How to Digitize Childhood Memories Trapped in Film

Photography began to go digital about 30 years ago, so if you’re older, your relatives may be documenting some part of your childhood in a movie-based format, such as a slide or a print made from negatives. Or maybe you have negatives from stacks of your old slides and long lost pictures boxed up in the attic or garage. While not as easy as scanning old photo prints, the film’s digitization saves family history from old media and makes it easier to share restored memories. Here are some ways to get the job done.

Like print, you can “scan” a slide or negative with your smartphone, or take a photo of it, or use one of the many slide / movie-scanning apps. For best results, make sure the roots are dust-free, and later illuminate the transparency evenly. An inexpensive scanning kit – a backlight as well as a place to rest your phone for more stable shots – is an option.

Kodak’s mobile film scanner kit ($ 40 or less) is an option. It works with the free Kodak mobile scanner app for Android or iOS. Simply place the slide or negative on the battery-powered LED backlight, then focus the phone’s camera on it from above and take a photo. Depending on your phone and its camera (s), however, you may have to experiment with distance and focus to get crisp images.

Deposit …JD Biersdorfer

Ribozene makes a similar smartphone film scanner. You can also build your own slide scanner from ordinary content to capture images from your smartphone or even create a stand-alone camera with a macro lens for close-up focus. YouTube hosts many videos on the topic – just search for words like “DIY movie scanner” or something like that and find many guides from enthusiasts to do it yourself.

Photomine’s slidescan exploratory application (બે 40 for two years; free trial available) is another option. You grab a slide in front of a laptop showing a plain white web page and take a photo of it; The software automatically magnifies and cuts the resulting image, or you can make manual adjustments. Photomyne’s separate FilmBox app does the same for the negative. FilmLab (6 per month) is another smartphone scanning application with Windows and Mac versions.

There are some downsides to smartphone scanning. You don’t get high-quality results, and it can be boring if you have too many images. But it is relatively inexpensive.

Smartphones can be all-purpose devices, but the use of hardware designed for a specific task often brings better results. If you have a transparency box to convert, investing in a compact film scanner (such as from Wolverine or Kodak) can make the process easier and faster at around $ 150; PlusTech makes the highest model.

Another option is a flatbed scanner that can handle film with prints and documents, such as the Epson Perfection V600 (about $ 250 online). The New York Times-owned product review site Virector also has scanner recommendations.

If you already have a flatbed scanner for documents and photos, check your model’s manual to see if it can handle slides and movie negatives, as some include that capability. If your scanner is not equipped to control transparency, you can make your own adapter out of silver cardboard to spread the scanner’s light and illuminate the image; Create: Like other DIY sites the magazine has free templates and instructions online.

And make sure the images look good in large sizes and scan at a resolution high enough for printing; 3,200 pixels per inch is normal.

If you don’t have the time, patience or resources, sending photos to a media-conversion company like Memories Renew, ScanMyPhoto or DigmyPix is ​​another option. Most stores charge by the slide – prices can start at around 21 cents.

For your money, you get high-quality images. Some companies allow you to preview results and even leave a certain number of dud shots in your collection. Once the scanning is complete and your digital copies are ready, your original is returned.

Slides and negatives can fade over time, especially if they are stored improperly. Many film-scanning smartphone applications also include basic editing tools for color and crop adjustment. And you can always use Apple’s Photos and Google Photos for mobile and desktop for quick, free photo-editing to get ready to share those pictures.

Deposit …Google; Apple

The time, effort and (possibly) money you put into digitizing an old movie brings other benefits besides easily sharing photo files. You can store them online in a safe place as a backup – and as a new archive if you decide to part with the original during spring cleaning.

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