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Scanner distortion of film negative question

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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted March 27 2008 - 06:51 AM

Thought I'd try to ask you guys about this topic here in the photography forum.

There was a series of images that were posted on another forum of a TV show prop that I've been trying to get as much info on as possible. These images came from a 35mm film negative that was scanned and then posted.

After studying thses images, I noticed that they were all squeezed vertically, a round component in the image was not round, that was the clue! And I have copies of the same photos that are much lower resolution and quality to compare with, but they are not distorted. After some investigating, it appears this could have been caused by the scanner. Some people told me that some scanners do not evenly scan in one direction, resulting in a squeezed image.

I have tried a few times to resize the image in Photoshop, but the results sometimes appeared to twist the image a bit. So the next question is; does this distortion usually go in one direction when scanning, or does some squeezing go on in the other dimension too, but at a different scale? In other words, do some scanners squeeze the vertical at 1.5 times, but stretch the other direction at .25 times. Or does this happen only in one direction? If so, it makes fixing the images a lot easier in PhotoShop!

I tried to ask for the images to be rescanned, but the owner of the negatives recently passed away, leaving their status in limbo for sure. So I figure there's no other choice but to try to see if I can fix these images in Photoshop.

Thanks for any insights! Nelson

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   JohnRice


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Posted March 30 2008 - 06:38 AM

My first thought is that the scanner did not hold the negative sufficiently flat, causing a nonlinear curvature of the scan. If that is the case, it will be almost impossible to correct.

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#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted March 30 2008 - 09:35 AM

Thanks for taking the time to post. Seems like a reasonable theory.

I was working on one of the images and using Multiply so I can see the old image and distorted image on another layer. I was able to get the images pretty much dead-on matched. About 95% there scale wise. I think this one was rotated a very slight bit compared to the other, which could be what threw me off the first time I tried. Hopefully the others are like this.

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Zack Gibbs

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Posted March 30 2008 - 11:53 AM

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