Scanning film with a digital camera | Jahan Saber | Skillshare

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Scanning film with a digital camera

teacher avatar Jahan Saber

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to scanning with a camera


    • 2.

      What is camera scanning


    • 3.

      All the things you need


    • 4.

      Setting up for the scan


    • 5.

      Scanning workflow


    • 6.

      Post processing on the computer


    • 7.

      Benefits of camera scanning


    • 8.



    • 9.



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About This Class

In this class i'm going to give you a step by step run through of how to scan your negatives with a digital camera scanning set up. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Jahan Saber


Jahan Saber is a photographer and artist born (1990) and based in Vienna, Austria. He is the founder of "DEVELOP" - a brand that focuses on raising awareness for the analogue process in photography and beyond. Coming from a commercial background in the photo industry he sought out to seek out a means of decelerating the over-saturation and over production of photographic media. Shooting and printing exclusively with the analogue process enables him to further his artistic approach into creating a more honest and connected portrayal of his surroundings.

Jahan has travelled across Europe throughout the past 4 years discovering his style and approach to analogue photography. Throughout his journeys he self published various photo-zines and small book projects.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction to scanning with a camera: Hello and welcome. For those of you who are new to my channel, my name is Jahan. In this video, I've parked it up with the alloy to talk all about cameras scanning and give you an in-depth tutorial of cameras scanning with boys, setup and talk about some of the benefits of using this compared to something like a flatbed scanner. 2. What is camera scanning: To begin with, I'm just going to quickly explain what cameras scanning actually is. Cameras scanning means that you take a digital camera and you attach macro lens to it. And then you put this setup on something like a copy stand or a really sturdy tripod. And then you simply take photos of your negatives while they are placed in a film holder that is illuminated from below so the negative is visible. Then once you've taken the photo of the negative, all you need to do is import it into something like Adobe Lightroom and either converted yourself or use editing software or a plugin like negative lab Pro, which will convert your negative image into a positive image and then something that you can work with. It's actually a very intuitive process and it's a lot faster than scanning with a flatbed scanner, but more on that later. Next up, I'm going to give you a run through of all the things that you need to scan your negatives with cameras scanning setup. 3. All the things you need: The things that you'll need for cameras scanning our digital camera, and ideally it has an interchangeable lens because the most important part is that you're going to have to mount macro lens. Now it doesn't have to be a very fancy or modern one. You can also use a very old macro lens as long as it is still sharp and the lens is damaged in any way, just to make sure that it's a macro lens and it fits to your camera. Then you're going to need something like a copy stand or a tripod. I use this very fancy copystand by Nova flags and it mounts directly to your table. You could just use a tripod, which is what I used when I was traveling. And it's just important that you can actually attach your camera to its safely. Then you're going to need a light panel. You can use one of these sketching paths. Or if you want something more dedicated that fits perfectly to the scanning setup from Deloitte, you can actually get one of these relay. No, I think they're called relay, no. Video lights. And that will actually slide right under into the alloy 360 scanning setup. And that will make scanning really easy because everything is even more compact and you don't have to worry about external light sources. Of course, the most important part of this whole process is the below 360 advanced her and scanning rig. Now this consists of a base where you can set the different types of film masks for different film formats. It has the advancer which makes the whole process very quick and very efficient. It has a duster to eliminate dust from the negative and the diffuser for your light source. And then you have these different types of film masks, which I already mentioned before, which will go for specific films. So if you're using medium format, you're going to use the specific medium format film holder. Or if you want to do a Thirty-five millimeters, he used that one and so on and so forth. Then finally, I would recommend having something like anti-static cloth gloves and most importantly a mirror, and more on that later. 4. Setting up for the scan : The first thing that we do to get started is just to insert our film through the duster. If we have one and then through the mask and into the take-up spool. Then the next thing that we want to do is set our camera approximately to a height where if you focus, you have the frame more or less in focus. Now this doesn't need to be exact. The only thing that I would recommend is to center your first frame and then get out your mirror. And this is where it can be a bit tricky. You're gonna have to place your mirror just on top of the film holder and makes sure that the lens and the aperture is quite in the center of your frame. If it isn't in the center, then I would recommend to adjust the feet and make sure everything is in focus. And the reason why we want to center the lens and focus on the outside rim of the lens, is to make sure that the film plane is actually perfectly parallel to the lens. This will enable us to get sharpness all across the negative. And this is a really important step to make. 5. Scanning workflow: Before we actually start scanning, it's important to set the camera to manual settings. The things that you need to watch out for are the following. Set your ISO to the lowest possible natural ISO over your camera. And that's usually ISO 100. Some cameras go to ISO 50 or lower, but that's not the natural ISO. It's more of like a pooled ISO. So kind of like an artificial one and we want to stay away from that. Then set your aperture to something between F5.6 or F11, depending on your camera lens configuration. Most lenses have like a sweet spot where the focus is perfect. And if you do some research, you'll usually find that out yourself or you can take some tests, photos and see where the lens is the sharpest, especially on the corners and that's where it matters the most. Then the shutter speed is what you will work with in terms of adjusting the shutter speed to give you the best results for the actual scanning process. What I like to do is I like to set my shutter speeds so the histogram on the camera gives me a good reading. But at the same time, I think it's also important to trust your eyes. So if the negative, It's completely off, just readjust that. Then really important use a remote control or the self timer in the camera to expose the frames. Because if you don't actually use a timer or remote or something like that, you're going to create too much wobble on the camera and you're going to probably just get shaky images. Finally, what I would recommend is to do your final focus now. And most cameras, especially modern ones, if you do manual focus on the camera, it will actually zoom in quite a bit and then you can really make sure that you have everything in detail. Once you're all set and you have your settings comes really the easiest part of this entire workflow. And that's just taking photos and advancing, take a frame and advance to the next and take a frame and so on and so forth. It's really quite simple. 6. Post processing on the computer: Okay, so once you've got your files on the computer, you can open your image editing software. I'm using Lightroom Classic and my Lightroom Classic. I have a plugin which is negative lab Pro. Now using negative lap row is a huge advantage because it will make your entire workflow a lot more controlled and you will have much better outcome. But having said that, you don't actually have to do its width negative lap row. The first thing that you do is you import your photos from your camera. And then what you wanna do is you want to to a white balance by pressing on anywhere within the frame which is not actually in the photograph. So like where the sprocket holes are for example, and then make an adjustment. And then you will see that your frame will change quite a bit. Then the next thing that you want to do is you want to crop the frame. The good thing about using Lightroom is that I could crop the frame quite tightly now. But the adjustments that I make with negative lab Pro will only be applied to this frame. But if I wanted to add the sprocket holes afterwards, for example, I can just increase the crop again and then the sprocket holes would be there. For now. This is the crop that I've made. Then all you got to do is open up negative lab Pro. If you're using a Mac that's just Control N. The first time you open negative lab Pro, you're gonna get this window. There are a few things that you can play around with and can select. The first thing that you want to do is obviously your source is from a digital camera. You could also use files coming from a scanner, for example. But since we're cameras scanning, we're going to do this with a digital camera. Then the color model. There are different types. For example, if you want to have the kind of look from a Noritsu or a Frontier scanner than what you could do is you could select the frontier color model. And you can already see that there is a change in the color of the film. But usually what I do is I actually don't select any color model and I do a default pre saturation. And essentially that's all the edits and advanced. This is only something for later, so we have this selected and then all we do is press convert negative. Now that the negatives have been converted, we can play around a bit with the tons and there's a few settings that you can choose from. You could go for more like a cinematic look, lab standard look, or something more linear, which is usually what I go for. And then what you do is you can play around with the exposure. And you really have endless opportunities that you could do. Play around white stark slides, all sorts of things. You could add. This kind of faded look. Clo, it's really the opportunities are endless. Now the trick here is not to get too lost in it. And what I really like is that there is the amount of control that kind of gives you an authentic look of what the film actually looks like. Without adjusting too many things, you can get a good white balance without adjusting too many things, you can get a very neutral look to the film. This film obviously is very neutral acidosis, which is portrait 400. But essentially, if you want to get something that is more cinematic, you can go for these so on and so forth. I'm not gonna go into too much detail with the colors and the mids and the highs. These are all things that you can play around with. You could change the tint in that way and things like that, which is really, I guess at that teaches if there are small corrections that you might want to make or you're using a film that is more complicated, something like sinister at a 100 t where you maybe want to work with specific tones or something. When it comes to simple scanning of, let's say, normal color films, or even black and white films where there's even less issues with color. Of course. That's essentially all that you have to watch out for and then you just apply. And that's it. Like I said, if you wanted to actually make frame bigger now you could just go back to the crop. Just make that bigger. And then you'd have something here, like the sprocket holes are visible now. That's essentially cameras scanning. And yeah, the next thing that you could do now is you could maybe straighten it up a bit and maybe printed out, hang it up on the wall or something like that, and enjoy your photos. 7. Benefits of camera scanning: Before I wrap up this video, I'd like to talk about some of the benefits that I really enjoy with working with the cameras scanning setup. The thing that I liked the most about cameras scanning is that as just in general, extremely efficient, especially when you compare it to using a flatbed scanner. If you have your roll of film processed and in the best case it's not cut yet, then all you need to do is feed it into the film holder. And if you already have your tripod or your copystand in a position where you know the sharpness is all right and all the settings are made. You can really take those photos very quickly and you can be very efficient with it. And that's a real game changer. Another factor that I really like is that if you have something like a full-frame camera or something even crazier like a medium format digital camera. What you can do is you can really take advantage of that sensor size. And that means the scan negative will have a really high resolution and a lot of things that you can play with. And even if the camera isn't a full frame sensor, there are still so many excellent results that you can get from it, especially because you're really making the lens do the work. And that's such a big advantage to something like a flatbed scanner. Another thing that I really liked is obviously using it camera. You can take photos and you probably shouldn't take photos in a raw format. When you do these raw scans of your negatives, you can really take advantage of what a negative can give you in terms of tonality. Essentially, all these means that your image quality will greatly, greatly benefits. Now, personally, I don't think I would ever use a flatbed scanner anymore unless I was doing something like scanning a print that I made in the dark room. But even there I've done things like reproductions where I take a photo of a framed print and it's probably much better than scanning up. 8. Conclusion : Personally, for me, I don't think I would want to use a flatbed scanner anymore now that I've been using this fellow I setup for quite some time. And there's two reasons for that. Now, the first reason is obviously the time factor. That's even if you have like a big scanner like the UPS and the 800 where you can get three and tires scripts of six frames of Thirty-five millimeters. It's still such a hassle to work with, especially because these masks, those film holders, they're out of plastic. And I'm never quite sure about the height that you have two sets. And then even if everything is right, You're still kind of scanning through that plastic cover. So you're putting another layer between the negative and the scanner. And that's just a layer that doesn't actually have to be there. I remember when I started shooting film the first time and I didn't work in the dark room yet and I was just scanning my negatives. I remember how frustrated I got not because of the bad results or anything, but just because I spent so much time just scanning and I remember shooting like 1020 rolls of film and getting it all developed. And then sitting there and thinking, I need to scan all of this now and it's just such an uninspiring process because it takes so much time with a setup like the cameras scanning setup, you completely eliminate that factor that you have to sit there for hours because you can actually get the scanning done so much quicker and you'll have a results on your screen much quicker. And then if you want to do fine adjustments, then you'll have to put in the time for that, but you have to do that no matter how you get a scan or if you work in the dark room, it doesn't really matter if you have one image that you really like. You're going to put in the work. Unless you're someone who doesn't edit their photos at all. The thing that I didn't like about flatbed scanning as well was that I was always bound to the desk that I was working from wherever the scanner was and that I really couldn't take it anywhere, especially because the VA 100 was just the beast. It's huge, it's not portable at all. So I always had to work from that one place. When I started cameras scanning, I noticed that I could take the scanning setup wherever I went because if I was traveling with my photo gear, I usually had a tripod with me anyways. And if I was filming something, I'd take my digital camera and the actual cameras scanning setup from Deloitte. It's so portable, it's so small. I could just put it into a really small case and take that with me. And then that meant that I could scan my negatives wherever I went. And that's a real plus side because if you, for example, have a lot of work that you want to do somewhere that you want to take with you or you're shooting on the road and then you are able to get your negatives developed. But you, for example, don't want to pay extra to get them scanned, or you'd rather scan them yourself. Then this is a real, real game changer because you can actually shoot and process all your work, even if it's film photography. On the road. 9. Outro: That's pretty cool. This was cameras scanning. I hope you enjoyed the video. If you have any more questions about the setup, about cameras scanning or anything photo related, please feel free to leave a comment down below. Thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you so much to Malloy for partnering up with me and making all of this happen and yeah, take care and see you soon. Bye.