Recently I have come to realise that the outcome of your analogue film image is very much dependent on the person who does the scan for you.
It also depends on the scanner they use.
For example, I use a flatbed scanner Epson V600 with the original Epson software. Apparently, it’s not a high-end scanner so the result is not the best. but they are good enough for scanning black & white film.Some Epson V600 users bought the Silverfast software which is said to be better than the original Epson software. But I don’t want to spend more money on film photography, so I am satisfied without the Silverfast. By the way, Silverfast comes free if you get V700, 750 and 800.
When scanner scans your film, the software rely on some logarithm to decide the best histogram. For black & white, V600 is sufficient.
When it comes to colour scan, V600 does a bad job. How? The colour is very off.
To save my time, I let the lab do the scan. But to cut cost, I shoot lesser colour film.At the start, I mentioned that the outcome of the film look is pretty much depending on the person who scans it.
Let’s say if you send the film to a drugstore (like in USA), the staff is highly likely to have zero knowledge about film photography. So I don’t think they give a damn if your scan is pretty and clean (free from dust) or not. They are just there to operate the machine and delivery the service.
That’s why there’s a thing called the ‘professional lab’. The staff in professional lab knows their stuff. In some lab, they even have customised ‘template’ for each customer. Meaning they will discuss with you what kind of aesthetic effect you like, and they will save the template for your subsequent visits.
Too bad, we don’t have such a good thing in Singapore.
Here, the most usual lab/shop people go to are DDD, Konota or Analogue Lab.
I believe DDD doesn’t adjust the colour scan individually. They take what is coming directly out from the scanner. Otherwise, how can their turnover rate be so fast?
It’s the same for all the express labs in Hong Kong and Bangkok. I have seen how they do the scan. Basically, the staff will slot the film into the scanner, once the image is loaded, they transfer it to CD and burn it out.
I have no issue with that. Because the outcome is nice anyway. I also think no matter how beautiful the scan is, if your composition or photo is shit, it’s still shit. Do you think a rainbow colour poop smells any better? They are still poop that stinks.Besides the scanner, the place and country you shoot also affect the aesthetic in some ways. We all agree that it’s the light. For example, the light in Singapore and other South East Asian countries is quite harsh. But if you move up north to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, etc the film image you got has a different vibe.
Then if you go to Europe, etc, it is once again a different vibe.
So, I guess we shall all focus on achieving mood and feeling from your photography that strike the viewer’s heart. Instead of going after all the fine details in scanning.
Vivian Meier didn’t care, or didn’t have the chance to see all of her image but her photos sing. Be like her.