Electronic Image Issues

Comment by David Bradley

The slide pictures on this site were often taken while accompanying fellow enthusiasts who were using 8mm cine film. They would often 'pan' around as the trolleybus passed, and consequently I would generally position myself so as not to appear in their films. As time has passed by I now appreciate how fortunate I was in capturing very much more of the street scene of the early 1960s than was intended or wanted.

Whereas the last four decades has witnessed numerous film shows to trolleybus enthusiasts, and latterly the retail availability of the same films on video, the humble slide has lain unloved unless required for magazines or books. Thoughts of projectors, screens and a darkened room on a sunny day spring to mind! My, has the humble scanner and the Internet changed all that. Now the whole world has at its finger tips, access to many fine pictures on their chosen subject, not least of which is my collection of trolleybus pictures.

As a Cyber presenter I am truly humbled that so many have spent so long trawling through my pictures, my only wish is that similar collections are not lost forever through accelerated deterioration [due to poor processing] or even worse through insensitive disposal Occasionally collections are unnecessarily held back from public gaze in the belief of future monitory gain or simply apathy of what is owned. I am always happy to incorporate suitable material onto this site or to provide a hyperlink to any site associated with trolleybuses.

I originally considered sending my slides to a processing laboratory to obtain the electronic images but rejected the idea as there was small possibility of loss. Self-scanning was therefore undertaken by purchasing a CANNON 2700F Slide/Negative scanner which will accept either individual slides or a strip of film. Typically the creation of one of the pages on this site containing numerous thumbnails linking to the full size images has taken two to three days to complete where the caption information was reasonably brief. The site as a whole probably represents about 2,000 hours over a two year period - almost a full time job!

From: "Chris Cook" <C.Cook@btinternet.com>

As the 'Maidstone' pictures were obviously suffering from slide decay, I thought I'd have a go at electronic restoration using this method:

  1. Photoshop's auto levels, followed by -
  2. Intellihance Pro. This is an add-on to PhotoShop that is not cheap but makes correction of colour casts, low contrast etc. a lot easier than the 'fiddle about with a slider' method in the original program. Worth it for me given the bulk slide-copying I am still engaged on. Check out: www.extensis.com/intellihancepro - I think there's a limited-use free version. This was followed by -
  3. The JPEG wizard - reckons to reduce the size of JPEGs without compromising quality. And, PhotoShop does seem to produce somewhat bloated files sometimes - I've never quite understood why simply opening and then saving a file should increase its size [I know you shouldn't do that as quality suffers, but tried it as an experiment once I suspected]. Check out: www.jpegwizard.com - I think this too can be tried free but it writes a slogan on all the pictures until you pay for it. Fortunately it's not as outrageously expensive as Intellihance - about £35 I recall.

From: "Stavanger Bus Page" <sbp@red1.net>

By the way, I have been using the 'JPEG wizard' programme which you mentioned on your site and I'm very pleased with the results.

What I like about it is being able to compress am image while being able to see the results in real time on a full-size image [or larger]. The software I was using before [Picture Publisher 8], is capable of producing high quality jpeg's, but applying the right amount of compression was pure guesswork as the image you have to work from is no larger than a thumbnail, thus making it impossible to see the gradual deterioration in picture quality as compression is applied.

Regards Michael Neal

From: "Alan D'Aiello Jr." <adaiello@etal.uri.edu>

You have an excellent collection of pictures and I want to commend you on the quality of your site. I think that I know what is the problem with your "problem" slides. Most likely those rolls were not stabilized [usually the final step in colour processing]. I work as a photo finisher at my night job, and I have noticed that when colour print film is not properly stabilized, the prints that are made from it are usually quite red and the negative is quite green. This indicates that the film is in essence still sensitive to light and the dyes are still active after processing. It may take a long time, but the results over time will be that the slides will continue to fade much more rapidly than the rest of the slides in your collection. Red is one of the strongest colours and is thus the LAST to go, hence the uneven colour cast on the images. After asking a friend of mine who works more with slide film than myself about it and showing him the images, he concurred.

Unfortunately, other than digital retouching in PhotoShop, I have no solution to the problem. I thought that you might be interested in what caused the situation though.

I have done some work on a few of the Brighton Trolley Bus pictures, with the results shown on the Brighton page. I completely removed the color of the sky in these pictures and replaced it with a more accurate tint. I don't think that it is too apparent that I took that approach [hopefully!] and I increased the colour saturation of most of the pictures. Please let me know what you think! Also, if you have any other Brighton slides that you want someone to take a crack at, I would love to try. Especially if you have any pictures of T-buses on the King's Road near the Palace Pier, or over by the Royal Pavilion. I was in Brighton about a year ago and I found it to be a beautiful place and I would love to see more pictures from its past.

From: "Bruce Lake" <bruce.lake@vizzavi.net>

Some background notes on the video clip that is part of the Sandtoft Transport Centre Picture Gallery page. Windows Movie Maker [WMM] was used which is bundled with Windows ME. Downloading directly from the digital video was considered unsuccessful due to the staggering large file sizes created - 103.5Mb for only a minute's worth of video! These would be completely unusable on a website since download times wood be excessive.

While ME said there was a format specifically for web pages and e-mails, it didn't say how to use it! So the videos were copied into WMM and after a lot of experimentation acceptable file sizes of sub 1000Kb were achieved. Still a bit big, but any less and the view would be so poor as to be worthless.

Adding sound was considered but this would increase the file size making the video clips unusable for WEB use. Uploading the created Windows Media Audio/Video file was troublesome requiring the use of DOS ftp or directly from VMM. The software includes some simple editing facilities like splitting up videos and combining them.