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Thread: Do we need the mylar?

  1. #1

    Do we need the mylar?

    I camera scan on a copy stand and I'm interested in doing more wet scanning. I'm just curious about something. Typically you use mylar so that the film can be held flat and moved around, put in a drum, you folks know...

    What if I made a small tray with a diffuse bottom (or clear I suppose), and watertight edges and filled it with scanning liquid. Putting flatness aside for the moment, do I need the mylar at all in that situation? I'm sort of guessing that simply immersing the film in the liquid would present the same benefits without the waste...

    Thoughts?

  2. #2

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    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    If you can keep the film flat on the glass for the duration of the exposure, emulsion facing the camera lens, you don't need mylar IMHO. The problem is that if you use any type of fluid between the negative and glass you may need to use some type of protective layer to get rid of air bubbles without placing pressure on the film. If the glass on which you place the film is semi-diffuse you can probably avoid the fluid altogether.

    Sandy
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  3. #3

    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    I was thinking the fluid would mostly help with dust....

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    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    I was thinking the fluid would mostly help with dust....
    Fluid mounting does minimize dust and other debris on or in the film emulsion. But it is a bit more time consuming, which can add up if volume and time is an issue. And even if you fluid mount most film scans will still need a fair amount of clean-up in PS.

    Sandy
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  5. #5

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    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    I have wet mounted a lot on my Coolscan 9000 using an Image Mechanics wet mount tray and Kami's scanning liquid. That liquid evaporates very quickly so using it without a cover material would not work. But you definitely do not need to buy expensive mylar. Just get clear overhead film. It is considerably cheaper and works just as well.

    You can also wet mount using other liquids, including various mineral oils I believe. I have not used this because they are much more fiddly to use as one needs to wipe the negs. Evaporating scanning liquid is significantly easier to use.

    Wet mounting is superb for minimising dust and scratches. It is also not very time consuming at all.

    Br
    Philip
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  6. #6
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    Thoughts?
    I don't have a good idea of how exactly you are scanning, so I can't comment on that. And I don't have any idea of your background, so I'm going to assume you aren't a drum scanner operator. If I'm wrong, please don't flame me for it.

    From a drum scanning perspective, the point of fluid mounting under mylar is I think two fold.

    How it works is one end of the mylar is taped to the drum, then the mylar is pulled back a bit and scanning fluid applied to the drum beneath the mylar. Then the film is inserted and lined up. Then scanning fluid is applied between the film and the mylar (fluid is now on both sides of the film). Then the mylar is pulled tight against the drum. Very tight. And taped down to hold it tight. Not just the opposite end, but both sides. And in the process of taping it down, one checks for bubbles and corrects them. Pulling the covering mylar tight has the side effect of pushing excess fluid out of the "sandwich" and into the margins, or off the drum entirely (dripping onto the light table the mounting station is sitting on), so that the same amount of fluid (or close enough) is used for all the film the operator mounts, thus improving accuracy and precision of scanning.

    So... two fold. One is to hold the film is the exact plane of sharpness for the scanner, as defined by the drum surface. The second is to apply a very even film of scanner fluid to both sides of the film, so that the imperfections in the film (and the drum, and the mylar) are "filled" by the fluid, but also so that the fluid isn't thick enough to create any visible artifacts in the scan. Modern scanner fluids are usually quite "thin" so this isn't very difficult. But in the "old days" people used all kinds of weird and thick fluids which could be more of a problem. So I've heard.

    Hopefully having a good understanding of why and how drum scanners mount film under mylar using scanning fluid will help you optimize your own scanning method.

    Bruce Watson

  7. #7

    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    Bruce is right. In the old days I used to watch those guys load up the drum on their Hell 3010's with Johnson's Baby Oil. Cheap and plentiful but a royal pain to clean. Actually, the cleaning process started by using an old telephone book - put the film between the pages and let that porous paper soak up as much of the mineral oil as possible, then on to a really nasty film cleaner to try and get the rest off. For the most part back then that didn't matter too much as they were scanning images for catalogues and magazines that no one really cared about much later. But that treatment really was detrimental to the film. Then somewhere in the early to mid 90's you saw the new Hell scanner operators starting use Kami.

    I used to use Kami on a flatbed before any custom mounting devices were invented, and it worked quite well but there was no way to pull the overlay tight down on a piece of glass the way you can when you pull it around the drum. I never actually use the roller on the mounting station. I just pull it down tight with tape, seal it up and it's done. Rarely a bubble anymore and never ever any moiré, which is the other reason for wet mounting.

  8. #8

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    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    Quote Originally Posted by philipus View Post
    But you definitely do not need to buy expensive mylar. Just get clear overhead film. It is considerably cheaper and works just as well.

    Br
    Philip
    Phillipus: Is there a brand or type of overhead film you recommend? Amazon has dozens that vary wildly in price.

  9. #9

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    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    Well I've always just bought what's sold at a normal arts and crafts store in town. It's definitely nothing special and very inexpensive. I think the one I used most recently was 10 microns thick of that helps. Anything will work as long as it's clear and fully transparent.

    I forgot to say earlier that it's not necessary to tape the sides of the OH film. The Kami fluid will keep the film in place.

    Here's an article I wrote a while back about my scanning and postprocessing workflow which describes it.

    https://philipus.com/my-workflow

    Good luck
    Philip

    Quote Originally Posted by mitrajoon View Post
    Phillipus: Is there a brand or type of overhead film you recommend? Amazon has dozens that vary wildly in price.
    philipus.com
    Film is Photography

  10. #10

    Re: Do we need the mylar?

    DuPont C-42 4 mil

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