Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Our DIY Scanner

Built a scanner? Started to build a scanner? Record your progress here. Doesn't need to be a whole scanner - triggers and other parts are fine. Commercial scanners are fine too.
Ann

Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by Ann » 14 Jan 2010, 15:47

Thanks guys and Misty - at least building the machine wasn't a waste of time, since the local projects we want to do (small historical societies) will pretty much let us do what we need to, so our lights are not a problem - and since it was so cheap, nothing lost. I did research at the NARA in Washington for my MA thesis in the mid-90s and the main manuscripts research room isn't too dark - the windows are big and high but do provide some light - I assume they are treated for UV (the Special Collections Dept. I used to work in at East Carolina University only had natural light coming through a dome 30 feet above the tables, and it was UV treated and worked extremely well for snapshots I've taken without flash. The supervisor I've been communicating with at the NARA has said that their patrons have used the NARA photo stand and plexi platen and have had successful results - no glare and useful photos. I'll do some testing in my living room and see what happens. I have an idea for a curtain that stands independently instead of using the big black couch cover I have now. I will take the whole machine with me, though, since I hope to scan the lone log book for the USS Essex that is at the USNA in Annapolis, too.

And Dan - nice article in The Forum! Good for you!

Ann

Re: Our DIY Scanner - Revised for NARA

Post by Ann » 15 Jan 2010, 17:26

Did a few test shots with just the cradle base, cradle, platen, and a tripod. I used our living room (excuse the mess - the machine dominates our living room) - & after a chat with the hub, we agreed that the light levels were comparable to the NARA search room in Washington we've both done research in.
CradleSetUp.jpeg
CradleSetUp.jpeg (29.16 KiB) Viewed 4191 times
Of course, we don't have lights on our living room ceiling and that will have to be dealt with because of glare at the NARA. But, the camera compensated nicely for the lack of light and black-out curtain. I did put the Sharpen dial up to max at 7 and added to the Contrast, moving it from 0 to 1. I'll have to adjust the Exposure Level if needed, of course, and the EOS Utility's live histogram will help me determine if the levels are good (thanks to Misty again for explaining that handy graphic). After I took the photo above, I had to remove the brace across the back of the platen because it cast a fuzzy shadow across the book. I just raised the platen without any attachments or hinges, and it worked well. I can take a photo every 10 seconds, the time it takes to take the photo, name the file, and save it to the desktop. I'll be backing the files up on two external hard drives after each log book is completed.

Here's a link to one of the photos of a hand-written journal from earlier today:

http://drop.io/9op6xij#

nalfonso
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Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by nalfonso » 15 Jan 2010, 17:45

Hello Ann,

Interesting stuff you've been doing lately. This is to let you know Drop.io is not showing the picture you uploaded. I downloaded the file, and it has extension .CR2.
I found out it is a Canon Raw format, and I was able to open it with Zoombrowser EX, a program part of the Canon Camera Utilities.

Regards,

Nalfonso

Ann

Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by Ann » 15 Jan 2010, 19:23

Hey nalfonso! Yeah, I know the site doesn't show the photo because it is a CR2 RAW file, but that's what I want so that folks like Misty and Dan can download it and look at the metadata and critique it if they want.

Your adapted design worked great for our "big" machine, and yeah! for the Canon EOS Utility Live View function - it's so easy. And Graphic Convertor for Mac is pretty versatile and was really cheap at $34.95, and the very fast iCombiner was $21.00. The other stuff from the Canon disc are sort of useful (Digital Photo Professional, etc - the Mac software has slightly different names than the Windows stuff sometimes - it has ZoomBrowser but it's called something else), at least for quick glances at the files If all goes as planned, I can scan 5-7 log books a day when I get to Washington and get my project done in less than 2 weeks.

I hope you've been well! :D

DDavid

Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by DDavid » 15 Jan 2010, 20:27

It occurs to me that if this system was mounted on a lazy susan
type base it could get both sides of the book in order. I can think
of a lot of problems with that also but wanted to throw the idea
out there. Registration staying constant being the biggest one.
Rotating every page post production being another. May not
work for you but it might be a good way for someone with less
demanding needs to get by with one camera.
David

Ann

Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by Ann » 16 Jan 2010, 00:47

That's a good thought, really. I will give it some some consideration. I would worry about the tripod moving a little, though, putting things out of focus. But really, a great suggestion. I can rotate the image in EOS Utility prior to taking the photo, and not just for viewing, but it would slow me down while at the NARA, and I have limited time there on the grant I hope to get. I'm actually comfortable with doing the "odd" pages first, then turning the book around and doing the "even" pages. At that point, I can change the designation of the files to mark where I start doing the odd pages, making it obvious in the editing process, and making it easier to change the names of the files to get them in the proper order without screwing up. I'm hoping I can figure out how to number the files like 001, 003 using EOS Utility settings, then when I do the even pages, I can start over at 002, 004 - but, I doubt that's possible - I'm still discovering all of the stuff the software can do. Thanks for the input!

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Misty
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Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by Misty » 18 Jan 2010, 10:57

One thing I noticed, Ann - did you shoot this using the in-camera AWB? The colours are very different from the last photo you showed us, which appears to be a page from the same notebook. If I use ACR's auto WB, both pages end up coloured the same - is that how it should be? If so, it looks like you might not be able to rely on the camera's AWB to get accurate colours. Canon's are usually fairly bad for indoor artificial lights, so it's probably not a good idea to rely on them. Of course, the advantage of shooting raw is that you can fix the WB after shooting and batch it across an entire set of files, so as long as you fix the colours in post it doesn't matter too much.

I don't think you can change the filenames as they're captured, but there are many free renaming utilities you can use to do that. Since I shoot in all-even/all-odd sets, I typically rename one to 001, 003, 005, etc. and the other to 002, 004, 006 - it doesn't make too much of a difference that I do that later, instead of at the time they were shot.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Ann

Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by Ann » 18 Jan 2010, 15:32

Hey Misty - Yes, I agree. It is too "red" - the histogram numbers show 5% more red, if that makes sense how I'm interpreting it. It's not horrible, but it is not a great balance. I would rather not have to adjust in post, and yes, I've been using the camera's AWB. Graphic Convertor's white balance/correction adjustments are confusing; and the manual is not of a great help, either. The Digital Photo Processor that came with the camera does have WB correction stuff and I can batch them to correct all of the files together. I would unskew them in GC and whatever else I need to do and safe them as TIFFs, then open them in DPP for the white balance correction.

What you described for re-naming is exactly what I want to do with this project - I've not been able to find the command in GC or the Canon software that will do it, but I'll look for a Mac compatible renaming utility like you suggested. I'm surprised that GC can't do it; it does a kazillion things, but it's WB stuff and a few other things I want to do are problematic.

Thanks again!

Ann

Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by Ann » 18 Jan 2010, 16:38

Hey Misty - In Dig Photo Pro I can adjust the RGB individually to get a better balance; I did this, save the file as a TIFF and then opened it in GC and the histogram looked much better - the colors down in the 70% area. In GC I can then unskew and re-save as a TIFF. I can change the RGB in batches to the same number in DPP, so that works, too. I'll also do some test shots without AWB and see if I can get stuff to adjust with the camera. At least I know I CAN fix stuff in post if I have to, and in batches. Thanks for your ear!

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Misty
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Re: Our DIY Scanner

Post by Misty » 18 Jan 2010, 17:17

Instead of manually correcting it in post, I'd recommend using a white reference shot. Shoot a pure white sheet of paper large enough to fill the entire frame of your camera; you can use that as a correction target later. The camera should have a "custom white balance" mode where it can examine the white paper and determine the temperature of the light from that; you can then use that value as the white balance setting when taking any future shots. The results aren't perfectly accurate, but they're likely going to be better and faster than what you were talking about.

The ideal thing would be to know the exact temperature of your lights and use that numerical value (such as my 6500K environment) for batch colour correction in post, but that won't be practical since you'll have to shoot using ambient light whose values you don't know.
Last edited by Misty on 18 Jan 2010, 17:20, edited 1 time in total.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

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