DigitalFusion Captures History for Carl Jung’s RED BOOK

DigitalFusion delivers world class fine art capture and prepress services to W.W. Norton & Company in the production of this legendary work, which many consider to be the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology.

Capturing the RED BOOK

The years… when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and later details hardly matter anymore.

– C.G.Jung

The Project

Nearly 100 years after C. G. Jung, the famed Swiss psychologist began to draw, paint and write about his personal thoughts and dreams, W.W. Norton & Company will publish the Red Book – Jung’s seminal work.

Having previously collaborated with DigitalFusion on Larry Vigon’s Dream: A Journal, Jim Mairs of W.W. Norton again called on DigitalFusion to deliver fine art digital capture services and pre-press for the Red Book – this time on location in Zurich with an original that had been locked in a Swiss vault for nearly a quarter century.

The Capture

DigitalFusion at work in Zurich.

DigitalFusion at work in Zurich.

DigitalFusion principals Hugh Milstein and John Supra traveled to Zurich with eleven unassuming large black cases loaded with digital capture, photographic and computer equipment. Their task was familiar, digitally capture each page of a fine art book for print reproduction. Although there were few details about the condition of the original or the exact nature of the content, one thing was for certain – the original had to be handled with extreme care.

Milstein and Supra prepared for the project back in Los Angeles using their experience and expertise, building a mock-up of the book based on the known information and a handful of xeroxed sample pages. They customized the DigitalFusion book capture rig, completed a series of tests and planned for the unexpected. Understanding that this was a once-in-lifetime opportunity they carefully packed two of everything to ensure that they could successfully complete the project.

DigitalFusion at work in Zurich.

DigitalFusion at work in Zurich.

Upon landing, Milstein and Supra immediately headed to the studio to setup. Within a few hours they were ready to begin testing their gear. They were visited by members of Jung’s family who took a keen interest in the process, and were pleased that the DigitalFusion team would handle their family heirloom with the upmost care and attention.

The next morning, the Red Book arrived via black sedan among much security. Although the dimensions were well known, it seemed larger and heavier than expected. As it was unwrapped for the first time a hush and reverence filled the room becoming of the historic work. As the Red Book was gently opened the condition was outstanding and the color and hand drawn art work was stunning. Milstein and Supra quickly knew they had to ensure they captured that experience for all who would see the published work.

Supra built a custom archival strap to hold the book in place while enabling them to smoothly move from page to page. He also ensured the rig was level and the lights were set while Milstein handled the camera setup and focus. Once all of the odd or right-hand pages were captured the book was flipped to start working backwards to capture the even or left-hand pages. This meant supporting the weight of the book vertically and keeping the spine at nearly a 90 degree angle to preserve its integrity. Supra went back to the workbench to add some further customizations to the rig to handle the weight.

DigitalFusion at work in Zurich.

DigitalFusion at work in Zurich.

The capture days in Zurich would be the only opportunity to match the color. Milstein spent significant time comparing the color of the original with the capture and creating a set of adjustments that could be used during the post-production & pre press process. With such vibrancy in color throughout the Red Book, it was critical that the color work be precise and often custom for each page.

Each day Supra would make multiple copies of the captured digital files onto the Company’s custom HardFilm – keeping one with the Red Book, one in their hotel’s safe and one with him. He would also post the images online using DigitalFusion’s DF Studio system. To ensure the safety of the digital files, Supra and Milstein returned to Los Angeles with multiple copies of the data and also sent copies back with others on different flights.

Post-Production & Pre-Press

After successfully capturing each page, significant work remained. This task was left to Milstein and DigitalFusion’s world class post production team. Each page needed to be color corrected using the color work done by Milstein on location. Final adjustments were made to prepare the files for press at renowned Italian printer Mondadori to ensure that the digital masters would print identically to the original material.


Red Book on press in Italy

Red Book on press in Italy.Photo courtesy & © Sonu Shamdasani.

After nearly 100 years in the making, W.W. Norton & Company will publish the Red Book on October 7, 2009. The event will be marked with the first public showing of the Red Book at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York from October 7, 2009 through January 25, 2010. W.W. Norton & Company’s publication is edited by Dr. Sonu Shamdasani, General Editor of the Philemon Foundation and Philemon Professor in Jung History at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College, London. The Red Book is one of the volumes of the Philemon Series, sponsored by the Philemon Foundation.


Red Book on press in Italy. Image copyright Sonu Shanamdasani

Red Book on press in Italy.Photo courtesy & © Sonu Shamdasani.

Red Book awaiting binding.

Red Book awaiting binding.Photo courtesy & © Sonu Shamdasani.


The Red Book by C. G. Jung © 2009 by the Foundation for the Works of C. G. Jung, Zurich.
Notes © 2013 Sonu Shamdasani. Translations from The Red Book © 2009 Mark Kyburz, John Peck and Sonu Shamdasani.
The Red Book by C. G. Jung is a W. W. Norton & Company publication by arrangement with the Foundation for the Works of C. G. Jung, Zurich.