POTW: Document Camera for Cels

February 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm

POTW: Document Camera for Cels

While I was at Ohayocon last week I bought me a couple animation cels. I've been collecting them for a while and both of the cels I got matched two series I like and already have a few cels. Out of interest I decided instead of using a scanner for the cels (and because I still don't have it setup) I decided to try setting up a document camera. The premise is simple; suspend the camera directly above document and take a picture. It takes a little more work though. For example you can see below what a natural light shot would look like.

Ambient shot of animation cel

Reflections galore. Plus the light in this is a chandelier with incandescent lights on a dimmer. Even at full bright they're still warmer than a standard incandescent lightbulb. That's why even with the white balance set to incandescent it's still a little warmer than it should be. I could have tweaked it some but I'm just using this for an example.

Here is the final setup.

POTW #6 setup shot

If you click on the picture and go to the flickr page you can see the notes I made about what everything is. In short I have my Dolica tripod's center column inverted and tilted so I can aim the camera straight down. I could have skipped extending the one leg but I would have hit the chandelier. I then have two YN-460 flashes, one at each corner, at 1/32 power. (note: there are better models than this one, I'd go with one that has a rotary dial). They're triggered by some ebay wireless triggers. They have an optical slave but I didn't want any flash to come from the camera. I then switched the camera to manual, set iso to 100 to reduce noise, set shutter speed to 1/250s to remove any trace of ambient light, and adjusted aperture till I got the exposure right.

I'm not 100% happy with these pictures. The light isn't as uniform as I'd like. I probably should have flipped down the wide angle screens that are on the flashes to help distribute the light better. Also since the cel isn't completely flat you see some shadows on the side. The benefit of a setup like this is if you were someone that constantly took pictures of sketches, paintings, cels, etc. Once everything is setup you can take one picture after another. Setting everything up to only take a couple pictures isn't worth it and I'll eventually get my scanner setup to put these with the rest of my cel pictures.

Posted in Photography.

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