The start of a new year is a good time to refresh ourselves, our systems, and our workflows as we return to our offices, wherever they may be! Each year, we make a few suggestions for digitization housekeeping tasks — tasks that are important, but only need to be completed intermittently. Here are the top items we suggest this year!
February 10, 2021 UPDATE: We updated this article to include live demonstrations of the following products.
1) Create Custom Color Profiles
Color accuracy is important for all photography, but particularly critical in Cultural Heritage and Commercial Reprographic work. Generating proper color profiles is the only way to ensure that your camera systems are accurate and consistent with one another, and that your displays are faithfully reproducing the objects you’re working with. Particularly important in a year where remote work is more common, ensuring that photographers, operators, editors, curators, conservators, and administrators are all seeing the same colors, tones, and details is paramount.
Fortunately, generating color profiles for cameras and displays is incredibly simple, thanks to our friends over at BasICColor! Simply capture an image of a target, drag and drop, and BasICColor Input will handle everything for you. And with a simple display profiler, BasICColor Display does the same for your monitors!
The software and processes are completely device-agnostic — whether you’re using a Phase One Camera or a DSLR, a Windows machine or a Mac, or an Eizo or simpler monitor, BasICColor software makes achieving color accuracy and consistency easier than ever.
We walk you through creating custom profiles in the video below!
2) Refresh Your Targets
Image targets, both object-level and device-level, are another critical part of the imaging process, as they contain our references for device profiling and image quality validation. While they are designed to be durable, traditional targets do wear over time, and should be replaced regularly.
Simple targets like the Colorchecker SG are available from DT, as are more advanced targets like the ISA object-level and device-level targets.
However, a new type of target, the DT Next Generation Target (NGT), is an exception to the rule — designed specifically for archival work, incorporating common Cultural Heritage colors in alongside the traditional color patches, the patches of the target are encapsulated in a carefully selected transparent film, making the target resistant to wear, and simple to clean. Learn more about the DT NGT here.
3) Calibrate Your Monitor
Your monitor is your primary window into the look and feel of the images you are making; if it’s out of calibration, it’s like looking at your images with slightly tinted sunglasses.
The human vision system is amazingly good at adapting to incorrect tone and color, but it’s not perfect. If you haven’t calibrated recently you’re likely fine-tuning your images slightly differently than you did in the past. We recommend switching to an Eizo monitor; in addition to being a fantastically spec’d matte-screen purpose-made monitor, all current CG and CS Eizos have calibration hardware and software built-in to the monitor itself. An Eizo wakes up overnight, calibrates itself, and turns itself back off again. You don’t have to remember, which means you’ll never forget, and you don’t have to do anything, so you’ll never put it off again.
But if you’re still schlepping a calibration puck the old-fashion way, then dig it out, put it on the monitor, and get calibrating! It’s a new year; your monitor should be accurate!
4) Clean Your Gear
It’s easy to use a lens wipe or blow dust off your sensor prior to a shoot, but these are “light” cleaning routines. Much like your house, routine light cleanings only go so far, and every once in a while you should be doing a really deep cleaning.
With the rollover of the calendar, take this as a chance to do a deep clean of all your critical gear. Clean your workspace thoroughly of dust and potential contaminants, get out all of the relevant equipment, and then systematically clean each component, inside and out. Electrical contacts can be cleaned with a (new/clean) pencil eraser and isopropyl alcohol; the inside of camera bodies can be cleaned out with a blower bulb, sensors can be cleaned with sensor cleaning solution, camera bodies and lenses should be cleaned according to the instructions of the manufacturer as it depends somewhat on the material of construction (for example, some rubbers should not be cleaned with alcohol).
Our MaxRESOLUTION members receive expert deep cleanings on their Phase One gear which also includes special dispensation of replacement components such as port covers, gaskets, and sync ports – you can contact your representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
We walk you through cleaning your digital back step by step in the video below:
5) Check Your Software & Firmware Versions
When you get busy with work or life, a firmware or software update (or two… or many…), can slip by unnoticed. While there is a certain elegance to the mantra “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” that mentality can also cause you to miss out on useful improvements and important bug fixes.
For example, in November 2020 firmware updates for the iXG and iXH reprographic camera systems optimized the autofocus system while maintaining the extremely precise sensitivity of the platform’s focus motors while improving acquisition speed across the board.
If you’re a DT client don’t hesitate to call with any questions you have about any software version, firmware version, or operating system; we’re here to help!
6) Set Your Standards High!
So you’ve got brand new targets, your cameras and displays are calibrated, and you’re ready to start your new project…but how do you prove that your image quality is where it needs to be? Whether you’re keeping records for internal purposes, or sharing proof-of-quality to clients, image quality analysis software is a critical tool in any professional’s workflow, and GoldenThread Software Suite is the (pardon the pun) gold standard in the cultural heritage world! With support for FADGI, Metamorfoze, ISO 19264, and custom user standards, it’s the final tool you’ll need to make sure your systems are primed and ready for a productive year! Learn more about GoldenThread here.
With all this accomplished so early in the year – you’re setting yourself up for success for all the projects to come! As always, if we can be of any assistance please contact us.