2004 October 25

Digital ICE

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The one correction you should do from the Epson software is Digital ICE. Actually, you have no choice—this technology is a hardware/software combo that is integrated with the 4870 and can only run during a scan.

What this magic does is to scan the film with infrared light. This doesn’t pick up colors, but it does find surface imperfections like dust or scratches. These are then replaced in the final scan with color info interpolated from the normal scan.

Words don’t do it justice. Time for more comparison shots. In the shot at left, I’ve circled the most egregious dust and lint offenders. Even though this picture doesn’t have a lot—Aidan’s face is relatively unscathed—those specks are still terribly distracting. Apart from minimal color correction, shrinking to 25% to fit onscreen, and the pink circles, both scans are unretouched.

Image without Digital ICEImage with Digital ICE

Be warned that using Digital ICE substantially increases scanning time—from 1.5mins to 8mins, for example. So if you don’t see surface imperfections, you might want to skip it. But I’ve found that film, even if unscratched, is a dust magnet and quickly picks up tons of lint. Digital ICE to the rescue! (As mentioned before, I scan overnight so lengthy scans aren’t a problem.)