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

Electronically Impaired

Everything camera related. Includes triggers, batteries, power supplies, flatbeds and sheet-feeding scanners, too.
Ann

Electronically Impaired

Post by Ann » 03 Nov 2009, 17:26

I'm just a dumb archaeologist who is comfortable building stuff, but I'm useless with electronics - my hubby, a much more useful archaeologist in this way, understands it much better than me. I believe I can take the great ideas of all of the folks here and build a portable and collapsible frame/cradle for our needs - thanks nalfonso! - something to fit in a somewhat large duffel bag. But, I can't carry around a TV with me and need to attach a laptop - hopefully a Mac - to this whole thing. So, I supposed USB is the way to go, not the RCA stuff from Dan's designs. I'm going for a version of the Atiz Mini and of course don't have the $6000 plus cameras $$ to spend. If any of you techy folks can help us with the electronic design, it would just be great. We've got a grant pending with the NEH where I wrote an Atiz system into the grant, but the expense of it pretty much means we won't get the funds. If we had our own system, our grants just might get funded - and we can loan out the system to other small non-profits that are in the same boat as we are.

Dan- I really appreciate your commitment to dumpster diving for this thing - just fantastic. We're all about sustainability and a bunch of stuff we have in our garage is going into our scanner, and we've got a couple of great thrift stores I'm going to scour for some telescoping aluminum. Thanks!

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Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by rob » 03 Nov 2009, 17:36

Ann,

You can take a cheap portable DVD player, and as long as it has a video input, you can connect the cameras' A/V outputs to the DVD player. It's preferable to make a video A/B switch so that you can switch the input between cameras -- just snip the end off the A/V cable that came with the camera (though NOT the end that plugs into the camera!), snip the end off the A/V cable that came with the DVD player (though NOT the end that plugs into the player!), connect the grounds together, and connect a switch to the other wires. No need to fiddle around with the electronics of a TV.

I'm not sure what you would do to replace the DVD player with a Mac -- my Macs, at least, only have firewire input for video.

Also, remember the Engineer's Maxim: Always plan on building another.

--Rob
The Singularity is Near. ~ http://halfbakedmaker.org ~ Follow me as I build the world's first all-mechanical steam-powered computer.

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Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by spamsickle » 03 Nov 2009, 18:47

I've built my second scanner, and haven't bothered with the TV displays either time. The LED displays on my cameras swivel and rotate so I can verify the page is in frame, and with manual focus and manual exposure, everything else is pretty much taken care of.

If your LEDs don't rotate so you can see them while you're scanning (which was the case for my first scanner, which used a pocket point-and-shoot camera), you can be a little more liberal with the framing, leaving enough space around the edges to keep the page in frame even if the book or the camera moves a bit while you're shooting.

Ann

Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by Ann » 03 Nov 2009, 21:15

Rod and Spamsickle - nalfonso gave me some advice on this - he uses a USB analog connector that he uses to connect his TV to his PC - it also connects to his camera, so the camera will send what it sees to his laptop and he can take the photo - I also plan to get a wireless camera shutter remote to take the photos, so that takes any need for a switch out of the equation. For what I need, nalfonso's solution will hopefully work since I will have to have my laptop with me anyway; I'll be doing archival quality scans that have to meet the standards set forth by a committee, so having a laptop in this whole thing is needed. We'll just spring for a Windows laptop for compatibility since we need one for some of our other field equipment and just use it for both. All editing will take place on a Mac, though - much easier. Thank you both for your suggestions! I really appreciate it.

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Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by daniel_reetz » 04 Nov 2009, 07:27

Can you explain what the PC being present has to do with archival standards? The cameras already capture their maximum resolution onto their memory cards, which will work fine with your Mac. Nalfonso's case (since he hasn't shared anything more publicly) sounds like he might be using the laptop just as a video monitor. Many of us have discussed using a little USB thing to watch the video on the laptop screen (I think the value of this is dubious, considering you can look at the little screens on the cameras, as Spamsickle says, or use a cheap portable DVD player as Rob mentioned). Rob is also right... plan on building two (of the cheap parts of this thing) just because everyone, so far, has had to tweak their design a bit to get what they want from it). Also, we're not that far apart, we might be able to work together, though my time is very limited right now.

Only a few Canons support a remote -- what models do you have in mind? (feel free to answer or ignore any of this; but it would be great if you had your own thread to document your progress!)

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Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by rob » 04 Nov 2009, 14:13

I think I can see the advantage of using a laptop as a screen -- you get to see the full image at full resolution before you accept the image. Sometimes I'm looking at the little DVD player screen, and can't really tell whether it's a good shot or not... And at an archive, you may only get one chance at a shot, or maybe you can't really make a second trip if one image turns out to suck.

In any case, I would love to see more details for the laptop solution. My scanner is not portable, and stays in the vicinity of my laptop, so I'd definitely be interested in this... but only for a Mac :)
The Singularity is Near. ~ http://halfbakedmaker.org ~ Follow me as I build the world's first all-mechanical steam-powered computer.

Ann

Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by Ann » 04 Nov 2009, 17:21

Dan - as for "archival" - I just mean, for the number of scans I need to do (there are 61 log books for the USS Essex in Washington and one in Annapolis that I need to scan and upload), I need a larger screen like a laptop to be able to assure myself that I've got a really good, focused photo of the pages. These are hand-written pages (that I'll have to transcribe later), so it's really important. And, once I fill up the memory cards, I'll want to, for organizational reasons, put the scans onto the laptop's hard drive right away - I'll have the laptop there anyway, so why have an additional screen? And, I'll want to check for quality assurance every once in a while, too. As for remotes, I'll have figured out all this before I purchase - I'm open on the type of Canon - I have to go by the guidelines set forth by Minnesota Reflections, the "official" scanning folks for the State of MN and when I'm writing grants, they have to approve of my digitization plans before I can get funding. Also, I'm wondering if I even need something like PageBuilder since I do my editing on a Mac. I've got the scans - why can't I compile my own multi-page pdfs? It's a built-in feature with Mac - or at least saving as a pdf is. Any graphic can be inserted into a Word doc and then saved as a pdf that already has OCR and is searchable when opened in Preview or Adobe - except for the hand-written stuff - and it uploads just fine to the internet. MIght sound kind of tedious, but it takes a Windows computer out of the equation. Then, that also takes Canon out of the equation - I can use any number of camera brands, couldn't I? And yes, I'll start a "build" page when appropriate.

Rob - once I buy one of the connectors - I've found them for between $18 and $45 - I can hook it up to the two cameras we already own since they do have the proper female connector that is required and see what happens - I don't see why it wouldn't work - both of them connect fine now to transfer photo and video files - and takes all of the other screen issues out of the equation. Luckily for the archival thing - if you make requests in advance and they know what you need to to, they are very accommodating (as long as you don't harm the documents, of course). The ship's logs I'll be scanning in Washington/Annapolis are bound, so I can to the whole thing at once and then request another. The Kansas City documents are of several types and they've been very helpful, putting 2 archivists at my disposal if I need them during the project. They will give me one box at a time, not just an item, which is standard for most archives. It helps that I've worked as the Acting University Archivist and a Special Collections Faculty member at my old university and have extensive experience in handling rare books, primary documents, and manuscripts. Most archivists know my "mentor" and he can always give me a thumb's up. But remember, the National Archives belong to everyone - they are mostly part of the public record and as long as you follow their guidelines and don't harm the documents, people have the right to scan them. AND, you are helping them out since they will never get to scanning the stuff you want scanned, and they can get the finished product for their web page just like anyone else - you are doing their work for them, for free.

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Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by daniel_reetz » 04 Nov 2009, 18:24

Ann wrote:Dan - as for "archival" - I just mean, for the number of scans I need to do
Ahh. Gotcha.
Ann wrote: I'll have the laptop there anyway, so why have an additional screen?
I see.
Ann wrote:I have to go by the guidelines set forth by Minnesota Reflections, the "official" scanning folks for the State of MN and when I'm writing grants
Available here for those of us who are interested: http://www.mndigital.org/digitizing/standards/
Ann wrote:Also, I'm wondering if I even need something like PageBuilder since I do my editing on a Mac.
You definitely don't need PageBuilder (it's outdated and unsupported), but you might want Scan Tailor, as it automates the cropping /tedium of processing these images.

A couple things I feel I should mention here. I've said it before, but the Instructable itself is quickly becoming outdated/deprecated (a good thing -- we've really made a lot of progress as a group). The basics are all there, but some of the specifics have changed. For example, we know now that the aperture of point and shoot cameras should be set to the largest value possible, and we have Scan Tailor (which works on Mac, Linux, Windows) to help automate the cropping/postprocessing stage. Consider the Instructable as a historic document, and these forums as the living document. There is actually a Wiki on this site that will go live soon, so we can compile all this new info neatly. For the moment the best we can do is use search and ask questions to keep everyone up to date... and this forum is just jam-packed with awesome, helpful people, so you shouldn't have any trouble keeping up with the latest.

As for cameras, yes, you can use any brand. But if you're going to use any brand, I'd try to find some that support a wired remote, so you get sure triggering. You could do it with infrared remotes, too, but it might be a little tricky to ensure they both fire every time. Also, most people here are using manual focus now and getting good results, so you should only have to set/check focus maybe once a book.

Ann

Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by Ann » 04 Nov 2009, 18:44

Thanks - I'm open to anything - whatever works best for focusing, etc - wireless shuttering or wired. Thanks for putting in the URL for MR - Marian, who is in charge of the whole thing, is pretty cool. I'll check out Scan Tailor - I saw it mentioned in some other posts, but hadn't looked into it yet. I do understand about your Instructable - tech changes so fast- and we've got some ideas of our own, soooo.... :geek:

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Re: Electronically Impaired

Post by rob » 05 Nov 2009, 10:42

But remember, the National Archives belong to everyone - they are mostly part of the public record and as long as you follow their guidelines and don't harm the documents, people have the right to scan them.
If only the Library of Congress worked that way.

(begin bitch session)

No, you can't take a camera into the rare books room. No, you can't copy that book from 1606, it has to go through copyright clearance. And then you have to pay us to copy the book. Yes, we have our own digitization project going. No, you can't volunteer.

(end bitch session)

Then again, I guess it doesn't help that I'm just a hobbyist.
The Singularity is Near. ~ http://halfbakedmaker.org ~ Follow me as I build the world's first all-mechanical steam-powered computer.

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