Always always use a production house. I have used digmypics with great results. The needs are 1) Always scan to a .tiff file, 2) ask for ability to review and decline scans before paying 3)the better the slide quality, the better the result in your NLE.
A likely workflow that I use - I can drop slide stills into a movie edit on VegasPro. If I want best Ken Burns style - I produce that segment in ProShow and import a high quality .mov file into VegasPro.
For DVD and Blu-ray production -besides using the inputs from the above - I may choose software to build interactive flash media, with Ken Burns style, interactive titles or subtitles, and add to the "extras" volume on the optical disc.
Addendum to my remarks - If you care about real quality and not volume ( I do historical archive work - the reason for my perspective) you will use a service house. They are not expensive - and the minumum quality scan for .tiff starts around 2000 dpi for NLE work and goes up higher than 7000 dpi for large print repro. With digmypics you get an automatic 15% reject rate for slides they would scan but you get to decline.
Some of the suggestions that follow in this thread for off-screen capture are not at all very good. Also beware that a true macro outfit for digital cameras slide repro are almost unheard of...that is why I still value my old film camera that has a great setup - cost about $400 in 1970.
I have scanned over 100,000 negatives and slides. A negative/slide scanner gives the best results, but it takes 1-2 minutes per scan, minimum.
Film scanners are not made by Nikon anymore, and I suspect most other manufacturers have stopped making them as well, now that film is all but dead. eBay is your only choice if you go that route.
There are many services that will scan these for you, but they are expensive.
For slides, if I were to face another huge project, I'd be tempted to simply use a projector to put the image on a flat white surface (better than a pebbled screen), and capture the result with a digital camera. I have a good friend who did this, and managed to capture 10,000 slides in a day. Once you have everything set up, you press the advance button on the projector, wait a second for the autofocus to settle, and then snap the photo on the tripod-mounted camera. Rinse, lather, repeat. You can get 20-30 slides a minute (not counting the time it takes to mount the carousel) rather than one slide every two minutes. While the result may not be as sharp, you do have the advantage that you can easily capture some of the shadow detail on Kodachromes, something that is very difficult to do with slide scanners that use nothing more than a few LEDs for illumination.
wrote on 2/21/2013, 10:19 AM
If you have a good digital SLR, they still sell adapters and extension tubes where you can shoot the slide with your camera. With the right back light and the high resolution of the DSLR, you can get good images.
I've only done around 10,000 slides. I own a Nikon scanner with automatic feeder. As John Meyer says above they're no longer manufacturered so eBay is your only option.
You also really need Vuescan software as the Nikon scanning software leaves a lot to be desired.
Like John I keep an old Kodak slide projector for some of the problematic slides and also sometimes it's helpful to just see what certain slides look like when projected as a reference.
Avoid the cheap scanners like the plague. The Nikon scanner has dust busting (ICE) using IR which is great or can lead to big problems with some film types especially some home made B&W reversal film I had to scan. All of the issues of gamma and density are handled by a good scanner and software but you do need to invest some time to get really great results.
I also always give the client both their "video" and the 2000 or 4000 dpi original scans.
Another way to do all this which is not half as bad as some are suggesting is to setup a projector with a flat white screen. Point camera at it, get client to watch and you record their commentary to the camera along with the slides.
Ditto to everything that Bob just said, especially the endorsement for Vuescan. The Nikonscan software not only leaves a lot to be desired, it has no options for true batch scanning.
Also, Bob mentioned in passing, but I should reiterate: the automatic slide feeder is mandatory if you are going to scan more than a handful of slides. Be warned that they are expensive. Even back when the Nikon scanners were still being manufactured, a used Nikon slide feeder was over $400 (used) on eBay.
For doing my old family slides i use the Chromega 760XL enlarger i have left over from my darkroom days. I mount the DSLR camera on the column where the color head normally goes, and put the color head upside down underneath the camera. I built a little cardboard slide holder that centers the slides over the light diffusion opening. The color head gives me full control over color correction with it's CMY dials. I've got a 10x closeup adapter on the front of the camera lens which lets me fill the frame with the slide image. The results are surprisingly not bad. Probably not as good as an expensive service bureau, but probably a heck of a lot better and way faster than taking them to the local lab. I can churn through maybe 500 an hour.
I did order several replacement lamps for the enlarger, just in case they stop manufacturing that model.
Now i may want to upgrade my DSLR to a model that has a live video output to a monitor so i don't have to keep looking through the tiny little viewfinder to make sure the image is still centered and properly corrected.
Here's a thing about the pointy end of the business.
I was married in Taiwan and we had half a day in a local studio having our wedding photos taken, incredibly good work at an incredibly low price. The studios there get people flying over from the USA, it's cheaper even with the airfare.
Anyways they gave use the large format negs and back down under I thought to get them scanned by a local high end service. Each negative done to their highest standard was going to cost me $600. Each neg's 16 bit tiff data file would be on its own DVD.
I only mention this to highlight just how good the best that film is capable of still leaves all but the most expensive digital cameras for dead. On top of that well processed film stored with some care will outlive us.
I agree with musicvid - the Epson upper range flatbed scanners have long done an admirable job with slides, and are probably the best bet now that dedicated slide scanners of good quality have disappeared.
I did some 30,000 slides on various types of dedicated scanners, and several thousand later on epson flatbeds. The workflow on the latter is a bit tardier, but the results can be very good.
I have a slide/negative attachment kit for my flatbed scanner, along with Silverfast for converting coloured negatives. I have not used it much but I found the dust problem rather frustrating. It only becomes really apparent after the scan and subsequent enlargement. I need something like a blower/sucker brush and an antistatic spray.
Never bothered me much because the Nikon scanners use a separate scan using infrared to find any dust and remove it in software. Before you run out and buy a used Nikon keep in mind this trick doesn't work well with all emulsions as some are IR opaque.
Getting all the dust of slides can be a pain, if you cannot budge it with air or a soft purpose made brush then you might need to take the slides out of their mounts and clean them with a solvent. Not for the faint hearted or impatient. I spent a weekend as part of a team tasked to clean several thousand slides that way. Thankfully they were in metal mounts that could be reused.
What can get onto slides that's even more of a problem is fungus. I have simply left that alone as I fear it's aleady done damage to the emulsion.
After you've had your slides digitized using any of the fine techniques already mentioned, then you're faced with a production style decision. Are you looking for flash or simplicity?
If your slides will be used to tell a story in conjunction with the audio track, I'd avoid a flashy video presentation. On the other hand, if you plan to simply add a music track to your presentation, then you have a wide range of options available; anything from simple gaped or overlapped images with fades or transition effects combined with optional Ken Burns keyframing, to fancy 3D track motion transitions. The track motion effects are available via commercial software packages
In my experience I would caution against overusing the Ken Burns effect. This is fine when used sparingly as seen in TV specials. But an entire slide show presentation where every image is Panned / Zoomed gets tiring very quickly.
"But an entire slide show presentation where every image is Panned / Zoomed gets tiring very quickly."
I heartily agree. It tends to make me feel seasick. This particularly applies to panning/zooming as an automatic process.
If it is done sparingly and is directed according to the slide's content, such as to home in on the key feature in the slide, or pan across several features of particular interest, then it can be quite effective. In other words, you have to be creative about it.