Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gen Wish List: Scanning Slides and Making Videos

Tina over at Gen Wish List had an article earlier in the week about about scanning slides. Check out her article at Gen Wish List: Scanning Slides and Making Videos. I wish her the best of luck in her effort to scan her collection of slides.

Clara and Frank Fowlie scanned with the Plustek
I went down this same road in the past few years, too. I bought a slide-scanner (Plustek Opticfilm 7200) Winter of 2007. I tried out the SilverFast software that came with it and I didn't care for it. After some searching on the web I switched to Vuescan, a universal scanning software, that I still use. I have used VueScan in concert with my HP Scanjet 3500c to scan nearly every photo on this blog. I think it does a great job and is very flexible. I also used it with my slide scanner and it works with every scanner I've owned, even an old 300 dpi flatbed scanner that I couldn't find the original Acer drivers for.

I scanned a hand full of 35mm negatives with the Plustek, but I had difficulty getting the colors and contrast right. The slides looked very good with the Plustek scanner. It just took way too much time to do. I had trouble centering the slides because of the tray it comes with and I'd often have to preview each more than once before doing a final scan. One Sunday during the winter of 2010, I scanned around 100 slides in about 8 hours and I realized that I was nuts to spend that much time for so few images. I had over 1000 slides left and I couldn't justify the time. I thought the slides were coming out pretty good, but it was just taking way too much time.

Floyd Brassfield Scanned by
I finally took the slides to a professional and had them scan the slides for me. It cost just under $575, but that was with sales tax. I ended up with nearly 1300 slides scanned and put on 4 DVDs. The DVD plays the slideshow on regular DVD players. When you put the DVDs in the computer you get the jpgs of all the 3200 dpi scans so I can post them on the blog or have them printed at Walgreens or something. For me it was an easy decision, since I live less than 5 miles away from his office, I just dropped them all off. People from other areas have to ship their slides, but he seems to do a quite a bit of business online via mail.

Ultimately, for me it was a better use of resources to pay a professional to scan the images. My only regret is not being a bit more selective with the slides. Even though I spend hours and hours sorting them, I should have sorted them better. I also should have copied all of the notes written on the slides and made a script for the slideshow. It's difficult remembering the who, what and where of the images.

Disclaimer:I'm not affiliated with any of the above companies and I've never received compensation of any kind from any of them.