Scanning stills

bw wrote on 2/15/2006, 3:35 AM
Have just scanned a hundred or more photos for a slide presentation. Most were stuck into albums and were a pain to manipulate.
Wondering if any thoughts on using a digi still cam to capture. One with good macro and on a stand like an enlarger with a couple of lights should do it?
of course the better the lens and the more pixels the better the result, particularly if using timeline zooming and track motion.
woderyarekon? Brian


farss wrote on 2/15/2006, 4:43 AM
If you can get hold of the negs and have access to a good film scanner the difference is staggering compared to what ends up on commercial prints.
johnmeyer wrote on 2/15/2006, 8:16 AM
I just finished a project (my parents' estates) that involved scanning almost 50,000 pictures. It took over a year. I used every scanning technique in the book.

You can photograph photos in frames, and also photograph albums, using a digital camera. Use two lights at 45 degrees to the main surface. You will need an absolutely black, non-reflective backdrop. I actually set up a vertical copy stand in the garage, used my dad's old studio lights set at 45 degrees, opened the garage door, and photographed at night. There is nothing outside to reflect back inside (I live on a hill in the middle of nowhere), so this is the ultimate black, non-reflective background. I shot at the highest resolution with my Nikon D70, and used the remote control to eliminate all shake (except the mirror which cannot be locked in the up position on the D70).

This technique works well for those "pebble surface" prints which, when you scan them on a flatbed, look like they're covered with dust.

For prints that can be take out of the album, or for albums that can easily be placed on the flatbed, I always use the flatbed. As already stated, the scans are much better, although slower, than what you get with the camera. I use VueScan for both my slide scanner and my flatbed. When I scan from an album, I do a preview and then select each photo from the preview and scan them. I find this faster than scanning the entire album page and then cutting the pictures out in my photo editing program, which is an alternate workflow choice.

As for scanning resolution, I've posted on this dozens of times (search my user name and "resolution" and "scan"). The short version: dpi is a totally irrelevant measurement: You need to look at total pixels. You need a total of 720x480 (NTSC) or greater to get good results in Vegas. Double that if you plan to zoom in to 2x normal, etc. dpi times size will give you the pixel count. Thus, at 300 dpi, a 4x6 print will yield 1200x 1800, which is plenty for most video purposes, although if you crop a portrait print so it fills the screen, you'll throw away over half the vertical pixels and if you then zoom in even a little, you'll be approaching he 720x480 limit before you know it. Also, if you plan to do something with the print other than video, you may want to go to 400 dpi. Unless the print is extraordinarily well-produced, scanning a 4x6 at resolutions higher than this probably won't retain much extra detail.