Photography started the digital show about 30 years ago, so if you are older than that, your relatives may have recorded part of your childhood in film-based formats such as slides or prints made from negatives. Or maybe you have old slides and negatives from long-lost pictures in your attic or garage. While not as easy as scanning old photo prints, digitizing this film saves family history from outdated media and makes it easier to share recovered memories. Here are some ways to get the job done.
As with printing, you can “scan” a slide or negative on your smartphone by taking a picture of it or using one of the many slide / movie scanning apps. For best results, make sure the original is not dusty and evenly shine the transparency from the back. A cheap scan kit – which provides backlighting as well as a place to rest your phone for more stable shooting – is an option.
Kodak Mobile Movie Scanner Kit ($ 40 or less) is one option. It works with the free Kodak Mobile Scanner app for Android or iOS. Simply place a slide or negative on the battery-powered LED lights, then focus on the phone camera from above and take a photo. However, depending on your phone and its camera (s), you may need to experiment with distance and focus to capture clear images.
Rybozen produces a smartphone-like movie scanner. You can also create your own slide scanner from ordinary materials to take pictures with your smartphone or standalone camera with macro lenses for close focus. YouTube hosts a few videos on the subject – just search for “DIY Movie Scanner” or a similar wording to find a few guides for doing things.
Photomyne’s SlideScan Inventive App ($ 40 for two years; free trial available) is another option. You hold a slide in front of a laptop with a plain white web page and take a photo of it; The software automatically enhances and crops the resulting image, or you can adjust it manually. Photomyne’s standalone FilmBox app does the same for negatives. FilmLab ($ 6 per month) is another smartphone scanning app that has Windows and Mac versions.
Smartphone scanning has some downsides. You will not get the highest quality results and it can be tiring if you have a lot of pictures. But it is relatively cheap.
Smartphones can be all-purpose devices, but the use of equipment designed for a specific task often brings better results. If you have translucent boxes, investing in a compact tape scanner (such as Wolverine or Kodak) can simplify and speed up the process by about $ 150; Plustek produces high-end models.
A flatbed scanner that handles film with prints and documents is another option, such as the Epson Perfection V600 (approximately $ 250 online). Wirecutter, a product review site owned by The New York Times, also has recommendations for the scanner.
If you already have a flatbed scanner for documents and photos, check your model guide to see if it can handle slides and movie negatives as some of them have this capability. If your scanner is not equipped for transparency, you can make your own adapter from silver cardboard to diffuse the scanner light and illuminate the image; Brand: The magazine has a free template and instructions online as well as other DIY sites.
And be sure to scan images at a high enough resolution to look good in enlarged size and print; 3200 pixels per inch is normal.
If you do not have the time, patience or equipment to send photos to a media conversion company such as Memories Renewed, ScanMyPhotos or DigMyPics. Most stores are priced on a slide – prices can start at around 21 cents each.
You get high quality pictures for your money. Some companies allow you to preview the results and skip a certain number of dumb shots in your collection. Your originals will be returned after the scan is complete and your digital copies will be ready.
Get a gram worthy
Slides and negatives can disappear over time, especially if they were stored incorrectly. The smartphone’s multi-movie scanning app also includes basic editing tools for color and cut adjustment. You can always use Apple’s Photos and Google Photos for mobile and desktop for quick, free photo editing to get those images ready to share.
Share and save space
All the time, effort, and (possibly) money you put into digitizing an old movie brings other benefits besides easy-to-share photo files. You can keep them in a safe place online as a backup – and as a new archive if you decide to move away from the originals during spring cleaning.