Simple Scanning of Negative Film Without a Film Scanner

Having finally gotten around to developing the steadily increasing pile of film that had been amassing over the past year of general creative apathy, I was stuck with no longer owning or having access to a film scanner, so I turned to Google in the hopes of sourcing a DIY solution. I don’t need amazing quality, I just wanted to see what I’ve got and maybe share a few on social media.

The first thing I found was something I’ve seen before. It looks like an open sided sandwich box, and can be used to get a standard (non-backlit) flatbed scanner to scan transparent media. I had a try, but with no luck. It’s possible that I’m not positioning it correctly somehow, or that my little all-in-one printer scanner isn’t quite up to the task, but if anybody is interested, there’s a detailed tutorial right here.

A second option, and one which I have only briefly tried (with slightly better luck than the cardboard adapter, but still not fantastic results) is using a smartphone or tablet to provide backlighting on the scanner bed. Petapixel detail the process here. I suspect that my attempts might have involved too much screen brightness, so it’s probably worth experimenting with that. I whacked mine right up, and the resulting scan was just way too bright, creating a nearly black image once it was inverted.

Now, on to what I actually have found works for me.