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Subject: Ticker tape

Ticker tape

From: Anthony D. Ayers <raphaelmad>
Date: Saturday, January 11, 2003
Arlen Heginbotham <aheginbotham [at] getty__edu> writes

>John Castronovo <jcc [at] nac__net> writes
>>I have in my possession a faded strip of ticker tape. The owner
>>would like me to reveal the writing on it so that it can be
>>reproduced. Infrared photography up to 800nm reveals nothing. Any
>Another option is to use digital image-enhancement to bring out the
>image.  This would typically be done by making high resolution color
>digital images of the tape ...

In addition to Arlen's suggestions, it should be noted that there is
a certain amount of judgment and intuition necessary on the part of
the individual reconstructing the image digitally and anything one
could provide to make that easier would certainly give you a better
end product. (Personally I do painting restoration on my computer
with 150 to 320 MB digital images, typically from scans of

One thing that would be very helpful is to photograph (using a copy
stand) the ticker tape using raking light in order to make the
impressions left by the ticker more visible.  I would do this
several times, changing the direction the light is coming from with
each image. Do not reposition the tape or camera at all during the

When printing the photographs make them all the same size.  Now scan
the photos of the tape at high resolution, adjust Gamma (and/or
other controls) to enhance the impression marks, increase the
transparency of the images and then overlay them with each other.
This can provide amazing results on its own, and when utilized with
the technique Arlen suggested can give you a very accurate idea of
how the tape was  when first printed.

It would also be nice if you had a freshly printed tape from a
similar device using the old ink formulation on similar paper, this
would allow the digital operator to pick the ink and paper colors
from the new to replace on the old. One would assume the paper has
discolored over time and this should be taken into account by the
operator, again a piece of similar ticker tape from well within the
roll would be helpful for picking and color matching.

Anthony Ayers

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:43
                Distributed: Wednesday, January 15, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-43-003
Received on Saturday, 11 January, 2003

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