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Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

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morrolan99
Posts: 2
Joined: 19 Dec 2022, 22:46
Country: USA

Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by morrolan99 »

I want to try the archivist's suggested easy method of using the SORAA 00919 LED bulb to light up my camera scanner and the 60 degree beam spreader SORAA 00329 for my setup. But I'm very inexperienced with building things, and I'm not sure how to set up and power this lightbulb. I was kind of hoping there was some kind of existing desk lamp I could buy, particularly one with a flexible/gooseneck positioning and replace the bulb with the SORAA one with the beam spreader on it? For example, I would like to buy a light like this: https://www.displays2go.com/P-35753/Sil ... y&sid=1035 and then pop the SORAA bulb with the beam spreader in there. But I don't know what I should be looking for in terms of compatibility with the SORAA lightbulb? It's all greek to me.

Background: I'm trying to scan in hundreds of my own debinded graphic novels. These books were printed in the days before ebooks became popular, and there is no ebook available to buy for these. A lot of people here have in the past suggested sheet-fed solutions for scanning in debinded books, and that was the first thing I tried. But that didn't work out for me for a couple reasons: 1) the graphic novels have art/text printed all the way to the edge, which has glue on it. Even after scraping off nearly all of the glue, there is some left that gets in the scanner and can jam the feeding process. But you can't cut the edge off without losing content. This is especially a problem with large omnibuses, which often have lots and lots of glue and notches cut in the binding for the glue to bind better. The notches can get caught in the machine. Even with the Epson FastFoto, which was designed for photos and jams way less than a normal sheetfed machine, it still has many issues, and it isn't as fast or convenient to use as I would like.

2) the graphic novels are printed on very cheap, thin, low quality paper. When they go through the sheet fed machine, the rubbing causes dust to shed off leaving streaks on the scans. The automatic streak removal solution in the software that came with the machine, also crops the page automatically, and it crops off too much of the page, because it expects a printing margin around the content, which is often missing. This process is all or nothing. So using a sheet fed scanner requires rescanning huge chunks of every book that got the dust streaks or removing the streaks manually in photoshop. This takes a lot of time, an additional hour or two per book. Vacuuming the pages before scanning doesn't help as much as you'd think, and adds more time to the process. (Another half hour)

3) Of course it's possible to scan these debinded pages in on a regular flatbed scanner, and that's what most people do with these books. I have been doing that too. But I want to scan in a huge number of these that haven't been scanned before, or were scanned in very low quality. Scanning on the flatbed in 600dpi takes around 3-9 hours per book, and a camera setup would be significantly faster per book to digitize my collection for my own use. (Ran out of shelf space ages ago, have giant stacks of these books everywhere).

My camera scanning setup: It's very simple, since it's a debinded single page setup with me changing the pages manually, because that's the simplest and easiest. It's just an overhead camera mount arm that attaches to the side of my desk and points my camera, a Sony a6000, down at a debinded page covered in a piece of flat glass with a black paper behind it to keep the other side from showing through. The image quality is great, and I got a remote trigger for the camera. There is a target spot that's outlined for the page to go there, and the camera is zoomed in and autofocused to the page. The image quality is quite good, and it's fast, but I cannot get the lighting even and bright enough for high quality archiving. I was hoping to do something with the SORAA lightbulb. Ideally the light would be adjustable and clamp to the top part of my desk, which has a built in shelf that's 3 feet tall. Hopefully that would spread the light out evenly to the size of the pages (which are actually fairly small pages compared to most books).
cday
Posts: 407
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Country: UK

Re: Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by cday »

morrolan99 wrote: 20 Dec 2022, 12:08 The image quality is great, and I got a remote trigger for the camera. There is a target spot that's outlined for the page to go there, and the camera is zoomed in and autofocused to the page. The image quality is quite good, and it's fast, but I cannot get the lighting even and bright enough for high quality archiving.
As you say, evenness of lighting is usually the determinant of final image quality. Daylight, since the sun's light is parallel when it arrives on earth, is one solution, if generally not a very practical one. I'm not familiar with the lamps you refer to, dpc may well be or have alternative suggestions.

A possible different approach might be to use modern LED floodlights, the type used as security lamps. They produce plenty of reasonably even light and could probably be mounted further away to minimise local variation, ideally one each side, possibly mounted on portable stands. Another possibility might be to use some white boards, as used I believe in some photographic (?) work, to reflect more even light onto the page being imaged.
dpc
Posts: 379
Joined: 01 Apr 2011, 18:05
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Issaquah, WA

Re: Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by dpc »

Can't help with the SORAA LED bulb/lamp issue.

If you aren't able to get enough light on the page, you can adjust the camera to compensate (open iris, longer exposure times, increase ISO).

Uneven lighting across the page can be dealt with by a post-processing step that increases the brightness of the portions of the image that aren't lighted as well. As long as the camera and lighting doesn't change between shots, the same processing function can be applied to every page in a batch. You can photograph a completely white page to better reveal which pixels need to brighter in your scanned images. You can use the image of that white page as input to the process. ImageMagick and Fred's scripts can probably help with this.
cday
Posts: 407
Joined: 19 Mar 2013, 14:55
Number of books owned: 0
Country: UK

Re: Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by cday »

dpc wrote: 21 Dec 2022, 13:47 As long as the camera and lighting doesn't change between shots, the same processing function can be applied to every page in a batch. You can photograph a completely white page to better reveal which pixels need to brighter in your scanned images. You can use the image of that white page as input to the process. ImageMagick and Fred's scripts can probably help with this.
Isn't this something that you have done regularly yourself, I thought that as you mention the method regularly you might have developed a process?
morrolan99
Posts: 2
Joined: 19 Dec 2022, 22:46
Country: USA

Re: Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by morrolan99 »

cday, unfortunately I can't use sunlight, I live in a basement apartment. I also have the most time to do my book scanning in the evenings. Wish I could though. I am looking at other LED lights but I dunno.

dpc, It's good to know there's options for dealing with uneven lighting in post processing, but ideally I would have an high quality image that needs as little post processing as possible. But I'll keep it in mind, thanks.

What's the next best lighting? I've been eyeing those large photographer lights, big LED panels with a built in light diffuser. They claim to have CRI>95 which sounds good for color pages. And they have accessories that are easy to attach to my desk and position the light. I think they would have much more even lighting compared to just a regular flood light, but they don't seem to be too popular on this forum which makes me wonder if I'm missing something. I mean on one hand, I think taking pictures of artwork needs more even light than text, and maybe everyone else here is digitizing books that are mostly text, so they don't need as even light? Alternatively maybe these panels aren't good enough. The archivist guy does dismiss buying diffused lights as not being even enough.

I bought a cheap LED panel light to start with (small portable $15 light) and it's not great. Not bright enough, and examining the test photo in photoshop shows this small panel light has an ovalish hot spot that's slightly brighter in the center and darker in the corners. To some degree I wonder if the bigger LED panel lights that cost more are more even, or if they're all like this.
dpc
Posts: 379
Joined: 01 Apr 2011, 18:05
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Issaquah, WA

Re: Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by dpc »

Isn't this something that you have done regularly yourself, I thought that as you mention the method regularly you might have developed a process?
Yes, but I use custom C++ software that I wrote that performs this operation as the photos are being acquired and downloaded to a PC during the scan of a book. I wanted to suggest a way for someone to do this with batch processing of their images without having to write their own code. I think ImageMagick could probably do it as the operation is a sort of per-pixel white balance using a secondary image to determine how far to shift the individual pixel values.

dpc, It's good to know there's options for dealing with uneven lighting in post processing, but ideally I would have an high quality image that needs as little post processing as possible.
I hear ya. I too think it's worthwhile to spend the effort to get quality images coming into the processing pipeline, rather than do a bunch of hand-holding on the backend that requires a lot of my time.

You might want to look through the old posts here for posts from a user named "Misty". She did a lot of scans of graphic novels and described a lot of her process scanning colored pages and some of the challenges she faced along the way. Here's one such post.
cday
Posts: 407
Joined: 19 Mar 2013, 14:55
Number of books owned: 0
Country: UK

Re: Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by cday »

morrolan99 wrote: 21 Dec 2022, 14:21 cday, unfortunately I can't use sunlight, I live in a basement apartment. I also have the most time to do my book scanning in the evenings. Wish I could though. I am looking at other LED lights but I dunno.

What's the next best lighting? I've been eyeing those large photographer lights, big LED panels with a built in light diffuser. They claim to have CRI>95 which sounds good for color pages. And they have accessories that are easy to attach to my desk and position the light. I think they would have much more even lighting compared to just a regular flood light, but they don't seem to be too popular on this forum which makes me wonder if I'm missing something. I mean on one hand, I think taking pictures of artwork needs more even light than text, and maybe everyone else here is digitizing books that are mostly text, so they don't need as even light? Alternatively maybe these panels aren't good enough. The archivist guy does dismiss buying diffused lights as not being even enough.

I bought a cheap LED panel light to start with (small portable $15 light) and it's not great. Not bright enough, and examining the test photo in photoshop shows this small panel light has an ovalish hot spot that's slightly brighter in the center and darker in the corners. To some degree I wonder if the bigger LED panel lights that cost more are more even, or if they're all like this.
@morrolan99: I wasn't suggesting that you use actually sunlight, even if you didn't live in a basement apartment!

@dpc: When lighting was discussed in relation to Doranwen's David Landin-based scanner last year, and discussion moved from the type of floodlights he used to newer designs of LED floodlights, you suggested a different type of LED panel that you used? The threads are so long that haven't been able to find it easily, but perhaps you could comment on that?
dpc
Posts: 379
Joined: 01 Apr 2011, 18:05
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Issaquah, WA

Re: Easy SORAA Lighting for a simple debinded setup

Post by dpc »

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