Ever wondered how to get that cool sprocket look in your photos without resorting to digital trickery? The DigitaLIZA 35mm Scanning Mask makes scanning sprockets and panoramas a cinch!
I’ve always thought the sprocket look was cool. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that led me to dump digital photography in favor of my analogue roots. The allure of all those great effects that can be accomplished in camera was too great to ignore. I somehow felt dishonest whenever I simulated those effects in my photos using digital filters. So I made the switch! But to get that sprocket look, you need a few things. First, you need a camera capable of shooting sprockets. I used the Superheadz Blackbird, Fly. It’s a 35mm TLR that exposes the sprockets vertically in photos.
You’re also going to need a scanner capable of scanning negatives and software that doesn’t choke when it sees a third-party scanning mask. For this, I used the Epson Perfection V600 scanner with Vuescan software. Vuescan is far better than the native Epson scanning software and does an excellent job with sprockets.
And, of course, you’re going to need the *DigitaLIZA 35mm Scanning Mask*!
The scanning mask that came with my Epson scanner does a great job, but it covers up the edges on 35mm film making it useless to scan sprockets. Using the DigitaLIZA is the simplest solution.
To accomplish its magic, the DigitaLIZA employs a very clever method to firmly hold your negative in place: the scientific power of magnetism! That being said, the DigitaLIZA is not capable of exposing the entire negative (it has to hold on to something after all) and so some of the text and numbering along the edges of the film will be lost. This really isn’t a problem since you can capture so much more of the exposed negative. The only drawback with DigitaLIZA is that it can be a little tricky at first to get your negative to lie flat in the mask before putting it together. A little persistence is needed.
Next, I placed DigitaLIZA on my scanner and scanned away! The sprockets will throw off the software’s colour-balance since the scanner reads them as black, so you’ll need to make some adjustments. I find out that the Vuescan does a great job of handling the correction.
Using my Blackbird, Fly, I spent a day at the cemetery photographing old deteriorating tombstones. By removing the interior mask on my Blackbird, Fly, I was able to capture the sprockets and I’m sure you’ll agree that without the DigitaLIZA, I wouldn’t be able to share these amazing photos!
While I don’t yet own a camera capable of shooting true multi-frame panoramas, I’m satisfied that the DigitaLIZA is more than able to handle the task for the day when I can afford a Belair X 6-12 camera with 35mm Back. The DigitaLIZA is long enough that it can capture the equivalent of six frames on a 35mm negative. That’s perfect for those panorama shots!