Trying to scan cross-processed film and have it look alright can be an adventure. Having bought my first scanner that can scan negatives I soon discover it isn’t as easy as it looks! Here I use the Photo CD from the lab as a baseline for trying to get the best scan of a cross-processed image.
The above image is what came on that $2.99 US dollar CD from my local photo lab. I never really thought about what all might go into that. I did know that I wanted to have more of a hand in the fate of my images than what the lab handed me. So I bought an Epson Perfection v500 and grabbed the only developed lomography slide/xpro 200 film I have.
The above image is the “do it all for me” option. Basically in Epson Scan I selected that I was scanning film and that it was a negative. I let the scanner find the image and do what ever magic the little Epson gnomes inside the scanner wanted to do. It looks respectable, if not a bit pale. But hey, it was a bright day.
This next image, above, I did it myself. Gone are the magic Epson gnomes. The most tampering I did was in the histogram where I used the eye dropper to select the blackest section of the film. That area I selected was the black boarder around the image.
This last image, above, is where I did everything backwards to conventional thinking. What is xpro? Slide film processed in the chemicals for negative film. So I told the scanner software that I was now scanning a slide rather than a negative. In the histogram I selected the, now white, side boarder as the white eye dropper. After scanning I opened up Photoshop Elements 6 and pressed Command-i to invert the colors, nothing else.
Which of the four images is the best? Which shows of the Lomography Xpro 200 film and my LC-A+ camera the best? I guess it is a mater of personal preference. Some people want the green cast or magenta casts of xpro. Other people might want more normal colors — just punchier. The first image by the lab seems, to me, to have the most unnatural sky color as well as a lot grainier. However, the lab uses Fuji equipment and so it is just little magic Fuji gnomes doing their thing. Personally I like the last image best, though it took the most steps.
Got any tips? Leave a comment!