Now I'm not going to proclaim that these theories of scanning with VueScan are right or wrong. But based on the number of issues I've had while scanning; these were the resolves. I'm a huge supporter of scanning your own film: saves money, more control, and creates self-reliance.
Here's what my workplace looks like.
What You'll Need
- Canon CanoScan 8800F: This is a decent sized, affordable, and quick flatbed scanner.
- HP 530 Laptop: I won it as a part of a scholarship after high school. I think my PC (it's a six core) is much fast, but the majority of my software in on the laptop. I've had it since 2008.
- Photoshop Cs3: I had Cs3 and Vuescan before getting Cs5. So I installed Vuescan 9 plugin for photoshop with Cs3.
- VueScan 9: It can do great things, but it's been a headache at times. I needed another scanning program so I could scan sprocket holes. Canon doesn't scan them on their own.
Starting with VueScan 9
Step 1: If you are going to use any of the Lomo scanning masks; you can't have it pushed to the top of the scanner. Vuescan will try to scan by making a bunch of stop-and-go sounds; then fail.
Solution: Push the mask to the bottom of the scanning bed, it keeps it level. There is a drawback, part of your image area will be lost. You can always just flip it around when you get to that end of the roll; or use something to space the bottom of the scanner from the mask but it should be something that is perfectly leveled.
Step 2: With VueScan, less is not more. Down at the bottom click on 'More'. It's all the same options.
Step 3: If you are only posting photos on Lomography or just sharing them. I would say use a lower DPI. I find 1200 dpi does it for me: plenty of quality and workable file sizes. When I first started scanning my own photos I would jack the DPI as high as it would go. Well if it's a 120mm shot you are going to end up with 50mb to 60mb image and it will take over an hour to scan each frame.
Step 4: If you are scanning sprockets or weird image sizes set Crop to manual.
Step 5: 'Filter'. This was something that was giving me the worst headache and I had no idea that's what it had been. The issue I had with it was a drop box called Infrared cleaning. I was getting: weird distortion exaggerated grainy look, and underexposure. I drove myself mad and couldn't figure it out. Now it doesn't affect most photos; that was the crazy part.
Solution: All that stuff in Filter? Turn them all off. Honestly, I don't know who those settings are for.
Step 6: The 'Color' tab. Go to the color balance drop box and switch it to manual. There are a ton of sliders here; some you will use and others you will not. Focus just on: Black point, White point, Curve low and high, and Brightness. You will have to tweak these to get your desired results. I find I need just a tab of White point for all my photos; like .02 at least.
Step 7:'Output'. Now to keep yourself from having to resize your photos later I say set your max Log file for 5mb.
Step 8: No because I am using the photoshop plug-in; when I hit the last page my photo is taken straight from VueScan and dropped into photoshop. In Photoshop I do my last few adjustments: rotate, maybe a curve, then take it from a 16bit image to an 8bit, and save it as a jpeg.
So these were some of the challenges I had with scanning my own film with Vuescan. Despite the difficulty having Vuescan has been terrific. I do historical preservation and get odd size negatives that Canon's automatic settings can't handle. I also hope this helps anyone who was looking for more information on Vuescan.