Correct NTSC Color on Scanned Photos


What is the best way to get the color of scanned photos into an acceptable range for NTSC output? The output controls on the levels filter seem to do a good job, but there’s a pretty big render hit. Any thoughts?

This is one of our specialties. We routinely do 3-8 minute projects that use still images only as source material.

To get the best product, we scan and adjust in Photoshop. We use M100’s Video Previewer to send the image to an NTSC monitor, waverform and vectorscope. This is really the only way to succesfully predict how scans will look on the air and make sure they are in within an acceptable range of values. RGB computer monitors have the ability to present much more subtlety than NTSC. If we don’t "send the desktop to NTSC" we run the risk of colors ringing, contrast images, or interlace jitter.

It is surprising how often interlace jitter is a problem. Tuesday we scanned several pictures of a CEO sitting on his desk, blinds in the distant background. I was surpised to see the blinds chattering like crazy in NTSC, even though they were out of focus. We can’t afford to wait until the end of a render to discover problems like this.

Since we have adopted this procedure – Photoshop correction checked on an NTSC monitor – the quality and of our work and efficiency of our workflow has gone up considerably.

I always set them up in Photoshop before they get into AE. A little experimentation will yeild the proper settings for your system. Usually all I have to do is open up the Hue/saturation dialogue and set saturation to -15 and lightness to -5. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but on most scans it gets me in the ball park.