35mm microfilm

Gunthard Mueller gm at ANTHOSIMPRINT.COM
Wed Dec 27 08:32:15 UTC 2000

Hello, Claude,
we have professional 35mm scanning equipment here--the problem is that the
Indian microfilm material (it contains a fairly large palm-leaf manuscript)
which we are supposed to digitise is on a long ROLL... It's perforated film. The
problem is that we are not allowed to cut it into individual 35mm slides. We
have strip scanning equipment, too, but we are not supposed to even cut it into
On top of this, neither Kodak nor Agfa recognize the film type used for this
roll. It appears to be of Indian or Russian origin.
I have done a test using a top-end cold-system flat-bed scanner with a dark
chamber transparency unit at maximum resolution, but the material comes out
unclear. The optical resolution is not as high as with the dedicated 35mm
So the current work-around is printing the microfilm material out on a microfilm
reader-printer, in this case on A3 paper, then flatbed-scan that on an A3+
scanner. Obviously this is not only cumbersome but also turns out a much lower
quality than if we were able to digitise straight from the film.
The quality problem is compounded by the fact that just like with most
microfilms, it's only gray scales, and very few of them at that, and the
resolution seems to be about a third of what we are used to when we digitise
directly from the original palm-leaf manuscript.
Still, I would be extremely grateful for any information about digitising ROLLS
of 35mm material, or news from anybody who has been involved in something
I've heard that there are massive amounts of Indian material on precisely this
kind of film, and apparently it decays fast. Some of the material that was
either filmed in India by German indologists or obtained by them from there has
already completely disintegrated, as I was told by a Berlin scholar--the films
just go blank over time.  The earlier one can digitise the material the better.
Anyway, thanks for any help...

Gunthard Müller
gm at e-ternals.com

Claude Setzer wrote:

> > My main problem at the moment is getting certain microfilm formats
> converted
> > to digitial. There is a lot of valuable material on microfilm which is
> > physically decaying. We have some valuable material from Baroda here that
> > needs attention. Does anybody know of a state-of-the-art place where 35mm
> > microfilm material can be digitised without bankrupting the libraries and
> > museums we work for? Unfortunately, Kodak and Agfa don't make equipment
> for
> > 35mm microfilm material, only for 16mm, and they don't offer the service.
> We
> > have found a way of doing the job, but it requires a complicated routine.
> We
> > are looking for somebody who can do it more efficiently.
> >
> > Thanks for any help.
> > Yours,
> > Gunthard
> > gm at e-ternals.com
> I do not understand why 35 mm would be any different than digitizing other
> things. A 35 mm slide scanner is a standard piece of equipment and the
> software can easily give contrast inverted image to make it appear as black
> on white text. Then it is an image just like one from paper, although
> probably poorer quality.
> You can obviously put that in jpg format for image file, but maybe you are
> asking about converting to text or even native text. If native text is the
> problem, I may suggest a product we call "manual OCR" which is a special
> (Indian font) word processor that makes itself into only one line and floats
> just below the text that was scanned. Thus, you can very easily and
> efficiently type and edit at speeds much faster and more accurate (for a
> good typist) than any Indian font ocr available today.
> Please see information on the Indology web site. Go to "Virtual Archive of
> Indic etexts" page, then got to "Sanskrit Texts by Vedic Engineering," then
> to "full details of texts, fonts, and software   available."
> Perhaps we can help you. Please let me know details of your situation: how
> many pages of text (what texts they are), what language(s) and exactly what
> you want done to them.
> sincerely,
> Claude Setzer  cssetzer at mum.edu

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