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Q1: Why choose ScanCafe? How do you provide the highest quality at the lowest price?
We only offer high quality scans (600dpi for paper photos, 3000dpi for negatives and slides) and offer one low price for each of these. Our service is designed to provide you with only high quality scans because you want to spend your money on scanning only once. Our pricing is all inclusive; there are no hidden costs for the DVD, higher resolution, or image restoration. Also, read the "About Us" section to find out more about our founders - they take great pride in their work, as does every single employee of ScanCafe. Compare our prices of high quality scans by visiting: .back to top
Q2: Is ScanCafe safe? I am worried about parting with my priceless memories.
Your order is safe with us. That's backed by our experience safely handling over 150 million images, as well as our unique Safe Handling Guarantee (described in detail in our ).
We've pioneered a number of industry safety practices--all the way from door to door tracking for your order, to how we assign, handle, and scan your order. Be sure to read the extensive discussion "Ten Reasons Your Memories Are Safe With Us" on our page.
One last safety point: since we scan your photos by hand, there's no risk that your photos will get stuck and damaged inside an auto-fed machine. (Those types of machines can jam, just like a copier, fax machine, or printer). So not only does our hand-scanning approach give you better quality, it makes your order safer, too.
Q3: What format of originals do you scan?
We scan the following formats:
• 35mm negatives
• 35mm slides
• paper pictures up to 8x10
• 110, 120, 126, 127 & 200 (medium) format film
We also scan children’s art work, post cards, newspaper stories, etc.
Click to view our detailed price for the various formats.
Q4: Why not scan my pictures myself?
Let’s say you want to scan 500 pictures, it will cost you:
• 40 monotonous hours of scanning (5 months if you dedicated 2 hrs/weekend)
• about 0 for a high quality scanner like the EPSON 4490
• about 00 for a high quality negative scanner like the NIKON CoolScan 5000ED
If you let ScanCafe do it for you, it will cost you
• Zero hours of your time
• 5 for 500 negatives
• 5 for 500 slides
• 5 for 500 paper photos
Q5: Why scan/digitize my old photos, negatives and slides?
Memories are priceless! Most people have thousands of pictures in different formats (paper prints, slides, negatives). Scanning them enables you to:
• Preserve them on digital media like DVDs and CDs forever
• Get rid of your clutter and easily organize all your pictures
• Sort them, date them and label them
• Distribute multiple copies to friends and family
• Create photo books for special occasions
• Compile picture biographies of loved ones
• Upload all pictures to online photo sharing websites
Q6: What is DPI? What’s the fuss over high resolution? 3000 DPI, 600 DPI?
DPI stands for "dots per inch", and is a common, if misleading, technical term in scanning.
DPI tells you the number of pixels per linear inch that a scanner will produce in your scan file. The higher the dpi, the larger your scan will be in terms of both pixels and megabytes.
We feel scanning at high resolution is important, since you can't be sure what uses you will have for the scan in the future. So generally, what's needed is a scan that has resolution that is high enough to allow you to do enlargements, printing, and cropping from the scan file. On the other hand, it's possible to scan with too much resolution too--some very detailed scans can actually pick up and magnify the grain of the paper (if a print) or the film itself (if a negative or slide). So we feel that our standard resolution of 10MP for 35mm slides and negatives, and 600 dpi for paper photos, strikes the right balance.
Q7: I want simplicity, I don’t have the time to sort through hundreds of pictures.
ScanCafe is the only professional scanning service that is designed for simplicity and ease of use.
We understand that it is painful and sometimes impossible to sort through thousands of pictures (you can’t even see what’s on a negative!). At ScanCafe, you get to send us ALL your pictures:
- we scan them and manually process them
- we load them onto your on-line account for your review
- you review them at your leisure and discard the ones you don't want (up to 20% of the images you send us).
You ONLY pay our low price for the high resolution scans of the images you choose. No other image scanning service offers such flexibility at such a low all-inclusive cost.
Q8: If I have paper photo prints AND 35mm negatives, which ones should I scan? Are negative scans cheaper and better quality than scans from paper photos?
If you have negatives for most of your photo collection, scanning negatives is a better option because:
• Scans from negatives are of much higher quality than paper photos
• Negatives are cheaper to ship (negatives weigh 1/10th of paper photos) and are priced more affordably
• For negatives, you will need a smaller package to ship
• Negatives are in a sequence and easier to organize while scanning
Q9: My pictures are in albums, can ScanCafé scan the album pages without removing the individual pictures?
Currently, there is no handling surcharge for albums. You can send the photos in albums as it is. Our technicians will remove the photos in a sequence, scan and replace back in the same sequence. If they were unable to remove photos for any reason, we will contact you prior scanning; to discuss your recommendations.
Q10: My slides are housed in carousels, magazines or protective slide display pages, what should I send?
We recommend that you remove slides from carousels (which have significant cost in shipping). If you do decide to ship your slides in carousels, then we will charge you a surcharge of .45. If you have slides in magazines or slide display pages, you may ship them in that manner with no surcharge. Alternately you can package your slides in aluminum foil boxes. This will be much cheaper for shipping. Regardless of how you ship them, please insure to secure them tightly with rubber bands or wrap them in saran wrap to prevent the images from shifting around during shipping. Slides, negatives and prints are very durable and don't require excess protection while shipping - but you should put them in Ziploc bags to protect from any inadvertent spills on the delivery truck. A single layer of bubble wrap or newspaper will generally suffice for protection in the box. Never send your order in bubble mailers – always use a certified shipping box.
Q11: What is the process? What do I have to do? How should I package and ship my pictures?
See our page
Step 1: Collect pictures: Collect all your pictures in multiple formats (negatives will work out the cheapest: both shipping and scanning costs) Count: ? Box them: Package them in a standard FedEx or UPS box
Step 2: Place order: Log onto ScanCafe.com and place an order. Print 3 copies of the shipping label: attach one to the outside of the box; place one inside (it will always travel with your images); and keep the third for your records. Then, simply ship it!
Step 3: Tracking: We will send you a confirmation email on receipt and also when your pictures are scanned and ready for review online.
Step 4: Tracking: You can review the status of your order at anytime by logging in to your account and clicking on order status. You get to review ALL your scanned pictures online. You select the pictures that you like (minimum 80% selection required) You’re done! We will ship you: • All the originals that you sent us • All your selected scans on your choice of a DVD or CD or a Hard Drive
Q12: How much does it cost? When will you bill me?
We are the most affordable scanning service. Check our prices on our . When you place your order, we charge you for the shipping cost of sending us your originals plus a 50% upfront payment for your estimated order size. We will then bill you for the remainder of the processing cost and the return shipping after you have completed the online review of your scans. You will have the freedom of reviewing the scans online and discarding the scans you don't want. We will only charge you for scans you retain. We allow you to discard up to 20% of the scans of the images you sent us, meaning that if you send us 100 images at minimum you will have to pay for 80. We are the only scanning service that offers this flexibility. Of course, we will return all of your originals.
Q13: What is the turnaround time for regular and express service?
With express service and for about 1000 standard photo media (35mm Color Negatives. 35mm Color Slides & Paper Photos sized up to 8" X 10"), we need 8-10 business days to make the order online. For every additional 1000 standard photo media, you have to add 4 business days. Once you review and complete final checkout, the return delivery takes 5-8 business days. For non-standard photo media or video media, please check the 3rd step of the order form to get to know the estimated turnaround time. With regular service and for about 5000 standard photo media, the order will take 4-6 weeks to go online. If there are non-standard media, please add 2 weeks more for processing. Once you review and complete final checkout, the return delivery takes 2-3 weeks.
Q14: Should I choose DVD or CD for storing my digital images?
We highly recommend DVDs if your computer has a DVD drive because DVDs hold 7 times as many images as a CD. The quality of the image is the same on both.
Q15: How will the image files be organized on my CD/DVD? Will I be able to view my images and play them on a DVD player?
Your scanned pictures will be stored on DVD or CD in jpeg format. If you took the time to organize and label groups of images, this organization will be reflected in your scanned images. For example, if you have an envelope of photos labeled: “Sam’s 2nd Birthday”, we will store your scanned photos in a folder named “Sam’s 2nd Birthday”. You will see this folder during your online review process and this folder will be burned onto your DVD. These DVDs or CDs can usually be viewed on your DVD/View CD player or computer. However, we cannot test every model of player, and have found that some DVDs will not play in certain players. The DVDs are intended to be used with a computer, so they should work with all computers.
Q16: How many photos fit on a DVD?
Approximately 1200 paper print scans at 600dpi and 300 negative or slide scans at 3000dpi. The exact number is difficult to determine because of the digital size of the scanned image - for instance, a picture of a sunset over the mountains will have much more detail than a picture of a green leaf against a white wall and will, therefore, be larger in size.
Q17: How does ScanCafe ensure my images are kept private?
The privacy and protection of your images is of paramount importance to us. Please refer to our .
Q18: What is a TV-ready slideshow?
With a jpeg compatible DVD player, you can enjoy viewing the pictures from the DVD in the comfort of your living room. The "slideshow" feature of your DVD player will allow you to browse through your images just as you would on your computer. The recent generation of DVD players have the "slide show" feature. In order to determine whether or not your DVD player supports this feature, visit . We cannot test every model of player, and have found that some DVDs will not play in certain players. The DVDs are intended to be used with a computer, so they should work with all computers.
Q19: Can I view my pictures on my TV?
With a jpeg compatible DVD player, you can enjoy viewing the pictures from the DVD in the comfort of your living room. The "slide show" feature of your DVD player will allow you to browse through your images just as you would on your computer. The recent generation of DVD players have the "slide show" feature. In order to determine whether or not your DVD player supports this feature, please visit . You should look for "JPG" or "jpeg" under "video formats supported." We cannot test every model of player, and have found that some DVDs will not play in certain players. The DVDs are intended to be used with a computer, so they should work with all computers.
Q20: Can I create photobooks using ScanCafe?
Many of our customers use photobook solutions from Blurb.com, Shutterfly, Snapfish, and others. Once you receive your high resolution images form ScanCafe, you can then upload them to these other sites and create your own photobooks. To find out more, you can check out .
Q21: Can I email my scans to friends and family?
Yes. ScanCafe now allows you to easily share your scanned images with friends and family. After you review your scanned images and checkout, you will have an option to share your images for free. You can also buy extra sets of DVDs when you initially place your order and at the time of the final checkout process.The images you view online are low-resolution images. The DVDs we send are high-resolution images. Please backup as we don't backup any order data.
Q22: What is Digital ICE?
Kodak’s award winning Digital ICE (TM) processing is included free on all scans (since negatives can have dust and scratches). The award-winning Digital ICE technology automatically removes surface defects, such as dust and scratches, from a scanned image.
Q23: What is image cropping?
Cropping consists of digitally editing the scan to ensure that the image has a clean border.
Q24: To what address should I ship my pictures ?
ScanCafe has a very robust and secure UPS shipping process integrated in its order entry system. Our automated shipment software generates the shipping label for you so that you only have to print it and tape it to your package. We strongly recommend that you use this shipping procedure. It will cost you less and will ensure that your package is monitored from the minute you drop it off to the minute it is received. If there is a reason why you can't use UPS to ship your images please call us: 1-866-234-3909.
Q25: What type of scanning equipment do you use?
We have an extensive discussion of what equipment we use on our site, at .
In general, we use the machine that in our experience is best for each type of image you send. For prints, we tend to use high-quality Espon flatbed scanners. (We have found that any machine that requires a paper photo to move through a curved path, as with many document-fed type scanners, is likely to damage photos.)
For slides and negatives, we tend to use our Noritsu industral scanners or our Nikon 9000s, as the job requires.
While we do think the equipment used is important, we very much believe that you cannot get a great scan without significant manual attention, and that's something we give to every image we scan.
Q26: Where do you process the pictures / originals?
ScanCafe is a global company with scanning facilities in Indianapolis (IN, USA), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Bangalore (the software capital of India). Depending upon whether you chose Express Scanning (1 week in the USA) or Standard Scanning (typically 4 weeks), your order is sent to the corresponding scanning facility. If you chose Express, your order gets scanned in Indianapolis, IN. Alternately, If you chose, Standard Scanning, we place your order in a large (as big as a small car!) reinforced shipping container that's specifically designed for safe air shipping to our scanning facility in Bangalore, India. We have processed 110 Million images out of Bangalore safely. Each shipping container is "ruggedized" with five layers of 4mm tear-resistant plastic, and strapped to a pallet. It's specifically designed to fit safely into the cargo holds of the exact type of planes we use. The container reaches Bangalore in 48 hours.
See details on our first-class facilities by clicking here: . Most importantly learn how we keep your precious memories safe and secure (). We have scanned over 150 million images using our robust world-class logistics operation and have never lost or damaged an order. Feel free to place a test order.
Our scanning facilities in the US, Europe and India are fully owned subsidiaries and were created for this sole purpose - your images are never out of the control of either ScanCafe or our global shipping partners. We pay our Indian employees a rate of compensation that is a full 25% above the average plus retirement and insurance benefits; this allows us to hire and retain the most qualified image processing technicians. Our technicians are just that - they are highly trained in all of the latest photo editing software and have a passion for photography.
Your photos are manually reviewed and fully restored one by one by our well trained technicians - NOT simply automatically processes by software in an "I feel lucky" manner that the majority of our competitors employ.
Q27: Why are you so much more affordable than all the other scanning services?
We have developed a very innovative process that combines technology and a reliable fully owned and operated off-shore infrastructure. Our founders met while attending the Wharton School of Business and have leveraged their experience and global business expertise to build this company from the ground up to be affordable - the reason we started this was because we couldn't find an affordable solution ourselves! Try us out you won't be disappointed!
Q28: Can you handle/scan APS film?
We scan APS film using the latest high end Noritsu scanners. Noritsu is the industry leader in photographic film processing equipment for minilabs and print studios.
Q29: How big can I enlarge/reprint my pictures?
Printing and enlarging photos can be as much art as science, as acceptable quality can sometimes depend on the use, or even the image itself.
But a good rule of thumb is to think about photo quality printing, which most in the printing industry define as around 300 pixels per inch. (Books and magazines typically print photos to this standard).
At that standard, you should be able to enlarge any paper photo we scan at 600dpi by 2X on each of its dimensions (i.e., a 4"x6" could increase to 8" x 12") without any decrease in sharpness.
Slides and negatives, however, can be printed much larger, thanks to their naturally higher resolution. At our standard scanning resolution of 3000dpi, a 35mm negative could be printed, photo quality, at 9" x 13", roughly.
You do not always need to print at photo quality, however. If, for example, your print is going to be seen from a distance, you can print much larger. In testing, for example, we've printed 35mm negatives to 20" x 30" and been very pleased with the results.
If you are interested in making a poster or other large print that is going to viewed up close, we'd suggest that you use our Pro Resolution feature, which scans paper photos at 1200dpi and 35mm negatives and slides at 4000dpi. That would enable, in the case of negatives, an approximately 12" x 18" print at photo quality. We'd also suggest you have us deliver the scans to you in TIFF format, since with our jpgs there is a slight amount of compression. Both of these features cost just a few cents extra, so they will be well worth it when you make a very large print.
Q30: Do you guarantee shipments against loss?
ScanCafe offers a guarantee against loss of your order once it is received in our offices--our Safe Handling Guarantee. While your order is in the ScanCafe system, whether domestic or international, we guarantee that your order will not be lost. If it is, ScanCafe will give you ,000--at this time, the only cash guarantee in the industry.
Additionally, your package is covered by the UPS terms and conditions for shipments to and from ScanCafe.
Q31: What are your customer service hours?
Our office hours are 9am to 6pm EST Monday thru Friday. We will make every effort to respond to email queries within 6 hours during office hours and will make every effort to return voice mails within 4 hours during office hours. We are not open weekends or holidays.
Q32: How do I contact you?
You may call us at: 1-866-234-3909 or send a fax: 1-866-400-7209. Alternatively, you can send us an email here:
Q33: Can you scan a single negative that has been cut from a strip of negatives?
Unfortunately we can't scan a single negative that has been cut from a larger strip.
Q34: Why am I required to pay 50% up front?
We require a 50% upfront down payment to begin your order. Hopefully, this isn't an issue - our competitors charge you the entire amount prior to working on your order. The 50% is taken from your order size estimate - it will be adjusted as necessary upon final checkout after you have reviewed your scans.
Q35: What sort of box should I put my images into?
Please insure that you securely box up your precious images. DO NOT use the flimsy department store boxes you get from places like Macy's or Nordstrom. These are not designed for use as shipping containers. In this same vein, do not use Kleenex boxes or any other container made of thin paper or cardboard. We even recommend against sending things in shoe boxes. The UPS store or your local post office can provide you with excellent shipping materials. And always be careful to fully tape up the box. Never use bubble mailers.
Q36: Please tell me more about the hard drive option.
Currently we use the 2.5" 500GB drive from Western Digital (WDXMS1200TN) which has "in-line" power so no external power supply is required - they are extremely convenient. They connect via a USB port and fit in a shirt pocket. Scans in JPEG at 3000 dpi are between 5-7MB. The usable space on the drive is about 310 GB. Consequently, we can store about 16,000 images on a drive. We don't offer larger or smaller drives. For now this is the only option we offer.
Please note that if you purchase hard drive, you will receive this in place of the default CD/DVD set.
Q37: Do you offer restoration / reconstruction services?
Yes, we now offer these services. You can upload images directly to us via our upload tool. You can write to our customer service team with any inquiries and they will be able to answer any question you have. Prices range from to .
Q38: Tell me about the Pro Library.
With our "Pro Library" option, you get two complete sets of images. One is in compressed JPEG file format with full image processing applied (crop, dust/scratch reduction, color correction, orientation & red-eye removal). The second is a “RAW” scan with no image processing applied in a “lossless” TIFF file format. Both are scanned at the default setting of 3,000 dpi for slides/negatives and 600 dpi for prints. The JPEG fully processed images are useful in 90% of professional applications for reprint or use online. The TIFF file become essential when full resolution is needed for poster size images, color space is critical, or a non-processed image is required by professional printers. Many of our museum, art gallery, photography and other professional clients find our "Pro Library" option a great solution. Every so often one of our clients comes across a hidden “gem” they didn’t know they had. When they do, it’s important for them to have the absolute highest possible resolution image that has not yet been processed for them to work with. Sort of a “blank canvas” from which to apply professional processing as they see fit. Price is an additional 37 cents per image. You can also go to 4,000 dpi for slides/negatives and 1200 dpi for prints - cost is an incremental 15 cents per image. We only recommend such high resolution to pros and hobbyists who have a definite need and understand the nuances of 4000 dpi scans.
Q39: Do you take international orders?
We are happy to announce that we can now accept orders from Canada. However, we are not able to accept orders from any other international locations at this time. We are working with US Customs to figure out how to best do this - when we do launch this service, we will let everyone know through our monthly newsletter which you can receive by signing up - its free and all we take is your email address, no other personal info is required. You can register by clicking on the "Get Started" button on the home page.
Q40: My order is large or heavy, can I split my order into two separate boxes?
Unfortunately the answer is no, for the following reason – the UPS label that is automatically generated has a single tracking ID for a single package. If you were to print two copies of this label, then UPS would only track one of the boxes. If they were to misplace the second box, but deliver the first box, then you would have no proof of this as the delivery info would have followed the first box. Additionally, ScanCafe would have no idea that two boxes were coming. You can remedy this by either getting your order into a larger single box (large boxes suitable for shipping can be found at the UPS Store, FedEx/Kinkos, or any office supply store such as Staples or Office Depot) or by actually placing two orders on the site and applying a single label to each box. You could then track each box separately all the way through the process. If you do decide to place a heavy order into a single box (more than 10 pounds), then we highly recommend you take the order to a UPS Store or a Kinkos so that they can help you prepare the box for shipment to insure that the packing method used is sufficient. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions on this topic at or at 866-234-3909. One last piece of advice - if you look at the bottom of any shipping box, you will see the amount of weight that that box is rated for in both pounds and burst capacity.
Q41: What if I am in the military and stationed overseas? Can I still use your service?
UPS does not deliver to APOs or FPOs, so we unfortunately cannot accept orders from such addresses. We have chosen to implement this restriction in an effort to maintain the safe keeping of your images. If you have a friend or family member in the US who would be willing to act as a middle man for you by sending and receiving your order to and from ScanCafe, then we would be happy to process your order for you.
Q42: Who is this intended for?
At ScanCafe, we’re continually working on making the service easier to use. We realize that many people who have lots of old photos are not necessarily familiar with the internet, and so we designed the Gift Box to reach out to them.
Q43: What hardware and software does my recipient need?
The scans are burned onto a data DVD when they are returned with the originals. If they want to view them, they will need a computer running at least Windows XP or later, or Mac OS 9 or later and a CD/DVD player, though that computer doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet at all. However, if they don’t have a computer, you can still order and provide a Gift Box to your recipient—just indicate that the completed scans and originals should be sent to you, which can be done on the order form.
Q44: Are my gift recipient’s images safe with ScanCafe?
Yes, they are.. Your Gift Box will be tracked from door to door using our integrated UPS tracking system, and handled according to the same procedures that have allowed us to successfully scan over 150 million images. While at our scanning facility, your recipient’s images will be under 24x7 monitoring in a controlled-access, climate-controlled environment, and handled with our usual white glove treatment by trained technicians. In addition, all Gift Box orders are covered by our standard ,000 handling guarantee, which promises that if your recipient’s gift box is lost while in the possession of ScanCafe, we will compensate your recipient up to ,000 in cash and a year of free scanning services. The gift box must be packed in accordance with ScanCafe packaging instructions in order to be covered by our guarantee.
Q45: Can I log in to check on the progress of the order for my recipient?
We will send status updates by email to you and your gift box recipient, and you or your recipient can call in at any time and check status.
Q46: Can I buy this for myself?
Yes, you can. However, you will probably find that our regular scanning service will make more sense, for two reasons. First, with our regular scanning service, you send us your slides, negatives, and photos, and we charge you precisely for what you send. It’s hard to say the same thing for the Gift Box, since it’s hard to say how many images you will be able to fit into it, in advance. Second, with our regular service, you’ll have a chance to review your images, and delete the ones that you don’t want, up to 20% of your order. As the Gift Box is really intended for a gift to someone who’s not so comfortable with the internet, there is no review opportunity—once we scan the box’s contents, we return the originals and the scans immediately.
Q47: Can I send it to my Mom, have her fill it up, and then have the completed scans sent to me?
Yes, you can. When you order, you can specify an a recipient for the empty box, and a Return recipient (for when the box is full of the originals and the completed scans). The empty box recipient and the Return recipient may be different people.
Q48: What if my Gift Box recipient sends in photos that are severely damaged?
The Gift Box includes our standard level of service. Images inside the Gift Box that require restoration will need to be sent in separately for restoration work.
Q49: Does shipping cost extra?
For standard scanning and USA Express orders, there is an additional shipping cost (both ways). You'll find the actual cost in the order form. For all prepaid orders (Value Kit / Gift Box), shipping cost is included in the box price.
Q50: Can the person I give the Gift Box to log in and review their scans?
No, they can’t. The Gift Box is really intended for people who are not comfortable using the internet, so we don’t require creating a normal user account for them on our site. However, if you specify their email as the email where tracking status emails go to, they will be able to view their scans online once the order is complete, as well as share their scanned photos with others.
Q51: How many photos will the box hold?
The box comes with its own packing materials included. Using those materials, you should be able to get about 600 photos into the box.
Q52: What kinds of images can go in the box?
The gift box will work for color or black & white snapshot-sized photos, color 35mm negatives, and color 35mm slides. If your recipient includes any other sort of media, we will return it to your gift recipient, unscanned, along with rest of the completed order.
Q53: Can the person I give the Gift Box to just pack the box with anything?
It's important to follow the instructions in the box. We have sized the box (and priced it) so that it fits up to 600 of most of our standard media--color 35mm slides and negatives, and paper photos to 7" x 10". If you include images in the box that aren't the above formats, we will either at our option return the box to you or charge you list price for any retail value that exceeds the retail value of 600 standard media images. For example, if you include 600 color 35mm negatives, and 100 black & white 35mm negatives, we will be obligated to charge you an additional fee in order to complete scanning for all the contents of your gift box.
Q54: Will the gift recipient be able to figure out how to use the box, even if they’ve never heard of ScanCafe?
Instructions are printed, with diagrams, on the inside of the lid. (There’s also a gift card indicating the gift is from you). Your recipient simply needs to fill the containers provided, slide the Gift Box into the prepaid envelope included inside the box, and drop it off at nearby UPS store. We even include some Styrofoam “peanuts” to help fill the box and prevent the recipient’s originals from sliding around. They can always call us for help—the phone number for ScanCafe customer support is also on the inside of the lid.
Q55: What if there’s no UPS store nearby?
There are approximately 4,200 UPS stores nationwide. In addition, there are approximately 40,000 UPS drop boxes, and another 1,000 UPS customer service centers. Chances are excellent that there is a drop off location near your gift recipient. Your recipient may also schedule a pickup with UPS, but a surcharge may apply. The phone number for UPS is included in the instructions inside the box. You can find the nearest UPS dropoff location here:
Q56: I don’t know how many photos my gift recipient has. What can I do?
We have sized the Gift Box so it will fit most of the important images a typical consumer has. If you’re confident that your recipient has a huge number of images to scan, feel free to order more than one Gift Box.
Q57: Does the gift recipient have to register on ScanCafe.com in order to receive her completed scans?
No, they don’t.
Q58: Does my gift box expire?
No, it doesn’t.
Q59: What if my recipient loses the Gift Box?
The Gift Box is, in effect, worth approximately 0 of scanning, and should be treated like anything else that’s worth 0. If your recipient does lose it, contact ScanCafe customer service and we will try to help.
Q60: Can I use the box more than once?
It’s intended for a single use.
Q61: How long will it take to receive the completed order, with scans and originals?
About 6 to 8 weeks from when we receive it.
Q62: Can I drop my order off at your headquarters?
We do accept walk-ins and drop offs. You can visit our Monday through Friday from 9am to 6 pm EST and Sat 10am-4pm EST.
Q63: Do you scan medium format slides?
Yes. We scan 120/220 medium format slides. We also scan 35mm, 110, 126, 127 slides.
Q64: What is resolution or dpi and which dpi should I choose?
For purposes of comparing technical aspects of scans, we often use the measure "dpi", which stands "dots per inch". While not precisely accurate, it does enable you to begin to understand two important things about your scanned image: 1) how sharp it will look when printed, and 2) how large it can be printed before it begins to look a bit fuzzy. It is not true, however, that a higher resolution is always the best solution--sometimes a more finely detailed scan can pick up the grain of the underlying material and give results that are inferior to a scan at a lower dpi. So in general we recommend scanning 35mm slides and negatives at approximately 10 megapixels ("MP"), which should give you a very nice print up to about 13" x 9". If you plan to print larger than that, then you may want to think about our Pro Resolution feature, which will enable you to print even larger, up to 16" x 20" and beyond.
Q65: My slides are very old. Can you remove mold from my old slides?
If you have mold build up or crusted dust that is difficult to get off with a jet of air, we will use a special film cleaner such as "Rexton Anti-Static Film Cleaner for Black & White and Color Film". A lint free cloth will then be used and we will wipe gently along the length of the slide. We will not apply the cleaner in a swirling motion because this will scratch the surface. In certain cases, the mold build up will be so extreme that we will need to do advanced photo restoration.
Q66: How do you know the correct orientation for scanning slides?
Most slides will bear a brand logo or the phrase "this side facing the screen." It is this side of the film that the scanner detector should read. The actual insertion procedure will vary from scanner to scanner.
Q67: Many of my slides are extremely faded, how are you able to restore the colors?
ScanCafe's service is unique because we provide free, manual color correction and restoration for each slide although a small number of slides require more advanced restoration work. It works the same way as our photo restoration, but the image comes from the slide. Color restoration can be done during the scanning process using the scanner hardware or after the scanning process using an image editing software like Adobe Photoshop. At ScanCafe, we do both. We use Kodak Digital ICE which is built into our Nikon scanners, and we use Photoshop photo editing software after the image is scanned.
Q68: I scanned my own slides, but I noticed the image is getting cropped and I don't see the entire slide image? How does ScanCafe do it?
Most slides are of the standard size and the film is rectangular. Some slides are square in shape (super slides) and some are rectangular in the vertical direction. This can cause problems for some scanning equipment--for example, the old Nikon 5000ED machine does not scan the entire area of these non-standard sized slides. But for us, we use equipment that can capture all of the image area for these types of media.
Q69: Do you scan glass slides or glass mounted slides?
At this time, we do not scan glass sides.
Q70: Is it better to scan the print photo or the negative?
It is always better to scan the negative because it is usually in better condition, and the scanner can produce a digital image at a higher dpi resolution. Furthermore you get to keep the photo displayed in your home during the scanning process. That said, we do offer great photo scanning and slide scanning solutions.
Q71: How do I know which side of the negative to scan?
Theoretically, it is very easy, but practically, it is very difficult. You need to scan the side that has the photographic emulsion. This emulsion side is usually less glossy. However, it takes a long time to figure this out. The best option for telling which side is which is to look at the numbering scheme on the negative. When using a negative film scanner, align the negative such that you can read the numbering scheme. You are now looking at the opposite side of the emulsion.
Q72: Can I use Kodak Digital ICE while scanning black and white negatives?
Actually, no. The infrared light that detects dust and scratches is not compatible with the silver halide emulsion on black and white negatives. If you scan with ICE, the digital image will look "silvery" and out of focus. The only solution is to disable ICE and manually restore the B&W scan at a later time using a clone stamping tool such as in Adobe Photoshop. However, using clone stamping requires a lot of practice. If you have more questions, feel free to contact our customer support team, and we would be happy to answer your questions.
Q73: Which dpi should I choose for photo scanning?
The short answer is that higher dpi leads to higher quality, and our belief is do it right the first time and you'll never have to worry about it again. You can scan photos at a lower dpi and pay less, but the photo scan quality will not be as good and there usually are zero post scan services such as color correction and cropping - so be wary. At ScanCafe, we want you to have the highest quality so we scan at 600 dpi. You can see some specific examples on our quality comparison page. Is 300 dpi just as good? Unfortunately, it is not. You can take a look at our side to side quality comparisons of 150dpi, 300dpi, and 600dpi. 600dpi simply picks up more information from the print. Furthermore, you can scan and print a 4x6 photo at 300 dpi, but you will never be able to enlarge the print at a later time to a 5x7, for example. As technology gets better, you'll find more value in the 600 dpi. Again, when it comes to photo scanning, do it right the first time, and you'll never have to do it again. Furthermore, if you want to get the most out of post-scan services like photo restoration, you will definitely want to scan your photo at 600dpi.
Q74: Should I scan photos or scan negatives?
We recommend scanning negatives first because negatives provide the best resolution and quality. Negatives contain the maximum information about your image since they are fundamentally analog - and we scan negatives at 3000 dpi. When we speak of "information" we mean: clarity, sharpness, color depth, etc. Similarly, we suggest scanning slides over photos if the image is the same. Again, like negative scanning, you scan at a higher resolution with slides than with photos.
Q75: What kind of photo scanners do you use?
We use top-rated Epson 4490 flatbed scanners.
Q76: Why are my scanned photo files so large after scanning? Is TIFF bad?
The more information that you capture in a scan, the larger the file size will be. Information is defined as clarity, sharpness, color depth etc. A high resolution scan at 600dpi would give you a file of 5-7MB in jpeg and 30MB in TIFF format. Therefore, we do not recommend TIFF for the average customer. At the lower jpeg file size, you will be able to share images online and take up less space on your computer hard drive.
Q77: What are ScanCafe gift cards?
ScanCafe gift cards are prepaid credits to apply to ScanCafe services. Purchasers select an appropriate dollar value for gifting and the recipient will be allowed to purchase services up to that amount without being charged. Because ScanCafe charges users for only the scans that they keep, a ScanCafe gift card can go a long way to digitizing a friend's or family member's boxes and boxes of old photos.
Q78: Why buy a ScanCafe gift card?
ScanCafe gift cards are that perfect gift or helping hand to provide to a friend or family member to help them to preserve their most precious memories. Many folks look at their shoeboxes of photos, negatives and slides and think to themselves "maybe I should scan them one day." Unfortunately, "one day" never comes and the next thing you know, your basement floods, the attic leaks or the movers lose a few boxes and all your memories are gone. By giving a ScanCafe gift certificate, you're saying "let's get those photos scanned now" and with ScanCafe's hassle-free and time-saving process no one needs to rummage through the boxes before having the images scanned. Just send in the entire box and pick the scans you want to keep through our easy online review tool. We'll return all of your photos, negatives and slides along with an archive DVD of all the digital images you purchased.
Q79: Do I have to register to buy a gift card?
No. Anyone with a valid credit card can purchase a ScanCafe gift card.
Q80: What payment options do I have for buying a gift card?
ScanCafe currently accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Q81: Do I have to register to use my gift card?
Yes. ScanCafe gift cards are redeemable for scanning of photos, negatives and slides. We require users to register when they place an order. You will be able to use your gift card when you place the order or when you checkout.
Q82: What can I use gift cards for?
ScanCafe Gift cards can be redeemed for standard scanning services only: photo scans, negative scans, slide scans, extra archival DVDs, hard drives, USB drives and professional scanning options. Use the gift card code during the order process and we’ll apply your available credit amount to the order. NOTE: Gift cards can NOT currently be used on restorations, shipping costs, value kits, gift boxes, or in conjunction with any promotion. Nor can they be used to buy another gift card.
Q83: Why, when using my gift card during placing an order, do I still need to add my credit card information?
Your gift card cannot be used to cover shipping costs. Also, the total amount of your transaction may exceed the amount of your gift card, therefore you will need to enter your credit card information.
Q84: What if I spend less than the value of my gift card?
ScanCafe keeps track of the running balance available to the owner of the gift card. If the user spends less than the available amount of the gift card, an available balance of the original gift card minus the purchased amount (including shipping charges) would remain.
Q85: Does my gift card expire?
No, ScanCafe gift cards do NOT expire.
Q86: What if I lose my gift card?
We understand that people occasionally misplace their gift cards. Should this happen to you, please contact us at .
Q87: What if I’m having trouble using my gift card?
We’re here to help and make sure your process is easy and rewarding. If you encounter any difficulty when using your gift card, please contact our support team by email at or by phone 866-234-3909.
Q88: What if my shopping cart is greater than the value of my gift card?
If your purchase exceeds the value of your gift card, either at the time the order is placed or at the time images are selected for checkout, ScanCafe keeps track of the available balance and asks for you to cover the remaining purchase balance with an authorized credit card.
Q89: Do I need to use my gift card when I create my order?
No, your gift card can be redeemed when you check out with the images you'd like to keep. However, if you apply your gift code during final checkout, the amount of the gift card will only be applied to the second set of charges. To most efficiently utilized your gift card, we suggest you use it at time of order placement. However, ScanCafe will fully acknowledge the value of your gift card and any remaining balance can be used on future orders.
Q90: How do I redeem my gift card?
Gift cards can be redeemed at the time an order is created (to apply to the entire order) or at final checkout (to apply only to the second payment). Any remaining balance can be used on future orders.
Q91: What instructions do I need to provide for photo restoration?
Providing us with guidance on what to restore in your image is optional. Our restoration artists are very experienced and know how to repair damaged/poor images. However, if you have special requests, you can include instructions like: "remove blemishes", "remove frame border", "make the hair blonde", etc.
Q92: What types of digital files can I upload for restoration?
You can upload images in jpeg format. Any image must be less than 20MB in size. Please ensure that your images have enough clarity (we cannot restore a complete blurred image into a sharp image). If for any reason your file cannot be restored, we will let you know during the quote process and you won't have to pay for any images that aren't restorable.
Q93: How long does it take for a Photo Restoration Quote?
ScanCafe will typically send you a quote in 1-2 business days from the time you upload your images.
Q94: How long will take to get my image restored?
We are usually able to complete the restoration of your images within a couple days to a week from the day you approve the quote.
Q95: How will I get my restorations back?
You will be able to download them instantaneously after checkout from your online account. We send you an email notification when the restoration has been completed and is available for your review.
Q96: How much will a Photo restoration cost?
There is no risk. You will get a quote from us and you get to review and accept the quotes prior to making any payment. Our quotes are final and there are no hidden charges. You can review our to get an overview on pricing. Pricing is based simply on the time spent by the artist and the skill required to restore the image.
Q97: Can I get my Photo restorations on a CD or DVD?
We are not offering CDs/DVDs right now. We are offering instantaneous download as soon as you check out.
Q98: Will ScanCafe keep my restorations forever?
Once you have downloaded the completed restoration work, we will erase the images from our servers after 10 days.
Q99: Can you restore black and white images?
Q100: Can you restore images that have been torn?
Absolutely. It is critical that we get as much of the original photograph as possible. You can refer to our restoration gallery for examples of torn photos that have been restored.
Q101: How do I upload images for restoration?
If you need help in learning how to select images off of your computer and loading them to ScanCafe, then please click .
Q102: What training do your photo restoration technicians have?
Our artists have been through formal training in color concepts, restoration tools, image enhancement techniques, highlight/clipping management, grain reduction and calibration routines. They are proficient and expert in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw. All artists must pass ScanCafe's proprietary restoration skills test prior to working on customer images.
Q103: What photo restoration tools do you use to restore my images?
Our restoration team is expert in the use of .
Q104: What color profile do you use?
We use Nikon sRGB as our default.
Q105: Can you scan my curled black and white negatives?
We use a "wet mount" process for the scanning of black and white negatives. We encase each of your negative frames in a special solution between two transparent surfaces, and then scan them using our Nikon 9000 scanners. The resulting scans have extraordinary image detail.
However, this process does not support significantly curled negatives. If you are not sure if your negatives are curled, go ahead and send us a snapshot of your negatives to and our customer support team will be able to assist you. For more information on our black and white scanning, visit .
Q106: Would the scanning process distort my original films?
No, we scan APS film using the latest high end Noritsu scanners. Noritsu is the industry leader in photographic film processing equipment for minilabs and print studios. Your original films are returned exactly the way they were sent to us.
Q107: Why scan at a higher dpi?
We feel that scanning at high resolution is important, since you can't be sure what uses you will have for the scan in the future, whether it's printing a photo book, making enlargements, or even viewing on a large HDTV.
So generally, what's needed is a scan that has resolution that is high enough to allow you to do enlargements etc, but on the other hand, doesn't pick up and magnify the grain of the film itself.
Q108: What type of scanners is used to scan APS films?
We scan APS film using the latest high end Noritsu scanners. Noritsu is the industry leader in photographic film processing equipment for minilabs and print studios.
Q109: What is dpi?
DPI stands for "dots per inch", and is a common, if misleading, technical term in scanning.
DPI tells you the number of pixels per linear inch that a scanner will produce in your scan file. The higher the dpi, the larger your scan will be in terms of both pixels and megabytes.
We feel scanning at high resolution is important, since you can't be sure what uses you will have for the scan in the future. So generally, what's needed is a scan that has resolution that is high enough to allow you to do enlargements, printing, and cropping from the scan file. On the other hand, it's possible to scan with too much resolution too--some very detailed scans can actually pick up and magnify the grain of the paper (if a print) or the film itself (if a negative or slide). So we feel that our standard resolution of 10MP for APS strikes the right balance.
Q110: Do you offer an Express Service?
Yes. We offer an express scanning service (the “Express Service”) where you will be able to see your scans online for review and digital download no more than eight (8) business days after we receive your photos (the “Express Guarantee”). That’s approximately 30 days faster than our normal turnaround time.
Q111: Is there a premium charged for the Express Service?
Yes. There is a per image premium for the Express Service and the current pricing can be found at our pricing page located at (the “Express Fee”).
Q112: Is the Express Service available for all media types?
Yes. The Express Service is for all the media types. However, the express charges are different on the non-standard media.
Q113: What if my Express Service order contains non-Standard Media images?
If your order contains images which are not among the Standard Media type, we will process the Standard Media images and will contact you regarding the processing of the non-Standard Media, provided, however, the Express Guarantee will not apply to the non-Standard Media.
Q114: Is there a maximum order size for the Express Service?
Yes. The Express Service is only available for orders of 1000 images or less.
Q115: What if my Express Service order contains more than 1000 images?
When we receive your order (and before we begin scanning), we will approximate the size of your order. If we determine that your order contains approximately 1000 to 1200 images, we will contact you regarding the overage and will make every effort to process your entire order within the eight (8) day period. However, the Express Guarantee will not apply to any orders which contain more than 1000 images. If, however, we determine that your order contains approximately 1200 images or more, your order will not qualify for the Express Service and we will contact you to discuss the handling of your order.
Q116: Does the Express Fee apply to every image in my Express Service order?
Yes. The Express Fee applies to every image scanned regardless of the size of your order.
Q117: Is ScanCafe’s discard feature available for my Express Service order?
Yes, there is a 20% discard rate on the Express service order.
Q118: If I use the Express Service, how should I ship my order to ScanCafe?
The “express” portion of the Express Service refers only to having your scans available for online review and digital download eight (8) business days after we receive your order at our facilities in Indianapolis. Therefore, you can send us your Express Service order using the standard system generated UPS label that you receive as part of your order.
Q119: If I use the Express Service, how will my order be returned?
The “express” portion of the Express Service is completed after your order is available for your online review and digital download. After that, your order will be handled like any other order, which includes returning your original media and CD, DVD or hard drive via UPS Ground.
Q120: What if my scans are not available after eight (8) business days?
If your order is not available for your online review and digital download within the eight (8) business days, we will refund you the price that we charged you for the Express Service.
Q121: Do you scan Medium Format negatives?
Yes, we do. Most commonly, this format comes from 120 or 220 film. But for us, really, it's any format that is larger than traditional 35mm and smaller than 4" x 5", which is where our Large Format category begins.
Common Medium Format frame sizes that we scan are 6x6cm, 6x4.5cm (sometimes called "645"), 6x7cm, and 6x9cm.
We scan these on our Nikon 9000 EDs. Also, for black & white medium format negatives, we apply our patent-pending wet mount process that virtually eliminates the scratches that affect so many old black & white negatives.
We scan, by default, at 3000 dpi. The file sizes created for each medium format scan depend on the exact size of the frame submitted, but are in general at least 7MB and as much as 25MB.
That translates to a recommended printing size range of up to 33 x 22 inches. At that size, the print would be rendered at effectively 300 pixels per inch, a common printing standard for up-close viewing. (If the print is intended to be viewed from many, many feet away, you might be able to print larger with no noticeable defects).
We can scan Medium Format slides if they are color, but we currently cannot scan medium format slides if they black & white, as they are incompatible with our wet mount process.
Q122: Do you scan Large Format negatives (or positives)?
Yes, we scan both positives and negatives in Large Format.
We are very proud to offer Large Format scanning at an outstanding price for our professional photographer customers. There is a very rich tradition of Large Format photography that we're excited to help preserve.
For frame sizes of 4"x5" or even 4"x6", we charge one price, and for frame sizes of 8"x10" we charge a bit more, due to the sharp increase in scanning time.
We perform these scans on dedicated Epson 10000 XL's at 3000 dpi, which creates some very large files suitable for a wide range of uses. A 4" x 5" Large Format scan from us will be about 50 MB in size, and suitable for 36" x 46" prints. Similarly, an 8" x 10" Large Format scan from us will be about 200MB in file size and suitable for prints intended for up-close viewing all the way up to 75" x 96".
We do not currently scan Black & White Large Format because our patent-pending wet mount process, designed to virtually eliminate scratches, is not available for Large Format yet. However, if you believe scratches will not be an issue for your Black & White Large Format negatives or positives, contact us and we'll make arrangements.
Q123: On a given strip of negatives, can I mark just the images I want scanned?
Unfortunately, no. We have found that our scanning process is operationally tighter and safer if we, as a matter of policy, scan all the images you submit. But this is one big reason we allow you to delete scans when you review your order: to help account for the fact that on a strip of negatives there may be images that you simply don't want--whether that's because of double exposures, duplicate or near-duplicate images, or frankly for any reason at all.
Q124: Can I use ScanCafe scans to submit my photos to stock photo agencies?
Yes, you can.
Stock photo agencies do differ on technical requirements for submitted photos, so we strongly suggest you check first with your agency on requirements.
That said, we can meet the typical requirements that we have seen, which are generally around file size, color bit depth, jpg compression quality, interpolation, and so on.
As a general rule, if you are submitting to stock agencies we'd recommend you choose Pro Resolution, for all image types.
Q125: Will my tapes look as good as the original?
Your DVD footage should look as good as, and in most cases better, than if you were to play your videotape today. In most cases, in fact, it should look as good as the original was, the first time you played the tape.
However, there are exceptions. If a tape cannot play in our reference machines, we will not be able to process it all. For tapes that have significant signal loss due to degradation, there is unfortunately no way for us to replace the lost signal. For tapes with extreme chroma keying (color halos around the edges of figures and objects in the video), we will try to address them with a number of techniques but success is not guaranteed. (Incidentally this problem can be caused by successively copying a tape over and over again--generally, it's best if you send us the a working original, as copying an analog videotape degrades it substantially).
Q126: If my tape is longer than 2 hours, how much will that cost?
A small proportion of VHS tapes, usually those recorded on the lower-quality EP settings, may have more than 2 hours of content on them.
In those cases, we will author your tape onto separate DVDs, each containing 2 hrs of content, and charge you accordingly. For example, if you send us one VHS tape with 6 hours of content on it, we will charge you for 3 X the current one tape price.
You'll be notified by email if this situation comes up.
Q127: Can you make a DVD that will play in PAL format?
We currently can process PAL format tapes. Our DVDs can be played on a computer or on a DVD player.
Q128: How customized is the DVD?
We will personalize your DVD case with thumbnails from the scenes on your DVD. We will also print your name, order number, and title information on your DVD itself.
You are able to name each videotape you send us by using our DVD Titles Worksheet when you place your order. That information will appear on your DVD as navigate.
Q129: Will there be sound on my DVD?
We will capture any sound that is already present on your videotape, for no additional charge, include that on your DVD. At the moment, we don't capture sound from film reels.
In addition, we may provide incidental music at the start of your DVD, but not music that plays while you are viewing your footage itself.
Q130: Will my DVD be copy-protected? Can I make copies?
Your DVD contents are not copy-protected.
Copying the DVD will require you to use specialized software and/or hardware. Most will find it difficult, as modern day computers don't come with such software/hardware. So, it is best to order additional DVDs from us; either when you place the order or before final checkout by contacting customer service. Alternatively, you can also ask for editable MPEG4 files on a USB flash drive. This can be submitted as a special request when placing the order or by contacting customer service.
Q131: Will I get to review my video content before I receive my DVD? Can I delete footage?
No, as a convenience your entire video will be digitized and authored directly to DVD. If we have any questions about your order, we will of course contact you.
Q132: Are there any kinds of video you will not digitize?
We cannot process footage involving nudity, as with our photo scanning service and per our Terms of Service. If your video contains nudity, we will try to to process the parts that don't contain nudity, where it seems warranted. In addition, we cannot process videotape that is copyrighted work. For these purposes, we will consider recorded TV shows or movies as de facto copyrighted work and will not process them.
Q133: How long will it take?
We expect to turn around your order within 4-6 weeks of when we receive it. Orders that are larger, or that contain other kinds of media, may take longer.
Q134: Can I send in both photos and video at the same time?
Absolutely, you can. If there is a need to hurry with the video part of the order, however, we would suggest you send that in a separate order, just to minimize the chances of delay.
Q135: Do you store my digitized video after my order is complete?
We retain the compressed version of your digitized video for a period after your order is completed and shipped to you. That allows us to make additional copies in case there are delays or difficulties in transit.
However, we recommend that if you would like duplicate copies, that you make those requests that the time that you place your order.
Q136: Can you repair my video tape if it is physically damaged?
ScanCafe does not currently offer a physical repair service for video tapes. If a tape is suffering from, for example, mildew damage, or even Sticky Shed Syndrome, those repairs will have to be made first before ScanCafe can process the tape.
We are not currently aware, unfortunately, of any company that performs these services excellently at a reasonable cost. You may want to check back in with us from time to time on this issue,however. We may decide to offer this service at a later date, or we may find an excellent third party option that we can let our customers know about.
Q137: Can I get my video delivered on a hard drive, so I can edit the files?
We currently only deliver video in standard resolution DVD format, on an archival-quality DVD. You may edit it if you wish by "ripping" the DVD to your hard drive.
In the future, we may offer the ability to receive your video uncompressed on a portable hard drive.
Q138: Do your employees watch the video while it is being transferred? What privacy policies are in place?
Our employees do watch each tape to digitize and edit it. There simply isn't any other way for us to deliver the hand-scanning quality that our customers have come to expect from us.
That said, your content is strictly private, and we have taken a number of measures to insure the safety of your memories, many borne out of the intellectual property concerns of our professional photographer customers. For example, our workstations do not have internet access or even working usb ports, to prevent unauthorized copying of digital files.
Q139: Can I edit the video footage that is on the DVD you send me?
Yes, you can.
To edit the footage that we send you, you will need to "rip" the files from the DVD with the use of software. That will create files, or sometimes a single file, that you can work directly with in a number of video editing programs, such as iMovie.
There are limitations to this approach, however. First, the DVD we are sending you contains video footage that has been compressed. So even if you successfully rip the files at the highest quality settings possible in your ripping software, you will still be working with video footage that is not the best-looking it could be (this is particularly true for MiniDV formats, somewhat true for Digital 8 and Hi 8, and least true for VHS). And if you publish it again, after editing, to another DVD, it will suffer from a 2nd round of compression.
For this reason, we don't recommend editing from the DVD footage we prepare for you, unless it's for an environment or usage where quality is somewhat less important. At some point we do intend to offer delivery of editable, uncompressed .avi files delivered on a portable hard drive.
If your intent in editing is simply to make another copy of the material, however, we recommend that you order duplicate DVDs when you place your order.
Q140: If my footage contains a timestamp, does ScanCafe remove it?
No, we don't. We view that as part of the original content and will not remove it.
Q141: What exact NTSC settings do you use? Where can I play my video DVD?
We author our DVD with the widest possible NTSC settings, meaning it should play in DVD players in Canada, the US, US Territories, South Africa, and the Middle East. It is possible in some cases that it may play in Europe as well.
Q142: What exact codec do you use?
We use the MPEG2 codec to prepare your video footage for fitting onto a standard definition video DVD.
Q143: What bit rate do you use for the compression?
This question is an advanced one, but for those interested, we use a range of bit rates, but no greater than 6 Mbps, and in 1 pass.
This means we will fit up to 2 hours of video content onto your video DVD, with excellent quality.
Q144: What is movie film?
We have two ways of representing images that move: motion picture film, and video.
Motion picture film, or movie film, consists of running a number of connected images, or frames, through a projection system. The images themselves are produced through techniques that are very similar to how we produce photos. And if you look at movie film, you will clearly see each individual frame, and you'll even be able to make out, roughly, what is pictured in each frame.
Video, by contrast, is captured when light strikes a magnetic medium. It doesn't have the same idea of frames that movie film does, and in fact if you look at video tape closely you won't be able to see much of anything at all.
Movie film, once developed, always comes on reels, metal or plastic discs that the film is wound around, and intended to be played back on a projector.
Almost all historical video, the kind you have in your home, is stored on cassette, and meant to be inserted into some kind of player, like a VCR or camcorder. We refer to these as videocassettes, or video tapes.
Q145: Why is movie film so expensive, relative to photos?
Actually, movie film is less expensive than photos, when you consider how many images there are.
We charge 20+ cents per photo that we scan. But in a single foot--about one 16th of a second--of movie film, there can easily be 50 images that we need to capture. So if we charged for movie film as we do for photos, a foot of movie film would cost .00 to scan. Instead, it costs 20 cents!
Additionally, movie film scanning is very technically demanding and takes a lot of our technician and equipment time. And yet we are able to offer it to you for much less, per image, than what we charge today for photos. So we think movie film scanning is a tremendous value at ScanCafe.
Q146: What type of movie film do I have?
The best answer is, it doesn't matter! For nearly any conceivable movie film format that you have, chances are it's either 8mm, Super 8mm, or 16mm. And our price for all of those is exactly the same.
A quick way to check: if your movie film is on a reel, and it has sprocket holes, then chances are excellent we can scan it. The only movie film formats we don't currently scan are professional formats like 35mm and 70mm, and typically only Hollywood studios would have film like that.
Q147: Do you clean my movie film? Why?
We do clean your movie film, both physically and electronically.
This is an important quality step, because old movie film can often be amazingly dirty. Each speck of dirt will show up on your final image, and it can make watching your old home movies less enjoyable.
Removing all the dust and scratches physically is effectively impossible, however. So we incorporate an additional step of digital cleaning that helps reduce dust and scratches even further.
Q148: What if my movie film is damaged?
We will attempt to repair movie film that has minor damage, like deteriorated splices. However, film that is substantially damaged may not be able to be captured.
Q149: Can you scan unprocessed movie film?
No. As with photographs, your movie film must be developed first before we can scan it. Technically speaking, the movie films that we scan are "prints", meaning you can make out the image when you look closely at each frame.
Q150: Can you provide my movie film project on a Blu-Ray disc?
Yes, we can. Since we scan your film at a native HD resolution anyway, it's a snap for us to provide your order on a Blu-Ray disc, which has approximately 5 times the capacity of a standard DVD. What that means for you is we can put a much larger, higher-resolution file on your Blu-Ray disc, and it will be sharper at larger display sizes, like on your HDTV.
Q151: My movie film box says it's 25 feet, but you charged me for 50 feet. Why?
Your particular kind of film was almost certainly called Dual 8mm film.
This particular kind of film was actually 16mm wide prior to being exposed. It was exposed on one side, then turned over, and exposed on another side. At the time of developing, it would have been physically cut down the middle, making for 50 feet total.
Q152: How do I know how much movie film I have?
When you place your order, we will make available a film calculator that helps you estimate the footage that you have.(This is just a ballpark calculation.)
The actual length of the film is calculated using this formula: Total Run Time (in minutes) x 16.67. So if you know the total run time please use this calculation.
Q153: How should I organize my movie film prior to sending it in?
Please leave it in the original packaging, but feel free to label it, keeping each label relatively short (20 characters or so). We also provide a titles worksheet for you to fill out online when you place your order. Make sure your titles worksheet corresponds to how you label the reels. We'll use this information to make the chapter titles on your DVD.
For example, if you send us 5 8mm reels, you could label them 1,2,3,4 and 5. Then on the titles worksheet, where it indicates reel #1, you could write "Christmas 1954", and so on. Or you could simply write "Christmas 1954" on both the reel itself and in the title worksheet.
Q154: What kind of video tapes can you scan?
We currently scan almost all consumer video tapes formats.The current formats we scan are VHS, VHS-C, SVHS, Hi 8, Digital 8, Mini-DV & BetaMax. We currently do NOT scan HD version of Mini-DV tapes,often referred to as HDV.
Q155: Is paying extra for a Blu-Ray Disc worth it?
Broadly, we think so, but it depends on your preferences.
Generally, to order a Blu-ray Disc, you should have an HDTV and a Blu-ray player.
If you have both of those, we'd advise you to get a Blu-ray Disc, simply because you're only doing your scanning project once and we would in general encourage everyone to get more information out of their film, before it's too late.
As for the picture itself, it will be better on a Blu-ray Disc, since the compression will be much less than on a regular DVD. That means colors will be deeper, action will be smoother, shadows and highlights will be more visible, and details--like blades of grass, for example--will be more distinct. The picture will still seem grainy compared to, say, a recent Hollywood motion picture release, and that is simply due to the nature of the original movie film itself (not to mention that many Hollywood pictures are not shot on film at all anymore, and instead are shot directly to digital).
So in all, getting your film onto Blu-ray or a portable USB hard drive will give you a better picture, but most importantly, it will give you nearly all the information that is available in the original film.
All this said, a regular DVD from us will look good, even on an HDTV (and fantastic on a regular television) and it is a perfectly acceptable compromise if your budget doesn't allow a Blu-ray disc or portable USB hard drive.
Q156: My old movie film smells funny. Is it too late to scan it?
If your old movie film smells like vinegar, it is well along the process of what's called Vinegar Syndrome. However, that process can take many years. If you look at the film and it seems fine--no gooey messes or warpage--then you should definitely send it in for scanning before it gets any worse. Vinegar Syndrome is an "auto-catalytic" process, meaning it feeds on itself and gets faster and faster with time.
If you film smells like something else, and you know that it dates from before say 1950, check the surface of it for writing that says "Nitrate" or something to that effect. Nitrate-based films are highly flammable and should be kept very carefully. We cannot accept nitrate films, and in fact if you are to ship nitrate film anywhere, you will need to consult with your shipper first, as most have strict policies about flammable materials.
Q157: How to sign up for SMS Text Notification for your order?
You can sign up to receive SMS Text Notification about your order status at any time.
To sign up, follow these steps:
- Go to and click [Edit] next to SMS Text Notifications Preferences.
- Enter the Mobile number you'd like to use and click on the [Save] button.
Q158: How to update your cell phone number for SMS Text Notification for your order?
You can change the cell phone number that receives the SMS Text Notification for your order at any time.
If you want to update the number, follow these steps:
- Go to and click [Edit] next to SMS Text Notifications Preferences.
- You'll see the original mobile number you entered there.
- Enter the new mobile phone number you'd like to use and click on the [Save] button
Q159: How to turn off SMS Text Notification for your order?
You can turn off SMS Text Notification for your order at any time, to turn off SMS Text Notification, follow these steps:
- Go to and click [Edit] next to SMS Text Notifications Preferences.
- Remove the cell phone number you had entered click on the [Save] button.
Q160: Can I download my order online?
Yes, you may download it within 24-48 hrs after the final checkout.
Q161: How long my digital download will be active on my account?
Your digital download link will be active for 6 months from the time of "Checkout", If you wish to continue downloading them post 6 months, you may contact our customer service team at or call us at (866) 234-3909 and we will reactivate the link.
Note: The reactivated link will be valid for next 7 days.
Q162: Do I need to buy WinZip?
No, you can download the trial version.
Q163: Does Value kit have an option to review images online or discard?
Only A La Carte or USA express orders have an option to review online or to discard. Value kit does not have the feature to review or discard. Please go through the below link for more information for comparison
Q164: How long do my images take to upload to our cloud account?
Soon after you update your cloud credentials, it will take 24-48 hours for your high-resolution images to get uploaded to your cloud account. You will receive an automated email as soon as the upload completes.
Q165: Can I use multiple boxes to ship my media?
Unfortunately, no. The shipping label will have an unique tracking ID using which multiple boxes cannot be tracked. If you have to pack your media in multiple boxes, you have to place multiple orders.