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Thread: Scanning Color Negative Film

  1. #1

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    Scanning Color Negative Film

    When shooting film I for the most part scan transparency film. I have some Portra 160 NC in the fridge that I want to play with just to get a different look. However, in the past I have had trouble controlling color in negatives. I use a minolta multi pro scanner. I'd like to hear about any techniques that might make this job easier.

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    I would recommend shooting something like a MacBeth Color Checker chart under controlled conditions with the film you'd like to scan. You can then check out various methods, whether in the scanner software or in Photoshop, to see which works best; and you'll have the reference at hand.

  3. #3
    Tech Support, Chromix, Inc.
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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    What makes color negative scanning difficult is that every type of film has a different colored base. I am not familiar with your scanner, but ideally a scanner will be able to sample a portion of the film base, and "neutralize" the effect that base has on the color of the image. If that is not available, some scanners can read dx bar codes on the film to determine what kind of film it is, and use look up tables to find compensation algorithms.
    Pat Herold
    CHROMiX Tech Support
    www.chromix.com

  4. #4

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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    Try VueScan.

    Kumar

  5. #5

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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    I've been happy with the ColorNeg Photoshop plugin. A recent thread and good examples from a German site here:

    http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00MRuZ

    http://www.colorneg.de/oldneg.html?lang=en

    You can download a trial version from here:

    http://www.c-f-systems.com/Plug-ins.html

  6. #6

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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    The thing I like about Silverfast's AI, is that they have settings for the different types of negative film.

  7. #7

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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    The thing I like about Silverfast's AI, is that they have settings for the different types of negative film.
    Silverfast SE also has these settings or profiles, but doesn't allow the manual control offered by Silverfast Ai. SE always places the white and black levels points at the ends of the histogram which can be a real problem when the negative has a narrow SBR. Ai allows you to control the levels endpoints on each color channel manually if you wish. I have been pretty happy with Silverfast Ai for color negatives.

  8. #8

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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    Presets for different film types are helpful starting points. ColorNeg has over 230 built-in film types. And it only cost me $67 - much better than the $400 that Silverfast charges for my scanner.

  9. #9

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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    While discussing development of C41 color on APUG, I had occasion to bemoan the fact that - for color negative scanning, scanners and their software (in my experience) do not behave like enlargers. ie When I have repeated a sequence of actions precisely, the results do not repeat. The following is a dupliacte of a post I made towards the end of that discussion.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ahock
    To my knowledge, recent scanner are quite clever enough.....<snip>..... UnQuote:

    Too bloody clever by half. Duplicate scans of the same neg. were wildly different in color balance and had cross-overs - different ones. That's using the software which came with the M1 - both the Microtek and the Silverfast. I'm waiting impatiently for Vuescan to support the M1.

    Although just in the last week or so I had an epiphany.
    In setting up my development process I made use of some Kodak process control strips and a densitometer.
    I had the idea of using the Microtek software which has in it the facility to enter custom Dmin and Dmax numbers. (I had been leaving the density range on automatic and the software had been arbitrarily clipping the highlights and shadows off my images and screwing with color balance). I had these density numbers to hand from process control strips, so I entered them into each of the R, G and B channels of the custom density setting and --------- voila -------- instant repeatability.

    ====================================
    The numbers I used were:

    R: 0.30 - 2.40
    G: 0.80 - 3.40
    B: 1.00 - 3.90

    I was using 5x4 Portra VC
    ===================================
    Gross color balance can be tweaked by making small changes to the Dmin values after viewing the prescan.

    The initial scan (I use 48-bit scans) is weak and low-contrast and the negs I have scanned only use about 1/3 of the full density span. I save the scan as a tif and then open it up in Photoshop. Add adjustment layers for (respectively) levels, brightness/contrast, hue/saturation, color balance and curves and I finish up with an image that looks like a good scan of a good transparency without any of the difficult and guesstimated color shifting I had to do previously.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Your trouble sounds like the trouble I used to have. Is there any facility in your software to specify Demin and Dmax values?

  10. #10

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    Re: Scanning Color Negative Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Budding View Post
    Presets for different film types are helpful starting points. ColorNeg has over 230 built-in film types. And it only cost me $67 - much better than the $400 that Silverfast charges for my scanner.
    $400 ? Then it's not the SilverFast Ai version, is it ?
    Plus, SilverFast comes with many more usefull features than just a few film type profiles. It's not that cheap like Vuescan, but worth its money.

    @ Hugh Sakols:
    Have you tried SilverFast ? Perhaps the NegaFix functionality could fix your issues.
    http://www.silverfast.com/show/negafix/en.html

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