Scanning Slides to Photos

About a year and a half ago (yes, a long long time ago) I asked my sister-in-law to bring me my mother-in-law’s old slides so that I could convert them into a DVD as a surprise for her.

Well, needless to say, time went by and by and by until one day I decided to tackle the project. I bought myself a negative/slide scanner that is made by Ion. Here is what came in the box (with the exception of the CRC Duster that I purchased separately).

Ion Scanner
Ion Scanner

The scanner scans both 35mm negative film and slides. Although you can put a few slides in the “holder” they sometimes stick when you try to push them through with the lever depending on the size of the slide and how perfect (or imperfect) the edges are. The small screen on the scanner allows you to view the slide, i.e. is it backwards, upside down, etc. However, the screen is small and if you decide to look at each slide picture, it can really slow you down. I would just glance to make sure the setting was on “slide” and not “negatives.” My plan was to use iPhoto on my MacBook Pro to edit them.

One problem I had with the scanner was that it would switch into “negative” mode without my knowing why so I would have to re-scan the slide(s) if I didn’t catch it right away or turn the scanner off and on in order to correct the setting since I wasn’t scanning 35mm negatives.

Overall, I scanned a little over 3200 slides starting from the year 1966. It took 2-3 months for me to scan these because I didn’t work on it for hours every day. A little here, a little there.

A second, but major problem I had while scanning was the dust on the slides which is why I bought the CRC duster that allows you to spray air into the side of the scanner or on the slides themselves to remove the dust (but it would be very expensive to spray each individual slide on both sides not to mention time-consuming).

CRC Duster
CRC Duster

Because I had different groups of slides to scan that had different travel dates and countries, I scanned each grouping then transfered the slide pictures from the 2GB disk  to iPhoto with the adapter that comes with the scanner. It was quite easy to do — even for an amateur like me.

I then made an Album in iPhoto for each grouping. Afterwards, I went into each Album and edited each photo for lighting, cropping, etc.

iPhoto also allowed me to “retouch” each photo by removing the small spots of dust that showed up although there were some slides that simply had too many (one could spend many hours editing one slide). Other sides were so over/under exposed that I did not include them in the DVD’s that I made from the albums I created.

After the above was completed, I made DVD’s on iPhoto. Since my mother-in-law likes classical music I downloaded some songs from iTunes from various artists. I was then able to use that as background music for the slideshow I created.

One irritating feature that the scanner does is that it adds a “sequence number” to each slide. That number is transferred to iPhoto which is then transferred to the DVD and it will show up in the slideshow so I had to manually remove each number from the picture. I was not able to figure out how to remove them in mass. Bleh!

I’ll be posting some before and after pictures of slides every now and again with my mother-in-law’s permission. The slides are from countries like Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Greece — to name a few.

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