2024.03.13 – Digitizing Photo Negatives


Digitizing Photo Negatives
By Dale E. Lee

As you review the projects you could potentially undertake to record your own Family History, you’ll find there is a category that encompasses many such projects, that of digitizing documents and photos.

If you grew up during the era of digital documents and photos, you may not have to worry about digitizing them, unless of course you want to do it for your ancestors. But if at least part of your life included recording media such as Super-8, camcorders, slides, and photos which needed to be developed with chemicals, you’ll probably want to put some effort into digitizing them. Once digitized and stored in a computer, it is much simpler to convert into future digital formats.

Photographs can be scanned using both flatbed and drop-down scanners. But one of the issues that is easy to miss is the possibility that many of the photographs you thought you saved, were in reality lost over time. So what do you do then?

Do you have the negatives that the photos were created with? Most people probably do have the negatives because they were given them in the same envelop the original photos came in. This gives you the possibility of reproducing the photos using the negatives, and then scanning them into the computer. However, there is even a simpler way. Some specialty scanners have the ability to scan negatives and produce digital “positive” versions of the negative directly onto the hard drive (or a flash drive) on a computer. There are even some generalized flat bed scanners can do the same thing.

Using specialized scanners is faster than attempting to use a flatbed scanner because they are better at helping to align the negatives and are faster in locating the images and taking pictures of them. I used one such a scanner at a Family History Library and in a period of about 4 ¾ hours (which included training time) I was able to scan about 750 pictures directly from negatives. That was a large savings in time.

After scanning the negatives, there are remaining issues which need to be resolved, such as matching the negative images with the original positive images and removing the duplicate if that is desired. There were also occasional issues with the machine mis-coloring the picture as it was interpreting what the positive should look like. But just the fact that you have backup method of restoring old pictures in the event that the original picture has been lost, could be a life saver in preserving Family History.

Seekerz, © 2024

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2024.03.20 - Fast Scanning of Photos

Fast Scanning of PhotosBy Dale E. Lee2024.03.20 Last week I talked about scanning Photo Negatives. This week I’ll discuss scanning photos themselves. Most people probably know about scanning photos and documents using flat bed scanners. Flat bed scanners allow you to place the photos on the photo bed and align them with the sides of the bed, so they’ll appear straight when the final digital picture appears. However, there is another way to scan photos, that of using a scanner with a hopper. I recently used one of these faster scanners at the Family History Library in Mesa, Arizona. There […]

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