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How to start Film to Digital Scanning business guide to make money for individuals want to quit their jobs and start their careers as an entrepreneur are as follows:
Description of Job
• Convert old photos, negatives, and slides to digital files that can be displayed
on computers and televisions and reprinted using modern digital
printers.
• Enhance the quality of and remove flaws from old negatives or videotapes.
• Transfer videotape to CD or DVD for display on computers and televisions.
The Need
For many of us, our photos and videotapes are our most precious possessions,
but time and technology march on . . . and closets fill with old photos and outdated
media. Remember Betamax tapes, Super 8 movies, and Instamatic
slides?
Photographic prints have a limited life; they deteriorate over time. Slides
fade. Negatives become brittle and are subject to scratching.
Videotapes have a shelf life, and they are dependent on the availability of a
working playback device. A closetful of old Betamax tapes is useless if all you
have is a modern VHS player.
Super 8 and other film-based movie systems require the appropriate projector
and a screen.
Today, the headlong rush is into digital media. Digital cameras outsell film
cameras, and nearly all of us have become used to looking at images on computers
(from our own collection or downloaded from the Internet) or on television
using CDs or DVDs as the source.
A single DVD can hold hundreds of high-resolution photos or several hours of
video. DVDs are easier to store and handle and offer a much longer life expectancy.
In addition, images stored in digital format have another very important advantage
over older analogmedia (including photos, slides, film, and negatives): Pictures can
be copied and moved an endless number of times without degrading the quality.
The job of the film-to-digital-scanning professional is to gather the technology
and the expertise to convert media from analog to digital.
Challenges
The principal complexity of this job is managing all of the various combinations
of before-and-after media. You’ll need to purchase scanner equipment and a
powerful and capacious PC and become expert at using them.
Another challenge is the fact that you will be entrusted with irreplaceable
family treasures. You’ll have to take special care to avoid loss or damage to
media you are working with.
Know the Territory
Among the most popular types of conversion:
• Film slides in 35mm, 110, 126, and 127 formats to CD or DVD. Older
cameras might use larger 120 or 220 film.
• Negatives in any of the same formats, reversed to positive images and
recorded to CD or DVD.
• Color or black-and-white prints scanned to digital files and recorded to CD
or DVD.
• Movies in 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm formats, converted to CD or DVD.
• Videotapes in Beta, VHS, S-VHS, 8mm, Hi8, MiniDV, and Digital 8 formats,
converted to CD or DVD.
All of these conversions use a PC for processing, storing, and creating CDs or
DVDs.
Offer a selection of output options. Let clients choose between CDs that
play on computers or DVDs that have more capacity and can be used on either
computers or television sets. Each scan can be done at a range of resolutions
(degree of fine detail). The higher the resolution, the sharper the image in display
and the better the print that can be made from the file; on the downside, it
takes considerably longer to scan at higher resolutions and the files take up
more space on the CD or DVD.
How to Get Started
Begin by becoming an expert on the technology. Read computer and photography
magazines, visit trade shows, consult web sites, and tap the expertise of
knowledgeable equipment salespeople.
Draw up a detailed business plan with reasonable assumptions to determine
how much of an investment makes sense. You might want to start out offering just
slide, negative, and print conversions; the technology is more mature and the
investment a bit less.
Advertise your availability through flyers at community centers, senior centers,
and schools. Place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
You might be able to establish a relationship with area photo, art supply, or
framing stores to allow you to advertise there in return for referring customers to
them for services you don’t provide.
Up-front Expenses
You’ll need a current PC with a large amount of memory and storage; plan on
spending at least $1,500 for the computer. The PC will need to have a recordable
CD or DVD burner.
A high-resolution 35mm slide scanner ranges in price from about $500 to
$2,000, and most include holders for negatives and software that can reverse
images from negative to positive. The more expensive scanners generally include
advanced features that can automatically remove scratches and improve the quality
of the image being scanned.
Flatbed scanners, for use with color or black-and-white prints, range in price
from as little as $100 to as much as $1,000.
Prices for high-end drum scanners for large slides and prints begin at several
thousand dollars and go up from there.
Digital capture boards and external capture devices range in price from about
$200 to $1,000; these are used to scan incoming video from a VCR or camera
and convert it to digital.
You’ll also need capable software on your PC to edit digital files and to transfer
them to a recordable CD or DVD.
How Much to Charge
You can get a sense of prices by consulting web sites of companies offering these
sort of services.
We found prices for slide scanning ranging from about 45 cents to $1 each
for basic work and from about $1 to $2.50 per slide for high-resolution scanning.
Prices for scanning negatives were higher because of additional time required
on most systems; we saw prices of about 80 cents to $1.60 for basic work.
For transfer from film to VHS tape, prices were about 10 cents per foot at
basic levels of resolution and without digital restoration. Prices for transforming
film images to DVD were priced from 12 to 25 cents per foot, depending on level
of resolution and amount of restoration.
Scanning a print to digital form and restoring it can range in price from $5 to
$50, depending on the amount of touch-up required.
In addition to per-image or per-foot charges, companies add charges for CDs
and DVDs provided to the client, plus shipping costs.
Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: In dealing with your client’s property, seek to limit your liability
for damage or loss to the actual replacement value of items in your possession.
You should protect yourself against claims for sentimental value or
loss of use.
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