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Re: filmscanners: Repro house skirmishing (long)

Tony: As I have posted on this same subject, you know I have felt your pain... 
I would suggest  checking out the following possibilities;
1. Have you taken a good look at the new Olympus dye-sub printer... my local pro
supplier has one with sample prints they made from their shots and they look 
good... and they are true continuous tone, not any kind of dot stuff...

2. The other alternative is to find a good pro or consumer lab which is using
either a Fuji Frontier or the new Noritsu digital printer to make 8x10's... 
things will take your digital file or color neg and give you a real silver photo
print... The main trick would be to make sure you calibrate your output to their

I agree about the sep houses and art directors (most of those lazy ignorant 
still want chromes cuz they like to look at 'em on a light box)... I am giving 
clients scans along with prints right now so they can get used to the idea, but 
tell 'em this is a temporary situation until I get my whole system debugged and
they can see how useful the scans on CD are... I may just work the scan price 
my shooting time, or I may quote is an optional post production time charge... I
think it's just a matter of a year or so until most pubs and true pro A.D.'s get
the message....

Mike M.

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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