ManuCapture is a free, opensource software application designed by Factum to work with all of our camera-based book and manuscript recording systems.

It has several features that make it a user-friendly and straightforward application, which also adheres to international metadata standards. These include:

  • dual camera live view for camera alignment;
  • editable page sequence (allows the user to repeat, add or delete images from a sequence);
  • storage of JPG, RAW and TIFF image formats for long-term preservation (AIP). For reference, a 100TB storage can store up to 767,500 individual pages in RAW, TIFF and JPG.

The software was conceived for a two-camera system similar to the Replica 360 Recto/Verso system designed for ARCHiVe and the Portable Book Scanner that was custom-made for to record fragile manuscripts in Dagestan. It is compatible with over 240 different camera models, and with any camera setup using GPhoto or similar commands, and can be configured for continuous light source or for flash-to-camera flash synchronisation. ManuCapture uses an Arduino-based trigger board to synchronize dual-camera image capture, as well as for image preview, storage processes, and to support multiple shutter configurations.

The user interface is simple and optimised for ‘one-click’ actions (with either mouse or via touch screens) for performing useful tasks such as dual-page preview, zoom, recording queue and page crop editing – more in-depth tasks require the additional usage of a photo editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom.

The software integrates a set of important open-source tools supported by a wide community of users and developers, including GPhoto2 for camera control, Processing/Java for the user interface, raw image processing software such as Rawtherapee, ImageMagick and DCRAW, and standards-based archiving with ICA-ATOM.

Note: Note: ManuCapture was purpose-built between 2018 and 2021 to address specific requirements. It is now officially discontinued and no longer under active development or support. Nevertheless, should the software remain useful for any particular application, individuals or organisations can access its repository by clicking on this link. It's important to note that as the software is no longer receiving ongoing maintenance, any utilisation or alterations may necessitate technical proficiency and a thoughtful evaluation of potential security and compatibility concerns.

Typical setup: 2 Canon DSLR cameras, either 5D (24mpx) or 5DSr (50mpx). The lenses affixed to these are Canon brand of varying focal length (mainly 50mm or 35mm since these provide minimal optical distortion). A 50mpx sensor on a 5DSR using a 50/1.4 lens records 34mpx of detail onto a 50mpx sensor (according to DxO’s Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) graphs of various Canon and Sigma lenses).

Step by Step guide

Home page. The user can either start a new project, load a previous (unfinished) project, or load a finished project. © Factum Foundation

If the user starts a new project, ManuCapture prompts the user to enter a unique Shelfmark. © Factum Foundation

Manucapture prompts the user to take images of the colour checker. © Factum Foundation

The guidelines enable the user to correctly position the colour checker or the book, to ensure the correct framing of the image © Factum Foundation

In 'Calibrate', the user takes images of a colour checker with both cameras. These images can later be used in post-processing © Factum Foundation

The images of the colour checker are saved separately and differentiated in the metadata. © Factum Foundation

In 'Live View', the camera shutters are open, allowing the user to position, using the guidelines, the book on a v-shaped cradle (if using the Portable Book Scanner, for example) or on other devices. © Factum Foundation

The guidelines in this example of a double page spreade have not been positioned correctly. In this case, all the user needs to do is click on the double page that needs to be replaced, click the Repeat option on the right and take a new picture. © Factum Foundation

This is the corrected double page spread, which replaces the previous image. As you can see, the guidelines are positioned much closer to the edges of the manuscript. © Factum Foundation

The Crop feature doesn't actually crop the RAW images along the guidelines, but sets parameters that will be useful during post-processing. © Factum Foundation

The Zoom function responds to both touch screen and mouse. © Factum Foundation

Example of post-processing using RawTherapee. © Factum Foundation

For more information on ManuCapture and our archive recording projects contact
The design and development of the ManuCapture software was led by Enrique Esteban. The software was developed by several contributors and supported by Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Preservation.