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Re: filmscanners: Repro house skirmishing (long)

No suggestions for you, but you (and others) might be interested in an
edited production of a thread of messages on Dan Margulis's Color Theory

"Dan asks for assessment of current economic conditions for professional
photographers, and gets more responses than he expected."



----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Sleep" <TonySleep@halftone.co.uk>
To: <filmscanners@halftone.co.uk>
Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2001 8:48 AM
Subject: filmscanners: Repro house skirmishing (long)

| 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
| 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
| 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
| 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
| 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.
| 'em off to client, but with a sample scan to prove the point. Client
| 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
| and 2weeks later client phones whingeing about the cost. Why have I
| 15GBP/scan? He seems to have expected them to be 'free', since they are
| done by their repro house. If he'd known he would have asked for the negs
| had the repro house do it. Well, yes, except it was about 4hrs work for
| plus CD etc, and besides, what the repro house would do would be
| reprography whereas what I am doing is interpretive. Client too thick to
| the difference, now in my bargepole file.
| The underlying problem (apart from the client - who had 2 weeks previous
| telling me how he had just spent 14,000GBP converting his Ferrari to run
| 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
| cope with photographer-supplied scans. They can just stick their heads in
| 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
| actually pay tons of money too. He has his own reasons, reluctance to
learn and
| 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
| about this at my website. They just relaunched a title, and, asked to
produce a
| cover and inside shots during the usual 5min session in the rain, asked if
| was OK. Yes, said the designer - it's not First Impressions doing the
repro any
| more. Did the job, did the scans, sent 'em off. Designer happy, client
| 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 to
| 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
| 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
| 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?
| It no longer seems like leading edge tech, is standard practice in
| yet magazines in UK are stuck in a timewarp because of it. In 4-5 yrs,
| has been hardly any movement IME.
| So the next question is : where can I get really good R-type or similar
| made from digital files, in London, often overnight? I'm not happy with my
| 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
| co. who have a posh Noritsu dig printer which outputs onto proper paper,
| that manages to posterise skin tones - an admitted deficiency of the
| 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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