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Quicktip: Scanning Old, faded color slides

March 1st, 2011 · No Comments · analogue photography, HowTo, News, Quicktips, Scanner, Tips and Tutorials

Film emulsions are in constant change, even after they have been developed and fixed. Humidity, temperature, light, etc keep changing film and pictures start to fade or change. These changes plus scratches and dust particles deteriorate the image and film emulsion.

SilverFast was conceived with this type of images and users in mind. With assistance of fully automatic or manual tools the image quality can be restored to its original state.

To scan and optimize one of this slides you will:

Make a prescan

Define the area to be scanned and the enlargement factor

Make the necessary corrections (color correction and optimization as well as scratch and dust reduction)

Perform the endscan and save the image in a file.

For this I use a Plustek OpticFilm 7600i (it was the scanner available at the moment but you can use your own) and an old Agfa Chrome CT18 slide which was widely popular in the 60’s.

To represent  a real scenario for many people, the picture used for this thread has acquired a blue color cast, has lost color intensity (faded out colors) and it is a bit underexposed.

First thing make a prescan and define the area to be scanned.



Next adjust the scanning frame to include only parts of the image, any of the surrounding area will affect any automatic correction since it will be read and interpreted as part of the image.

Don’t be afraid to trim a small part of the image, actually the viewfinder of the analogue camera comprises about 95 % of the negative, so trimming a mm or two on each side should not be a problem.

Defined scan area

Defined scan area

Probably one of the first thing to try is the Auto image enhancements button (Image Automatic).

Image Automatic

Image Automatic

Image automatic corrections make a great job, color is back to life, the blue cast is gone.

Image after automatic correction

Image after automatic correction

The next step is to set the enlargement factor. I prefer the simple method, the resolution slider.

Resolution slider

Resolution slider

It is not mandatory to make this adjustments using the slider; SilverFast offers other options to accomplish this task for example the scale factor or the Output value.

These are the basic steps to make a quick scan and enhancement of old slides with color casts and faded out colors.

The last step is to press the scan button, select the folder where the picture will be saved as well as the file type .

This technique can be used in combination with other techniques like batch scans, dust and scratch removal, noise reduction with Multi-Exposure and for precise color reproduction an IT 8 calibration.

Now that LaserSoft Imaging offers the SilverFast Archive Suite a more reasonable approach of  digitizing this picture libraries is by scanning in raw format (creating a raw file on your computer) and performing the corrections described here in SilverFast HDR.

Now, time to start digitizing those old school slides, you might find some good treasures hidden there.

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