High-stability digital facsimiles are created to exacting visual standards to match the original, in a side-by-side comparison. Expertise is based on decades of film and digital imaging experience. Facsimiles can be made from flat art (works on paper and photographs), documents, hanging scrolls, posters and books. Only the best technology is used, such the BetterLight scanback and tabloid sized scanners for capture, and, an Epson Stylus Pro printer featuring Ultrachrome light-stable pigment-based inks for the facsimile.
The original is illuminated to yield the artifact’s natural 3-D texture. Striking the right balance between even illumination and "lighting for texture" is the key to the process. The information on artifact texture is recorded in the image capture, rather than in the texture of the paper used for printing.
One of the great advantages of our service is that a Conservation professional is always responsible for the artifact's management, digital capture and storage. Safety is always assured. This is a critical issue when prolonged exposure to light and improper mounting for photographic capture can result in damage.
Please make an appointment (510-594-8277) to visit the studio to see examples of past projects.
There are four primary reasons for creating facsimiles:
- Create a copy so that the original can be saved from excessive handling and travel
- Problematic display conditions, such as high levels of light, temperature and humidity
- Original is not required for a specific exhibition
- Restoration of the original would be complex, dangerous or expensive; work is done as digital restoration on a surrogate
Facsimiles Replace the Original on Display
One of the advantages of digital facsimiles is that they can be sacrificed on display in the place of the original. Colorants will fade when exposed to light and paper yellows and degrades more quickly in high humidity and temperature. Works on paper and many photographs should not be on display for over 3 months at a time, nor should they be displayed in harsh environments. This is especially useful to collectors and institutions that wish to display art works or documents for prolonged periods (6-months to years), at high light levels (above 50 Lux) or at extremes of temperature and humidity in uncontrolled spaces.
A document, artwork or photograph can be damaged beyond the capabilities of physical conservation treatment or beyond funds allotted for the artifact. In addition, the treatment for some types of damage may be too dangerous to perform on the original. Digital capture and restoration is a valid option. This is especially true when the original is in the hands of a conservator who considers its preservation of the original is the primary motivation. Years of experience treating original artworks, assures a sympathetic digital restoration as well as in informed discussion of the various options between conservation treatment and digital restoration.
Recreation of Historic Wallpaper
One of our specialties is the recreation of historic wallpaper. Generally, this involves the digital capture of the “design’s” repeat-unit from the remnants of the original wallpaper. The repeat unit is digitally restored and composited into long panels, which can be hung on a wall. Sometimes the wallpaper panel to be recreated is composite from several dispirit wallpaper panels that are damaged, while still somewhat intact, showing valuable historic use and ware patterns that need to preserved. Careful digital restoration, while leaving signs of historic use and ware is usually accomplished by interaction with curators and architects. Work of this type has been done for the Yin Yu Tang house at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and the Louise May Alcott Home (Orchard House) in Concord, MA. Please make an appointment (510-594-8277) to visit the studio and see examples of these projects.
Historic Still Film
Migration to Digital
Still film images have an inherent resolution based on their age, film type and lens. The goal of our technique is to determine the probable on-film resolution and scan the image at 2-3 times that resolution, so the bandwidth of the digital capture will be beyond the Nyquist sampling rate for that film element; see Predicting Historic Film Resolution. Use of 16-bit capture allows for safe manipulation of the image should it be faded or degraded. The final tool for superior digital captures is wet mounting. The negative is immersed in a thin layer of a benign organic solvent, such as Stoddard's solvent, so that scratches and dust that have accumulated on the historic materials are eliminated or reduced significantly. Additionally, older film may have one or more very rough surfaces due to deterioration, or one surface may have been intended for retouching. All scratches and surface roughness scatter light, which reduces contrast and image density. Enveloping the film in a liquid cocoon reduces light scattering markedly and also serves to flatten the film so that maximum sharpness can be obtained over the entire image.
Color and B&W still film and glass plate negative are scanned using a Kodak 1A Step wedge (3.05D) as an internal standard. Faults in historic films such as of channeled in acetate film and deteriorated nitrate negatives can be recovered to the limits of their physical possibilities. Special methods have been developed to compensate for portions of negatives stuck to envelopes. Output is to digital file (HDD or DVD±R); inkjet prints (1440 dpi at 2.2 Dmax) and digital to film (LVT). Full range of digital restoration and compensation techniques are available for damage and loss. All procedures are based on strict conservation standards.