Optimal workflow with VueScan and Lightroom using Coolscan 5000

jh4wvujh4wvu Registered Users Posts: 169 Major grins
edited February 11, 2013 in Finishing School
I am looking for some suggestions on the best workflow with Vuescan for DNG/TIFF output in order to use Lightroom for additional editing. I am using the Nikon Coolscan 5000. I have been searching the web but really haven't come up with a definitive solution yet. I am really stuck on the Color Balance option....

Here is what I have come up with so far...
  • Scan Mode – Color
  • Color/Bit Depth – 48-bit
  • Color Balance -- ???
  • Color Space – ProPhoto RGB
  • Resolution – 4000 dpi
  • File Format – 48-bit TIFF
Any help would be appreciated...



  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,687 moderator
    edited May 22, 2012
    Chris, your choices seem fine, but will generate very large files if that matters.

    The best source of information about VueScan 9.0.95, is Sascha Steinhoff's "The VueScan Bible" published by Rocky Nook.

    Color balance is always tough, for me at least, as slides change with time, and what you really want is not an accurate image of your slide, but a corrected, better image that looks more correct to your eye - at least that is how I think of it.

    VueScan offers a number of choices under Color->White Balance-> including none, manual, neutral, tungsten, fluorescent, night, Auto, white balance, landscape, and portrait which can be tried. Since most of the slides I scanned are over 40 years old, I find I prefer to try to right click on a neutral grey in the image, or even the black unexposed rim of film around the margin sometimes.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited May 22, 2012
    the choices offered by VueScan depend on the scanner / driver and are not standard
    ea ; it does nothing more then the original Coolscan driver has built in

    me , i prefer to scan with all enhancement's switched off , or set neutral
    after all you want LightRoom to do the editing , not the Nikon software
  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,687 moderator
    edited May 26, 2012
    I do agree, that the file that comes out of VueScan ( tiffs for me ) do usually need a pass through Photoshop/Lightroom to optimize them. This may include further color correction, noise reduction, sharpening, or even selections and local editing. I tend to be demanding of my scans. Some folks might be satisfied with what I get directly from VueScan, but that depends a great deal on the quality of the slide being scanned also.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • colourboxcolourbox Registered Users Posts: 2,095 Major grins
    edited May 27, 2012
    The color correction is tricky enough in VueSCan that I think VueScan should be used to optimize the capture only, and a better faster app should be used to do corrections. Therefore...
    jh4wvu wrote: »
    • Scan Mode – Color
    • Color/Bit Depth – 48-bit with infrared layer
    • Color Balance -- None - batch it in Lightroom or Photoshop
    • Color Space – ProPhoto RGB
    • Resolution – (optimize for output size)
    • File Format – 48-bit TIFF

    In addition, if you designate the Lightroom auto-import folder to be the same as the VueScan save folder, the images will just show up in LR as if you were tethered shooting a DSLR and you can get to correcting as it's still scanning. Also LR (or ACR/Bridge) means corrections are non-destructive, easily reversible, easily batchable, and very easy and fast to revise slightly from frame to frame, in a way that would be so slow and annoying in any scanning software.

    As long as you do not clip the white/black points in VueScan, you might in many cases be able to rely on the auto white balancing and auto toning in LR to save time or at least get to a good starting point faster. Especially for film that has color shifted due to age.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,687 moderator
    edited May 27, 2012
    I do feel that the Lightroom 4 engine really does a much better job with scans than I used to get in earlier forms of Photoshop. LR4 has more ability to edit the image without apparent degradation with more noise than I used to see in earlier versions of Photoshop/LR.

    I ran several of my older scans back through LR4 and found this to be a pretty consistent impression over and over.

    I have not used the VueScan save folder as the LR auto/import folder, but it is such a good suggestion that I plan to give it a try with my next scanning task. Thank you.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • GarycalGarycal Registered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited February 11, 2013
    Lots and lots of work but I think I have a good workflow
    There is tons of stuff on the internet about VueScan and the Nikon 5000. The problem is that much of it is dated and VueScan has been improved, and so has LR. Here is what I have found for scanning kodachrome slides:

    Nikon Scan 4.03 works with Windows 7, but it sucks. Don't waste time as it crashes when using the automatic feeder and it really screws up on kodachrome when there are highlights right next to deep blacks. You get red flair galore. VueScan does a much better job on this. I don't know why but it does.

    As far as VueScan, here's what I do:

    1. Scan slides and save as RAW DNG files with no adjustments from VueScan. I use 4000 dpi, 64 bit RGBI.

    2. Use VueScan to reprocess these RAW files into new RAW DNG files. This will give you great flexibility in LR. You MUST "enable raw from disk" in PREFS, and of course do "RAW SAVE FILM" in OUTPUT. Also, you need to enable RAW OUTPUT WITH "SAVE", and Auto Save on the INPUT tab needs to be set to "SCAN". All these settings are non-obvious but critical. I do a "LIGHT IR CLEAN", "RESTORE FADING" and a manual color correct on each slide after hitting "PREVIEW". I usually click the brightest center of a cloud for an outdoor scene and it works well.

    3. Import the VueScan reprocessed RAW DNG files into lightroom and do minor tweaks such as increasing shadows or decreasing highlights as needed. I often set the color balance to "SHADE". I use about 25% noise reduction for my kodachrome 64 shots and that seems to help without softening the images too much. I export these to JPEGS in PhotoPro RGB colorspace, but you can use sRGB (aka stupid RGB) also. If you are going to want to view on an iPad be aware that the iPad DOES NOT COLOR MANAGE, so your gorgeous PhotoPro's will look like crap. Also, YOU MUST calibrate your monitor. I use the DataColor system. I have a PC on my Plasma TV and I calibrated my Plasma too and when I transfer the PhotoPro RGB files to that PC they look fantastic on the TV but you MUST use a slide viewer like FastStone Image viewer that will color manage the slides, otherwise you will get colors looking like crap as they do on the iPad. All this is avoided by staying in sRGB, but I hate spending so much time doing all this stuff only to archive limited gamut files!

    Bottom line: the key is that you are letting VueScan do some easy batch processing for you just to remove the dust and give a decent color balance. This allows for speedy minor adjustments in LR.

    Hope this helps!
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