For your cook-book. New Year recipe for Film Digitizers

The countdown to New Year’s has started, and speaking of countdowns… there’s only one easy way to cook... mm to scan all your film before you pop your champagne open!

Here is the recipe and some pictures.


1 DSLR camera (can be be substituted with mirrorless)
1 Macro Lens - Sigma 70 mm Art DG is recommended
1 Benro Geared Head
1 Lens coral
1 "Pixl-latr film holder"
1 6x6 cm glass mirror
1 Flashlight with an extension cable
1 tripod with geared central column
1 remote control or tethering cable
1 (optioanal) camera battery powered from USB source
10 SD cards
3 frames "Vlads Test Target"
0.5 yard of masking tape
1 bottle of Champagne Madame Clicquot - can be substituted with 2L bottle of Coke or Pepsi

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Scanning time: from 12 am Jan 1 till no film to digitize left.


For the holder:

Assemble Pixl-latr film holder as shown, install legs and diffuser.

Affix Pixl-latr film holder with the masking tape to the large piece of plastic or cardbord, weight down the board with a bottle of Champagne (or the substitute) to keep plastic sheet and film holder firmly in place.

For the camera:

Put the lens collar on the lens, attach lens to the camera. 
Slide Arca-swiss tail into Benro geared head. Dial in 17 degrees incline on the Benro head.
Connect flash to the camera, pull out flush diffuser if any, put flash behind Pixl-latr film holder.

Connect remote control or tether camera to the computer
Place glass mirror in film holder and get camera lens centered against the mirror (use gear on tripod central column and Benro head)
Remove mirror, place "Vlads Test Target" strip and make minor adjustments with Benro head dials and lens focusing ring in manual mode until all Siemens stars across the target are firmly in focus. 

Optionally, hook up big TV screen to the camera HDMI output for easy viewing. Now you are guaranteed that the film plane and camera sensor are completely aligned.

Carefully remove "Vlads Test Target" and take the shot of empty film gate.

Adjust flash power/exposure/white balance so your empty film gate gives you the picture which reads RGB (254,254,254) across the frame. You have reached your base exposure settings.

For you:

Insert your negative/transparency. Do not touch white balance and lens focusing ring. In the configuration shown and at apperture F8 the depth of field is big enough for any film. Digitize all your films all night long!

Ask anyone dancing around you to keep the proper social distance and to move at least 60 feet (20 meter) away from you so your scanning rig will not be disturbed during its operation.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!


Popular posts from this blog

Digitize Your Film with Confidence - Introduction Page

Using Vlads Test Targets to Fine-Tune Film Scanning Rig

How good 35 mm test target actually is?