Once again this week our topic has been set by a golden nuggets reader. I will get to that in a moment, but first I wanted to share some observations I made this 4th of July weekend. I had the honor and pleasure of joining my son’s Boy Scout troop for their last day and half of summer camp. Now, you may be asking yourself what this could have to do with the printing industry. Well, it showed me that print is not dead or dying as many a naysayer has been predicting for a long time.
It also showed me once again why I got into this great industry. At Boy Scout camp (at least at our Boy Scout camp) no electronics are allowed. What is allowed are books, Magic cards (a game based on decks of trading cards that some one had to print!), Scout Books, merit badge books, a Wall Street Journal (yes, that was mine not the boys) etc…. I think you get the idea, lots of printed materials. I watched a group of 20 boys (sorry, young men really), keep themselves busy for 4 hours with several decks of Magic cards, and a tournament they set-up and scored on a piece of paper. For those of you with children; that’s right no Xbox, Game cube, TV, or other electronic gadgets, just good old fashioned print.
I also was reminded of the purpose of that first printing press…the archiving and sharing of human knowledge for the ages and most importantly the masses. When I had a little downtime, I was flipping through my son’s Boy Scout book. I was quite honestly amazed at the wealth of knowledge contained in that relatively small book. All I can say is that if I ever get lost in the wilderness that is the one book I would want with me. All of us just need to keep searching for the niche’s we can serve better and longer than any other media.
*** Jim Raffel’s Week 4 Golden Nugget ***
I have a friend (let’s call him Doug) who is a technical sales representative for one of the few remaining national distributors left in our industry. Doug works out on the West coast, and specializes in the Flexographic part of our industry. Doug has also been using ColorMetrix for several years now to successfully fingerprint dozens of flexo presses up and down the west coast as the plates are converted from analog to digital (CTP).
Well, Doug called me last week with a question I thought would benefit all of us. He was in the final stages of a CTP conversion. The re-curved plates were on press and he had achieved the correct densities and dot gains that his many years of experience told him should be resulting in a nearly perfect print. Doug, however, was looking at a balanced quarter tone grey (25/18/18) and it was looking a little red press side. Doug told me that when he took the sheet outside in the natural southern California sunshine (this probably will not work in the mid-west at 5pm in the month of December), the grey looked prefect.
My first question to Doug…what kind of light booth does the customer have press side. Doug’s answer…”a home made one.” Wrong answer! The light booth had no sides to keep out ambient press room light, and Doug could not confirm that the bulbs even met the 5000K standard. The human eye is perhaps the best judge of color in the world, but only in proper viewing conditions. I reminded Doug that his employer sells at least two brands of light booths that I know of (http://www.gretagmacbeth.com and http://www.gtilite.com) and suggested it was time his customer purchase a proper press side light booth.
I am of course quite certain everyone else reading this has a proper light booth press side. If by some chance you do not…it really is time to call your dealer sales person, and at least have them provide you the information you need to make an informed decision about why you will run jobs worth tens of thousands of dollars on a press worth millions, but you won’t spend 5 grand (or less) for a decent light booth.
*** 2005 ColorMetrix User’s Goup Conference Info ***
Remember, we will be picking a selection of these topics to discuss at the 5th annual ColorMetrix user’s group conference in Las Vegas August 21-23 at the Mirage resort and casino. More information is available at (http://www.colormetrix.com/cmug05). We also have a session planned in which we will discuss the difference between the many light sources (illuminants) available in the graphic arts industry.
Well, that’s it for week 4. Please feel free to e-mail back (email@example.com ) and let me know what you think. If you have ideas for golden nuggets, that would be great too.