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Any ideas or suggestions for keywording this situation...

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Background - I have approx 20,000 BW negatives stored in 8 ring binder files.... approx 40 negatives per page.....approx 65 pages per file. My father transferred all the negatives into those files about 40 years ago... they were inherited from his father 20 years before that......I have exhibited my Grandfather’s original vintage prints at a few exhibitions with some degree of success so I am considering making Estate Prints from some of the material that has not seen the light of day for 60-80 years....

Current situation - I am in the process of photographing each page to make a contact sheet, using a light pad and DSLR.. So when I am finished, I will have approx 500 new “photos”, but each photo has 40 images on it. Is there something clever that I could do within LR that will enable me to home in on particular images.. .. Some photos have the same subject matter for all the 40 images... some have several subjects... I am happy to keyword all the 500 photos..... but before I do it, I thought I would just ask if someone has any left-field idea that could help in this situation.

I only have one catalog (following the advice I read in here) but if this scenario warranted an extra catalog just for those images (which would presumably allow a new set of keywords) I would be happy to do that.

Thank you very much for any input or suggestions.
 
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What a task!! and what an archive!!! wow.
Using Lightroom-Classic with those 'Page' shots (with 40 negs), my first thought would be to make 40 virtual copies from each page ( press [Ctrl+'] 40 times ), then laboriously crop each Virtual copy to show one neg only.
You can stack the VCs under the original page to keep the library grid somewhat tidier.
You can Keyword each 'page', and keyword each individual VC . You could place the 'Page' and 'VC' keywords under a 'Parent' (Archive?) keyword to create a KW hierarchy.
I am interested to see suggestions from others.:)
ScreenShot079.jpg
 
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Some thoughts:

- Photograph each page very carefully so the negatives align in a grid. Use Photoshop's Slice Tool to slice up the grid into 40 separate frames (see screenshot below), and use the Save For Web command to save them as separate files to be imported into LR. With a modern DSLR, each frame should be at least 600 - 800 pixels wide.

- If you have some programming skills, write a LR script that creates 40 virtual copies from the contact sheet, as described by I-See-Light. This too would require you to carefully align the negatives before you shoot the contact sheet and then photograph and crop each sheet uniformly (i.e. use a copy stand).

- If you separate the sheets into individual photos, either upload them to Lightroom Cloud or use my Any Vision plugin to automatically tag the content of each frame. This could help you find photos by their content. (Any Vision uses Google Cloud vision, which is generally better than the automatic tagging built in to Lightroom Cloud.)
 
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Thank you very much for your replies and suggestions.... there is definitely some food for thought there.... I don't think I can get the negatives sufficiently well aligned to slice them into 42 individual pictures (My sheets are 6 negs across and 7 rows down) . Some of the pages contain negatives that are quite bowed, and I am holding them flat as best as I can whilst taking each shot with my DSLR.

However, maybe a significant step forward would be to slice into fewer pieces - there is such a wide variety of subject matter - I am really just trying to get an idea of what I have....the contact sheets are not perfect for detail as the negs are in translucent sheets, not clear sheets - you can see from the random example below (date is around 1940) that all of the negatives are cut into 3 frame segments.... that seems to be the case with most of the material....my father has numbered each 3-frame segment, when he re-housed the negatives into these files about 40 years ago... these numbers were taken from my Grandfather's original repository, which was suffering from wear and tear.

I will carry on photographing the pages, and investigate the Slice tool - I don't actually have Photoshop at the moment, but I will look into it. Thanks again !

35mm_BW_File_B-32.jpg
35mm_BW_File_B-32.jpg
 
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Out of curiosity, I opened that low-resolution sample sheet into PS, cropped and rotated it, sliced it and saved the slices, and imported them into LR. Even though the resulting frames are tiny (178 x 164), Any Vision was able to do a reasonable job on many of the frames. If you post a full-resolution sheet, the frames should be about 4x larger and we'll probably get better results. Some examples below.

Also, if you place the sheets under a piece of glass and maybe buy a cheap copy stand from B&H Photo to control for reflections, you might get noticeably better results.

Also also, going through the PS experiment, I'm thinking a LR script for semi-automating the creation of virtual copies (one per frame) might be faster and a little better than the PS route. I could probably write that script in an hour or so.

Here are some examples of Any Vision:
1588436938336.png

1588436951666.png

1588436967192.png

1588436985405.png

1588437003205.png

1588437017965.png

1588437033057.png


1588437087067.png
 
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John - thank you very much indeed for taking the trouble to show how your idea would work. My set-up is a 400mm x 300mm LED lightbox with the negative sheets sandwiched between that and a sheet of clear acrylic. I have my camera attached under my tripod , pointing directly down. I use the 10-second timer on the camera to avoid shake as the shutter speed is quite slow. As I mentioned, the negs are in translucent paper so the images are degraded a little - but I don't mind that for the purposes of the current operation. It's important that the number that appears above every strip of 3 negs is retained, so I am thinking that the ideal scenario would be 14 slices per sheet.

Also also, going through the PS experiment, I'm thinking a LR script for semi-automating the creation of virtual copies (one per frame) might be faster and a little better than the PS route. I could probably write that script in an hour or so.
Are you suggesting that I could achieve a result without the use of PS at all ? (I don't own it currently) If so, can you please explain in a little more detail the prospective workflow in LR.

Thanks very much.
 
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I have just realised, after logging on to my Adobe Creative Cloud, that I do have PS .....as part of my Lightroom subscription - but I’ve never installed it !! :)
 
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A number of people over the years have asked for a feature in my Any Crop plugin to split up contact sheets, so I might take the opportunity to implement it, if you want to be the guinea pig. I think the workflow would be like this:

1. Open the contact sheet in LR Develop.

2. Use Transform > Auto or Transform > Guided to get the grid on the contact sheet aligned vertically and horizontally. (In your sample, I found that Guided did a little bit better job than Auto.) Guided takes about 10 seconds.

3. Run the plugin's Divide command. It opens the Crop tool with the crop set to approximately where the first frame was the last time you ran it. Manually shift the crop if necessary, e.g.
Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 11.38.20 AM.png


4. Enter the number of rows and columns, the naming template (all three prefilled from the last time you ran it), and the strip number of the upper-left strip (e.g. 1181). and click Go.

This will make a virtual copy for each cropped frame, all stacked with the original contact sheet. The copies will be named using the naming template, e.g. 1181-1, 1181-2, 1181-3, 1182-1, 1182-2, etc.

5. In Library, select all the portrait frames and do Rotate Left or Rotate Right.

6. Periodically run Any Vision over all the divided frames to get Google's labels.

The Any Vision labels and the copy names are all searchable within LR.

Options in the Divide command would let you divide into strips (three frames) or entire rows (six frames) at a time if you wanted, e.g.
1588444054492.png


But I don't think Lightroom Cloud or Any Vision would do a good job identifying objects in multiple frames. If you split into individual frames, you could get the strip number in two ways: via the copy name (visible in the Metadata panel) or by going to the original contact sheet (in the same stack).
 

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I have just realised, after logging on to my Adobe Creative Cloud, that I do have PS .....as part of my Lightroom subscription - but I’ve never installed it !! :)
Let me know if you want help with the Slice and Save As Web commands -- they're fussy to use and the documentation and tutorials I found were years out of date.

If you go the PS route, you could still divide into individual frames (rather than strips or rows) and stack them all with the original contact sheet. You'd find the strip number of a frame by going to the top photo in its stack (the contact sheet).
 
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John - I have looked at all the information on your website for the AnyVision plug-in and I can see how powerful and helpful it would be for a single-frame situation. However, for my purposes I think that the 3-frame crops will best suit the way I expect to use all the images after I have finished. So I am going to install Photoshop and see how I get on with the Slice tool (bearing in mind your kind offer to assist me with the commands, if needed)

In the meantime, if you decided to implement the extra functionality into your plug-in, I would be very happy to be the guinea-pig, and I would of course make a contribution for a Licence at the appropriate time. If you need higher resolution examples of the contact sheets, just let me know and I can put them into my Dropbox.

Once again, thank you very much for the time you have taken to provide valuable information and experience.
 
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Why don't you upload three sample contact sheets (the raws would be best) to Dropbox and I'll see if my proposed Divide feature will do significantly better than Photoshop slicing.
I have shared the Dropbox folder with you John, using the e-mail address I found on your website - thanks !!
 
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Here's a video of the prototype:
contact-demo.2020.05.04.mov

It's missing a bunch of creature comforts, such as remembering the last used strip crop, automatically naming the virtual copies, etc. But it should give you an idea of what I'm thinking about. It's definitely faster than trying to use Photoshop's slicing.
 
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It's looking very good John - I have posted additional comments next to the video.
 
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Thank you very much for the update John...
Regards.
 
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Several LR bugs later, I've got a new version of Any Crop with the Divide Contact Sheet command. You can download a free trial from here:

Instructions for how to install are here (but be sure to download version 1.7 from the link above):
Any Crop Lightroom Plugin

I haven't finished the documentation yet, but here's a screen recording showing how to divide your contact sheets into strips of three:

It's got lots more options than you probably need, which were driven by other customer requests. Here's a screen recording how to divide a sheet into individual frames with labeling metadata:
 
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John - it works really well !! .... Thanks for all your efforts- I have bought a licence…. and I will enjoy using it to help with my contact sheet project.
 
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