Friday, February 20, 2015

On to the past

It’s likely to be a long job; getting a few hundred 35mm Kodachrome slides digitised. It’s not making the digital file that takes time (just a few seconds for each slide) but it’s the time spent making the file presentable afterwards. Take this 1970s image of the Sacre-Coeur in Paris for example - a few seconds to copy, but two hours to clean up. I’m pretty happy with the result but it’s shown me one thing - our equipment today produces results hugely superior to that I used in the film days.

We might worry about digital noise today, but that was nothing compared to the grain that was omnipresent on every 35mm Kodachrome slide. The DSLR I used to copy this picture was more than capable of enhancing every bit of grain on the slide - and don’t dare sharpen the image until you’ve dealt with it. Then there is the dust (and other nasties); if you thought sensor dust was a problem, then you’ll be amazed at what accumulates on a slide that is forty years old. Yes, I used a dust blower and a lens brush but there is stuff on them slides that don’t want to leave home! Fortunately, Lightroom and Photoshop have the tools required to take the image to a place that makes it look better than the original slide - provided you can supply the time.

Long hair, beards and wandering around with a guitar slung over your shoulder; yep, that was the 1970s.

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