DIY Film Holder With Sprocket Holes for a Flatbed Scanner

Written by amelie mueller Google
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DIY Film Holder With Sprocket Holes for a Flatbed Scanner
Scanning the sprocket holes of a negative can add an artistic flair. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The price difference between analogue cameras and their digital counterparts has some photographers testing their do-it-yourself abilities without having to risk damaging expensive digital equipment. For example, some are shooting 35mm film in a camera built for 120mm film, thus causing the entire surface of the negative to be exposed clear past the sprocket holes. However, this presents a new problem when it comes time to scan the images, as most scanner film guides will not allow for the sprocket holes to be scanned.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2 pieces of anti-Newton glass
  • Lint free towel
  • Lens cleaner

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  1. 1

    Cut the two pieces of glass so that they are approximately the same size as your flatbed scanner. They should be at least the length of a cut negative strip and wide enough to accommodate two film strips. The sheets of glass must be not be so large or thick that they will not allow the scanner to close properly, as this may prevent operation on some scanners.

  2. 2

    Tape around the perimeter of both sheets of glass with masking tape. This will hide any potentially sharp edges that could cut you or scratch your scanner or negatives.

  3. 3

    Apply a thin coat of lens cleaner to one sheet of glass and cleanse it thoroughly using a lint free rag. Make sure both sides of the glass are free of streaks, fingerprints and other debris. Gently place it on tray of your scanner.

  4. 4

    Lay two strips of cut negatives, six frames per strip, next to each other, shiny side down, on the sheet of glass so that they are in alignment with the film scanning area of your scanner. Affix a small square of tape to each end of both negatives so that they do not move. Do not place tape on any part of the negative that you wish to be scanned.

  5. 5

    Apply a thin coat of lens cleaner to the second sheet of glass and cleanse it thoroughly with a int free towel. Check that the glass is free from any marks that will alter the way the negatives are scanned. Once the lens cleaner has dried, gently place the glass on top of the negatives so that it is perfectly in line with the first piece of glass.

  6. 6

    Close the lid of the scanner and press the scan button. When the scan preview appears on your computer, adjust the area to be scanned using the scanners software. Drag each frame's outline to the edge of the frame so that the sprocket holes will be scanned. Complete the scan and save the images onto your computer.

  7. 7

    Remove the negatives from the glass and immediately remove any tape that is on the negatives, glass or scanner to prevent any accumulation of adhesive.

Tips and warnings

  • When taping the glass, be careful not to tape across the glass or place the tape in a way that will prevent your scanner from seeing your negatives.
  • If you cannot acquire two sheets of glass, on most flatbed scanners it is possible to tape the negatives directly to the scanners glass. However, this is not recommended because it is difficult to get the negatives to lay completely flat on the scanner, thus causing Newton rings.

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