The equipment in the ARCHiVe laboratories undergoes routine maintenance, both because the machines suffer from wear and tear caused by frequent use and because we aim to constantly improve the digitisation sets from a functional and technological point of view.

2D Technologies

Vacuum Table

The vacuum table is a system for acquiring two-dimensional documents. Created within Fondazione Cini, gives a response to the need to digitise large-format documents, delicate, creased or folded. The system flattens the folds only long enough for the shot, improving the readability of the documents and avoiding excessive shadows and distortions, without damaging the assets. The vacuum table set uses a 50.6-megapixel Canon EOS 5DS R camera, controlled by a connected computer for remote acquisition operations and settings.

This innovative technology makes it possible to capture assets that would otherwise be challenging to read and keep in position, such as maps and technical drawings, preserving them for future generations.

V Scanner

The V Scanner is a photographic set built within Fondazione Cini. Based on an open-access design and adapted to the needs of Cini’s book collections, it is meant to acquire bound material quickly and precisely, in high resolution. It utilises two cameras shooting simultaneously and connected to a computer for remote control. The books to be digitised are placed on a V-shaped crate, and the pages are gently flattened by two plexiglass plates arranged in a V shape.

It is generally used for documenting modern, medium-small format bound assets, even in the presence of folds and curved pages.


The Replica 360 Recto/Verso is a cutting edge recording system designed and realised by Factum Foundation. Its first prototype was conceived for Fondazione Cini back in 2015 for the Replica Project when more than 700.000 photographic positives had to be digitised quickly and effectively.

The system includes a rotary table that continuously moves and records both sides of an object. Two operators work together to place and remove the documents, reducing manipulation time. The table is driven by a motor and a sensor system detects when a document is placed on the glass surface. Two high-resolution cameras with specially designed lighting units capture both sides of a document at 400 DPI, allowing for the digitisation of 12 documents per minute. Everything is connected to a computer for remote acquisition control and data managing.

Replica is a revolutionary tool for recording massive quantities of loose documents of medium-small format such as archival documents of different sort (correspondance, notes, small drawings, photographic positives,…).

Panoramic Composite Photography

Panoramic Composite Photography is a 2D non-contact method for capturing the color surface of objects such as works of art. A specialist version of the technique can capture accurate and high-resolution color of flat or gently curved surfaces like paintings or murals.

This involves using a static telephoto lens to shoot several portions of the same work, creating overlapping high-resolution images of the surface and color. In post-production, the photographs are merged with free software PTGui to create one large image file. PTGui corrects geometric distortions resulting from the camera’s position in the center of the painting, whose corners are further away from the lens than the center. Specific lighting and tricks such as polarized filters, together with the ‘mosaic’ shooting technique, allow for as much data as possible to be recorded, canceling out reflections and ensuring faithful color to the original.

Reproduction Stand

The reproduction stand is a system for acquiring two-dimensional material in a small format (approx. 20×30 cm) created within Fondazione Cini.

In response to the need to digitise photographic negatives and slides, it was decided to implement the setup with a backlit blackboard for tracings, avoiding the purchase of a special scanner. This solution was adopted to respect the principles of efficiency and effectiveness, favouring the reuse of resources and instrumentation already in possession.

Technical Specifications

The equipment used consists of:

  • a Canon EOS 750D camera with a SIGMA 50 mm F1.4 DG or 35 mm lens mounted on a small format adjustable stand (with a maximum height of 83 cm). The camera used has a 50.6 megapixel sensor that allows you to capture high definition images;
  • a MedaLight LP-400 cold cathode backlit whiteboard (20×30 cm);
  • two Yongnuo YN-600L LED spotlights positioned on the sides of the work surface, which have been substituted in 2023 by two new Neewer RGB168 spotlights, which guarantee a softer and more diffused light.

The acquisition operations are managed using the Canon EOS Utility 3 software which allows you to use the camera remotely: the setting of the shooting parameters, the focus and the recovery are controlled and set directly from the computer.

Once the documentation has been placed on the surface, the shot has been defined, the parameters have been adjusted according to the type of lighting used (LED spotlights or backlit blackboard) and the focus has been adjusted, the photograph is taken using the connected software. By saving the files you get raw files (uncompressed images) in CR2 format.

In the case of digitization of negatives, slides or other transparent material, it is advisable to use the backlit whiteboard avoiding the illumination of the side lights.

3D Technologies


Photogrammetry is a 3D recording technique that uses 2D images to create a digital 3D model of an object or surface. It involves taking hundreds of overlapping photographs and processing them using specialized software. The resulting model can be used for study or outputted as a physical object via 3D printing or CNC milling. Photogrammetry records color information simultaneously with 3D data and is portable, making it useful for remote or dangerous sites. Software identifies common features on an object’s surface across multiple images, which are triangulated and conjoined with flat planes to produce a 3D model with accurate color information.

Lucida 3D Scanner

The Lucida 3D Scanner is a non-contact laser recording system that captures high-resolution surface texture data for low-relief surfaces. It records 3D data in 48 cm x 48 cm ’tiles’ by projecting a moving strip of red light onto the surface of an artwork. The distortions in the light as a result of the surface relief are captured by two video cameras positioned at 45° to the laser. The scanner is entirely non-contact and can be packed into compact cases for travel, making it easy to transport and assemble. Scanning is controlled from a laptop through a simple, intuitive user-interface that allows an operator to control the intensity of the laser light. The Lucida can capture both dark and light colors within one object, as well as glossy and reflective materials like gold.

LiDAR 3D Scanning

LiDAR is a 3D recording method that uses laser pulses to measure distance. It produces a ‘point cloud’ of xyz coordinates, which can be turned into a 3D model. LiDAR complements other recording methods and is used as a surveying technique. It provides a scaled digital ‘canvas’ for higher resolution scans and can rectify geometric distortion in panoramic photography.


Factum Foundation has developed a Photometric Stereo Scanner since 2017, which extracts detailed information about flat or semi-flat surfaces such as paintings, murals, or sculptural bas-reliefs. The scanner integrates various inputs from non-contact recording technologies and is easy to operate. It acquires both surface information and color simultaneously, making it advantageous over the Lucida 3D Scanner. The four flashes used in the scanner are synchronized via a custom electronic board designed by Factum Foundation’s engineering team.