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PapaJohn's Newsletter #129

Scanning 35mm Slides

For many years 35mm slides were my primary method of recording treasured images. Today I want those older images in digital format on a hard drive, accessible for movie and story projects. Of course I'd like them to look as good as the projected images. 

If your closet, basement or attic has boxes of them from the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's... and thinking that someday you'll be able to get decent quality copies on your computer. Is it time to do it?

I've dabbled with do-it-yourself devices... projecting on a screen and taking video and snapshots of the images using a camera or camcorder... trying a flatbed scanner... reading online info about nothing satisfactory except a high-end slide scanner.

I'd looked for slide scanner rentals but the closest I found was one in San Francisco. The distance to Kalamazoo, and the daily rental rate were prohibitive.

One friend, Chuck Bentley, has a Minolta Dimage Scan Speed F2800. Another, Norm Carver, has a Nikon Super Cool Scan 8000. I borrowed Chucks and visited Norm to do some testing for this newsletter. I'll show you parts of 3 slides scanned at the highest resolutions.

  • Nikon - 3610x5450 pixels = 19.7 megapixels
  • Minolta - 3785x2550 pixels = 9.7 megapixels

The higher resolution scanning of the Nikon was the overall winner, important if you're heading to large prints... but for story and movie source files either one is will do well.

Here are the slides and the selected areas. The cropped area from the Nikon scan is shown full size. The same area from the Minolta was enlarged to align.


Slide 1...
Slide 1

Chris Cropped


Slide 2...
Slide 2

Gingerbread Sign



Slide 3...
Slide 3

Book crop

... before getting into more details, here are some notes...


Vista Corner... the more I use it, the more I like it. This week I

  • sent my first email from it, selecting a picture from the Photo Gallery.... it did a great job appropriately resizing and attaching it to the email
  • tried to tweak the registry to get my system to play themed slide shows, but it didn't work... my graphics card has a 2.6 Vista score, and it needs one of  3.0 or higher for the feature. I don't usually upgrade hardware components, but a new graphics card is now on my holiday wish list.
  • which versions of Vista have DVD Maker?... it wasn't easy to research and find authoritative info, but with the help of  Microsoft pointing me to the Vista Product Guide, I was able to add it to my Vista > Intro page. The answer is the Home Premium and Ultimate versions.
  • received a request to repeat a complex movie project breakdown I did a year ago... one I had to break into about 5 parts to render on my laptop with 2 GB of RAM. In Vista I didn't need to subdivide it at all to render it to a DV-AVI file, on a system with 1 GB of RAM.... the enhanced memory management 'under the hood' is working. 


This link provides a special 50% off the usual annual service price... good to Dec 31.... I'll keep it as a sticky note until then.

To compare streaming video from mydeo to the file downloading of YouTube... take a look at Chuck Bentley's holiday greeting... a subscription to mydeo makes a great holiday gift.

I installed 30 day trial versions of Adobe's Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements, and Photoshop Album Starter Edition. I've always thought well of Adobe products, and I'm often asked for suggestions about upgrading from Movie Maker and starter edition DVD software. There's no Microsoft upgrade path, and my experiences with Sonic DVD software isn't positive enough to recommend it.

On the first day I made a DVD project in Premiere and burned a disc, which played fine... another day I did a firewire video capture from my camcorder and enjoyed seeing the larger preview monitor and listening to it on the computer as it came in.

.... back to the main topic...

Scanning 35mm Slides

I borrowed the Minolta Dimage Scan Speed F2800 from Chuck, who hadn't set it up yet. It was a chore to install on my Windows XP system. The older SCSI hardware interface isn't supported.

It needed a special SCSI adapter card, which ruled out using it on my laptop. I had to pull an existing card to make room for the Adaptec AVA-2902E/I PCI-to-Fast SCSI Host Adapter.

After doing some online research for a driver, and finding there wasn't any for XP, I downloaded one anyway and ran the installation. There were a lots of error messages along the way, but somehow by ignoring the errors, the gears meshed and I was able to do the scanning. It's my good computer karma.

Each time I start the computer I get the standard message about new hardware being found... I hit cancel and the message at the lower right says it wasn't installed right and may not work. But it's been working fine. Here's what the software interface looks like.

Dimage Speed Scan

I think in pixels, not pixels per inch or dots per inch. Scanning at the highest resolution results in BMP, TIFF (or some other options but not JPG). After cropping the image from the black borders, I get

3785x2550 pixels = 9.7 megapixels

Compared to the 1/3 of a megapixel of my camcorder, its 2 megapixel snapshot feature, our current 5 megapixel camera, and the new 7.2 megapixel one that Bernadette is getting for Christmas, the slide scan from the Minolta is still comfortably in the lead. And it's the lower resolution of the two scanners I tested.

The Nikon Super Cool Scan 8000 is setup on one of Norm's computers, so all I had to do was bring a few slides over, watch him do the scanning, listen to his frustration about the software doing things like reverting to the defaults after each scan (one default is to scan it as black and white), and bring the TIFF files back on a thumb drive.

Using the highest resolution, the files were

3610x5450 pixels - 19.7 megapixels

.... double the size of the files from the Minolta.

I did some computer-based comparisons like the ones above, and Chuck did some large size prints. The votes concluded the scans by the Nikon were better.

More pixels isn't the only criteria... there needs to be enough info on the slide that the higher resolution scan can effectively get, which partly depends on the quality of the camera that took the picture. And then there's color, and consistency of focus across the slide, and the software being able to effectively remove all the little dust marks. It wasn't an easy hands-down quick evaluation.

Before doing the scans on the Nikon, it seemed the Minolta had gotten all there was to get. We changed our minds after doing the Nikon scans.

Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?

Today seems like a good time to scan your slides. Although the cost of a new and good scanner like either of these is in the hundreds of dollars, I see a number of good deals online for used ones. When I return Chuck's, I might just get one.

You might think of scanning your slides as something you could do in a day or two... not so. It requires enough manual tending, something you can do in spurts but not for a long period. There are too many other things going on. 

I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at: Windows Movie

Have a great week...


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -

Products and Services

I'm involved in anything and everything that supports the users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.

Radio and Podcasting

theDVShowTheDVShow is the only weekly Podcast having more useful information about desktop video editing and production than anywhere else on the Web. Digital video editing, nonlinear editing, streaming media, software releases, tutorials, business tips, technical help, download of the day and news on the latest products to make everything easier. It's where professional and consumer desktop video users go to stay on the cutting edge. 

Call the phone mail machine to get your technical question answered on the air... call (206)-203-3516

The radio broadcast is from Boston, and the website has downloadable podcast files. The June 19th 2005 podcast was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2. The frequency of radio Q&A sessions about Movie Maker has fallen off. 

Do Amazing ThingsBooks and Magazines

Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on ), published by Microsoft Press...

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum -  Friends of Ed

MaximumPC's winter 2005 quarterly special... had a 7 page tutorial 'Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker 2'. The special edition of the video made for it is  on my website as a file download.

The November 2005 edition of Maximum PC had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the same article, starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.

A 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3 was in the 2006 Summer Special edition. I'm currently working on an article about Movie Maker, DVD Maker, and Photo Gallery in Vista for an upcoming issue.

Virtual DubLearning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - - the site's goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.

It's being expanded to include the new version of Movie Maker in Vista, with Photo Gallery and DVD Maker.

PhotoStory 2 - - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version.

Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular on many online forums and newsgroups, the key ones being:

Forums are open to all for viewing, but require registration of those who want to post. Moderators actively participate to ensure the forum discussions move forward and stay on track.

Movie Maker and Photo Story forums at Windows Movie Makers

Movie Maker 2 forum at

Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective by the participants.

Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup - microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -

Weekly Newsletters

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and the link to subscribe is on the main page of

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#130 - Dec 23 - open... something with a holiday theme

#131 - Dec 30 - open

#132 - Jan 6 - open

Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a topic...


Add-On Transitions and Effects

Transition Maker 2  (TM2) is a utility for the ultimate in making your own personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2. It's a joint product from Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.

I've beta tested some of the Pixelan packages  and think very highly of their people and products.

ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are  additional sources of very professionally developed transitions and effects. Here are links

TransiitonsEffectsPackage for Movie Maker - Volume 1 

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3


I use a lot of professional background music for movies and stories that was created by Randon Myles, and act as his agent in selling the tunes individually. 

There are 62 tunes available from 4 of his many albums... at 99 cents per tune (MP3 or WMA format). Here's a Sample - 45 seconds from 'Groove 2'. The 4 albums are: In the Fields of the on-Feretin , Music for Film Volume III, the Emerald Way, and the Fourth Door.

I don't have a full set of online samples yet, but if you hear something you like in one of my videos, there's a good chance it was done by Randon. Send an email if you are interested.

Personal Database

With more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.

My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others. A tutorial about using it is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and more info is in the database package itself.

It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.

To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.

On my list of things to do is a video tutorial showing users tips about using it.

Online Galleries Neptune Gallery

neptune Mediashare is the preferred file download service for Movie Maker users... there's a  'PapaJohn Expert Zone' where I keep many of my samples and personal videos. 

Check it at N eptune and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.

Mydeo... and mydeo is the preferred video streaming service. The video samples for this newsletter are on it, and I'll be using it for many of my future ones.

Photo Stories stream as well as movies.

mydeo offers a one month free trial... click the logo or the link to check it out.


In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library , I offer free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. Upcoming classes are 7-8:30 PM on:

Thursday, December 14th

The classroom has a large screen overhead projection system... and individual laptops for each attendee. You learn by doing, with some coaching.

Other fee-based services

If you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail a copy and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects, and provide detailed instructions about how to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 (no cost if it's not the right solution or doesn't work) - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email - and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

Wedding combo website/video packages - check the Living Projects section of the Movie Maker 2/Photo Story website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a package.

2006 - PapaJohn; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from
John 'PapaJohn' Buechler John "PapaJohn" Buechler, of Kalamazoo, Mich., goes by PapaJohn online. An avid user of Movie Maker since its first release, and a regular supporter of the community of Movie Maker users, John received a 2003 MVP award from Microsoft for that support. In March 2003, he started a comprehensive website about Movie Maker 2 at He maintains the website, writes books and articles, teaches, and provides support services - all for the community of Movie Maker 2 users. An engineer by formal education, John is a computer database and multimedia expert by business and personal experience. He co-authored the first book about Movie Maker 2 and is actively working on a second one. You can find his advice in the Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows Movie Makers Forums.

This newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler.
Please note that this is an archive of newsletters and some information may become outdated. PapaJohn, and the webmaster of this site, provides this information "AS IS" with no warranties.

Visit - PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index



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