy photo through the use of simple cross-polarization. This video shows how to cross-polarize and what the effect looks like.

This video appears on page 48 of Digitizing Your Photos with Your Camera and Lightroom.

Digitizing Your Photos – Just Released

We’re excited about the release of our new multimedia ebook, Digitizing Your Photos. It presents a comprehensive method for scanning photos with a digital camera, and managing the process with Lightroom.

The book is written for professional photographers, family historians, corporate collection managers, and cultural heritage institutions. We know that great collections of slides, prints and negatives are everywhere, and we want to help preserve and make use of them.

The book runs for 248 pages, and includes 90 workflow videos for a total of 9 hours of comprehensive instruction.


Here’s the first video from the book, which outlines the entire process.

And here’s the product page.

Report from SXSW #1

Once again it was a great festival: fun, exhausting, and thought-provoking.

Our talk, Adding Meaning and Context to Visual Media was a packed house, turning people away at the door.  As with previous years, one of the main values to me was the time spent refining the presentation, and distilling the ideas to a logical sequence in digestible form. I’ll do a blog post hitting the main points, and I’m hoping to give the talk again with my fellow panelists, Anna Dickson and Ramesh Jain.
Sell-out crowd, with line out the door at our SXSW talk this year.

This year, I spent a lot of time learning about Artificial Intelligence, and came away with a lot more clarity about what AI is, how it is being developed, and how to take advantage of it. I also saw some of the ways AI-based assistants are shaking up the world of computing. I believe that Google home, Amazon Echo, Siri,  and Facebook Messenger are actually racing to become the new dominant operating system. Natural Language Processing and Conversational UI will be the way we interact with computers in the future. The way this shakes out will be really important. I’ll have a post on that as well.

Photography (in all its many forms) continued to be a major component of what I saw at SXSW. This ranged from “traditional” photography, like Cory Richard’s keynote, to photography as advocacy in Aaron Huey’s work, to Casey Niestat’s new network, and on to the VR exhibits.
Ron Haviv and Lauren Walsh spoke about the democratization of archives and the Lost Rolls project.

There was more political activism, analysis and anxiety than in years past. This included a pretty frightening discourse on big data and fascism (from historical and speculative viewpoints). There was also a heavy emphasis on using creativity and technology for public good. Carina Kolodny and Marc Janks spoke about driving change through multimedia storytelling at Huffington Post. Rainn Wilson (Dwight!) spoke about building Soul Pancake, a media company based on empathy.


I was inspired talking to Aaron Huey about his advocacy efforts. 

The National Geographic made a pretty big splash at the festival, with a 5 day installation in Vulcan Gas Company restaurant on 6th St.  They brought in a great set of speaker presentations, and the event was attended by both Declan Moore, the CEO of National Geographic Partners (the media company) and Gary Knell, CEO of the National Geographic Society (the non-profit side of the organization). I believe that this was the first SXSW for both of them, and they seemed to be really energized by the festival. Gary also led a presentation about National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers program.


Gary Knell and Declan Moore address the crowd at NatGeo Further Base Camp. 

PhotoShelter sent down an exploratory contingent, including CEO Andrew Fingerman, founder Grover Sanchagrin, and Content Marketing Manager Deborah Block. I hope to see an even greater presence next year, now that they have been able to see the opportunities it presents.

Andrew Fingerman talks with Amy Bailett of Killer Infographics about the changing nature of visual communication.

Of course, there was also great music, and again this year I got a small taste of it on my way out the door. One year, I’d love to stick around for the last 5 days of the festival and take advantage of that platinum badge. But, honestly, I’m just so exhausted from the Interactive festival that it’s hard to imagine spending even more time fighting crowds.


Some jazz band I stumbled across at 2am, that was just amazing…

I’ll make some further posts that outline some of my findings, starting with one about AI.

As I tell all my photo and tech people, I continue to think that SXSW is one of the most important events that anyone in media can attend.  Media is inherently driven by the technology that enables it. Even more important, I believe it’s really beneficial to understand how technology, content, and business models intersect. I think SXSW is one of the best places on earth to see what’s coming down the road.

Interview with Aaron Huey Saturday 3/11 at 6:00pm

I have the pleasure of interviewing photographer Aaron Huey at the as part of the NatGeo Further base camp at SXSW tomorrow (Saturday March 11, 2017). Aaron is known for his passionate photography, and his ability to leverage his work to raise awareness and funds for causes he believes in. We’ll discuss how he walks the line between non-partisan journalism and advocacy.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 10.20.12 AM
Aaron worked with Shepard Fairey to create the We the People campaign.

Join us on 6th St. at the Vulcan Gas Company from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Oh, open bar and free food too.

See you there.

DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS