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Re: filmscanners: Repro house skirmishing (long)

Tony:  I have used a new service at my local lab which recently obtained a 
dig. printer.  Instead of providing a disk, I gave them slides because I did not
realize that they would run them through a dig. machine.  The prints came out
abnout 1/3 under the desired exposure but with good detail.  Rather than fight 
repro house, I would suggest you use the Noritsu place to get the print from 
disk.  However, I would try to work a deal with the lab to allow you to run 
on your disk to be able to determine the tweaks necessary to get the prints the 
you want them to be.  You may have to give them disks that have different 
and contrasts, etc. from what you would use if you were going to print them on 
own printer.  This way you would have a "methodology" that would provide the
optimal Noritsu print.  E.g.  alway send them a disk that has a +5 brightness a 
contrast, any color balance settings, etc. based on what you tweak your scan 
to achieve the best on your screen.  With that done, you may be able to satisfy
both client and repro house.  This suggestion may be a "pain" to implement, may 
give the desired results, but it may, if it works, be able to reduce the 
level you are having.

I hope I have not been condescending.  I am not a pro photographer or scanner 
and I
want to be sure that I am getting my point across.

Good luck with your repro problem.



Tony Sleep wrote:

> OK, here's a legitimate target for spite and bile, and it's decidedly ON 
> I have said some very bad words in their direction already, as I just don't
> know what to do about this.
> My main use for scanning is so I can shoot col.neg. in uncontrolled 
> then scan it and tart it up later on screen. This is an extension of what I
> have been doing with B&W in the darkroom for years.
> However I end up with a digital image. That is when the trouble starts, 
> although the client(s) can cope, and the designers can cope, the goddam repro
> houses are stuck in 1985 and have no intention of changing to accomodate
> photographer-supplied scans which will rob them of their bread and butter.
> This last week I have had 2 separate disasters because of this.
> The first was a set of live interview shots of an elusive MD, horrible room,
> rotten light. I shot it on CN, no problem. I explained this to the
> commissioning magazine and asked if they could cope with dig. They said yes, I
> shot it... and then they changed their minds and asked for prints. I got a
> bunch of prints done by my lab, and sure enough, they were not very nice. Sent
> 'em off to client, but with a sample scan to prove the point. Client phones
> back, gosh, yes, the scan is miles better, stuff the repro house they will 
> have to cope, send us 8 scans.
> I do this overnight (the whole job is now up against deadlines), send in bill,
> and 2weeks later client phones whingeing about the cost. Why have I charged
> 15GBP/scan? He seems to have expected them to be 'free', since they are when
> done by their repro house. If he'd known he would have asked for the negs and
> had the repro house do it. Well, yes, except it was about 4hrs work for me,
> plus CD etc, and besides, what the repro house would do would be 'straight'
> reprography whereas what I am doing is interpretive. Client too thick to see
> the difference, now in my bargepole file.
> The underlying problem (apart from the client - who had 2 weeks previous been
> telling me how he had just spent 14,000GBP converting his Ferrari to run on
> unleaded) is that many repro houses involved in UK magazine production are
> determined to hang on to scanning, and the standard contract now bundles
> scanning with everything else for a fixed cost.
> It has other advantages for them too: they don't need to invest or train to
> cope with photographer-supplied scans. They can just stick their heads in the
> sand and lock me (us) out of a very useful *photographic* technique.
> Like I say, I have another client who often messes about getting negs hand
> printed at vast expense to work around the obduracy of the repro house they
> actually pay tons of money too. He has his own reasons, reluctance to learn 
> fear of horrible mistakes.
> And that was the second nightmare, a truly horrible mistake. Yet another
> client, whom I've been around this loop with previously - see my sorry tale
> about this at my website. They just relaunched a title, and, asked to produce 
> cover and inside shots during the usual 5min session in the rain, asked if dig
> was OK. Yes, said the designer - it's not First Impressions doing the repro 
> more. Did the job, did the scans, sent 'em off. Designer happy, client happy.
> I got a copy on Thursday. Absolutely dreadful. God only knows how it got 
> off and went to print like that. It's so embarassingly terrible I am ashamed 
> mention it - no saturation and just underwater/vile. What I supplied was a
> tagged TIF which looked great to everyone on calibrated screens. What came off
> the press was excrementally awful.
> This client is mortified and embarassed too, but instead of bollocking the
> repro house (First Impressions, avoid at all costs), they have said they think
> they had better have prints next time.
> Meanwhile I have other clients who have no trouble at all with this stuff. 
> the hell is wrong with the repro industry, and what can I possibly do about 
> It no longer seems like leading edge tech, is standard practice in newsprint,
> yet magazines in UK are stuck in a timewarp because of it. In 4-5 yrs, there
> has been hardly any movement IME.
> So the next question is : where can I get really good R-type or similar prints
> made from digital files, in London, often overnight? I'm not happy with my own
> Epson 1200 output (good though it is, there are spectral anomalies, and I 
> know if the dither pattern will interact badly with a fine halftone dot
> screen). I can't find anywhere - I have tried dye sub (too soft) and a local
> co. who have a posh Noritsu dig printer which outputs onto proper paper, but
> that manages to posterise skin tones - an admitted deficiency of the printer
> according to the lab, not my scans.
> It's all very, very frustrating:(
> Regards
> Tony Sleep
> http://www.halftone.co.uk - Online portfolio & exhibit; + film scanner info &
> comparisons


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