Can you Convert Slides?
The quick answer, “Yes, we can convert slides”. OK, that is all the basics out of the way, but there are a few things to consider when you embark on the process of finding someone to convert slides (AKA Transparencies) to a digital format.
The big question is, what do you want to do with them once converted? I would hazard a guess that about 90% of our customers simply want to view them on a screen; more often, a TV screen. And whilst this format is gradually fading away, the majority are still opting to use DVD as the storage and playback medium. However, that is not what we recommend but, at the time of writing this blog, this is what our customers want, so we deliver it.
In this instance we simply scan in each slide, crop and correct major issues, and then set them out on our video editing system as a single video file. Each slide is shown for 10-seconds and then cuts to the next. If the customer wants to ponder on a slide for longer, they can simply pause the video on playback.
I will move on to a more appropriate delivery medium later but let us look at the history of 35mm slides. It should hopefully demonstrate why we should do better than just putting them on a DVD.
35mm Slide – historically
Creating 35mm slides or transparencies became popular in the 1950s when families gathered to watch their latest exploits in a slideshow projected up on a big screen. Though not as convenient as printed photographs, back-lit projected slides were preferred by those looking for better and larger reproduction of their photographic efforts. Depending on the projector lens and the distance from the screen, slides could be shown in almost cinematic scale.
With the right camera and, more importantly, a skilled photographer behind the lens, the potential quality obtainable was very comparable to a good digital stills camera of today. Therefore, many accomplished camera users opted to shoot on transparency film – and why some still do!
The chances are that the customer seeking someone to covert slides are not the original picture taker. It would have more than likely been their parents or grandparents. There is also a good chance that they have never seen the efforts of their forbearers displayed properly – other than by holding them up to a strong light source and peering at them closely. The projectors used to display slides were basic bits of kit. But the bulbs would blow easily, and spares are not easy to get hold of and, when they are, they are notoriously expensive.
So, you are left with a choice. Just leave the slides tucked away, undiscovered in a dusty corner of a cupboard – or get them professionally digitised and brought back to life.
Convert slides to USB – please!
We always try and persuade customers to get their slides converted to USB or as Digital Downloads. When supplied on a USB these are easily played back on modern TVs via the USB port (or on a computer or pad). Each slide is saved as a separate JPEG file which the TV will allow you to click through slide-by-slide – or display as an automated slideshow.
With the potential image quality so high, it seems a waste to limit that by the constraints of DVD. DVDs are limited to standard definition video (full frame = 720 pixels wide by 576 pixels high). It is hard to make a like for like comparison with 35mm slides as they are completely different technologies, but the potential resolution is much higher. If you want a detailed explanation have a read of Ken Rockwell’s article here.
When customers are seeking a high-quality reproduction, we scan the slides in at 2,400dpi (dots per square inch). The resultant image is about 8x the resolution of a single DVD frame – so ideal for display on a 4K TV or projector. At this resolution you can also get these files printed out in A4 or even A3 size.
The other major benefit of converting slides to USB or Digital Download is that they are easy to share with other family members or friends. The files are saved in standard JPG format so are ready to upload to any social media platform or Cloud Storage solution.
What does it cost to convert slides?
The slides will hold precious memories, so it really is time to set them free! It is a labour-intensive process if done properly though. Our charges start at 0.85p per slide with a minimum order of £35 – but the cost-per-slide does come down considerably when you have lots of slides to convert. Please call us for a no-obligation quotation.
We can also digitise printed photographs or scan in negative films and output to either DVD or USB. We also offer a restoration service for damaged photographs.
Call 020 3602 3356 or email info@Tapes2USB.co.uk
Please note: The final quality of slide conversions is dictated by the condition of the slide and the way the photograph was originally taken. Whilst we can correct minor imperfections as part of our standard service, we are unable to correct slides that were originally out of focus or severely under or over-exposed. If it is possible to correct errors and damage with additional re-touching we will inform customers of any additional costs before carrying out the work.