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Original post: Digitizing my images: know nothing about film
lokahi – Member
Let's keep it simple because all I know about photography is that there is a camera on my phone. But the wife was an avid photographer already in the day and I happened upon a few dozen reels of her 35 mm film.
Always trying to stay on her good side, I thought that for her upcoming birthday I would take literally thousands of pictures, negatives, prints, etc. and digitize them.
Okay, I get it. I need to get a movie for digital scanner / converter.
Now the question of the day; do these machines work on film rolls? Do they "read" them if they are not developed? does this machine develop them?
Now that you all had a great big laugh, am I in the left field on this? Maybe a little cocoa about the process that starts with step 1
Mahalo all in advance. How does my phone develop the images?
PJmax – Group Moderator
Dozens of 35mm rolls waiting to be processed? Do you mean developed?
There are devices out there that will help you transfer pictures etc. to video. They only work marginally. I have uploaded many pictures and pictures to digital but it takes time. I actually project them onto a small screen and shoot it.
There are also companies that can upload your pictures for you. They get anywhere from $ 0.29 to 0.45 an image based on scanned resolution. It's a time-consuming job.
Marq1 – Member
"Do these machines work on film rolls?" Do they read "them if they are not developed?"
No, the film has to evolve, it is a chemical process that then allows you to print or just convert the negative.
Open the can, subject to light, and they will be destroyed!
Pilot Dane – Group Moderator
Many of the companies that develop film also have a digitalization option. Fortunately, the movie can go through the mail so it won't be bad if you have to send them to the mainland.
GregH – Super Moderator
If you did not plan on more than this project I would suggest that you only pay someone to do it for you.
It would be much cheaper than buying a scanner.
It is not rocket science to digitize negatives but you would have a bit of a learning curve to be able to do that.
GregH – HVAC / R Tech
lokahi – Thread Starter
Thanks for the information .
As for how many images need to be converted, oh about fifty odd years worth. any recommendations on where I can get these undeveloped roles worked. I'm not sure about the movie's age or content. Will these sites inform you in advance that it is not worth developing? Would hate to pay for a bunch of black photos.
Thanks again, it looks like it will take a while and many drinking, uh, thinking sessions to determine the best course of action.
Marq1 – Member  All drug stores will be treated, they will do it in the store. Now the way to preview, all or nothing!
A scanner is not expensive, I bought a high resolution photo scanner three years ago to do all my pictures, it is a winter project that does not move too fast.
When done I will sell it on eBay so it will cost me about $ 50!
Pilot Dane – Group Moderator
Search the Internet only. There are many places that can develop and scan your photos. To some extent, you get what you pay for. Cheap places such as major retailers and drug stores make only a standard for developing and scanning with little or no time to balance or correct the images. There are companies that specialize in processing and scanning for advanced or professional photographers and will spend more time and care to make sure your photos look better. Unfortunately, the extra service makes them more expensive.
If you are looking for a more premium service, the site can tell you a little about their capabilities. Someone who only offers treatment and scanning I expect a low price and basic services. If you find a processor that offers retouching and photo restoration or lists separate prices for different types of machining, they have the equipment and skills to do more than just develop and scan.
Long ago I used this  company in New York. I gave them some Kodak TMax film which was used in astrophotography and was pressed very hard and asked them for special machining to supplement the ISO stretch I did and they answered "no problem". Most of the other companies I talked to had no idea what I was talking about. Unfortunately, I have no recent film experience so I don't know if the company I linked is still good.
PJmax – Group Moderator
I have used the company in the link below.
My mom actually has a 300 image project with them right now.
Dig My Pics
Zorfdt – Forum Topic Moderator
I found a local company to digitize old negatives. I liked the fact that I could go and meet the person and talk it through with them. Some Internet tools are cheaper, but you do not get the same personal touch.
They offered a few different options, just digitization (lowest cost), digitization and color correction and minor improvements (average cost), and much more time-consuming remediation including removal of scratches etc.
I went with the lowest cost because I had a whole part to digitize. You can always go back and let them (or anyone else) do the photo editing on a handful of better photos.
Good luck … what's the worst that can happen?
XSleeper – Group Moderator
Remember that if the film roll has a short tab film that stands out if it is unused 35mm film. Only rolls where no film tab protrudes would be exposed (undeveloped film).
puzzle shift – Group Moderator
It has been my experience to expose but undeveloped reels of the film have a relatively short life span; At least I would get these developed directly and worry about digitization later.
AllanJ – Member
How long ago were the rollers used? Do you know which rolls were used first and when?
Some film rolls are wrapped in paper. Do not unpack them more than about an inch, just enough to read the label that describes what kind of movie they are. They must remain wrapped (or canned) until they reach the treatment facility and the people there will open the film.
Rolls that are less than seven years old (from the date of purchase, not the date of use) will probably be developed with the standard procedure that the local drug store (like CVS) or the camera shop (like Ritz) does. (The film usually ships and returns in a few weeks.)
Color film reels that are more than 15 years old will probably come back with an almost unrecognizable gray image. But there is an especially slightly more expensive process that only a few special camera stores and mail order companies offer and almost always (not guaranteed) develop them into reasonable black and white images.
Between seven and 15 years old) it is guessing if it will turn gray when it develops as color or if you should play it safe and use the expensive but more reliable black and white method.
I think there is only one processing plant in the world (or maybe none) that can process full-color Kodachrome brand film. Kodachrome rolls of any vintage can be processed as black and white using the above-mentioned expensive method.
When scanning a movie, it is not uncommon for the digital image to come out too light or too dark, even if you scanned the previous image in a scroll in the same way and it came out just right. Most people who scan film stop scanning an image more than once to try to get the brightness. The skilled scanner operators could hold the film frame up to a ceiling light and then adjust the scanner and get it right with just one scan.
purduephotog – Member
On the side of each capsule in the film, they will provide a process number. Some simple –
C-41 (standard color negative film)
E-6 (standard slide film)
K-14 (standard Kodachrome, now … * sniff * removed and I think just done of Rocky Mountain)
Before C-41, there was C22 – it was in the 70's. Before that, you get dicey.
Now it is fantastic that these can still be processed. So grab a drink and google, but Rocky Mountain used to be the only place to go.
After that you get the negative / pictures / whatever. Nowadays you can have almost anything digitized. Whether they do it right or not …
The older the film, the more "foggy" it becomes. This is where the bass exposure level comes up, but the picture does not get brighter. So it lowers your signal / noise … which makes the image harder to capture. In extreme cases, you see nothing but gray. Digital can pull out details here that were not possible before.
I hope it helps to the chemical end.
Edit: Oh – mentioned above was a BW process for color film. Personally, I would not go this way. The process is a bit strange, involves bleaching the film and exposing it to light during processing. Honestly, just stick to the color treatment and use digital to get details. There are some remarkable algorithms now. Whether you can get the details you need from a cheap scanner or not remains to be seen.