Making a Micro Film Camera / Burner

I'd like to get a roll of 16mm silver emulsion camera film and then transfer a HEAP of digitised documents to it for storage in hard copy, in the micro film format.

I know how to do it, but doing it is a different thing.

In fact I'd like to make the whole system, from scanning on a desk top scanner, and or, perhaps photographing documents directly. I'd like to be able to record digitised documents onto film and film to digitised documents.

But the real need is to convert scanned in documents to microfilm - so we can forget the rest for the time being.

I'd like to do just the conversion of digital documents to microfilm - but on the cheap, and I'd be prepared to compromise a bit of speed and other factors as long as the imagry was up to a reasonably high standard for documents.

I will read up and contact these people and Kodak etc.. but I am also looking to improvise as I am on a limited budget and I guess it's really a case of finding a USB type projector with the lighting and the lensing that instead of putting it up on the big screen, shrinks the image to fit in a frame on 16mm film. That may require specialist imaging equipment, parts and very accurate adjustment.

So if anyone knows how to do this on the cheap, it would be appreciated.

Here is the more or less cashed up way of getting it all done, this covers it in a nutshell:

Digital Document Archival to Microfilm
The Digital Revolution

Digital imaging has revolutionized document management. Imaged documents occupy almost no physical space, can be easily secured, searched for content, or made centrally accessible to an office PC. With a proper backup schedule, digital documents can be safely stored for years.
Digital Memory Loss

Digital documents also introduce a number of new problems. Hardware, encoding and software obsolescence loom over any digital collection. Obsolete hardware can prevent access to the data itself. Digital document also require software to read, interpret and render documents in a meaningful way. Your ability to manipulate your documents could be tied to a proprietary file encoding which leave you few options if the software company goes out of business. Even migrating from one system to another creates the possibility of data loss.

Digital Archival to Microfilm

How do you save your digital documents from potential oblivion?
Simple; convert them to microfilm. Microfilm has been a mainstay of librarians for the last century. Documents are eye-readable and have a shelf life of at least 500 years. Compare that to CD's which degrade after as few as 5 years or hard drives and DAT tapes that can degauss after only 20 years. With our digital archival services, you can have the best of both worlds; Instant access and long-term storage.
Benefits of Digital Archival:

    Eye readable with simple magnification
    Archival longevity
    Easily re-digitized

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rickharris5 years ago
Turn a standard 50mm camera lens round and you get a quality lens system that produces reduced size images. The rest is up to your design skills.
Can't help but think that this is a Quixotic idea, in the face of The Cloud
Wroger-Wroger (author)  steveastrouk5 years ago
Yeah but it's not like keeping the microfilm in a sealed container with a magnifying lense - that will last 500 - 900 years.

I mean once upon a time the Apollo mission broadcasts were kept on master video tapes... and now those tapes are obselecent, as well as the machines they were used upon.  A stash of video was found in some archives some where and the only way they could get them "viewed" was because they found the last remaining video tape playing machine in a museum some where.

Floppy Disks of all capacities and sizes have come and gone, CD's and their burners / readers have come and gone. DVD's are in the slow phase out process.  Blue RAY never really made it off the ground. High capacity USB sticks are normal... for the time being.

But powerful advances are being made in optics, atomic manipulation etc.. and quantum computing - the nut has been cracked for that.

Storage looks like it is going optical - as in atomically within crystals....

All the best tech now in existance - will be superseded, and the medium that it's stored on will degrade and the machines will fall into obselescence.

And "The Cloud" - who owns that? And exactly where is your data stored?

It isn't in my hands, in physical copy, and despite the perception that it is Quixotic, if I needed to store data or records for use in time capsules, that get opened in 50 or 100 years.... 

"THE CLOUD" - LOL - yeah sure.

I don't know the life span of film stock - worth looking into.

BUT do you REALLY need to keep data for 100's of years -

Several HD crashes and less than 100% (intentionally) back up teaches me that anything a couple of years old is more then likely superseded by something new anyway

- even data.

Wroger-Wroger (author)  rickharris5 years ago
Yeah I have looked into it - extensively, the modern polyester film with the silver azide(?) crystals in the gelatin coating - IF it's properly processed and stored it it will last at least 500 years and even up to about 900 years.

It's like using acid free paper and graphite pencils......

If you want to put things in time capsules, all it needs to activate it at the other end is a big magnifying glass.....

So if you want to document the history of your times - this is the way to do it.
Part of "the cloud" will be that it it can be redundantly held anywhere, in essentially non-degradable form. Once its digital, its essentially immune to decay
Wroger-Wroger (author)  steveastrouk5 years ago
Yeah but between digital // electronic formats and time and availability etc...

Digital only works while the power is on, or until the technology in the hardware or software is superseded - and once the connection is broken there goes everything as well.

So digitising all the data and sticking it on USB sticks or archival grade DVD's - will the data last 50 - 100 years on those formats? AND will the machinery still be in existance to read the data?

In the right conditions - the pencil and paper or mineral pigments on stone beats everything - except engraving in stone.

Since space is at a premium - and time capsules are small - unlike vaults and filing cabinets, the BEST way to store the data in hard copy is via microfilm - with a jewelers loupe (eye glass magnifier) or a high powered magnifying glass.

Under the right conditions - the data on the film will last 500 - 900 years.

Digital media - HDD's drop dead like flies, electrical gear does have a finite shelf life.... companies come and go, or are bought and or sold off... wars, plagues,  - and when the data is out of your hands, it's OUT of your hands.

I am not arguing for or against - there is no choice. The people at the other end of 50 - 100 year time spans must be able to read the contents of the storage medium - regardless of the circumstances. Microfilm and a hand held lense will enable them to do this.

....and the availability of film stock. Another obsolescent technology....
Wroger-Wroger (author)  steveastrouk5 years ago
It would be nice if you could provide some factual proof to back up your assertions, or assumptions.

Having a consistently high strike out ratio reduces your credibility to zero.

In fact while having opinions on everything without having the technical know how, or having put in the time and effort to research the subject - and then declaring yourself to be an expert on what you are spending your time making declarations about - means that your not really worth listening to at all.

lemonie5 years ago
Why not have them encoded onto punched-tape instead? It's effectively digital in a physical-format.