Old 11-03-2007, 06:03 PM   #1
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Default Why don't people level old film scans?

There are two things in life that bug my eyes when I see them...crooked pictures on walls and unlevel photographs.

Why is it that so many old film scans that get accepted to the database are unlevel, and sometimes grossly unlevel? Are the screeners given the green light to accept unlevel shots as long as they are over 20 years old or something?

One of the inevitable replies will be, "Well if they leveled them, they'd have to crop too much off the sides." Nonsense. A lot of these still have enough space on the sides to perform a rotation and crop and not lose the integrity of the original shot.

I'm not going to post any examples, but I saw one today that made me want to tilt my head sideways.

What gives?
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:11 PM   #2
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Jim - I'm just going to add to your question, because I don't have an answer... I have submitted some that were not level and had them rejected, including 1980s and 1970s stuff. (My last submission appears unlevel at first because of the angle, but it actually is...) So, it seems to me to be intermitent as to whether one gets in or not. CF
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:24 PM   #3
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Charles, are you saying they were rejected for being unlevel? Can't be any worse than some I've seen on here recently!
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:27 PM   #4
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I lost count of the number of my 1980's scans that were rejected for being unlevel - I don't think there was much latitude shown at the time.
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JimThias
Charles, are you saying they were rejected for being unlevel? Can't be any worse than some I've seen on here recently!
Yes, they were rejected for being unlevel... and no, I don't think that they were worse. They were all older scans, from when I scanned in Jpeg, and I couldn't do much with them... they blurred when I leveled them. Now I scan in TIFF and can do amazing amounts of leveling.
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:46 PM   #6
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Why should the rotation of the picture in your editing software effect its image quality? What program is that?
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Old 11-03-2007, 10:07 PM   #7
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Microsoft Picture It (which is now renamed). We're talking about scans that were about 400k when I scanned them, but got reduced to say 150k before I knew what I was doing.

They defintely blur. I can't say I understand enough about the process to know why... but when I had a very early version of Adobe Photoshop, I noticed the same thing on low res scans. It's 100% my fault for not saving full sized versions.

The JPEGs I make out of TIFFs are around 4mb. The TIFFs are around 25mb.

Last edited by Freericks; 11-03-2007 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 11-03-2007, 10:34 PM   #8
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I level my 'old' (ie more than a week old!) film scans, and edit them just as I would edit any digital photograph. I just wish other people would do the same!
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Old 11-04-2007, 12:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
There are two things in life that bug my eyes when I see them...crooked pictures on walls and unlevel photographs.
Only two?!? You are so tolerant....
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:21 AM   #10
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Only two?!? You are so tolerant....
Well, guys from North Dakota drive him nuts too...

// From Minnesota

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Old 11-04-2007, 09:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Why should the rotation of the picture in your editing software effect its image quality? What program is that?
Rotation leads to loss of pixel detail. To rotate an image involves a great deal of interpolation; each new pixel is a combination of information from other pixels. Since the information from one original pixel is being spread across multiple destination pixels, there is a loss of sharpness and detail in particular. How much is lost depends on the original file size and the degree of rotation and on the formula/algorithm used.

400k is pretty small for rotating a picture, in many cases the loss of sharpness is quite visible (and not recoverable, since the info contained in the pixels is reduced). 6-10 mp, that's much more conducive to good results!

This is all my understanding and should not be taken as definitive.
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Only two?!? You are so tolerant....

Well, two relative to this thread topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Rotation leads to loss of pixel detail. To rotate an image involves a great deal of interpolation; each new pixel is a combination of information from other pixels.
Interesting. Must be something that happens with cheaper editing programs. I never see any loss of quality/detail in photoshop.
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Interesting. Must be something that happens with cheaper editing programs. I never see any loss of quality/detail in photoshop.
Try rotating a 200k image, say 800x600. You should be able to tell. No problems when rotating a full size image from a dslr, then downsizing.
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Try rotating a 200k image, say 800x600. You should be able to tell. No problems when rotating a full size image from a dslr, then downsizing.
Your understanding is in 100% compliance with my experience.
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Try rotating a 200k image, say 800x600. You should be able to tell. No problems when rotating a full size image from a dslr, then downsizing.




Low res shot from a 3mp camera, rotated from a 136kb picture. I don't see any change in quality on my end. How about yours?
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:31 PM   #16
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That's a full turn. Different animal.

Try a low bit version of a picture that's much larger (the size you would need to put on RP.net.)

Then just level it by say 15 or 30 degrees.
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
That's a full turn. Different animal.
Ok....back to the drawing board...

EDIT: Ahh, I see now. I guess I've never really noticed the image qaulity after the rotation of a low res image.

Last edited by JimThias; 11-04-2007 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 11-05-2007, 02:35 PM   #18
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Here's an example from my sorry early scanning experiences. This was rejected for unlevel. When I tried to level it, it of course blurred (I have about a half a dozen frames that I tried on RP.net and got rejected for this reason, all of which blur when I try to fix).

http://freericks.rrpicturearchives.n...aspx?id=832081

I have so many scans that I made at this low res simply because I didn't know what I was doing, and I coudn't tell the difference between a scan like this and a high-quality, high-res scan until I was forced to try and manipulate them. Now I understand.

One day, I will go back and rescan, but between family and railfan pics spanning so many decades, who knows when. We're talking two to three years worth of bad scanning habits.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
There are two things in life that bug my eyes when I see them...crooked pictures on walls and unlevel photographs.

Why is it that so many old film scans that get accepted to the database are unlevel, and sometimes grossly unlevel? Are the screeners given the green light to accept unlevel shots as long as they are over 20 years old or something?

One of the inevitable replies will be, "Well if they leveled them, they'd have to crop too much off the sides." Nonsense. A lot of these still have enough space on the sides to perform a rotation and crop and not lose the integrity of the original shot.

I'm not going to post any examples, but I saw one today that made me want to tilt my head sideways.

What gives?
How many slides have you actually scanned and then edited??

It is a PITA. It doesn't matter how straight you THINK you get the slide in the holder, they're still usually crooked a little bit. I'd try to level out some of the more flagrant ones, but if it was close enough, I didn't touch it. Let's not even go into how crooked the film has been in some slides I've gotten back before!

Now, if you've dropped off a few boxes of slides at a lab to have them scanned, I'd imagine their equipment is much better at holding slides in place and leads to less post-processing.

OTOH, unless there's a hard horizon line or some large, straight horizontal or vertical object in the shot (assuming its plumb and level in the first place!) that is a major distraction, if a shot is slightly off, who will really notice it?? I guess if you're in the habit of over-analyzing every shot or holding a ruler to your monitor for military-like accuracy, you'd notice, but most of us regular folks wouldn't see MOST of the alleged defects found in most rejects here.
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BartY
How many slides have you actually scanned and then edited??
Zero.

Quote:
It is a PITA
A high resolution image can easily be rotated in photoshop without any noticeable loss in IQ.

edit: the rest of my post deleted because I sounded a little arrogant. Sorry.

Last edited by JimThias; 11-19-2007 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 11-19-2007, 02:32 PM   #21
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The issue is it has to be rotated, then recropped, hoping that you actually have enough to crop out of the image in the first place. Let's remember that with slides in particular, you crop in the viewfinder. Everyone has become so accustomed to digital cameras that many don't remember that digital manipulation after the fact wasn't an option. You had to cut out everything you didn't want in the shot in the first place right then, right there.

Not to mention, having to do that to literally hundreds or thousands of images, depending on how extensive one's collection is, that extra minute or two can really add up. In the long run, when I scanned slides, if it was close enough I just let it slide. Obviously there is the occasional shot where I wasn't holding the camera level and I'd fix those, but it becomes very tedious to make every last slide perfectly level.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:03 PM   #22
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The point is not that one has thousands of slides in one's collection or the process by which those are originally scanned. The point is that each time one prepares an image for uploading to RP, whether it comes from a digital camera or a scan of a slide, one should be ensuring the image is level.

Another take on the argument: a slide scanner faces no more of a burden in rotating images than I do, given that I have to rotate easily half of the images I shoot (mostly handleld, but my tripod shooting is not that much better, especially when the ground is not level).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BartY
The issue is it has to be rotated, then recropped, hoping that you actually have enough to crop out of the image in the first place. Let's remember that with slides in particular, you crop in the viewfinder. Everyone has become so accustomed to digital cameras that many don't remember that digital manipulation after the fact wasn't an option. You had to cut out everything you didn't want in the shot in the first place right then, right there.

Not to mention, having to do that to literally hundreds or thousands of images, depending on how extensive one's collection is, that extra minute or two can really add up. In the long run, when I scanned slides, if it was close enough I just let it slide. Obviously there is the occasional shot where I wasn't holding the camera level and I'd fix those, but it becomes very tedious to make every last slide perfectly level.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:14 PM   #23
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. . . given that I have to rotate easily half of the images I shoot (mostly handleld, but my tripod shooting is not that much better, especially when the ground is not level).
Only half?!?! Geez, I need your eyes for leveling. I can't remember the last time I didn't rotate an image even .25 CCW! Darn legs being different heights. :-/
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:31 PM   #24
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Only half?!?! Geez, I need your eyes for leveling. I can't remember the last time I didn't rotate an image even .25 CCW! Darn legs being different heights. :-/
It is certainly quite possible I rotate more. I have gone below 0.5 degrees many times but I don't recall going that low, so I'm less rigorous than you. But if I am rotating (and I do, lots!), I do get it within the closest 0.1 degree. If you are going to do it, do it right!

Someone, maybe Mitch, will recall that at one time I was a bit more lax.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:48 PM   #25
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Andrew and Janusz, you about summed it up for me. I also want to add that the unlevel shots that I've been seeing have more than enough room for cropping after levelling, without ruining the integrity of the original picture.
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