If you want to scan film, you absolutely must make sure the film is clean. Because you enlarge small film images many times when you work with their scanned copies, you magnify the size of the dust or other artifacts at the same time. When your film is clean, you’re ready to start scanning:


Place the film in a holder designed for it.

The holder masks off the areas outside the image portion of the film, reducing the amount of contrast in your image.


Insert the holder that contains the film so that the emulsion side of the film is facing the sensor.

If you do the reverse, the light passes through the emulsion and is then diffused by the base side, giving you an image that is less sharp than it might be. This figure shows an image scanned both with the emulsion side facing toward and away from the sensor.


Turn on your flatbed scanner’s transparency light source.

Usually, you can turn this source on in the scanning software.


Do a pre-scan.

Your scanner software lets you capture a preview image before doing the main scan.


Make any corrections you want by using your scanner and choose your resolution.

The correction options vary widely from program to program, but you can probably find icons like these in your scanner’s software. Choose the resolution recommended for the size of film you’re scanning.


Be prepared for a long wait while the scanner painstakingly captures all that detail.