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Re: filmscanners: Repro house skirmishing (long)

Dan Margulis has a mailing list called Color Theory at Egroups with
interesting threads on this topic, but I doubt it will help solve the
problem.  Time will do that, as the trend is inevitable with digital
capture coming like a freight train.

Meanwhile the question is what's the best repro print to send along
with the CD, hoping still they've pulled their heads out by now and
use the file (correctly) anyway.  1200 prints can work I think, but
they should be at least 2x the final size to avoid screening
interference problems (you'd do the same with an analog C print
though), and the color anomalies can be reduced to insignificance with
oem dyes, PQPP, Profiler Pro and a DTP-41 to make the profiles.  It's
an expensive time consuming pain, but I think it will get you the
quality you're after.

I'm setting up an 1160 at the moment I hope to replace the 1200 with
for this sort of thing, my initial tests of the oem driver with oem
ink and PQPP are promising.  It appears to be considerably more linear
all through the shadow range, and nearly indistinguishable everywhere
else from the 1200.  Not finished testing yet, but if the profiles and
prints are better than the 1200 is capable of (driver is the problem
really), I'll stick 3rd party dyes in a CIS and test again, hoping I
can use that instead of oem.  If not I'll go back to oem dye.

The only alternative is service bureau light jet or Fujix, but I'd
rather be able to make the repro prints myself.


> OK, here's a legitimate target for spite and bile, and it's
decidedly ON topic.
> 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, because
> 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
> photographer-supplied scans which will rob them of their bread and
> 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
> back, gosh, yes, the scan is miles better, stuff the repro house
they will just
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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 and
> fear of horrible mistakes.
> And that was the second nightmare, a truly horrible mistake. Yet
> 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 a
> 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 any
> 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 signed
> 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 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. What
> 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, 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 don't
> know if the dither pattern will interact badly with a fine halftone
> 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
> 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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