Last week, or maybe the week before that, one of the teacher specialists in Social Studies called me up and asked, “Do you have any equipment to convert slides to digital format?”
“What do you mean, slides?” I asked back.
“The old slides that go in a slide projector,” he replied.

Of course, we didn’t have anything that would get the job done. But the question came back to me when I read this blog entry over at Unclutterer:

For $20, Costco will transfer two hours of VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, Digital 8, 8mm videotape, MiniDV, or Betamax tape to DVD. Once you have the DVD in hand, you just save the files to your computer’s hard drive (assuming your computer can read DVDs).

Costco also has a service that transfers 200 feet of 8mm, Super 8, 16mm movie reels to DVD for $20 and another that scans 50 slides to create digital photographs for $20.

[You’ll have to call CostCo and speak to them since the service isn’t listed on their web site…other comments include one from The Photo Archival folks, who can do the conversion but for 50 slides, it’s about $50].

You’ll have to decide if $20-$50 isn’t that much to pay or not…to rescue 50 slides from obsolescence and drag them kicking and screaming into the future.

Here’s another approach:

After mounting the camera to the tripod I position the camera a few inches directly above the light box. My camera has the benefit of an LCD screen so I can see what the photo will look like without looking into a viewfinder on the camera. Once the image in the LCD screen is like the before photos shown below I snap the photo.

I recently added guides to my light box that allow me to quickly change slides and have them aligned straight. I used a couple of tongue depressors that I taped with masking tape to the light box along the bottom and right hand edge. Now every photo is straight and in the same location.


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