4 February 2014

Restoration of old photos/negatives

| carnardly
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We have located what look like film strips of old photos of a long gone family member. Well, it looks like a strip of negatives but isn’t like a strip of negatives that you hold up to the light, but rather like a strip of small black and white photos. They’re not in super condition and have some significant scratches through neglect and incorrect storage through the depths of time.

If we wanted to ‘restore’ these photos and get touch ups and new printed copies, is there anywhere in town that is likely to be able to do this? I have heard that Bica Prolab are good and knew they used to be in Garema Place. Are they still there? Not that I know anything about photography or developing etc, is it likely they’d be done via a computer and photoshop? Is anything done likely to be credible reproductions of these photos?

Does anybody know whether this is possible and or could recommend somewhere that is likely to be able to help us out.

Many thanks in advance

Carnard clan

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Hi Carnardly,

If you haven’t had any luck yet you can send me an email and I can give you lots of great advice. I have studied/work in the industry and do this sort of thing a lot. I don’t have time to give more info at the moment as I’m heading away for a few days and heading out the door now but I can reply to emails when I’m out and about. Best email would be justinsane@gmail.com

Maya123 said :

It’s probably contact prints made from a strip of negatives. If you can find the negatives you will get better results. From a contact strip the results will likely be poor.

Ah, that’s good thinking, could well be. When OP said looked like negatives, I leapt to thinking it must have sprocket holes, but if it doesn’t, then probably is that.

Holden Caulfield7:56 pm 04 Feb 14

Last time I used them Bica Prolab was in Fyshwick, but that was a very long time ago. Anyway, if you have no luck with them try Rob Little: http://rldi.com.au/

What you’ve got there are contact proofs of the negatives. Instead of deciding from the negatives which images to develop and enlarge, you’d develop the negative strips onto photographic paper so you could see the images properly, making it easier to view them (albeit still in a very small size).

The issue you will have, is that to now enlarge these proofs, all you have is a tiny, developed image. You’re going to lose clarity once you blow them up. You may be able to get some smaller enlargements made that still look ok though. A lab would need to scan them in, use photoshop to repair any damage on the photos, then try to sharpen them up to make a decent enlargement.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a recommendation for you, but I’d suggest that if you find somewhere that thinks they can do it, get them to work on one photo first, so you can see the results before you commit to doing more.

It’s probably contact prints made from a strip of negatives. If you can find the negatives you will get better results. From a contact strip the results will likely be poor.

Bica is in Kingston, they used to have a shopfront in Civic and I believe the framing store now in its place still does, but Kingston is the proper store for them to enquire about this stuff.

Sounds like what you have are black and white reversal transparencies, basically the monochrome equivalent of colour reversal (aka ‘slide) film. Might have been because of the original stock or process used, or because their duplicates made from negatives. Doesn’t really make a difference, just means they won’t have to be inverted when their digitised.

The proper method for dealing with these is to first scan them into digital, a specialist should be using a drum scanner, or at the very least a top of the line film scanner (e.g. Nikon Coolscan) but if you’re paying for it, you should expect the former. They should produce TIFFs (don’t accept JPEGs!) and then to clean them, that will involve some cloning (to remove scratches) and other corrections in Photoshop.

Unfortunately I’ve never engaged an outside party to do this kind of work so can’t offer a recommendation on any particular operator.

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