Looking to start simple 35mm neg scanning business

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by supraman215, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    I was looking to start a simple, local only, word of mouth, 35mm negative scanning business. It would be cheap simple scanning. I've put the word out with some friends and family.

    My angle is cheap digitizing of your old photos one roll at a time. Safe storage, able to reproduce high quality prints, no degredation over time, etc. I'm just doing a feeler now I put up a simple web page only.

    My price schedule is WAY cheap, again I'm just starting up so I want to see if there's any interest and it won't be my primary source of income. I'm going to charge $1 per 35mm film strip.

    If there is enough interest I was going to purchase a Nikon Coolscan V (LS-50) to do the work, all the other equipment (lightscribe dvd burner etc.) and software (Photoshop) I have already. However since I don't yet have the scanner it will be hard for me to really show people examples.

    So my questions are, what do people think of this business, also does anyone have the above mentioned scanner and could send me a 2000dpi RAW scan for me to play with, i.e. different compression and printing options. Thanks.

    Jeff
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Most people's negatives will be cut into 3 image strips (or is it four?)
    When you say $1 per strip...do is that for each three image strip...or for a whole roll (24-36 exp)? If that's for three images...that's $8 for 24 exposures...that's kind of steap. If it's $1 for a whole roll....then it would not be getting very much money...on an hourly basis.

    I don't own a neg scanner...but one of the biggest complaints I've heard...is that you still have to spend a fair amount of time getting rid of dust. Even with cleaning the film and using technology like 'Digital Ice'...there may still be a lot of Photoshop time involved. A lot of people found it too time intensive just scanning their keepers...but if you were doing this for someone else...it would be every image...and would take forever. You could skip that...but then your product is not as good as it may have to be.
     
  3. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Depending on your local market there may be a demand for it. Not a bad idea.

    Back in the day I did hours of scanning at the paper. I hated every minute of it.
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My combined flatbed (for prints) and negative scanner would not serve me well for a business (it is not a good one, never was, I got it for only 99 Euros three years ago), scanning takes long if you want to go for a higher dpi and clean as I might, I always have lots of dust in my pics. Post processing of the scanned negs takes ages with my scanner (might not with a better one, though, little do I know) ... I have TONS of old negatives in my folders from decades back that I would LOVE to digitalise and store away but I have found out for myself that I'll never have the time of my life to do this myself. Have someone else do it for your price would be MARVELLOUS but I doubt you could keep that low price (provided it is for a complete roll of film) for long --- you will find it is extremely time consuming to do this kind of work.
     
  5. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    That is EXACTLY why I want to start it small and with just a few people at first if I find it as tedious as you all claim then it might not be worth it to me at that price.

    As I mentioned before I'm going to keep the post processing to a MINIMUM

    Not according to all the online and local places I've called most do negative scanning for between $0.69 and $1.99 per exposure. However in that price is vairing ammounts of post processing.

    The question really becomes not the physical process of doing the scanning but actually how much post processing would be necessary to make a valuable image? Is the ICE4 technology by itself going to be enough to remove most of the dust and scratches? We're not talking about absolute shutterbug/atrists here as my key market. We're talking about Joe Average who has a lot of old family photos who wants to preserve them for future generations, and be able to make prints and enlargements without having to handle the originals all the time. With photoshop I can do batch cropping and if it's absolutely necessary batch color correction, but I'm sure the nikon software also has some sort of color correction.

    Jeff
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I certainly think there are people who would pay for this service...every once in a while, we get questions here at the forum...people asking what they should do to digitize their film archive.

    I think it will come down to time...is it going to be worth your time?
     
  7. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    It's truly a question of what my time is worth. If it turns out to be successful and worth my time, I could also pick up another scanner hooked up to a different machine (have many) and do double the work.

    Once I get the scanner I'll be able to figure out how long it's going to take me to do a roll and may have to adjust my prices. However I won't be getting the scanner until there's enough interrest.

    So does anyone have a file that was scanned from that scanner? I need a RAW image LZW compression only.

    Jeff
     
  8. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    Is the quality on a good quality flatbed as good as the quality on a dedicated negative scanner? because if it was i could scan a lot more at once with a flatbed then a dedicated negative scanner.

    Jeff
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    From everything I've read...a dedicated film scanner is much, much better than a flat bed.

    There are some flat beds that are decent though...which might be enough for the average snap shooter.
     
  10. birdstrike

    birdstrike Propera Explora!

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    I have a film scanner (HP S20) and a flatbed. The film scanner is infinitely better than the flatbed for negatives. It is also much slower.

    I have a few years worth of 35mm negatives that I would love to scan in, but the process is too tedious for me to even begin it.

    Assuming no post-processing at all, you could scan 6 frames in say, two minutes, perhaps. Perhaps more. Then you have to add in labeling, organizing, burning DVDs, mailing, whatever.

    Maybe $10 to $15/hr if you had steady work?

    I would start out looking at how much you need to make as far as $$, then work backwards to a price from there.

    I would pay you $1.00/strip in a heartbeat.
     
  11. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    WOW, thank you this has been very helpful information. I like your estimate of two minutes, I'm going to work from there. Labeling and organizing would be kept to a minimum, maybe different prefixes by roll of film. but they would be in the order I was sent them or specified by the customer. Also I would provide several contact sheet images, or b&w print outs, just to give you a general idea where to find your photo.

    The whole business plan behind this is that if I skip the post-processing part now it's a business that I can scale easily and cheaply. If I find I'm getting enough business I can buy another unit, attach it to another machine (which I already own) and scan twice as fast, so on and so forth.

    Also anyone have an image scanned from a Nikon Coolscan V that I could mess with?

    Jeff
     

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