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And finally, here are a few short videos of the press and the technicians in action. These guys really know what they’re doing.
A view of the entire press. I like the technician’s flair:
Another technician working his magic on the “DJ” station:
Here’s the cover being printed – so fast and so noisy:
And lo, the printing is done. Now these form prints need to be bound into books! No Sleep – May release in Europe, September in the States. Woo hoo!
After my exciting week in Heidelberg, I took a break in Paris with F. Here I am with my set of form prints:
Danke and Merci!
The cacophony of all the presses running at once is impressive, doubly amplified by the high ceilings. I loved the smell of ink. The place was huge, factory-like, much bigger than it looks here:
Here’s a close-up of one of the presses. A single false move and you’d quickly get eaten by one of these things:
The calibration and viewing area was like a DJ station. Here’s the touch screen monitor where the technician makes incremental adjustments to the cyan, magenta, yellow and black levels. That’s the test print from earlier in the week:
The technician lines up the newly-printed form prints (the actual pages of the book!) to this motherboard thing where each level below corresponds to a strip of the sheet above. I dunno, it was like magic. I would say, this one needs a little more magenta, this one a little more yellow and after some quick-fingered tapping and adjusting, and some hundred sheets later (in like 2 seconds), there it was corrected:
One of the printing screens:
The paper loaded and ready for printing. I chose Galaxie Keramik paper, in case you were interested:
Here we are: the printing technician, Jürgen the color expert, and me comparing the form prints to my reference prints:
By the way, we would check, adjust and recheck, reprint and recheck again each form print of about four images as it came out of the machine and then go into a separate (quiet) conference room for about half an hour while the entire set was being printed (1200 sheets or so I guess). Then we would get buzzed back into the printing room for the next form print. We did this twelve times that day! It was a long day.
Here’s Marijke, my Kehrer designer, looking up inquisitively at the misting system humidifying the space:
Afternoon shift change and another technician pulls a form print out of the press for viewing:
A pallet of final form prints. That’s a lot of paper:
Look ma, I’m making a book!
Printing the cover:
To be continued…
Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Heidelberg, Germany to meet with my publisher Kehrer Verlag and to oversee the production of my upcoming monograph No Sleep.
After an uneventful red-eye flight – I fell asleep about halfway through The King’s Speech (I know, confronted with a choice between Colin Firth and sleep, I thought I’d choose Colin Firth too) – I trained it directly from Frankfurt airport to Kehrer headquarters in Heidelberg, met the team and immediately began poring over the test print of about 30 images that was waiting for me.
That first morning is a blur – thankfully I was in the capable hands of my designer Marijke and Kehrer’s color expert Jürgen. We compared the photographs one-by-one on the test print to a batch of small reference prints I had mailed in the week before and made some minor and some not-so-minor changes to the images in Photoshop. Unsolicited advice: if you ever do a book, make sure your reference prints are really more or less how you want the final images to look. After several hours of eye-straining corrections, it helps to have that constant. We also made small adjustments to the book and cover layouts in Indesign and then I was off to my hotel for some rest!
Heidelberg is a seriously picturesque town, easy to get around in, pleasantly walkable, small yet cosmopolitan. Here’s a view of the river Nektar, with the castle in the distance on the right:
Lots of civilized picnicking and wine drinking along the river bank:
A typical alleyway in the Old Town:
And of course, the famous Castle:
(that’s a very big dog, about the size of a pony, running around in the foreground)
I enjoyed my downtime there immensely: took long rambling walks on Philosophers’ Way, ate delicious ice creams (who knew ice cream was so popular in Germany?), and basked in the sunshine.
Soon enough, it was off to the press!
To be continued…