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Thread: An Experiment in Analogue Prints From Digital Files

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    An Experiment in Analogue Prints From Digital Files

    Hello all,
    I recently picked up two boxes of Harman Direct Positive Paper (from a member here) to play with in my CC-400. After a little experimentation I got to wondering if I couldn't use my 4x5 loaded with this paper to create prints of digital files I have. This is particularly interesting to me (despite its limitations) because I do not have a darkroom, and this has been my first opportunity to experiment with print making beyond the ink jet.

    I devised a very simple set up that consisted of re-photographing images displayed on my TV. From adjusting this set up I was able to achieve some moderate success.

    Here is what the original image looks like, and my rough target for results.

    Here is the adjusted image that was used for re-photographing.
    HDP paper is very contrasty, and as such I have pulled the contrast way back in this.

    Here you can see the image produced from photographing the TV

    (30 sec, f11, @iso 4, dev for 8min in rodinal 1+25 w/constant agitation)
    Default sharpening in the TV settings led to some odd artifacts, and combined with the low resolution of standard HD, the results are certainty sub optimal. Although not the target for this test, which is to try and reach a point where original images can be faithfully reproduced, I actually quite like the tone.

    Moving from using the TV to using the 15in retina display on my macbook, I saw an immediate resolution increase (duh). While before the pixels from the TV were barely visible to the naked eye in the final print, images from the macbook resulted in crisp images, with the pixels only being visible through an 8x loupe.
    Here is a 100% crop comparison with the macbook on the top and the TV on the bottom
    (scanned at 4800ish dpi on Epson V-800)

    For the first image using the macbook's display, I decided I wanted to try an image that was a little flatter than the portrait.
    So I dug up this image out of my light room library.

    Here it is with my adjustments.

    Here is the result.

    (10 sec, f5.6, @iso4, dev for 8min in rodinal 1+25 w/constant agitation)
    There are clearly a few issues with this one. Obviously the middle of the image is over exposed. Most perplexing to me though is the heavy vignetting towards the corners, which looking back was present also on the first image but was obscured by the darkness of the background. It almost looks like a coverage issue, but I've used this lens (Caltar II-N 135 5.6 MC) before and know it covers 4x5. So far my best explanation is that perhaps it has something to do with the polarization that LCD screens use to operate, and the camera is simply too far off axis from the extremities of the area being imaged. If that is the case a longer lens to move the camera further back should be helpful, but I have yet to try that.

    Continuing along I thought I'd try the portrait again, this time on my macbook.

    I made some additional adjustments to bring down the contrast even more

    Here is the final image

    While the vignetting is still present, I don't find it to be as distracting in this image. Please ignore the dirty scanner glass.
    [5 sec, f5.6, @iso4, dev for 8min 30 sec in oldish D-76 w/constant agitation (Yes you can develop prints in D-76, I chose it because it is a very low contrast developer in this situation)]
    I'll probably continue to fiddle with this (especially with trying to eliminate the vignetting, any ideas?) but this is where I'm at now.

  2. #2
    Randy Moe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: An Experiment in Analogue Prints From Digital Files

    On my phone I like the first image. After this lunar eclipse I will look on a monitor.

    Pretty sure there has to be a forgotten history of photographing TV, CRT and LED.

    In my time we used Polaroid to grap stills off Oscilloscopes.

    I have shot my HD TV more than once.

    Iíll be back...

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Re: An Experiment in Analogue Prints From Digital Files

    Congratulations, this is a very good idea, with a 4k TV you have 8MPix, so a decent print can be obtained, at least for moderate enlargements.

    Of course you can also display a negative image in the TV and then using common print paper.

    Just let me point some thoughts about unsing a negative image and common paper....

    1-perhaps an OLED TV may allow an easier work because it's able to display better static contrast.

    2-perhaps you can paint some digital image regions in magenta vs yellow to obtain obtain local selective contrast control with VC papers, in theory this can also be obtained with a digital gray image properly edited, but colouring the image properly would also be a way to obtain rich shadows and nice highlights...

  4. #4
    Randy Moe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: An Experiment in Analogue Prints From Digital Files

    Agree with Pere

    Normal paper is much better than HK Positive

    However few have OLED yet

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Re: An Experiment in Analogue Prints From Digital Files

    Randy- I have a long history with re-photographing my TV! I've used it to sort of simulate a slit scanning set up in the past. I was also thinking about making contact prints off the screen for an abstract project, that sounds like it could be reminiscent of the polaroids. Was there any specialized equipment made for this purpose?

    Pere- Using normal paper would probably be a good step from here. I originally grabbed the direct positive to make direct positives straight from camera (or with a reversal loaded over top) since I don't have a dark room. Now that I've gone this direction VC paper makes sense. I really like your idea of painting on contrast, I think thats the step that will make this truly work.

    Now if only i could get the scans to look as good as the prints.....

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