Digitization Equipment 2: Phase One

The digitization equipment I work with the most is the Phase One camera system and Capture One software. This equipment allows for digitization of a variety of materials, both 2 and 3 dimensional. I have gotten some experience capturing a variety of materials on this system, including newspapers, scrapbooks, and samplers. It is important to note that this is a camera, not a scanner, like the Zeutschel. The camera is attached to a stand and can be moved up and down to focus on a table, where the materials are placed. We then use the Capture One software to capture and edit the images. I’ve learned about white balance, coloring, and working with the sometimes temperamental equipment. The table and camera are situated between two high power lights that take 15 minutes to warm up to the appropriate level for shooting images. While this is going on, the most important thing to check first is the focus of the camera. Since the camera height can be altered, it becomes out of focus as it moves up and down, and must be manually adjusted. Once the lights are ready, you can take a few practice shots to adjust the alignment of the materials, and correct the color and white balance within the software. Once all the settings are correct, the software can be controlled to copy the settings from the last image and apply them to the next shot. This becomes incredibly useful and time saving for finishing the images later. The images are captured as a raw file, and then converted to the file type of your choice when you are finished with a project, which is typically a tif for the NCDHC. The software has the ability to convert to pdf format and run OCR, but the NCDHC has an alternative, more accurate program for that. We use a program called ABBYY to run the word recognition on files, which is becoming increasingly important for documents such as newspapers, that can be difficult to search through without that tool. The images can then be uploaded online and are available for use on the web!

One of the projects I did was create an instructional manual for the Phase One to help new student employees use the machine.  It lives on the NCDHC wiki so it can be a living document, as new techniques and tips are developed and discovered.


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