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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 But now the technology of slides is outdated, most people no longer have access to a slide projector to view them, so the films are forgotten in boxes on the far shelves.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 photos 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
Before scan

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 defect minimization technology that is integrated into good modern scanners. The essence of this technology is to use 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.

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