Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Digital ICE

Digital ICE is a technology which works specifically with transparent and semi-transparent materials like photographic film. It fairly reliably reduces or eliminates dust, scratches, and dirt that would be otherwise visible in a scanned image, without loss of quality of the underlying image. It uses a combination of hardware and software, so it's generally integrated into a slide or transparency scanner, much like the one we use here in the lab. It's not something you can simply download for your existing scanner. Also, because of the way it works, it does not have an effect on scans of opaque objects like photographic prints.

Here's a real-life example:

This is a crop from a scan of a slide taken in the 1960s. On the left, you can see all of the dirt, mold, dust, etc. that has accumulated on the surface of the film. This would be nearly impossible--or ridiculously time-consuming at the very least--to clean up in Photoshop. But the right-hand image shows you that turning on Digital ICE cleans up the dirt almost magically.

There are a couple of small drawbacks to Digital ICE. The first is that it slows down the scanning process. The second is that you will notice a slight decrease in sharpness, but nothing that can't be easily rectified in Photoshop with unsharp mask.

You can turn Digital ICE on in Nikon Scan before you start scanning slides. Ask the lab consultant on duty if you need help.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Poster Printing at the Biomedical Library!

Very exciting news! The printer is open to Penn faculty, students, staff, UPHS staff, and affiliates. The poster printing service is intended for professional posters only, with priority given to scientific posters. Staff is available to print your poster, but will not provide design, formatting, or editing services.

Printing posters at Biomed is very similar to printing them here (same pricing, software, equipment, etc.), with a couple notable exceptions:
  • Printing is by appointment only, which means you no longer need to wake up before dawn just to make sure you're one of the first 7 who need posters that day!
  • You can pay with a credit card or with a budget number in addition to PennCash and departmental copy cards!
And of course, it's much more conveniently located for those of you already over at the Medical, Vet, and Dental Schools, or one of the hospitals.

To make an appointment, contact the Biomedical Library Reference Desk by email ( or call (215-898-5818) or drop by between 11am and 6pm weekdays Use the online form at

See the full announcement at, where you can also find a link to their FAQ.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


What: Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival (GPSFF)

Submission Deadlines: Regular submission ends February 1, 2009. This is about two weeks after school begins. There is no submission fee for regular submission.

Late submission is from February 2nd - February 13, 2009 at 5pm. There is a $10 submission fee.

All submissions must be dropped off or mailed to Cinema Studies Program - 209A Fisher-Bennett Hall - 3340 Walnut Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Anything under 15 minutes that has been made since February 15, 2008 is eligible. All submittants must be registered at a four year college or university in the Philadelphia metropolitan region.

Please make sure to visit in order to fill out a submission form and see other relevant submission information.

This is a chance to get your work seen in front of over 500+ students from around the Philadelphia region in addition to judges who work in the film industry. We also partner with to distribute your film online and host the film for viewing on our website. Winners receive a trophy engaged with their name.

Film Categories: Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Animation, and Experimental.

Format: Submissions should be Quicktime Movie Files burned onto a data DVD. Please do not encode the DVD.

GPSFF Connect: This service allows you to find crew, composers, actors, and editors for your films. It also has opportunities if you simply want to get involved in film projects. A great way to find work on film productions across the city.

GPSFF Watch: Watch the winners and finalists from our past three festivals!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Backward Compatibility

Hi guys. Now that Adobe's CS4 software is out, we're starting to see people show up with files created on the newer versions that don't open up properly in the CS3 version that we have here in the lab. Especially InDesign.

To the best of my knowledge, most of the labs on campus (including the Libraries, the School of Design, and the School of Arts and Sciences) are not upgrading to CS4 until at least this summer. In the meantime, if you create files in any of the CS4 software on your own computer, and you plan to work on it in a campus computer lab, you might want to save a copy in the older file format as well to avoid any problems.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inaugural Events Viewing

The Library is opening the Class of 1955 Conference Room (2nd floor West, just outside of Lippincott Library) for anyone who would like to view the Presidential inauguration. The room will open for viewing at 10am on Tuesday, January 20.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Green IT Website

The University's Green Computing site has been updated and expanded. Check it out for tips on saving money and energy, extending the life of your electronic equipment, safely disposing of e-waste, and more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Poster Printer Prices

Starting today, we will be charging $0.02 per square inch inch for poster printing. So if your poster is 24 inches by 36 inches, the charge would be $0.02 x 24x 36 = $17.28.

Additionally, we are now required to charge 7% tax for posters which are not school-related. Most posters printed in the lab are exempt from this tax. Examples of tax-exempt posters are posters for class assignments, for academic conferences, for student groups, for official dorm or college house activities, or for sports teams/events.

Posters for which we charge tax include posters for a birthday party, posters to hang on your dorm room wall, or presents for friends/family. To calculate tax, use the pricing structure listed above and multiply the poster price by 1.07. For example, an 18"x24" poster would be 1.07 x .02 x 18 x 24 = $9.24

All this in more in our Poster Printer FAQ!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Bike wins 4th in National Contest

Congratulations to Vince Levy, whose video, "My Bike," just won 4th place in the national Total Recut contest. The same video won 2nd prize in our own Video Mashup contest last year. Vince created "My Bike," a music video for a song written by friends, during his first semester of film production courses here at Penn, and it was only the 2nd video he'd ever made.

Check out Vince's entry at

And see the other entries and winners from our own mashup contests at

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

iTunes to go DRM free!

Gizmodo reports from Mac World that the iTunes store is moving to a totally DRM-free sales model. This is great news for everyone who's ever wanted to download a song from iTunes to include in their home-made student video, but hasn't been able to because of the copyright protection built into most of the songs. There will also be a new 3-tiered pricing system, with songs now going for $.69, $.99, or $1.29. Sounds like the complete switchover happens during the first part of 2009. Yay!

This is not your Father's YouTube.

Everyone's familiar with the "Where the Hell is Matt?" videos, where Matt Harding travels around the world dancing his funny little jig and gets viewers that number in the millions for some reason.

Well Matt's latest video is available on YouTube in Hi Def. Yes, Hi Def. It's about time, am I right? HD is no longer for Vimeo users only. See Matt's latest installment at and be sure to click on the "Watch in HD" link below the lower right-hand corner of the video. Who knew YouTube could look this good?