Going Digital – The Holy Grail of Photography, Film and Video – Part 1: What to Preserve?

Going Digital – The Holy Grail of Photography, Film and Video is a 4 part consumer education series by ScanDigital’s President, Anderson Schoenrock. The purpose of the series is to help educate customers on the process of transferring their photos, slides, negatives and film to digital.

If your family is anything like mine, we have boxes upon boxes of precious family photos sitting in a closet in a spare bedroom. We have everything organized into shoeboxes or small plastic containers. Years and years of memories, roll after roll lined up on a set of shelves.

I have been so busy building this business that it was only recently that I finally got around to organizing my own materials to be converted into digital. A few months ago I pulled everything out of the closet and decided what was worth preserving and what I didn’t need. A common question at this stage: do I send in my photos or negatives? In most cases, the answer is the negatives. Assuming the negatives have been kept in a dark box somewhere these will provide the best digital image. Because the prints were taken from the negatives, scanning those is similar to taking a copy of a copy. We can still obtain a great digital photo from prints, but well preserved negatives are the way to go if available.

Next I went through everything. Decided which photos I wanted to keep and which I didn’t care about. Not surprisingly, I wanted to keep most of it. Except a few obviously poor shots, everything else I wanted to keep.

I labeled my envelopes and put everything back in a box to bring into the office. The process was pretty straightforward and didn’t take to much time.

Next up were my old home videos. This was even easier, I just pulled out all my old VHS tapes to bring in and a handful of 8 mm reels from my early years. Again, I just wanted everything converted.

I did not give myself special treatment in our queue, but just put the order in as our customers do. About a week later I had all my photos in digital and within 2 weeks had all of my video transferred into digital format.

On thing that I really liked was our hard drive option. I now have everything on a neat little USB drive. Storage prices continue to come down while storage space is becoming even smaller. I now have 160 GB worth of photos, video and music on something that can fit in my pocket and requires no more power than what can be supplied from my Macbook.

Transferring my old materials brings numerous benefits, not to mention it freed up a ton of space in my closet. It is time to say goodbye to those old shoeboxes and slide carousels in your basement! My materials are no longer trapped in these out of date formats, they’re now in digital where they can be shared, enjoyed and preserved forever!

Next Up: Part 2 – The Dangers of Leaving Your Materials In Out of Date Formats

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