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Fondo Real de Cholula: Digitization Workflow

David Bliss, MA, MSIS


Digital Processing Archivist, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections
The University of Texas at Austin
d.bliss@austin.utexas.edu

Now that Lightroom is correctly configured, and we have learned some key photography concepts and
terms, we can begin the digitization process itself.

Contents
Overview ................................................................................................................................................... 2
a) Set up the workspace........................................................................................................................ 2
Book cradles .......................................................................................................................................... 2
Lighting .................................................................................................................................................. 3
Deploying the tripod ............................................................................................................................. 5
Mounting the camera ........................................................................................................................... 6
Deploy the horizontal column............................................................................................................... 8
Adjust the angle of the camera........................................................................................................... 11
Placement of the documents .............................................................................................................. 13
b) Configuring the camera and starting the photo shoot ................................................................... 14
c) Photographing the documents ....................................................................................................... 17
Retaking photos .................................................................................................................................. 18
e) Editing and exporting TIFFs ............................................................................................................. 20
i. White balance correction............................................................................................................ 20
ii. Cropping and straightening......................................................................................................... 22
iii. Lens corrections .......................................................................................................................... 24
iv. Syncronizing: ............................................................................................................................... 25
v. Export .......................................................................................................................................... 26

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Overview
We will digitize the collection in order, starting with the first box, from front to back. We will
photograph two pages at a time, capturing both sides of each page. This will allow us to digitize the
collection more quickly. Once the pages are digitized, we will edit them a bit to improve their look, and
to separate the two pages into distinct images.

a) Set up the workspace


Book cradles
Place the book cradles along the tape guides on the table, which indicate where the pages should sit.

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Lighting
Deploy the two light stands to a height of 1.5-2 meters and place the lights on top, making sure the
fastening knobs are tight enough to hold them in place. Screw in the light bulbs and adjust the angle of
the lights so that each one shines directly at the facing page. Plug in and turn on the lights.

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Deploying the tripod
Pull the tripod legs out until you feel them stop. Open the lower levers and extend the legs to their
máximum length. Open the second set of levers and extend the legs another 15 centimeters, more or
less.

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Close the levers once the legs are extended, and look at the bubble level at the base of the tripod
mount. Make sure the bubble is in the middle of the circle, which indicates that the legs are evenly
extended and the tripod is level.

Mounting the camera


1. Press down on the lever on the top of the mount
2. With the lever pressed down, turn the rotating lever counterclockwise

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3. With both levers “open”, mount the camera by lowering the backside onto the mount first, then
lower the front side.
4. Gently return both levers to their resting closed position to lock the camera in place. Make sure
the levers return completely to their original positions, and that the camera is firmly locked in
place on the tripod.

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Deploy the horizontal column
1. Loosen the knob on the side of the top part of the tripod (right below the camera mount), to
allow the horizontal column to move.
2. Lift the horizontal column as high as it will go, until you feel resistance.

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3. Press the button on the bottom of the horizontal column and pull it up further, through the base
of the tripod where the legs meet.
4. After lifting the column through, fold it over on its side. Slide the column back through the hole,
about 5-10 cm, and rotate the column so the camera projects between two legs. Tighten the
knob on the tripod to fix the column in place once again.

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Finally, hang the counterweight on the back of the horizontal column. The counterweight is very
important for ensuring that the tripod not fall over, and should be in place at all times.

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Adjust the angle of the camera
Slide the bubble level on the top of the camera, and use the three knobs on the camera mount to adjust
the angle of the camera, so the two bubbles on the level sit between the lines.

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Placement of the documents
Double check that the tripod is level, using the bubble mounts at the base of the tripod mount and on
the camera’s bubble level. If everything is level, place the tripod on the table, along the tape guidelines.
Carefully place the documents on the book cradle, and place the Color Separation Guide along the top of
the cradle, on the opposite side of the tripod legs. Place it so that the guide is next to and aligned with
the support, without being covered up by the shadow from the cradle.

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b) Configuring the camera and starting the photo shoot
Connect the camera to the computer via the USB mini port on the side of the camera, and turn the
camera on. Verify that the camera is set to an aperture of 11 and a shutter speed of 13.

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In Lightroom, click “File” > “Tethered Capture” > “Start Tethered Capture…”

Identify the number of the box that you will be digitizing. The sesión name will be “frc_vol” + the box
number, in three digits (“frc_vol001” = Volumen 1, e.g.). Leave the “Segment Photos By Shots” box
unchecked.

Select the “Fondo Real de Cholula” template from the drop down menú.

The “Start Number” should always be 1 when photographing a box for the first time.

In the “Destination” section, select “Choose…” and navigate to the folder that corresponds to the box
number on the hard drive. Create that folder if it doesn’t exist yet.

Click “OK” to start the photo shoot.

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Before beginning a photo shoot, review these setting and fill them out or make sure they are correctly
configured for the box.

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Clicking “Choose” in the Destination section will open this window. Navigate to the corresponding folder
for the book, and click “Select Folder”.

c) Photographing the documents


It’s finally time to start taking photos! When you click “OK” and start the tethered photo shoot, the
floating Tethered Capture Bar will appear.

Place the first document in the box on the right side of the cradle and take the first photo using the
shutter release button, located on the right side of the tethered capture bar. You should hear the lens
focus on in the page and the shutter open and close. In a few seconds, the photo will appear on the
computer within Lightroom.

Click on the image to zoom in and review it. Make sure the page is in focus and clearly lit. Review the
histogram and make sure the lighting & color are good. If the test shot looks good, turn the page and
move on to the next page in the box. Proceed through the box in this way, page by page, using the

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shutter release button in Lightroom to take each photo. Lightroom will automatically name each photo
in sequence.

Note: It’s very important that each page of each box be photographed, in unbroken order. Both sides of
each document should be photographed. The photography process should proceed as though you were
reading each box like a book: after photographing the front page of a document on the right side of the
book cradle, the page should be turned to the left side, and the next document should be placed on the
right side of the cradle, its front side facing the camera.

If you encounter a map or other large page that must be unfolded, it may be impossible to capture two
pages (left and right) in a single photo. If it’s necessary to digitize a large unfolded item that doesn’t fit
on one side of the cradles, remove the cradles so you can unfold the page flat on the table. Both sides of
large objects should be captured, in order, just like any other page. Once both sides have been captured,
be sure to return the book cradles to their exact position, so that all the images align. The tape
guidelines should show exactly where the cradles sat.

Once all pages have been photographed in correct order, click the X on the floating tethered capture bar
to close it and end the photo session.

Once a box has been digitized, start a new tethered capture session for the next box of documents. The
name of each tethered capture session should correspond to the box number, and the photos should
always be placed in the corresponding folder on the computer.

Retaking photos
If a photo turns out unfocused or blurry, it should be retaken. Right click the image in the filmstrip at the
bottom of the screen. Select “Remove Photo…”, and in the window that appears, select “Delete from
disk” to remove it from the computer’s hard drive altogether. Next, before retaking the photo, click the
gear icon on the floating capture bar, next to the shutter release button. Change the Start Number to
the previous photo number, that is, the one that you just deleted. Lowering the sequence number by
one in this way will prevent the naming sequence from skipping any numbers when a photo needs to be
retaken, and ensures that each photo correctly corresponds to the page number. Click OK and resume
the photo shoot once you have done this.

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How to delete and retake a photo:

a) b)

c) d)

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e) Editing and exporting TIFFs
Once you have photographed an entire box, it’s time to edit and export the images. The images will be
separated into two parts (left and right) using the Crop Overlay tool as part of this process, and each
side will be edited & exported separately. First, close the floating tethered capture bar if you haven’t
already, and turn off the camera.

In the Library module, look at the folders pane to the left of the screen to make sure the correct image
folder is selected:

i. White balance correction


First, we will use Lightroom to make sure the colors have been captured correctly. Navigate to the
Develop module, select the first image in the filmstrip, and click the White Balance Selector tool.

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Move the mouse over the grey square on the Color Separation Guide and click on it. This should slightly
adjust the color of the image, making it more precise and faithful to the physical object.

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ii. Cropping and straightening
Next, we will straighten and crop the image. In the Develop module, select the Crop Overlay tool.

A box overlay will appear over the photo. Drag the sides of the box inward, until it surrounds only the
left page, a small portion of the right page, and a bit of the surface around each side of the book cradle.
In the “Crop and Straighten” pane, click the “Auto” button to straighten the image.

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Hit Enter (if you prefer to use the keyboard) or “Done” at the bottom of the image to apply the crop and
close the overlay.

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iii. Lens corrections
In the Develop module, scroll to the bottom of the tools pane, to the “Lens Corrections” section. Select
“Remove Chromatic Aberration” and “Enable Profile Corrections”, and then select the following options
in the drop-down menus below:

Navega hacia abajo, a la herramienta “Correcciones de lente”. Seleccione “Quitar la aberración


cromática” y “Activar correcciones de perfil”, y seleccione las siguientes opciones en las casillas que
siguen (they may be applied automatically):

Setup: Default
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
Profile: Adobe (Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM)

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iv. Syncronizing:
Return to the Library module. You will see that the first image has been cropped, and that white balance
and lens correction edits have been applied to it, while the rest of the images remain unchanged. Select
all the images in the folder with Ctrl + A and right click the first (edited) image. Mouse over “Develop
Settings” and select “Sync Settings…” (another option is to click the “Sync Settings” button at the
bottom-right of the Library module, or the “Sync…” button at the bottom of the Develop module.) Then,
in the window that appears, unselect all the boxes except for “White balance,” “Lens Corrections” (along
with all sub-options), “Process Version,” and “Crop” (along with both its sub-options). Click
“Synchronize”.

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This synchronization process will apply the exact same white balance, lens corrections, cropping and
straightening that you manually applied to the first image to the rest of the images in the folder. Quickly
review all the photos in the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen, to make sure no photos have been
cropped incorrectly. As long as the book cradle and tripod were maintained in place during
photography, the images should all be cropped correctly.

v. Export
Once the images have been edited, they can be exported as TIFF files. To do this, select all the photos
using Ctrl + A, right click on an image, mouse over “Export,” and select “Export…” to open the Export
window.

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In the window that appears, select the following options:

Export Location

1. Export To: Specific folder


2. Folder: Select “Choose…” and select the top-level folder for the box that was digitized (with the
box number, for example frc_vol001. The folder should contain a sub-folder with the same
name, which contains the Raw images themselves. We use this structure in order to maintain a
separate sub-folder for the TIFF images.)
3. Put in Subfolder: Select this box and write “TIFF” in the field to the right. This will be the name of
the folder for the TIFF images.

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Selecting these options will create a new folder for the TIFF images, next to the folder with the CR2
Raw images.

File Naming

Select “Rename To:” and select “Fondo Real de Cholula – paginas izquierdas” from the drop down
menu. This template will add “_a” to the end of each exported filename, to indicate that they are the
left side of each Raw image. To export the right side, select the “Fondo Real de Cholula – paginas
derechos” template, which will add “_b” to the filenames.

File Settings

• Image Format: TIFF


• Compression: None

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• Color space: sRGB
• Bit Depth: 8 bits/component
• Save transparency: Leave this box unchecked

Image Sizing

• Resolution: 300 pixels per inch

Metadata

• Select “Remove Person Info” and “Remove Location Info”

Click “Export” to start the export process. The process will take some time, since the TIFF files that
Lightroom will export are fairly large.

Repeat the cropping and export process for the right side of each Raw image. Once the first export
process has finished, go back to the Crop tool in the Develop module, and adjust the box to surround the
right side of the original photo, plus a piece of the left page and a bit of the surface around each side of
the book cradle. Synchronize the rest of the photos in the folder to apply this change to the rest of the
photos in the box, and open the Export window. Select “Fondo Real de Cholula – paginas derechas” in
the File Naming section of the Export window, but leave the rest of the settings the same. The second
set of TIFFs should export to the same folder as the first.

We repeat the cropping and export process because we want to have separate images for the left and
right pages in each Raw photo.

Once both sides have been exported, you will notice a new subfolder called “TIFF” inside the top-level
folder for the box, which contains all the exported files, with the files correctly named and ordered.

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Once you have verified this, you will have finished digitizing the entire box!

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