10 – Scanning 35mm slides

Click here to help determine which side of the slide is the emulsion/dull side

  • Brush both sides of slides off in one direction to ensure dust and fibers are removed.
  • Slides are filled into trays by each column, or vertically. Often times there will be a discrepancy in the direction the slides were stored (usually by row/horizontally) versus how they must be placed in a tray if a scan tech is scanning from a slide binder.
  • Slides are placed emulsion side down in the tray. Usually a slide will have a company’s logo on the emulsion side, otherwise the scan tech will need to check the slide’s reflection in the light to determine the emulsion side.
  • Once the tray is full, carefully turn the tray over and examine each slide to make sure none of them are being blocked by the tray.
  • Place the tray carefully (to avoid scratching the glass and jostling the slides) on the scan bed with the arrow on the top left of the tray lining up to the corner notch of the film guide (long gray plastic bar). Anything scanned to the left of that notch will result in a distorted image.
  • Make sure the scanner’s transparency lid does not have the white backing on it.
  • Change your settings to those assigned by the lab supervisor or refer to the FADGI flow chart on the board. Usually slides are scanned as positive film at 2800 or 3200 dpi, depending on the project. Color correction can be turned on and is best combined with the thumbnail option.
  • Using the thumbnail option to scan, click Preview.
  • The preview will identify each individual slide. There’s no need to make marquee selections.
  • Verify each slide is properly identified. If the image has large black bars on the left and right or top and bottom, this means the preview did not identify it correctly. It’s best to skip scanning of that slide for now. Usually there are two pages of images to click through.
  • Rotate each slide so that is right reading or rotated properly for correct viewing.
  • Click Select All (deselect any misidentified slides) and click the mirror option to flip the slides. This avoids having to flip them in post-production. Make sure the software flipped the second page of slides as well.
  • Once naming and file location have been verified, start the scan. There will be a popup box warning of scanning at high resolutions, click OK.
  • During the downtime (~20 minutes), it’s best to start filling a second tray with slides and recording any necessary metadata associated with them. This way the trays can be switched out quickly and a new scan can be started. If the second tray has been filled but the first scan is still going, proceed to fill in any necessary metadata for the rest of the slides not in trays.
  • NOTE: Due to the nature of our work, one scanner could be scanning slides for hours at a time. This can cause the plastic arm in the transparency lid to scratch on the ceiling of the lid, which leads to tiny white particles on the glass and on the slide. Always check the lid for dust particles and stop scanning when noticing artifacts in a scanned image. These can typically be seen in the preview. Inform the lab supervisor of problem.

Return to scanning instructions