Retiring "Lena", the Playboy nude used to calibrate imaging tech

You were “attacked” (that seems like a strong word to me) for dismissing the institutional problem as a technical one. I don’t care if people want to assign blame to Kodak, Technicolor, or whatever. I’m talking about the many contributions to a system that continues to be a problem. You seem very focused on who is racist. I don’t care if anyone following standards is “racist” but making people aware and doing their best to avoid propagating it is why I want to discuss it.

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good luck with that straw man

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I’m not here to argue, debate, or win. I come here mostly to listen and grow out of my own ignorance. From what I’m understanding you feel you are describing physics and being called a racist—that’s absurd. I restated what I see the issue is after seeing it repeated a few times.

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That’s great, thanks! I read recently that black dogs and cats have a harder time getting adopted from the local humane society because the photos aren’t very good. I’m going to share this with them.

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I always wondered what that image really was to be honest. Also, I don’t think it really helps show the power of modern or any monitor with respect to detail or color contrast. Like Samsung and company use pictures of tigers and other wild animals to really show how color pops on a screen and honestly it’s much more cool since I’m sure many of us have seen say parrots or tigers IRL and when we’ve then seen them on old CRTs we were a bit disappointed considering how bad most CRTs (especially consumer grade TVs) were back in the day. So, I’m hoping the model gets her wish respected and we update to something much better.

Tiffany (SIPI 4.2.02) is also banned. To quote Ian Faith,

Well you should have seen the cover they wanted to do . It wasn’t a glove , believe me

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For people concerned about image quality, especially skin tone color quality, Kodak produced this digital image back in the 1980’s or before.

https://www.digitalmasters.com.au/Calibration%20Print%20-%20Adobe%20RGB.html
Anyone know its history?

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This says your image is from an ISO standard collection released in 1995/1997.

I keep seeing the below image come up as a Kodak image from 1995. I don’t find anything from earlier.

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Thanks for that info. I worked at Eastman Kodak from 1985 thru 1993 and the 3 musicians was a standard (nondigital) image used for scanner and color copier testing back then. I guess Kodak later donated a digital version to ISO and then it got incorporated into this test target copyrighted by David Myers in 1998.

Test targets get created to stress certain troublesome features. Skin tones and maintaining details in deep shadows and bright areas are the obvious stressors of your test image. Bright and accurate colors and details along with skin and natural finished wood tones seem to be the stressors for David Myers’s test target.

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Thanks for giving technical details as to the why. I appreciate it, anyway. I’ve often wondered about that when watching older movies/TV, thinking “that’s not what black people look like, at all” in a great deal of formats, most especially something like local news (video). I’ve always figured it was a technical problem, run up against the economies of scale - certainly, in older media, most people tend to be white (in America, anyway), and taking pains to properly capture other skin tones that were maybe ~20% of the population ran up against $$$. I’ve noticed even very tanned white kids did not really look like themselves in their school photos, by the way.

Demographics are changing of course, and whites will be <50% of the population in about 20 years or so, so the cost/benefit of properly capturing the majority group would likely no longer be a compelling argument in any case.

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Ooh, thanks for that. Very practical post on a topic that’s quite easy to get into the weeds on…

Thanks for the firsthand info! I figured it could have been used internally and handed off to a standards body. I actually typed that in my last reply but removed it since I was speculating. My suspicion is that David Myers doesn’t own the image. Only that the license allows him to include it in his copyrighted test target that includes other stuff like the Macbeth chart.

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For some (dumb) reason, I always thought it was a reference to Back to the Future, but that was rather foolish, since biff likely predated BTTF by a lot.

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Keeping ‘Insecure’ lit: HBO cinematographer Ava Berkofsky on properly lighting black faces

“When I was in film school, no one ever talked about lighting nonwhite people,” Berkofsky said in a phone interview with Mic . “There are all these general rules about lighting people of color, like throw green light or amber light at them. It’s weird.” These rules are a start, but they’re far from a complete picture.

“The conventional way of doing things was that if you put the skin tones around 70 IRE, it’s going to look right,” Berkofsky said. IRE, a unit used in the measurement of composite video signals (named for the initials of the Institute of Radio Engineers), ranges from 0 to 100. “If you’ve got black skin, [dialing it] up to 50 or 70 is just going to make the rest of the image look weird.” The resulting image looks very bright, Berkofsky noted, similar to what you’d see in traditional sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or The Cosby Show .

To learn this stuff on your own costs money (for the film, to rent the space to store multiple lights that might or might not work, for the models to sit for lighting experiments) And so, several generations of school photographers, mall Santa photographers and tv techs turned out sub par work because they only learned the quick and dirty techniques that tend to work for white people.

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Yeah, it really makes a lot of sense. People that may have even really been truly motivated to try to figure out how to do it better might have not enough time/money to do so. Sure, there is the systemic thing, but most people don’t really go out of their way to be malicious, it’s often very hard/impossible to swim upstream on something with technical challenges, especially when it’s just a job and you have bean counters with timeline and budgets to hit.
I imagine the Internet might have made learning on this and trading tips and so on much easier than the pre-Internet days.

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