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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TAKE PLACE TO DIGITIZE SLIDES

In the pre-digital era, photo slides were a common way to preserve memories. But now the technology of slides is outdated, most people no longer have access to a slide projector to view them, so the films are forgotten in boxes on the far shelves.

Digitizing slides yourself

One client of a photo studio told how she undertook to digitize a box with old slides and stumbled upon several photographs of her father, who passed away when she was only four years old. Until that moment, she had never seen these photos, and her relatives forgot about them for many years. After the slides were scanned, the whole family happily looked at the faded, but such native images. Such stories remind us that we must digitize the old slides now, without delay, until time has absorbed them completely and irrevocably.

You can do slide scanning yourself using a specialized film or flatbed scanner equipped with a module for processing slides. Before you start scanning, pay attention to important points.

Resolution Selection
Digitizing slides yourself

Image resolution is measured in DPI (dot per inch) – the number of dots per inch of surface. Resolution allows you to appreciate two important things about the image.

Sharpness, or how sharp the image will look.
The ability to print such a digital image.
Higher resolution will produce larger prints. For example, a 35 mm slide scanned into a file with a resolution of 10 megapixels will allow prints up to 13×9 inches in size. However, a large resolution is not always beneficial. High-resolution scanning can capture unwanted grains from photographic material. In such cases, digitizing with a lower DPI may give better results.

Dust and scratch removal
Slides that have been lying in the box for a long time often show scratches, mold, or other defects due to time or careless handling. A combination of antistatic film cleaner and lint-free cloth can be used to clean mold slides before scanning. Here you should be careful and gently wipe the film along the length, and not in a circular motion, to avoid the formation of new scratches.

One of the automated solutions to the problem of dust and scratches is a hardware-software retoucher called Digital ICE (Image Correction & Enhancement). This is a technology for minimizing defects, which is integrated into good modern scanners. The essence of this technology is the use of infrared light to detect and subtract the positions of dust and scratches from the final image. The modern implementation of Digital ICE includes, in addition to the Digital ICE module itself, dust and scratch removal, recovery and color correction modules, reducing grain visibility, optimizing contrast and exposure.

However, this technology has some limitations. For example, Digital ICE does not work well with black and white films containing silver halide. Silver halide grains in this type of film can create artifacts that Digital ICE cannot efficiently process. In this case, manual editing is necessary to obtain a clear image without scratches.

Color Correction and Restoration
When working with old slides, color correction and restoration is important. Firstly, as mentioned above, scanners have built-in functionality that can help correct color shifts and fading.

Secondly, you can use graphic editors such as Photoshop in cases where a scanned image from a slide requires more complex recovery. This happens, for example, when mold on a slide obscures part of the image. You can restore such a slide, but you will need knowledge and experience using the software.

Digitizing slides yourself

Custom slides
The format of 35 mm slides is the norm, but there are other less common formats. The size of the actual image in the cardboard slide mount will tell you what format you are dealing with. In addition to 35 mm, there are also types of films 110, 126, 127, 120, films of medium and large format.

Not all scanning equipment is equipped with suitable modules to capture the entire image area for such formats. This may result in cropping and incomplete scanning. So a universal and high-quality scanner that can handle all of these formats is a key requirement when scanning non-standard slides.

Give it a try! Slides are worth keeping a memory of them.

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