January 4, 2018
So you are going about your normal workday when all of a sudden your boss has a new priority for you from left field- get pricing for microfilm scanning! You probably haven’t even heard about microfilm, your office never even uses it, but your boss has an opportunity or need to get microfilm converted- whatever that means! So you politely say “okay” and start your search online. Hopefully we can clear up some confusion with this article!
Confirm and Get the Microfilm Specs
Your ultimate goal is to get a price for microfilm conversion, but the first thing you have to do is actually identify and get details about the microfilm. Now, I know this may be hard if your boss just dropped a request for a roll film quote on your desk without telling you. But you can show off your knowledge to your boss by turning the tables and asking about what type of film it is. The two main types of roll film are 16mm and 35mm roll film. These look like small versions of movie reels. 35mm reels usually have newspapers, drawings, blueprints, or maps on them, while the more common 16mm reels usually have all other types of documents, like medical records, payroll records, school records, criminal records, land and deed records, marriage certificates, lawsuits, etc. If you have any specifications, let us know: DPI resolution (200, 300, or something else), pdf or tiff, bi-tonal or greyscale, and how are the files named?
A common misnomer is to call microfilm “microfiche”. Microfiche is actually flat plastic cards which contain a few frames on them. A microfilm roll is a spool of film.
Once you get the microfilm type, you want to get an estimate of how many rolls are in the collection. The reason for all of this fact-finding is to help us give you a free microfilm scanning quote. The price varied by type and volume. Without this information, it is like contacting a car dealership and asking for a car price without saying which year, model, or spec you desire.
What is Microfilm Used For, Anyway?
As far as why microfilm is still relevant today, there are still hundreds of thousands- if not millions- of rolls that have not been converted still. Governments still produce them to store their records on them because paper takes up too much space. You would think they would just scan the paper to digital image, but it takes too long and is costly. So it is possible that your boss is helping am existing client who also has microfilm but does not know how to convert it to digital image. Your boss may be trying to respond to a bid which has microfilm scanning requirements and your office can perform all of the other tasks but not the microfilm portion. There are dozens of reasons why your boss came across the microfilm scanning opportunity.
Other Important Questions
Your boss probably wants to know if it is cheaper to buy a microfilm scanner and do it yourself vs outsourcing microfilm scanning. We can give you price ranges for both. Generally speaking, it is more inexpensive to subcontract microfilm conversions. Microfilm scanners are very expensive to buy or lease, and you have to figure in the cost to train and maintain. In many ways getting your own microfilm scanner is like setting up a new business. Regardless, we will give you numbers to work from so you can give them to your boss.
Your would probably be expected to know how much it costs to ship the microfilm back and forth. The best way to get an estimate for that is to fill a banker’s box with paper and weigh it, or look at previous UPS, Fed-Ex, or USPS shipments you’ve made and extrapolate.
Other questions include turnover time: how long does it take to finish a microfilm scanning project? What are the images delivered on: external hard drives, USB flash drives, DVDs, FTP transfer.