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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Slide images from the fifties and sixties. How well have they survived?

The other day I received a pack of 35mm slide transparencies which were well packed and clearly well looked after. All of the images were from the fifties and sixties. I scanned the slides at high resolution and was surprised by the dust and mould that became visible. I use a blower to remove the dust but it does not remove all, the software I use removes some of the effect but again, not all. In the end the best results were achieved by a combination plus manual editing of the images.
Another effect of  age on the film is colour change. The blue being stronger in Kodak film and the reds predominating in the Agfa product. These colour changes are usually quite simple to correct  but with the oldest slides the task becomes more difficult.
I am sure we will see this more and more as the older slides emerge for scanning and preservation and the challenge for us is to keep the picture as close to the original as possible. Our picture of the month is a Supermarine Scimitar F1 and is an example of  a slide scan image from the sixties which has been restored. The resolution on the web obviously does not compare with the original image, but gives you a good idea of how well images can be scanned, restored and preserved for transfer to disc.
For further information on image scanning and to see examples visit  our website  Saturn Films 1969

David J Sack

Friday, 10 September 2010

Slide scanning resolution and file size.

When we scan slide images we use a high resolution, typically 3200 dpi. This means that the images can be printed clearly up to A4 size. As scanning equipment, and software, improves the goal posts change. We recently scanned slides for a mountaineering group. They had had their images scanned about 12 years ago by a leading company to my surprise the images were 300 dpi and they lost quality quickly as they were enlarged.
My point is that we should scan our images whenever we can and accept the best quality available. If we delay we may get higher resolution but our pictures may have degraded with colour loss or fungal contamination and may actually be lost forever.
For our mountaineering friends we provided a high resolution, up to date product from well preserved slides. Our customers need to be aware that they can get an excellent product now and preserve those memories before the slides deteriorate and are lost forever.
David J Sack