Author Topic: adding metadata for film camera scans?  (Read 606 times)

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
adding metadata for film camera scans?
« on: July 23, 2019, 06:19:09 AM »
I know I'm not the first person to ask this, but I couldn't find a similar question on the forum.

How do I add metadata about camera model, film type, and lens to a file from a scanned film negative? I want to keep intact the digital acquisition source info (scanner, DSLR "scan") in EXIF to conform to standards. Are there any best practices or workarounds in IPTC, EXIF, or XMP? (e.g, IPTC isn't normally used for camera info, but perhaps one field could be used as a workaround). Are there empty fields in EXIF that could be edited? How would XMP be used? Is Photo Mechanic able to do any of this?
-- Mark

Offline Hayo Baan

  • Uber Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2468
  • Professional Photographer & Software Developer
    • View Profile
    • Hayo Baan - Photography
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2019, 06:30:44 AM »
You can of course use any of the fields you can edit within PM to store this kind of information, but I guess you don't want that. So you'll have to resort to e.g. exiftool to do so. I'm, however, not aware of any dedicated “standard” fields you could use for e.g. Film Type, but you could either store that as part of another field, or even create your own (XMP) field.
Hayo Baan - Photography
Web: www.hayobaan.nl

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2019, 10:33:44 AM »
You can of course use any of the fields you can edit within PM to store this kind of information, but I guess you don't want that.
Correct. I'm trying to prepare the images for a client that requires conforming to metadata standards. This means not using fields for a purpose for which they were not intended. (Except as a last resort.)

So you'll have to resort to e.g. exiftool to do so. I'm, however, not aware of any dedicated “standard” fields you could use for e.g. Film Type, but you could either store that as part of another field, or even create your own (XMP) field.
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the process of creating custom XMP fields. Are you suggesting this could be done in exiftool? How would the client read/extract a custom XMP field?

(Side note: I use Media Pro for my DAM/metadata tool, and currently have the camera information in a custom field. I know Media Pro has fairly sophisticated XMP features but I've never used them, and don't know how a client would extract the data. Perhaps I should ask on the Media Pro forum.)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 11:16:53 AM by syncrasy »
-- Mark

Offline MickO

  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 316
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2019, 11:51:32 AM »
This is more of a philosophical answer, but I used to use EXIFtool to add camera make and camera model to my film scans. I've never heard of any guidelines for the EXIF fields for MAKE and MODEL not be used to record the make and model of the actual camera that was used.  (I'm not saying some guidelines like that don't exist somewhere, but I think they would go against the spirit of EXIF as I understand it: MAKE and MODEL have always intended to record the make and model of the camera taking the image, not the scanner used to scan the film.)   Since there is already a "EXIF:FileSource" field where 1 = "Film Scanner" that was always sufficient for me.  There is also a "UserComments" EXIF field if I wanted to put more info there, I would suggest considering that.

Free free to disregard any of this :-)

Mick

Edited to add: If you're using ExifTool to add info to the "UserComments" EXIF field, you can then use the {comment} variable in Photo Mechanic to place that information into any of the IPTC fields available in PM. 
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 12:08:02 PM by MickO »
----------------------
Mick O
Camera Bits

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2019, 12:43:18 PM »
Thanks for the ideas, Mick.

My client, a university archival/historical library, prefers that I retain the digital source EXIF data for MAKE and MODEL. In other words, they want the scanner information. This makes sense because the provenance of a visual item is extremely important for academic researchers. But the client does not have a specific recommendation for adding film camera metadata, just that I use "an appropriate field for IPTC or even XMP."

Regarding the EXIF workarounds... I can see a User Comments field in my EXIF editor but I don't see a FileSource field. (I am using EXIF Editor for Mac, which is a WYSIYG tool and doesn't show the underlying code; I don't have EXIFtool. Yet). The only "source" related field is the IPTC "Source" field, which I believe is intended for a person's name (e.g., original copyright holder, agency, or provider of the image), not a device. Perhaps EXIFtool has access to more or different fields. (?)

In any case, if I use either the EXIF UserComments or FileSource field, neither of which is displayed in most software including PM, how would my client see/extract the information in those fields? (Assume in this example I won't use the PM {comment} variable to put the info in IPTC.)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 01:46:02 PM by syncrasy »
-- Mark

Offline MickO

  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 316
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2019, 01:55:24 PM »
Without knowing what the client is using to store or organize these files after you do the scans, I can't really say how they would see/extract other than knowing they could see/extract with ExifTool.  (Or use Exiftool to copy all the data from one field to a different field)  If it were me, given what you've said I would store the all the camera info in EXIF:UserComments since you can do that in Exif Editor for Mac and that is not a terribly obscure field.   

However, if I was told that is not appropriate for their needs, my next suggestion would be putting it all in keywords, which pretty much every software will show you. In fact, as I look at some old scans, this is where I would put things like brand of film, developer, dilutions, development techniques etc.   I can imagine some archives being very happy to see the info in keywords, and I can also imagine situations where this would be considered clutter.   

Picking either Keywords or UserComments to store this info would seem to me to give you flexibility going forward that most reasonable clients will be able to access at a later time. 

Side note:

One feature in PM that I find useful after this process is the Text Exporter. (File > Export... and choose "Text Exporter" as the template)   You can use this on a group of scans to create a .csv of all the metadata in a handy list.   Enter something like these PM variables (pick whichever is helpful to you) in the middle box:

{filename}, {make}, {model}, {lens}, {keywords}, {comments}

(Note you can see a full list of the available variables by clicking the Variables button right in that dialog)

And you'll end up with a .csv file listing all that info for your selected images that you can open in Excel or GSheets. Your client may or may not find that useful to go along with your deliverables.   

I hope something here is helpful

Mick




----------------------
Mick O
Camera Bits

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2019, 02:21:16 PM »
Thanks, again, Mick.

I'm leaning toward UserComments EXIF, rather than keywords, so I can extract the info as a discrete piece of data (for exporting text like the .csv list like in your example).

In fact, since I'm still using Media Pro, I will be exporting this type of info (camera model, film type, negative sleeve number, etc.) from my Media Pro custom fields to a .csv file that I'll then import into FileMaker Pro to make Avery stickers/labels. Media Pro is the ideal tool for that task. Of course, if I can figure out how to get that data into an XMP field, even better.

By the way, I am working with the client with test files to see if I can they can read Media Pro custom fields (they're supposedly embedded into the image), but I'm still waiting for the results. Oh, and I did ask the client what they use for a DAM, and the response was: "We don't use a single DAM; our systems are so complex it would take forever to explain." I didn't press.

I know PM doesn't have custom fields, but they'll probably be one of my feature requests for PM+. But I'm curious, if some of those EXIF fields are "not terribly obscure," why can't they be leveraged in PM or PM+ without the use of variables?
-- Mark

Offline MickO

  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 316
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2019, 02:49:37 PM »
But I'm curious, if some of those EXIF fields are "not terribly obscure," why can't they be leveraged in PM or PM+ without the use of variables?

Well, PM can leverage those EXIF fields (meaning: read, display, and insert almost any EXIF information into whatever IPTC fields you might want to include it in) and variables is the method to do that.  If you mean "Why can't PM change existing EXIF data?" that's because there are other tools out there dedicated to that purpose, EXIFtool being the most powerful.   If you want some data to show up in associated XMP, then I would suggest using an existing IPTC field and storing info there. The "Special instructions" field is not uncommonly used for "custom" things like this. Custom fields are an idea, sure, but getting any other software or client to read data from a custom field is probably much harder than just using an established field, IMO.

Mick

Edit to add: Here is more info about different IPTC fields: http://www.photometadata.org/META-Resources-Field-Guide-to-Metadata
----------------------
Mick O
Camera Bits

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2019, 03:30:55 PM »
Hi Mick,

You're right. I was speaking out of ignorance. I was probably thinking "display" not "leverage," but I wasn't aware that PM's Info panel could be customized to display so many EXIF variables. I knew PM was powerful, but I'm a newbie so I haven't used it enough to fully understand its metadata power. I agree that proprietary nature of custom fields is a drawback, but they can be very useful for private notes or other information. For example, Media Pro's custom fields have proven invaluable for info such as print size, pricing, etc., on my web galleries (information that I wouldn't want to share with a client anyway).

Yes, I've been perusing that photometadata website for the last couple days. That Instructions field might be a good workaround without having to use another piece of software. But I just hate to burn a field that I might need for actual instructions, so EXIF UserComments is still looking like the best option, especially since we are trained to look at EXIF data for camera info. I'm assuming the client's system can read that field.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 07:53:17 PM by syncrasy »
-- Mark

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: adding metadata for film camera scans?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2019, 07:22:16 AM »
Mick,

An update: My client just told me that its systems can read my Media Pro catalog's custom fields (they're marked as "User Fields"). These fields contain my camera and film info. So, as long as I use Media Pro for this project, I don't need to monkey with editing EXIF or cramming the info into another IPTC field.

I realize my client might be using a more powerful system than many consumers have, but it appears that reading custom fields might not be as difficult as we had feared. So I'll still probably ask that PM and/or PM+ consider adding a custom field feature. It can be ignored if not needed.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 07:43:22 AM by syncrasy »
-- Mark