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Pan & Scan Question

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Aaron Cadieux
Pan & Scan Question
on Jul 23, 2015 at 8:16:39 pm

Hey guys,

Not really sure what forum this question is best suited for, but here goes.

I am working on a documentary film that involves the use of newspaper articles as b-roll. I am collaborating with a reporter that has the actual newspapers from the time period in question. I would like to digitize the newspapers as full pages. I don't want to have to scan each page in sections using a standard sized photo scanner. I have looked into large bed scanners, and they are very expensive. Also, the process of renting a large bed scanner seems rather hazy. Has anyone opted to take pictures of full page newspapers with a high resolution still camera instead of scanning them? Obviously the papers would need to be perfectly lit and the camera would need to be locked off on a tripod.

Advice appreciated.

Best,

Aaron Cadieux



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Steve Kownacki
Re: Pan & Scan Question
on Jul 23, 2015 at 8:29:30 pm

Check out local, large format scanning services in your area that cater to engineers for blueprints and large documents. I have used these guys (local to me) in southcentral PA, http://www.johnsonimaging.net/ Very reasonably priced for 24x36 scans. Find an off-time/not busy for your vendor to do some test scans while-yo- watch so you know exactly what you are getting.

Steve





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Todd Terry
Re: Pan & Scan Question
on Jul 23, 2015 at 8:36:55 pm

I haven't done that, but it CAN be done.

Several years ago Kurt Cobain's diary was published as a book, and they wanted it to appear not as a transcription, but as if looking at the actual diary pages.

The first thought of course was to scan it... but because of the physical fragility of the diary and the way it was put together, it would have been impossible and/or impractical to do so without taking it apart.

Their solution was to do exactly what you are proposing, to photograph the pages with a high-res digital camera.

It would be pretty simple, give you good results, and frankly would be a lot faster than scanning. You'd just need a good setup, good lighting, a perfectly perpendicular camera mount, and a way to keep your pages nice and flat. A piece of glass would work... or a photographic printing vacuum easel comes to mind as a great way to keep the pages perfectly flat. Since virtually no one does real darkroom work anymore you might even be able to get one for peanuts (I couldn't even give my own darkroom gear away). Or, easy to make one.

But yes, you certainly can do it. Even using something like a 5D to shoot you won't get nearly the resolution of a real flatbed or drum scan, but should be more more than enough for your purposes.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Aaron Star
Re: Pan & Scan Question
on Jul 23, 2015 at 11:02:49 pm
Last Edited By Aaron Star on Jul 23, 2015 at 11:06:54 pm

Yep this is good way to do scan your pages. Get or build a copy stand, and shoot them RAW, tweak, and export at uncompressed TIF for inclusion on the timeline. Make sure to use greater than a 35mm for APS-C, and 50mm for full frame. You do not want your text fish eyeing from a wide angle lens.

This was the only way to get that type of media into a documentary before NLEs. Filmmakers like Ken Burns would use a robotic copy stand to move the camera across photos and news print, while capturing to tape or film.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=copy+stand&FORM=HDRSC2

Polarizing your lights and another on the lens, allows you copy a textured surface like a painting or will reduce glint on shiny ink.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Pan & Scan Question
on Jul 24, 2015 at 2:36:50 pm

That's where the name "rostrum camera" comes from....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rostrum_camera

Nobody would know who Ken Burns was today, except that he was good at using one of these... so good, they re-named it after him:-)


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Aaron Star
Re: Pan & Scan Question
on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:40:13 am

It's true Ken Burns is pretty old school, but he did just release the "The Dust Bowl" in 2012. I guess that still makes him somewhat current.


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