What we do
Our in-house film scanning service utilises an Imacon Flextight Precision 949 virtual drum scanner capable of handling film from 35mm up to 5 x 4". The resulting files are suitable for the highest quality fine art and exhibition prints, with excellent sensitivity for capturing fine shadow and highlight detail. Flatbed scanning is also available and can accommodate A3 pieces while digital capture of larger or deeper dimensioned works is available upon request.
What to expect from our scans
Sometimes, customers expect the scans to look punchy, vibrant and print-like, but they usually will not; We scan films "flat" to reveal and open out dark areas and hold any details present in high lights thereby providing the best raw file to work from. Any dynamic detail lost/not captured during scanning cannot be retrieved later. The retoucher can then make the best creative decisions using all of the information that was available in the original film to produce the final file.
You can specify 8 bit or 16 bit, RGB or Grayscale for the scan. The difference between the bit depths, apart from 8 bit producing files half the size of 16 bit, is in practice far more profound. An 8 bit RGB file has 256 increments per channel (2^8), so Red 256 x Green 256 x Blue 256, gives 16.7 million colours. In comparison a 16 bit file has 65,536 increments per channel (2^16), so R x G x B = 281,474,976,710,656 colours.*
When heavily retouching in Photoshop, files would benefit from being scanned and worked in 16 bit mode to help maintain integrity.
*A bit is the smallest unit of digital information and will express one of two states; 1 or 0 / on or off. So, per channel, 8 bits can express 256 combinations (2 to the power of 8) while 16 bits can express 65,536 (2 to the power of 16). 8 and 16 bit is sometimes referred to as 32 and 48 bit in scanner software, which merely describes the combined bit depth of all three colour channels in RGB mode.