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Re: filmscanners: Repro issues (was Which Buggy Software?)

On Sun, 15 Jul 2001 19:42:49 -0500  Maris V. Lidaka, Sr. 
(mlidaka@ameritech.net) wrote:

> Dan's response would be that most repro houses don't use embedded color
> profiles anyway - they do it the old-fashioned way.  If he's wrong, 
> please
> tell him ;)

He's largely right, although I just had a magazine repro screw-up this week 
which seems likely to be explained as the repro house doing 
manual adjustments to a tagged image on a (gamma=1.0 by the look of it) 
input workstation which didn't speak ICC, and then sending it to an 
pagesetter which *did* - with (the now completely inappropriate) Colormatch 
RGB tag still in place that indicated, among other things, that the gamma 
was 1.8. The postmortem is continuing... fortunately, on this occasion the 
repro house concerned is keen to address the problems and open to 
discussion. I spent half of Saturday trying to figure out what had gone 
wrong and emailing the Art Ed. Fortunately both she and the editor had seen 
the scans on their own calibrated screens in PS, before they went to repro, 
else I would be getting the blame.

The trouble is that even though they said they loved the pics, next time 
they might avoid the problem by giving the work to someone who turns in 
work on E6 instead. If I'd wanted to shoot it like that I'd have done so, 
but I use this stuff to get better pics in worse circumstances. It works, 
they agree - but if the repro buggers it, it's a chocolate teapot.

Whatever, it's a nightmare. ICC tags are not a panacea, and can cause extra 
problems - as they seem to have done on this occasion. 

OTOH if you don't use them, whatever you intended the image to look like is 
out of your control entirely. You had better supply a print or tranny 

Some repro houses never seem to have problems, others have been so 
disastrous I have lost clients as a result. Faced with a choice between a 
photographer and a repro house, the repro house wins, if only for 
contractual reasons.

Basically Margulis is right IME. Repro houses don't need to use nor 
understand ICC, and wherever they do, it's because they have had to find 
some way of coping with 'externally supplied' scans. In UK this is rare, at 
least among repro houses working for 50,000+ circulation magazines. Yet 
this problem is not going to go away, since there are good (creative 
control) reasons for photographers to scan and supply images in dig format. 

Right now, it is safer to supply untagged files and trust that others in 
the chain are capable of sensible judgements about what looks right. Often 
they aren't, as printers are skilled at matching scans to images, not 

Also many repro houses want to keep every bit of scanning business, and 
have good reasons to portray photographer-supplied scans as inferior, risky 
and a route to terrible results. It doesn't help that a lot are, of course. 
But it's distressing to get clients, do a job they are happy with, and then 
lose them because the repro goes to shit. I don't know what the answer is. 
I've tried supplying Epson proofs as references, I've tried supplying 
inkjets as final artwork (I'm never totally happy with either, and this 
just isn't practical on short deadlines/email delivery, as this job was), 
I've tried tagged and untagged files. Sod's law rules, and I doubt Margulis 
has any failsafe answers either.


Tony Sleep
http://www.halftone.co.uk - Online portfolio & exhibit; + film scanner info 
& comparisons


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