Some Text And Some Photos

I’ve noticed this blog has morphed into a website focused around my 30 Minutes of Music podcast. That wasn’t my original intent when I signed up for a web host, but what can you do.

I don’t really have anything creative or interesting to write about, so that is one reason why there aren’t many text posts, and I already have a Flickr account for my photography, so I don’t really see a reason to post a bunch of photos on here. (That and when I do think of uploading a photo or two, I never know which photos to upload.)

In any case, I’m going to try and make a more concerted effort to post stuff on here that isn’t the 30 Minutes of Music podcast. I’m not sure yet if I’ll put up text posts and pieces of writing. After writing nothing but news for the last year or two, my creative writing abilities have slumped a bit. That part of my brain, it seems, isn’t as robust as it used to be, so I’ll have to try and work on that.

Also, after a year or so of less-than-stellar service, I’ve moved this site over to a new web host. I’ve already noticed the website is quicker to load and quicker to edit and post. (I also won’t get dozens of emails anymore from the Jetpack plugin telling me my website is down! Whoo!)

In the meantime, here are some photos from the summer of June 2014 that I recently uploaded to my Flickr account. They were shot with a Nikon f401x film camera on Arista 400 black and white film, which, sadly, isn’t manufactured anymore. (A shame too, as it’s a really nice looking high-contrast film.)

I have some rolls of Ilford HP5 and a roll of Kodak T-Max 100 that I really should use before they expire… More things to worry about!


My dad, Terry, in June 2014

A tree as seen in silhouette in Port Franks, Ontario in June 2014

A bird sits atop an old TV antenna near Port Franks, Ontario in June 2014

A happy dog rolling in the grass near Port Franks, Ontario in June 2014

The Difference A Good Scanner Makes (Part 2)

Here’s another example of why a good scanner matters. Tack this on as an addition to my earlier post.

In addition to scanning my own film (rescanning, I guess) and my Dads, I’ve been rescanning slides taken by my great-uncle Jack Cuthbert. He was in the Air Force, and did a bit of travelling. Luckily, he took a camera with him when he did, and shot on Kodachrome transparencies.

Most of them (if not all) are from the early 1960’s. This one in particular, was taken in Nova Scotia in 1961.

The top photo shows the slide as it was scanned with my old Minolta Dual Scan II scanner, while the bottom is from by my newer Plustek.

Click for larger! I’ve tried to edit them in similar ways in terms of brightness and contrast.

Minolta Dual Scan II (1999) -- No Multi-exposure
Minolta Dual Scan II (1999)
Plustek Opticfilm 8200i (2012)-- Multi-exposure
Plustek Opticfilm 8200i (2012)

If you flip back and forth between the two, you can see major differences in how certain colours are picked up by the scanner, and how each scanner handles dark shadows and strong highlights.

Here’s another example, also scanned from Kodachrome slides taken in 1961.

Minolta Dual Scan II (1999)
Minolta Dual Scan II (1999)
Plustek Opticfilm 8200i (2012)
Plustek Opticfilm 8200i (2012)

Invest in a good scanner! It will keep you from having to redo work (like me!)

The Difference A Good Scanner Makes

So, long story short, I’ve been scanning. A lot. Mostly stuff shot by my Dad and my Grandparents over the decades. All of them have been on slide transparencies.

For the longest time, I was using a Minolta Dual Scan II to scan the slides, as it was the best I had, and the best I could afford.

Fast foward to December of last year. I finally got a new scanner. One that was made in the last two years too! (The Minolta, in contrast, was over 10 or so years old.)

Being the annoying perfectionist I am, I decided to redo every single slide all over again, at higher resolutions, and with multi-exposure and ICE.

And boy, am I glad I did! Below is the same slide, taken in Alberta circa 1976 by my Dad.

The top is scanned on my old Minolta, the bottom on my new Plustek Opticfilm 8200i.

(Click to make bigger)

Minolta Dual Scan II
Minolta Dual Scan II (1999) — No Multi-exposure
Plustek Opticfilm 8200i
Plustek Opticfilm 8200i (2012)– Multi-exposure

A major, major upgrade in every possible sense. Better colour representation, better dynamic range, better resolution, everything.

I tried to replicate the scans as best I could so that they matched eachother, but it’s tricky to do so in Lightroom.

This is mainly just to show how much a difference a good scanner makes (especially one with multi-exposure.)


Film Restoration

Screengrab from Blu-Ray restoration of "How The West Was Won" (smilebox version)
Screengrab from Blu-Ray restoration of “How The West Was Won” (smilebox version)

Ah restorations and remasters. I love ’em! (As evidenced by my continual project of digitizing and retouching my Dad’s photographic collection.)

Film remasters, audio remasters, photographic restorations, everything. It’s breathing new life into something old and making it look and sound the best it can, either by taking the original film stock, audio tape, or photograph, and giving it a high-resolution digital transfer that captures every detail.

(When it comes to film, the ironic thing is that once they’ve finished the digital restoration, a copy of that restoration goes right back onto new fine-grain film stock, and a digital copy goes into a server storage farm. This is due to the fact that long-term digital storage is shaky and formats change frequently.)

I’ve always wanted to get into the field, but there’s a lot to learn. A lot of time and work goes into restorations and remasters (film in particular).

To show just what goes into film restoring, I wandered around YouTube and found some videos that I believe detail the process fairly well.

(There are a number of them!) [Warning: Flash player ahead!]

Continue reading “Film Restoration”

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