Converting slides to digital is one of the best methods of ensuring you will save your memories to your computer. By saving them to your computer you could also share them on social media and make the most out of old slides.
Before you even start the process you might ask yourself why to go through all the hassle in the first place. The truth is that converting every image might take a long time.
You have to make sure the setup is perfect, the slides are properly aligned and then you have to save and organize the digital files. Some of the results will be good while other won`t be useful. This is why you have to think about the reasoning behind the conversion. It will take time and determination to go through a large number of slides.
In the end, it might be worth it as you will see with every successful conversion. With every slide you digitize properly you will be more motivated and inclined for better results in the future. This is why you might be able to deliver some good results without worrying too much about the process itself. There is some good news also.
You will get to experience better results in time and the process for each slide will take less and less time. This is why handling slides will get easier in time and you will get to perform better and more advanced project which might involve multiple slides into a single file.
Where to begin
You will need to start understanding how the slides work. Usually, you will need to go through each slide which is captured on film and either photograph it or scan it to your computer. None of these techniques is perfect. But you can get good results which each method if you take your time and try to align the slides as good as possible
Use a scanner
The scanner method might be the simplest one as it involves less physical activities and more digital steps. To perform this method you will need a scanner. The good news is that any type of scanner can work. Even early models can work very well with today`s requirements as they usually connect to the computer with a USB cable.
The size of the scanner will depend on the size of your slides. Most commercial scanners come with A4 sizing for typical printer paper. These scanners might be enough for some of your slides and they can provide the base for your conversion process.
Make sure you install the scanner when you begin the process and then you can begin converting each slide. Place the slide in the scanner and scan as usual. This will prompt a digital file which you will need to save to your computer.
Because the of the inversion techniques, the dark and bright sections of the files will be inverted. The simplest method of converting them back to the original picture is by using the dedicated option with software such as Adobe Photoshop which can invert the black and whites with a simple click.
There are some online tools as well, many of them being free of charge. This is the only process you need to take before saving the final pictures. Although this technique does not provide perfect results, it is still one of the best options by today’s standards.
Use a camera
If you don`t want to use a software for further processing the pictures, using a camera and “inverting” the bright and dark areas of the image yourself you can do this by using a light source behind the slide. You can begin by placing a slide on a string and attaching it with a pin to hold it in place.
Then, you will need to place a light source behind the slide. This light can represent anything from the classic lamp, a phone, a tablet or even a TV set. For the best results you will need an even white light, this will ensure the final pictures will be free of any shades and will be as clear as possible.
If you want to perfect the results you can experiment with multiple lights. Placing the lights at different angles might prove to be beneficial to bring in more highlights ensuring you will get better results. This can be a good technique, especially with the darker areas of the picture which might need more light to show the finer details
Save and organize your slides
Once you decide on your favorite method, you can start saving and organizing your files. You might want to save them in different folders according to the conversion quality. This might give you the opportunity of further working on the pictures with editing software which can restore some details and sharpen with the right techniques.
If you want to maximize your efforts, you will need to save the files in smaller resolution if you plan to convert thousands of slides. This will limit the disk space needed to save all of these files. As an alternative for better quality pictures you could save them on a cloud server.
Converting slides to digital is not that complicated if you perfect your results with the right technique. Although there are other methods which might help you achieve similar results, these are the simplest alternatives for the digitization of the slides. They will come as a tool to help you according to your possibilities.
If you already have a scanner, you can use the opportunity to scan the slides and convert them with specialized editing software or an online alternative.
If you have a good camera you can try the alternative method of photographing the slides with a backlight which might prove to take more physical work, but at the same time, it could eliminate the need for specialized editing software. Regardless of your choice, one of the biggest influencing factors will be the quality of the light behind the slide or the quality of the editing software.