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OF AMATEUR FILM _ VIDEO SUR LE FILM ET VIDEO AMATEUR

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					                                                                                VOL. 38 No. 4, FALL 2004




PANORAMA
OF AMATEUR FILM & VIDEO                                           SUR LE FILM ET VIDEO AMATEUR




 The Publication of the SOCIETY of CANADIAN CINE AMATEURS / SOCIETE DES CINE AMATEURS CANADIENS (Inc. 1969)
                                             HOT LINKS                                      By Fred Briggs

                   Art-Scan, Jetsoft, and Teething Problems
     In the most recent PANORAMA , in                                                         There's always a "however"! Before
my HOT LINKS article on WinMorph &                                                        buying, I researched the reviews on the
Wax, I as much as promised you a                                                          internet, and learned that many buyers
report in this issue about a "Killer App"                                                 were satisfied with the scanner, many
for Home Video. Unfortunately, my                                                         were critical of some characteristic, and
tests didn't pan out as hoped. The idea                                                   almost all complained about the soft-
was to use Virtual Dub Filters through                                                    ware which runs this scanner. So I
Wax, because Virtual Dub itself isn't yet                                                 researched alternatives. You may
capable of handling the miniDV format,                                                    remember the report I wrote just a year
which most of us now use for our video                                                    ago on SilverFast SE, the excellent pro-
editing.                                                                                  gram I use regularly to control my
     Every time I tried to use the filters                                                Microtek ScanMaker 4, and LaserSoft
in which there would be the most inter-                                                   (the    company      which     produces
est, the program crashed! I spent sever-                                                  SilverFast) was the first place I looked.
al hours on this problem, and haven't                                                     Nope, they support 220 scanners, but
got to the bottom of it yet.                 I recently saw a 2400 X 2400 DPI, 48-        they don't have a version that supports
Unfortunately, there were other              bit colour scanner for sale in Future        this HP 4600 scanner, or many other
demands on my time, from preparing           Shop, which can operate as a conven-         HP scanners, for that matter!
Financial Statements for the Auditor         tional scanner for small pictures, but           I checked VueScan by Hamrick
and getting everything ready for our         can also be separated from its base, and     Software. This software seems to be
AGM and Eastern Regional Meeting, to         the working section can be laid on top       extremely capable, and they claim to
a two-week vacation away from home,          of a large picture, or a map, and            support 350 scanners, but the program
for the first time in ten years! I will      scanned directly. Both the top and bot-      is more expensive than SilverFast
return to the tests though, because I'm      tom surfaces of this section are glass, so   (US$60 for the Standard Edition and
sure that many of us would be interest-      you can see exactly where you have           US$80 for the Professional Edition),
ed in the promise: transferring 8mm.         positioned it in relation to the item you    and you are required to purchase a sep-
and 16mm. film to video, even with           are copying, and this makes it easier to     arate copy of the program for each scan-
sound tracks, at the same speed as they      scan sections that can later be "stitched"   ner with which you plan to use it. Same
were originally shot, and then removing      together to form a larger picture. And       problem as SilverFast, but it cost even
the flicker, hotspot, splices, dust and      the best part of this scanner, the           more, and with all the scanners I use,
dirt, and even adjusting brightness,         Hewlett Packard Scanjet 4600 (there is       that gets very expensive! Anyway, it
sharpening and colour correcting, all        also a 4670 which comes with an              was a moot point for me, because the
with free software. Sounds good, eh, …       adapter for scanning 35 mm slides and        HP 4600 was NOT among the 350
if it works!                                 negatives, which I didn't need) is that      scanners supported by the VueScan
     One of the items vying for my time      the "working face", which comes in con-      software. The reason given by Hamrick
was a new scanner I had purchased. I         tact with the material you are copying,      Software was that "the vendor
have been working for six years on a         is very smooth. This is much kinder to       [Hewlett Packard]
video history project, and obviously         those precious old maps than laying the
videos need more graphics than does a        map on a scanner and then closing
book, so I spend a lot of time tracking      the lid, creasing the map at
down historical pictures from many           the "drop" between the
sources. I have several scanners, for        scanner glass and the plastic
special purposes, including an old 300       surrounding it. (Actually, I
X 600 DPI (which now streaks colours         never did that: I removed the
above 300 DPI) Serial Port Mustek A3         lid, placed the map on the
EP scanner which will copy pictures as       scanner glass, and placed
large as 11" X 17", in one piece! I have     books on top of the map,
occasionally lugged this huge, awkward       being careful not to crease the
and heavy beast, along with a laptop         map, but it was difficult that
computer, to libraries, particularly the     way to always get the map                                        won't document
Lloyd Reeds Map Collection at                straight, for stitching.) The                      the commands they use, and
McMaster University, to copy old maps,       operation of this scanner is best            these commands are too complex to
in sections.                                 illustrated by a photo I saw, but can't      reverse-engineer"!
                                             find now, of a boy scanning the wallpa-         Enter the only other software that I
                                             per, on the wall!

FALL 2004                                                                                                      PANORAMA         21
found and considered, Art-Scan 5.0, by         Jetsoft Viewing Booth Pro 2.0, which           nicians were using an in-house devel-
Jetsoft Development. The list of               comes with it, or in your regular photo        opmental version with setup options
Supported scanners listed HP JetScan           editing software - Adobe, Corel, Ulead,        absent on the release version, so
4100 and 5100, but not 4600. However,          etc., -- with the TWAIN or WIA drivers         together on the phone we went through
at the end of the long list they did sup-      your scanner uses. The program sup-            some changes to the XP Registry. More
port, there was a statement that if you        ports SCSI, Parallel, or USB connected         tests. More failures. "Give us a few
went to the Scanner Manufacture's web          scanners, too.                                 days", they said. They would then send
site and downloaded the latest drivers,            There was just one rub: I couldn't         me a "fixed" version, and I had to unin-
the scanner would work with another            make it work! I worked on it incessant-        stall the previous version, install the
list of scanners, which did include the        ly for a few days, and I did get it to work    new one, and repeat all the tests - three
ScanJet 4600 (and 4670). While the             with my Microtek ScanMaker 4 (SCSI),           scanners and two computers every
cost was a little steep (US$90 for a           and my CanonScan N1220U (USB),                 time. More emails, more tests, more
download - -no CD), this one program           both with a Pentium 3 running                  crashes, more tinkered versions.
would work with a great numbers of                            ,
                                               Windows XP and the latter also with a          Finally, after they fixed several bugs
supported scanners, and it wouldn't be         Compaq Presario Laptop (Pentium )              that they had found, they sent me the
necessary to buy more than one copy            running Windows 98, but every                  third new version to try, with a list of
for multiple scanners.                         attempt to operate the HP scanner with         things to check. They wanted to make
                                               Art-Scan quickly resulted in another           sure that it was still broken before they
                                               crash! The scanner operated properly           went out and bought an HP scanner for
                                               with the manufacturer's scanning soft-         testing, so I spent a few hours on it, and
                                               ware, but with Art-Scan it would make          provided answers to all their questions.
                                               the Prescan alright, but hang up on the            I didn't hear anything over the
                                               final scan, and the only way out was to        weekend, but when I called on the
                                               use CTRL ALT DEL, and then reboot.             Monday I talked with a different techni-
                                                   After having exhausting every possi-       cian who told me they were all working
                                               bility there was nothing left to do but        with a new HP ScanJet 4670 they had
                                               contact the parent company of the              just bought! A couple of days later they
                                               faulty software. On review now it's            sent me another new version, and this
                                               quite clear that it's Jetsoft, but it wasn't   one worked just fine! At last. I congrat-
                                               as clear then, as there were several web       ulated the whole team and thanked
                                               sites selling the software (software-          them for their persistence.
                                               store.com,       digitalriver.com,     soft-       That was on October 5th, 17 days
                                               warenirvana.com, etc.), but none               after my first email to report the prob-
                                               seemed to claim authorship! The site           lem. And 17 days after that, on October
                                               with the most detailed information was         22, I received a friendly email from my
    It seemed to have many features -          scanhelp.com. That was where I had             contact, asking if I had experienced any
Auto Scan mode, automatic or manual            downloaded and bought it, and that's           other problems using Art-Scan with the
control over brightness, colour correc-        where I finally found an email address         HP scanner!
tion, select white point, black point,         for support. Now I haven't had much                I have used email several times
and midpoint, adjust the equalization,         luck in the past getting help by email, (I     before to seek help with problems, and
and the slope of the gamma curve, man-         once got an obviously cuckoo response          a few times I even got satisfaction, but
ual rotation for skewed pictures,              two or three months after I sent the           I've never encountered service like this
descreening to prevent moiré patterns          email!) preferring to talk to service peo-     - several technicians and software engi-
without reducing sharpness as most             ple by telephone, but I couldn't find a        neers working for days, and even buy-
other programs do, sharpening and              number, so I reluctantly emailed a             ing a piece of equipment for two or
unsharp masking, Colour Sync/ICC               description of the problem I was having.       three hundred dollars, to reverse engi-
Filter, a Vector Art Tracing utility, opti-        I was overjoyed to get a reply in just     neer a problem with a line of scanners
mized printer output with CaliPrint,           an hour or two, from a company whose           that the other creators of third party
and several other facilities that I haven't    name I had hardly noticed before -             scanning software had written off
yet had the time (or the need) to              Jetsoft. There were several emails back        because "the vendor won't document
explore, and all of this happens after         and forth, each with new suggestions of        the commands they use, and these com-
the Preview Scan, during the main scan,        things I should check, changes I should        mands are too complex to reverse-engi-
before it even goes to your photo edit-        make, etc., and I implemented every-           neer"! Most companies would have cut
ing software. There is even a batch            thing I was asked to do, all to no avail.      their losses and refunded my $90, and I
scanning mode that "allows you to scan         Finally I was asked to change a parame-        would have been stuck with a scanner
multiple images at different modes,            ter for which I couldn't find anywhere         with an excellent design concept, but
(color, grayscale, or line art) and differ-    to make the change. Somewhere along            really clunky software.
ent resolutions - all at one time!" There      the line of emails back and forth they             Art-Scan and Jetsoft are on the
are also some special facilities available     phoned me, (gave me their number,              S-C-C-A.ca LINKS Page, under
for Mac users (I first heard of this pro-      too), and walked me through some of            Scanning. They are at a well- deserved
gram through a Mac user who has used           the changes. This software was the last        position at the top of the list! Have a
it for several years). All this is available   beta test of Version 5.0, and had just         look!
for your use through a program called          been released to the public. Jetsoft tech-                      Fred Briggs

22   PANORAMA                                                                                                                FALL 2004

				
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