Acquiring Video Biography Images On The Road

New York City – “The Big Apple” – it’s where I got my start in the video business over thirty-five years ago. A need to shoot two interviews and capture some stills for a legacy video project brought me back to NYC recently. And though the outside temperature was bitingly cold, the bagels were hot and the memories were warm.

Before leaving for the east, I had a decision to make: How was I going to acquire the stills I needed to include in the final legacy video? Normally, I prefer to scan images in my office using one of my flatbed scanners. This gives me the greatest control over quality and image size and allows me to name the scanned files as I go, in whatever way helps to best organize them. However, old photos, albums and papers can often be too fragile or unique to ship. In that case, scanning and/or shooting them at the client’s location becomes necessary. And that was the case with this project. My two favorite tools for this kind of work are my Canon LIDE 210 scanner and my Canon 60D DSLR.

The LIDE 210 is great for traveling. At 9.9 inches wide, 14.4 inches long and 1.6 inches deep It’s barely wider and longer than a piece of legal paper – and it fits easily into my carry-on luggage. The scanner doesn’t need a power adapter; one USB cable connects the LIDE to my laptop and provides power for the scanner. Compared to my larger office scanners, the LIDE is a little limited when it comes to the range of ppi (pixels per inch) available, but, overall, I find it a great scanner to take on the road.

Of course, when using a flatbed scanner, the material being scanned needs to be, well, flat. And for items that aren’t easily scanned or scannable at all (framed pictures or paintings, for example) my Canon 60D fits the bill. On this trip, I knew I’d be encountering an array of stills in various forms (loose snapshots, photos from books, framed images and old, crumbling scrapbooks). Plus, the time I’d have to sort through the available images, decide what to capture and then do it, would be limited to one afternoon. Given these circumstances, I decided my DSLR would give me both the flexibility I needed and the ability to work quickly. So I brought the 60D with me and left the scanner at home.

In the end, that was the right decision. I captured far more photos using the DSLR in the time I had than I could have with the scanner. Of course, the photos will need a little more Photoshop work than they would if they’d been scanned. And I couldn’t name the files as I went. I just made written notes as I shot, listing the order and subjects of the images. I’ll give them appropriate file names when I Photoshop them.

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