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Slides...We Got Slides (and We Can Scan Them, Too!)

Recently a customer dropped off a rather large slide scanning job - approximately 1900 or so near as we can figure. Once the job is complete, we'll have an exact count.

Scanning slides and negatives to digital files makes them easier to preserve and share

This, I felt, was a good opportunity to explain how we go about taking in a scanning project and seeing it through to completion.

With slides, the most common format is the 35mm which comes in a 2" x 2" cardboard frame. As with this job you see here, the bulk of the slides come in already loaded into 100-count trays. Other tray types can hold either 80 or 140 slides. To keep track of everything and to keep it organized, we put a 4 digit serial number on each box. As we go through the scanning process, the digital files will be placed in separate folders using the same numbering scheme, with each slide having an appended number to indicate the order within each folder.

We typically get slides that have been stored either in boxes or projector carousels such as this one

Our automated slide scanner accepts up to 50 slides per cartridge, so the next thing we do is to remove the slides from the existing carousel (or box or case). They are placed in our own cartridges and quickly cleaned using compressed air, then are run through the scanner automatically. After several hours (At 2500 DPI it takes about two to two and a half hours to run through a batch) the scanned files are loaded into Photoshop where we rotate them to the correct position and apply some automatic color and brightness correction. The resulting JPEG files are then copied to the customer's USB drive or data disc and returned to the customer along with the original slides themselves.

Slide scanner in action

For slides other than those that come in standard 2" x 2" frames, we utilize a flatbed scanner with transparency adapter. This is useful for negative strips of various sizes and both larger and smaller frame sizes. We've even scanned images from 3D view discs and slide frames. A 2500 DPI image taken from a 35mm slide usually results in images that equal a little over 7 megapixels, which is enough resolution to reproduce the image as an 8x10 print. Our scanner is capable of double that, so for special orders we can go as high as 5000 DPI, or about 28 megapixels.

Putting scanned images into separate folders helps to keep projects organized

As with many other types of media, scanning slides to a digital format makes it far easier to view, share, and even edit your images. Have more questions? Feel free to contact us any time.


Marc Vadeboncoeur is the owner of Goodheart Media Services, a professional video production company which also specializes in video, audio, film and photo transfers as well as disc and USB duplication. He can be reached via the company web site at

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