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RGB/Seattle Film Works Negatives -- Converted to digital -- Color Correction?

Posted on 2006-07-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I've got literally hundreds of negatives on film which was marketed in the 80's by an operation in Hollywood called RGB.  It's Eastman 5247 film or something like that.

At this time, I'm interested in converting these to digital format before they dryrot away, but I know that I could never have a local operation create prints from them, because they didn't have the proper filters to color correct them.  Maybe that was a ploy by RGB to insure that you could only get prints/slides from them, at least that was what the local photofinishers claimed.

I'm wondering if there are any tools in Photoshop (or similar applications) which could, after I have some service house scan these negatives into positives on CD or some such, correct the colors appropriately?

For that matter, if anybody can suggest a good cheap service house, or a low cost method of doing the digitizing myself from these, like I said, literally hundreds of negatives, those suggestions will be welcomed.
Question by:jlw011597
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17044735

Eastman 5247 was a movie film stock, and RGB (and a couple of others) purchases it in bulk and cut it down and rolled in on their own film spools. The color issue is because traditional still-photo film has a colored base, but movie film, because it is made to be projected, has a more neutral base. Your local shops were correct, they didn't have the filters for printing that film.

The 5247 film, as processed by RGB, is starting to have color shift of it's own - the chemical process they used was also not that recommended by Kodak for movie footage, and evidently the colors aren't lasting. So, it's a good idea to scan these.

Here's the good news: You should be able to set a color profile on your scanner to use as you scan your negatives, to color correct your images as you scan them. If not, then you can color-correct them within Photoshop on a batch process basis. Let us know if you want help with either of these... we'll need to know about your scanner and/or version of Photoshop.

I haven't found a good service house for scanning negatives on a consumer basis. I do my own on a Epson Perfection series flatbed scanner, and only send out the high-end ones needed for work.

LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17052918
Take a look at the Epson 3950 (Here's a review: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1866236,00.asp). It comes with a automatic negative feeder, may be just what you need to get lots of negatives scanned - pricetag under $150.

Author Comment

ID: 17122131
OK, so I would think what was mostly asked for here was the color-correction schemes that have successfully been used, either scanner setup or (since I have access to a scanner thru a colleage but at present don't know the model, etc., to know if it can be configured appropriately), the color corrections needed by PhotoShop.   Ideas?
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LVL 38

Accepted Solution

lherrou earned 500 total points
ID: 17122303
You can do the color correction within photoshop once you have a sample of images scanned, enough to have a range of files to work with. You'll want to create an Action (how to create an action: http://www.cbtcafe.com/photoshop/ACTIONS/index.html) for yourself which tweaks the color correction based on the images you have. Here's a guide to the color correction tools available in Photoshop: http://www.webreference.com/graphics/column13/index.html 

Experiment with your action on various images, until you get an action that gets the majority of the images correctly adjusted. Once you have an action defined that you are happy with, you can run a batch adjustment of your images.

You could also look at a product such as Color Correction Wizard (http://www.vicman.net/colorcorrectionwizard/index.htm) or iCorrect EditLab Pro (http://www.pictocolor.com/editlabpro.htm).

HOWEVER, I would still recommend handling this at the scanner level, without knowing more about the make/model of scanner, it's hard for me to say more.

Author Comment

ID: 17271662
My wife just purchased an HP Photosmart 3210 for her work, which happens to include a negative feeder.  So that is likely the scanner which I will be using for these.  

Before closing this one off, any further thoughts on doing the correction a the scanner level, now that I have the scanner identified at long last?

I guess what I'm hoping for is somebody who's already accomplished the appropriate
transformations of RGB or Seattle Film Works negatives to accurate digital positives to tell what tools they used and specifically how they used them to accomplish the task.

LVL 44

Assisted Solution

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
Karl Heinz Kremer earned 500 total points
ID: 17272952
I've had pretty good luck with ASF's (now part of Kodak) Digital ROC plug-in (http://www.asf.com/products/plugins/rocpro/pluginROCPRO.asp). It does not do anything that can't be done with just Photoshop, but it's down to almost a one click-operation. The key is to scan with 16bit color (the files will be huge, but you need the extra color to not end up with banding - and you can reduce to 8 bits once you're done with the color corrections).
I understand that you already have a scanner, but I just got a EPSON V700 scanner, and it's the best scanner that EPSON ever produced (and I've seen most of them). It does up to 6400dpi with slides and nagatives.  
You may also want to take a look at vuescan (http://www.hamrick.com) - it should be able to come up with the necessary corrections for the film, then just save the configuration and reuse it until the fading is considerably different. I would try to scan in chronological order - assuming that film that is about the same age faded by about the same amount. This way, you can probably scan a years worth film with pretty much the same configuration.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17273118
OFF TOPIC: Khkremer, thanks for stepping in. BTW, I'll have to take a look at the V700, I have dozens of 8 X 10 transparencies from a personal project 20 years ago (!) on x-ray film that I would love to scan at a reasonable price.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 17273397
lherrou, if you want even better results, try the V750, which supports wet-mounting the negatives (I read from somebody who will no longer use a drum scanner after seeing the results from a V750). It uses the same hardware as the V700, but comes with more software, and the different mounting option.

Author Comment

ID: 17561089
Agreed.  Split them up.  I wish the actual question, which asked for specific filter tools in Photoshop that were known to deal with Eastman 5247 negatives, could have been answered, but I'm not cheap enough to refuse the points to folks who did at least try.

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