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Author Topic: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?  (Read 1013 times)

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Offline srca1941

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So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:57:44 PM »
 If you saw Victory Comics #2 in the “newest comics” list the other day or you’re reading this at some time in the future and have seen other books tagged “NuFiche” and wondered what it was, I’ll tell you. It’s the same film source material as old fiche scans, but digitized in a new way with a digital camera, light table, and macro lens. Here's how it came about and how I do it.

It all started about 9 days ago when I was discussing some things with other board members and the topic steered toward the quality of fiche scans. Previous scanning methods were discussed and eventually I mentioned how I digitized my own (non-comic) film collection, showing some examples of some 110 film (16mm) that I’ve copied, and expressed an interest in trying my hand at digitizing fiche. KingFaraday, who lives very close to me, offered to loan me some fiche to try out. (Technically it’s strips of microfilm, but why quibble with semantics.) If you’ve never seen a fiche card, or strip of microfilm, the image is very small. A single comic page is smaller than a fingernail.

It took a few days of experimentation to see how much I could magnify the image and how clear I could make it with my current equipment. Once it was clear that the results were better than the existing fiche scans, I had to figure a way to consistently and relatively quickly and easily photograph a whole book. Victory Comics #2 was my first test subject.

I shoot the fiche with a Nikon D5100 camera and an old manual macro lens of my grandfather's. On the end of the lens I've attached another magnifying lens from an "Opteka Slide Copier." The camera is mounted to a gorilla pod which is then attached to the frame of my green screen to hold it over my homemade light table. To get proper spacing, and because the gorilla pod has nothing to grip on the smooth round frame to hold it still, my camera lens rests on a stack of dominoes and a film holder from an old film/slide scanner as you can see in the pictures below.

https://s26.postimg.org/s2q9k7tdl/DSC_0208-print-750.jpg
https://s26.postimg.org/grnlvumih/DSC_0210-print-750.jpg
As you may notice in the first picture above, the film has a tendency to curl, meaning I have to hold it flat with a couple more dominoes to get even focus. At such a micro level, even the slightest change in focus will result in a lot of blurring. I also have to be careful to keep the area (and film) clean to prevent hairs or dust from showing up. Additionally, I try to only handle the film by the edges or with tweezers to avoid fingerprints.

After a little bit of post-processing in Adobe's Camera Raw and Photoshop, the finished raw image looks like this:

https://s26.postimg.org/5vw80i1kp/VC02_04-05-sm.jpg
I then send the raws off to an editor, in this case "a nonny moose" who then separates the pages, crops, straightens, and applies whatever other corrections they deem fit. Here is a comparison of the original fiche scan and the new photo and edits by a nonny moose and myself:

https://s26.postimg.org/5tccdnxx5/victory02_05-old-sm.jpg
https://s26.postimg.org/z9ryg34ah/Victory-002-05-new-sm.jpg
The process is still in the experimental phase, and I'm open to suggestions on how to improve it. I can see in my in-camera zoom for focusing that the images could still be a little bit sharper than what I'm getting, but I'm currently at the limitations of my camera unless I can somehow magnify the image more. I think that the current results are an improvement and easier to read. I don't know that fiche will ever be as good as a paper scan, but hopefully we can improve some of the books we have, especially ones that we may be unlikely to ever get a paper scan of.

-Eric
 
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 10:29:16 PM by Yoc »

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So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:57:44 PM »

Offline OtherEric

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 07:23:15 PM »
Just amazing.  Not as good as paper scans, but still a remarkable step up from a normal fiche scan.  This is something I can read for enjoyment, rather than the (still greatly appreciated) placeholder reference files that fiche normally gives us.

Offline bchat

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 08:29:13 PM »
Something is better than nothing. That being said, great job by both you and "a nonny moose" on creating a better fiche file.

Offline gafaicheng

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 09:50:29 AM »
Wow! This is great technology. Thanks for your labour of love.

Offline erwin-k

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 10:16:55 AM »
A HUGE improvement over just about any fiche scan I've ever seen.


Thanks for the time & effort! BTW, you cobble bits & bobs together like I tend to do.

Offline Yoc

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2017, 10:32:33 PM »
Thanks very much for writing this Eric.
It goes a long way to improving the final results.  We're looking forward to further developments in this project.

Good luck!  :)

Offline hunterguy

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2017, 03:15:12 PM »
Wow what a difference ! Honestly I always stayed away from those fiche copies - so blurry and hard to read - but these look great.  Thank You.

Offline bminor

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2017, 05:04:17 PM »
I have a Pentax WG-10, that has a fantastic macro feature. You should look into this camera. and it is waterproof!!!


Offline Geo

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Re: So what is this "NuFiche" stuff anyway?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2017, 06:17:19 PM »
Great stuff Eric (srca1941) that you and a nonny moose are doing on those fiche files is truly amazing. Keep it up on those, will be waiting to read the results on the site when finished. Thanks for all your work on those fiche files.

Geo
Filling holes, by ONE book at a time