How to Scan 35mm Film (Beginner Tutorial)

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every film photographer at one point

will come across scanning film after all

doing it yourself can save you a ton of

money and a lot of time but for people

who are just starting out scanning can

be quite intimidating and although it's

a fairly simple process there are a

couple of important guidelines to follow

to ensure you get quality scans so today

I'll be showing you guys my scanning

process everything from what programs I

use and go into detail about how I

achieve the results that I get here is

how I scan in my film let's start off

with what items I use the first and most

important piece is the scanner this is

the Epson v5 50 and there are a ton of

options from Canon and other

manufacturers out there on the market

this is no 1 as a flatbed scanner and

it's great for scanning not only

35-millimeter but also 120 film


next you'll need a laptop or computer

here I just use my 13 inch MacBook Air

also a set of dust free latex gloves a

rocket blower which you can buy from any

photographic store and last but not

least some developed film now that's all

you need to get started the next two

items though are optional one a binder

with storage sleeves for all of your

developed film or to an external hard

drive to store all of your scans

the process now I will walk you through

step by step on how I scan my film the

first step is to put some gloves on

these gloves will allow you to handle

film without leaving nasty fingerprints

or scratches next I will set up my

working area be sure to choose a spot in

your house or office where dust isn't an

issue this will save you time in the

long run

once my working area is all done and

complete and my scanners are plugged in

now it's time to open up the scanning

software I use the native Epson scan

software that you can download online if

you buy another brand of scanner just do

a quick google search to find the

appropriate driver to install next I

will grab the film holders and hit it

with a couple bursts of air to free up

any dust as well as on these scanners

glass once clean and dust free I'll go

ahead and follow up with the piece of

film that I'll be scanning note when

putting the film holders into your

scanner check and make sure your holder

corresponds to the matching markers on

the side for an accurate scan place the

film into the holders and glossy side

down matte side up and secure the film

once you completed all of those steps

you should be ready to skin

let's move over to the software itself

when you open the scanning software the

first thing you'll see is document type

of course in this situation we are

scanning film now as for film type set

it according to what type of film you'll

be shooting my scanner has the option

for black and white film color film or a

positive film which is just slide flow

for image type again set it accordingly

for black and white I use 16-bit

grayscale and for color I use 48 bit

color now for resolution this is where a

lot of folks have differing opinions

I'll usually scan my film at 2400 dpi as

you can get perfectly clean results for

Instagram YouTube or pretty much any

social media outlet this is also great

for small 4x6 prints the benefit of

scanning at 2400 dpi is it'll allow your

scanner to work a bit faster so your

scans won't take too long

you want to make prints bigger than 4x6

I recommend bumping that dpi up to

around 3600 this is great for 5x7 prints

or even eight-by-ten also keep in mind

that the higher the dpi be longer the

scanner will take to scan each frame

now that you have your base setting set

for your scans let's move into your

adjustments on Epson scanners you will

find tons of great features such as an

unsharp mask grade reduction color

restoration backlight correction dust

removal and the famous digital ice

typically when scanning my film I don't

use any of that except for the

unsharpened mask and need digital ice

technology if you're unsure what to use

the first time I would recommend cycling

through each adjustment and seeing what

each of them do the cool thing about

Epson scanners is it'll allow you to see

a real-time preview of the frame before

your skin is so you can see what each

adjustment does to your skin keep in

mind the more adjustments you put on the

longer these skins will take okay now

let's recap what we have so far you set

up your scanner clean the holders opened

up the Epson software walk through the

settings and adjustments and lastly got

to see a preview of your film at this

point you're pretty much ready to scan

but before you move forward you do have

to select the destination of the file

and more importantly the format of the

image here you'll see options like TIFF

or JPEG even PDF in some cases the two

most commonly use though are TIFF and

JPEG JPEG is a compressed file size

which means it's a smaller file but at

the same time you are going to be losing

a little detail in your skin now TIFF is

a larger uncompressed file which means

that it's gonna take up more room but

you are gonna have retain a lot of

detail within your skin if you have

enough space to store your scans I

highly recommend scanning in TIFF

if not go ahead and scan in JPEG there's

absolutely nothing wrong with that

matter of fact most of my scans you see

on YouTube and all my Instagram are

JPEGs once you figure out the

destination and what scanning format you

want to put it into now you can go ahead

and hit skin after I scan all of my

fellowmen I'll go ahead and run it

through visco or even Lightroom just to

make tiny little adjustments here and

there now because it is film I want

those characteristics to stand out so I

don't do too much color editing or color

grading instead it's more of just

exposure levels contrast or maybe even a


slight increase or decrease in

saturation so there you have it how I

scan my film now folks I know my process

can be a little bit different from

somebody else's but the process that I

used here was designed around me what I

feel most comfortable with so that's

gonna wrap it up I hope you guys enjoyed

the video and as always Minolta gay