How to digitize 35mm film

About 35mm film

Digitizing film is trickier than slides, which are protected from most of the preservation dangers of handling by their mounts. When handling 35mm film, try to touch only the edge of the film with clean or gloved hands.

The PrimeFilm7200 film mount can hold six frames at a time, which means that it is best suited for digitizing short film strips or individual frames from photography projects. To digitize a film strip, you have two options:

  • Physically cut the film strip into six-frame segments. You can put the sections back together when you are finished if you have access to a tape splicer.
  • Pulling the film through the mount. This works best if the film you are digitizing is in good condition (i.e. no tears in the brackets, creases, or visible degradation) and you are not concerned about preserving the film strip afterwards.

Before you start

    1. Turn on the PrimeFilm7200 scanner. The switch is on the back of the unit. When you turn scanner on, the button on the top right will turn blue.CyberViewX-Icon
    2. Open CyberView X5 on the computer.
    3. Load the film into the six-frame image holder.PrimeFilm7200-35mm-Film-Mount

Digitizing in CyberViewX

  1. Adjust the CyberViewX scan settings as needed.
  2. When you are ready to scan your first frame, go to the menu bar at the top and select “Scan ? Prescan ? Prescan Current Frame” or click the button at the top with an image of an eye. This process takes approximately 10 seconds and does NOT create a digital file, but allows you to preview the image.
  3. Make any necessary adjustments to the image (i.e. rotate image). If the image quality is poor, you can change the color variation, balance, or levels in “Image Adjustment” (the button that looks like a color wheel). To undo a change, click “Revert” (the lowest button on the left).
  4. When you are satisfied with the prescan rendering, create a digital (.tif) file. Select “Scan ? Scan Current Frame” (or the button that is scanning a film frame). This process usually takes around 20-30 seconds.
  5. When the scan is complete, you will not see a rendering of the image in CyberViewX – it will be saved automatically to the PrimeFilm Scans folder on the desktop.

Post-digitization clean-up

  1. If you forgot to change your scan settings in CyberViewX, you can do so in IrfanView (the default application for viewing .tif files). Doubleclick your image to open it in IrfanView – FAQ about IrfanView coming soon!
  2. Images will be assigned generic names (i.e. “image010.tif”) by CyberViewX. Feel free to rename your images to make the content more obvious, but keep the unique identifier (010) to ensure that no two files have the same name. The Library of Congress provides some useful tips for naming conventions in personal digital archiving projects and for larger digital preservation projects (and an accompanying 4-part video series on the subject).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

  1. Remove your film from the PrimeFilm 7200 machine. Don’t forget to take it with you when you leave!
  2. Make sure that you have migrated all of your files to your USB stick/external hard drive.
  3. Exit all applications on the computer, and turn the PrimeFilm 7200 scanner off.

Troubleshooting

My image isn’t rendering in CyberViewX!
  • Did you load the film mount?
  • Make sure you’re selecting “Prescan” instead of “Scan” – images will not preview in Scan.