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nerds
04-08-2008, 04:47 PM
The only thing I have from childhood and a family life now very long gone is an organized box of about 500 Kodachrome slides from the 1960s in perfect condition. My father took nearly all the pictures, his handwriting is on the slides, and I'll be keeping these forever. No negatives or prints survive, and this is the only set.

I'm planning to have a digital transfer to dvd done; these slides mean the world to me and I'd like to know if anyone has had experience with having this done. Do I need to worry about the slides getting wrecked? The idea of their being damaged or lost has my hair standing on end.

askeladd
04-08-2008, 08:40 PM
It shouldn't be a problem. Are you going to try doing it yourself, or are you going to have it done for you? I haven't had a lot of luck scanning transparencies, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. The alternative would be to use a slide copier and take a digital picture of the slide.

nerds
04-08-2008, 08:57 PM
I'm a low-tech oldster, and I don't have the skills nor the toys to do it myself. There's a local outfit near me which does all manner of digital transfer from the old media so I thought I'd go to them.

It's really pitiful that I had a serious career in graphic arts way back in the day but now don't know enough about the bridges between old and new, I never kept up. I was worried about the process, if the digital transfer is a "hot" process I don't think the slides would endure that, but a "cold" process such as scanning would be fine. Plus fingerprints are deadly to slides.

These slides are irreplaceable, which is one reason I want to have digital copies made. All are between 40 and 50 years old, and I've kept them well, but I wouldn't run them through a projector ever again (hot) and I want to keep risk to a minimum. The colors are still true and bright, the clarity is perfect, but another 50 years? Probably not. Any additional comments/advice are certainly welcome.

auntybug
04-08-2008, 09:04 PM
I worked for a lab that did that. I used TLC :) No fear of them getting ruined unless you have a really careless worker.
My only fear for you would be to use a place that does it in-house & doesn't mail them off. I had a roll of film lost years ago because the place mailed it off to be developed. A free roll of film doesn't replace what was lost :(
Good Luck!

NeuroFizz
04-08-2008, 09:12 PM
I have a Polaroid SprintScan 4000 (about seven years old) in the microscope room of my lab, which has a dedicated computer for all of the microscopy and related equipment. It does a good job, but it takes a couple of minutes per slide. Five hundred would be quite a project. If you were close by, you'd be welcome to use it. My avatar photo was done on it (from a 35mm slide).

benbradley
04-08-2008, 09:12 PM
I'm a low-tech oldster, and I don't have the skills nor the toys to do it myself. There's a local outfit near me which does all manner of digital transfer from the old media so I thought I'd go to them.

It's really pitiful that I had a serious career in graphic arts way back in the day but now don't know enough about the bridges between old and new, I never kept up. I was worried about the process, if the digital transfer is a "hot" process I don't think the slides would endure that, but a "cold" process such as scanning would be fine. Plus fingerprints are deadly to slides.

These slides are irreplaceable, which is one reason I want to have digital copies made. All are between 40 and 50 years old, and I've kept them well, but I wouldn't run them through a projector ever again (hot) and I want to keep risk to a minimum. The colors are still true and bright, the clarity is perfect, but another 50 years? Probably not. Any additional comments/advice are certainly welcome.

I'm pretty sure they don't run them through "hot" projectors to scan the image...

But one thought, since these are so valuable to you, you might give them one or two dozen at a time to do, so at worst case if they are lost or damaged, you haven't lost much of your collection. This may cost more than having 500 done at once, but it would be worth it for your peace of mind.

And my biggest question about the transfer is the resolution of the resultant digital image - I'd want as high as possible. Digital storage is cheap, and it's easy to lower the resolution for a smaller-image printout. You can't really go the other way... And that's another thing, when you get these, back these up on every different kind of media you have (hard disk, CD/DVD, memory sticks, whatnot).

dobiwon
04-08-2008, 09:20 PM
I had about 300 done a few months ago. I found a guy online through e-bay who did it, and there were a lot of people who gave excellent feedback. He charged about 1/3 of what my local photoshop would, and the results were better than I expected. I'm at work now and can't access ebay, but I'll see if I can locate him when I get home tonight. I believe he was located in Colorado. I sent my slides Priority Mail and paid for Priority Mail return, and I had my disk and slides back within a week.

BTW, he said 300 was a small job for him.

nerds
04-08-2008, 10:15 PM
thank you, thanks all. :cry:


Off to have a big fat good :cry: now after looking through these slides. Thank you.

Medievalist
04-09-2008, 05:26 AM
Before you get them scanned, go to a photo supply store and get a slide cleaning brush, air blower, and cloth.

The slides will be grubby; it's the nature of slides. Handle them carefully, and blow off the surface particles and remove, gently, with the cloth finerprints and such.

Don't use any water or other liquid on them.

underthecity
04-09-2008, 12:34 PM
I agree with Medievalist. Old slides, no matter how they're stored, will have dust and tiny hairs on them that might be invisible to you, but will show up on the transfer.

When I was putting together my third book, one of my contributors had slides from the 1950s of images I needed. There were enough of them that I bought a slide scanner for about $90 from eBay, intending to use the scanner for future projects. It's a PrimeFilm scanner and did a beautiful job scanning the slides.

If it came to that, and if you wanted to finally do it yourself, it's not all that hard or expensive.

allen

nerds
04-09-2008, 05:15 PM
Okay. This is all excellent advice. They've been kept in their original slide trays, which in turn are in their original slide tray boxes-with-lids. They've been shut up in a dark, room-temp. cedar closet for years, so they haven't any damp or molds, nor are they at all faded or brittle. To the naked eye they're pristine but I'm sure cleaning is in order, very good point.

My reference above to the heat of the projector, what I meant was that I wouldn't want to run them through my dad's projector, which I still have, given the age of the slides. It's from circa 1960, runs fine but runs hot. As it is I'm looking at them through a teeny hand-held viewer from, oh, 1962 or so.

I'll follow these cleaning instructions, then get myself into the 21st century with this and probably invest in the necessary toys so I can work with them myself. Quite a few I'd like to blow up into regular prints as well and frame them.

Many thanks for all the good information, very helpful.

:)

Medievalist
04-09-2008, 05:31 PM
Don't scan them yourself -- a really really good slide scanner -- and I'm speaking now as a professional -- runs around 5k, to start.

Don't pay them to digitally modify all the slides; that you can learn to do yourself.

Scan at the highest resolution you can afford -- you want the files to be uncompressed, so NOT jpg. Tiff is really the best for archiving the raw scans.

The files need to be huge 25 or more MB each.

Copy the DVDs as soon as you get them, and send a set to a relative in another state. Spread the wealth -- that's how they'll survive.

dobiwon
04-09-2008, 11:33 PM
Don't scan them yourself -- a really really good slide scanner -- and I'm speaking now as a professional -- runs around 5k, to start.

Don't pay them to digitally modify all the slides; that you can learn to do yourself.

Scan at the highest resolution you can afford -- you want the files to be uncompressed, so NOT jpg. Tiff is really the best for archiving the raw scans.

The files need to be huge 25 or MB each.

Copy the DVDs as soon as you get them, and send a set to a relative in another state. Spread the wealth -- that's how they'll survive.Great advice--all of it. That's exactly what I did. I even sent slides that had deteriorated from mold growth, and I was able to take the digital images and recover enough of the pictures on many of them that they are still valuable as records of days gone by. The service I mentioned scanned them as .tiff files, so the 300 or so I had took the better part of 2 DVDs. (I opened many of them and then saved them as .jpg files (much smaller files) to email to others.) I'm still trying to find the contact information. If I can find it, I'll post it.

Medievalist
04-10-2008, 06:06 AM
If you can find a local scanning place that does "PhotoCD" scanning that's not a bad alternative, and you don't have to ship your slides.

You'll want to be sure to convert the raw scans from PhotoCD, a high quality but proprietary format owned by Kodak, to TIFF files, since TIFF is a public open standard, and likely to be "readable" a hundred years from now.

DeborahM
04-10-2008, 06:12 AM
Not too long ago, I started doing this as a business after purchasing professional equipment. It is turning out to be a great idea and rewarding when I turn the media back to the owner.

JoNightshade
04-10-2008, 06:42 AM
We got a really nice Canon printer/scanner recently and it came with a frame for just this kind of project. I've slowly been scanning in my parents slides from back in the 40s and 50s - not the best quality in the world, but definitely decent! I made a DVD for my folks of the ones I've done so far and they loved it. It sounds like you're concerned with picture quality, but if your aim is just to preserve your memories the way I did it works fine.

Side note... it's been interesting for me to pick through my dad's old Vietnam pictures, since he never talked about that much.

Medievalist
04-10-2008, 06:48 AM
Side note... it's been interesting for me to pick through my dad's old Vietnam pictures, since he never talked about that much.

Jo those pictures are awfully important -- there's very little of real actual day-to-day in the field stuff from the soldiers themselves that's been preserved.

I hope you and your father can manage to donate copies to a public archive somewhere.

And for people doing this for themselves -- always scan at the highest resolution possible, and save raw unedited files.

Technology will keep getting better; the future will need and have use for those images in ways we can't imagine now.

Silver King
04-12-2008, 02:54 AM
I promised nerds a couple days ago I'd move this thread to the Experts forum, but I forgot until just now. Sorry, my friend.

We'll see if the folks there can provide additional feedback.

JoNightshade
04-12-2008, 03:06 AM
Jo those pictures are awfully important -- there's very little of real actual day-to-day in the field stuff from the soldiers themselves that's been preserved.

I hope you and your father can manage to donate copies to a public archive somewhere.

Really? I guess I'll look into that. He was in a special Seebees/marines building unit. Some of the photos are pretty funny... when he was over there he kept a HUGE snake (about 10 feet long), a monkey, and a dog. I think he had a pig, too. :)

Any idea where I would do this?

Tiger
04-12-2008, 04:32 AM
Kodachrome was about as archival as color film got; then, and now. Even after you have the things scanned, order some storage materials from Light Impressions and then pack them away, someplace cool, dry and dark.

They also make special CD/DVD media as well, using gold, instead of silver, that's supposed to be better proof against CD rot. Come to that, they also make some pretty good storage options for these media.

I still shoot film, myself. I do marathon digitizing sessions using a SprintScan 35 that produce digital images approximately 25megs. The pros do a better job, but I can't afford them.

Medievalist
04-12-2008, 06:16 AM
Really? I guess I'll look into that. He was in a special Seebees/marines building unit. Some of the photos are pretty funny... when he was over there he kept a HUGE snake (about 10 feet long), a monkey, and a dog. I think he had a pig, too. :)

Any idea where I would do this?

I'd likely just start by googling things like "Vietnam and Archive."

I know some people will say "who cares about a Seebee's day to day life?"

But if the Paston family hadn't kept their letters in the fifteenth century we would know a lot less about the lives of an ordinary family. Real stuff from real, ordinary people is important, and less likely to be preserved by "official" groups.