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Old October 23rd, 2008, 06:29 PM   #1
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Using photocopied newspapers for archival documentary

I am doing a short archival documentary (read 'Ken Burns' style) on a very small budget.

I am able to obtain photocopies from microfilmed newspapers from the 1930s. Budget and time constraints do not permit scanning original newspapers. I am not sure they would even be available to me.

The quality of the photocopies seems average. I don't know that the original newspapers would be much better. My plan is to scan the photocopies and then apply some colour correction to give the stills the look of an old newspaper. I am primarily interested in headlines as the quality of the text isn't great.

Has anyone done anything like this and if so, any suggestions on the colour correction side of things? I am using Vegas as my NLE.

Thanks!
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 07:18 PM   #2
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One way to "improve" the look of the photocopies is with Photoshop (or equivalent). Without knowing what the copies look like I can't give you specifics on what to do, but you could "turn" the paper color a bit sepia to give it an aged look, and perform any repairs to the image that might be required.

If you don't have PShop, Vegas probably has some color filters you can try. Never having used Vegas, I can't recommend what they are or which might be best for your needs.

Perhaps if you describe what you want to do with the copies we might be able to offer better suggestions.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:35 PM   #3
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Thanks Tripp, I will play around with the colour corrector. I am not trying to improve the look but rather I am trying to make it look like newsprint does after 80 years, a bit yellowed for example. My fear is that I may just make it look like a photo copy on yellow paper.

I'll experiment and perhaps post something in the Vegas forum for comments.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:52 PM   #4
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out of curiosity I googled "how to make a page look old antique photoshop" and came up with a number of free tutorials that help with the settings. most of them pertained to photographs, but the effects should be similar.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #5
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Photoshop(or equivelent) is the way to go, just have to play with the look.

Curt, where did you find the newspapers? Are newspapers always public domain? Only asking cause I need to do this myself.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #6
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Good question. I have access to the newspapers in our public library on microfilm.

I will have to look into the public domain issue. The papers I want to use date back almost 80 years. I will have to brush up on my copyright law. Mind you, since I am in Canada, the rules may well be different than in the US.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #7
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Three techniques

1. Make extra photocopies and dip briefly in weak coffee. Local stains can be applied with spot application after partial or full drying. This tends to give more of an antique than specific newsprint effect, but some experimentation may get you on track. It also adds texture to the paper.

2. Buy some newsprint, such as a children's or artist's newsprint pad. Use the coffee antiquing method or use a yellower solution by experimenting with dilute blends of food colors. When you have a look you like on the plain newsprint, scan it and use it as a blend layer with a scan of your photocopy.

3. Check out Photoshop displacement map tutorials on the web. It's a way of making an existing image map to an uneven surface convincingly, such as making plain block letters appear to be floating on the surface of a gently wavy pond. The procedure is not very complicated and would allow you to make a plain newsprint version with folds or other topographical features that your photocopy would then follow in contour.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 02:25 PM   #8
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When do US works pass into Public domain. from the University of North Carolina.
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