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scanning slides:

Perhaps you have boxes of slides and tranparencies that haven't seen the light of day for some years because it's just too much effort to dig out that old projector and screen? Unless you took prints then these are likely to be the only copies that you have of these important places, people or events so we would strongly urge you to think about how to preserve them for the future. There is no doubt that film media will degrade over time so it's never too soon to make a start.

This may seem like a daunting task but we'll try to set out the options to help you decide what to do.

If you hold your slides up in front of a well-lit window do the colours appear bright and vivid? Are the darker details difficult to distinguish? Most professionals would accept that the best way to view your slides is by using a projector to shine a (very) bright light through them and to focus the image on a large screen - this is, after all, how they were meant to be viewed!

In order to preserve those images, though, there really is no option but to scan them and convert them into digital format. There are, however, some problems...

Some home/office scanners claim to have the ability to scan slides and negatives but in our experience they are not really up to the job. Unlike a print, a 35mm slide has only a small area within which to hold all that precious information. To get good results when scanning transparencies it's best to use a dedicated film scanner with a resolution of up to at least 4000 dpi. Most home/office scanners are not really capable of this. Our scanner is specifically designed to scan 35mm film and transparencies. That's its job. It is also equipped with digital ICE4  technology which can enhance images by, for example, automatically removing dust and scratches, bringing colour out of darker areas and smoothing the effects of grainy film - if you want the best, then this is it! You're probably only going to do this once so our advice is not to cut any corners.

care and maintenance:

Having taken the step to convert your slides to digital format, you'll want to make sure that your collection will stand the test of time. Digital media are not indestructible and they will degrade over time. We only use reputable makes of disk but nevetheless, we can never rule out the occasional failure. So how long will a CD or DVD last? The safe answer is that nobody knows. They may claim to last for tens of years but anyone who relies on this is liable to be sorely disappointed. The good news is that it's a fairly inexpensive job to make backup copies of your disks so that if disaster strikes you'll still have spare ones.

We can't really emphasise this too much. If your pictures are precious then make backup copies and if they're really important to you then one backup may not be enough - keep another copy off-site to be doubly sure! Just like your hard disk drive, it's a truism that one day it will fail. And it won't give you any warning whatsoever! The same applies to digital storage media such as CDs and DVDs.

We will keep a backup copy of your images for four weeks from the date of dispatch so if there's a problem during that time then simply contact us and we can arrange to make another copy for you.

We also offer the option of having your images put onto a separate DVD in the form of a video slide show which can be viewed on a TV monitor using an ordinary DVD player. Details of costs and other options are on the pricing page.

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