|Photos fade as the color dyes degrade. This example is the most common fade, where the blue and green dyes have faded faster than the red. As you can see, there is too much red. Our scanning process detected this, and produced the corrected version on the right.|
|Sometimes, the fade has progressed too far, and our restoration cannot produce a high quality image scan. In these cases, we convert the picture to a black-and-white image.|
Why is fade restoration such a big deal today?!
Let’s start with a story. Photos are one of the top things that people want to save in case of disaster! It’s no wonder, as photos aren’t things, they are our memories. Things can be replaced, but memories are gone forever. No wonder people think to grab the photos when they are running from disaster!
This photographic nature can cause some problems, though, as people like to protect valuables. This means that when your younger sister (who forgot to bring your lunch to you at school 50 years ago) calls and wants you to send her certain photos, you hesitate. You are thinking, “I wonder if I’ll ever see those again.” But those are negative vibes man, and now you feel guilty.
Then you realize that you probably couldn’t find them anyway. Now you get some more negative vibes, because your parents entrusted you with these, and they are stuffed a box in the garage. There are hundreds of slides there that might need fade restoration, and it’s going to be really hard to find the ones your sister wants because you don’t have a slide projector. You are starting to feel like you are in a jam, because when the other two sisters get wind of this, they are going to cause grief.
This story comes from one of DpsDave’s customers in Atlanta, Georgia named Jack Nelson. He searched online for slide scanning and fade restoration services, called us, told this story, and asked for help. The slides were all in carousels. All he had to do to fix the problem was send the boxes to DpsDave and let us figure it out.
We converted the slides to digital format, burned them onto optical disks (one for each family member), and sent it all back to him. The negative vibes have been banished, the family is happy, and although Jack didn’t know jack about computers, he brought the family memories into the digital age.
Slides do not age well, no matter how you store them. In a surprisingly short time, photo slides fade away and can be lost. This is Kodak’s dirty little secret, but it wasn’t until the 1990’s that Kodak could make slide film that didn’t fade. Nobody could! After a few decades, slides start to turn red or blue. Eventually, instead of a brilliant full color picture, the image will turn into a red-and-white or blue-and-white photo. This is why slide fade restoration services are a core service that DPSDave provides!
Yes, photo slides fade, even when properly packaged and stored in a dark, cool place. When a slide fades, the colors change, and image details can disappear. The dyes used to make the slide are not stable, and they slowly lose their color, becoming transparent. Different colored dyes lose their color at different rates, causing changes to the color of the image. For example, the yellow dye is notorious for its rapid loss of color, and is a critical component of some skin tones. Take the yellow away from a picture of a Swedish sailor, and now you have a red or purple sailor. The film industry made great improvements to dye stability in the 1990’s, but the problem was so bad that any fade restoration improvement was significant.
Our proprietary software for fade restoration can look at our scanned images of each slide, and can “see” which ones have faded. Next, it can figure out how the slide faded and make the appropriate corrections. This takes immense computing power and was not economically feasible until recently, as each image has over a billion computer operations performed on it. The slide scanning service at DpsDave is producing better quality digitized images of slides than anybody has ever done before!