Many individuals and companies will have a backlog of old 16mm or 35mm film and microfilm in reels or storage containers with no real filing system, no way to access them quickly and easily, no way to store them without losing the quality of the image and possibly no money to maintain the storage of a large amount of film or microfilm. Thankfully, there is a way to preserve and protect your film stock, old and new, without costing the earth and with the many benefits of electronic document storage. This article will hopefully explain how the film scanning process works and how it could benefit you immediately without the need to buy expensive software or to continually fork out for large and inefficient storage systems in potentially insecure locations.
Film Scanning – The Process and Options
If you decide to have your film or microfilm converted into a digital format, the process itself is quick and easy, offering varying levels of image fidelity and a resultant variation in file size, as well as a choice of all of the biggest file formats to which your film can be converted. TIFF and PDF are the most popular choices as they are the most widely used and offer the greatest range of compatibility, allowing users to access the scanned film files from most computers. The quality and compression of the images in these file types is also industry leading, so you can be assured of the quality of the scanned image and the continued, unchanging fidelity of the file, regardless of how many users access it and how many times it is replicated or copied between different digital storage formats. Film Scanning can be booked for ongoing periods or indeed on an on demand basis, giving flexibility and freedom to customers who will require a continued Film Scanning service they can trust, or to those who are looking for a single digitising session.
Once the Film is Scanned
When you have had all your film converted into the digital file type of your choice, you then have several options for storage and filing.
- Online Storage
You could store your film and image files online in an Online Document Storage system, which has the benefits of being accessible anywhere in the world by multiple users, as well as giving you the ability to associate other relevant documents to your digitised film files, which will unify your filing system and give quick and easy access through discerning searching abilities. This kind of storage also means that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on specific software as the Online Document Storage system is all web browser based, and you will certainly not need to worry about maintaining your own web server or filing room as this will be taken care of for you. You need not worry about the security of your film files either as 128bit encryption and modifiable user permission within the system will protect your investment. Combining your scanned paper documents with your film image files is something that many customers will find desirable, and the potential for multiple user access and customisation of the Online Document Storage system to your own tastes and needs is also a huge benefit over standard paper filing systems.
- Other Storage Options
If you don’t want to commit to an Online Document Storage system, you have a choice of a variety of digital formats in which to have your film files stored and delivered. DVDs, USB pen drives, solid state flash memory drives or traditional hard disk drives are all options, and because of the universal compatibility and variety of the file formats available when you begin the film scanning, you will not be limited in the many storage, transfer and duplication methods available to you once the scanning process has been completed.
Why Use Film Scanning?
There are many reasons to use film scanning beyond the simple cost-effective efficiency of the resultant filing options. Because it can be replicated and stored safely, without losing quality over time, it can be the ideal way to back up your existing film collection as a disaster prevention method. Should the hard copies of your film be destroyed, you can replicate them from the digitally scanned files. This means that film scanning is something that should be considered even by those who are able to keep the hard copies filed appropriately, and as a result it can be recommended to anyone, whatever their needs and whatever the state of their film stock and current storage system. It may also be the case that you are unable to use and view your current film stock as you lack the correct equipment to facilitate viewing, either because it is broken or the format of the film is too old. By scanning the film you will make it viewable and useable again, and the process can rescue from the brink even the most obscure old reels which previously would have been junked as they were not viewable.