The basic idea is pretty simple, you need a diffused, homogeneous light source, a way to hold your film, and a digital camera focused on the film. Because you’ll be focusing at a very close distance, the depth of field will be very narrow, so focusing precisely and keeping the distance between the film and the camera exactly the same throughout the scanning. In order to achieve this, several people developed different techniques, such as using a shoe box
, simply a tripod and a glass table
, or even a tube made from toilet paper rolls
. I have tried variations of these in the past and ended up developing my own film holder using laser cutted mdf (schematics for hand or laser cutting can be found on thingiverse
). I’ve designed this because it allows me to setup and scan a whole roll very very quickly, with very high precision! The instructions below are broadly independently of which type of film holder you are using, but if you do decide to use my holder, here's how to build it:
First download (here
) and cut the holder in your favourite 3mm board material. I've chosen MDF.
Cut the pieces in mdf or other material of your choice.
The top right rectangle is meant to be cut on white acrylic to serve as a light diffuser. The white acrylic is helpful but not mandatory, any other type of difusion can be used, such as using the sky or a white wall as background!
Black lines are for cutting and Red for engraving (In case they don't appear as red for some reason, these are the 8 horizontal lines inside the film holder rectangles). I engrave lines with the "cut" option of the laser cutter at low-power and high-speed.
This Thing includes two film holders: one for 135 (35mm) and another for 120 type film. I taped the surfaces where the film comes in contact with the mdf to avoid scratches. The film holders should be put together in the following layers:
1. mdf film holder piece
2. double sided tape
3. a strip of thick paper or very thin cardboard (this is meant to create a gap between the boards and allow the film to slip through them)
4. double sided tape
5. mdf film holder piece
Use the engraved lines on the mdf film holder boards to align the double sided tape and the cardboards. the distance between these is the height of the different types of film.
The camera holder is built by gluing the long horizontal board to the small vertical strip using the small triangles. It's important to ensure that the two boards are glued at a 90º angle.
The camera is tighten to the board using a 1/4 screw that you can find on any hardware store or looking for "tripod 1/4 screw" on ebay. The camera holder, the film holder and the white acrylic are hold together with small plastic spring clamps.